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September 12, 2012 12:35      

permalink   Hate + Guns = Dead People 


I waited a while after the massacre in the Colorado movie theater to write a post about it. I thought things would die down. But the mass murders haven't stopped. Since that day (July 20, 2012) three more shootings happened in August. There will probably be more. Why?

Since the theater massacre, firearms sales are booming. During the first four days after the shooting, gun dealers in Colorado, submitted 3,647 requests for state background checks. And that's just Colorado.

"It's not hunting guns they're looking for," said Larry Hyatt, owner of North Carolina-based Hyatt Guns, one of the largest independent gun stores in the U.S. "It's self-protection and military-type firearms." He says that after such incidents people fear legislators will pass stricter gun laws. Another gun shop owner agreed: "When you get mass shootings, people panic and buy guns."

Why all the Hate?

Single-victim gun killings have dropped 40 percent since 1980. That's the good news. The bad news: between 1980 and 2008, there have been 965 mass murders and many dead people. The victim count: 4,685 men, women and children.

An article in USA Today says an average of 20 mass murders occur each year in the United States. Photo at left: Atlanta massacre

According to Jack Levin, a criminology professor at Northeastern University, most mass murderers seek some sort of revenge.

They hate people. Sometimes the people are known to them. Other times, like the massacre in Colorado, the people are complete strangers.

Here are some mass murders that happened this year. Don't expect gory details or photos of the killers. I refuse to glorify them. But please pay attention to the victims.They're the important ones. Not the killers.

Beware Your Relatives

February 21, 2012: Jeong Soo Paek killed four of his relatives in their family-owned spa near Atlanta, GA, and then killed himself. Four dead, plus the shooter.

Target School Administrators and Fellow Students

February 27, 2012: A 17-year-old student entered a high school cafeteria in Chardon, Ohio, and began shooting students at random.

Three teenagers died; two more were wounded.

Many others, like those in the photo at left, were severely traumatized.

April 2, 2012: Like the Colorado theater shooter, One L. Goh was angry at school administrators, who expelled him, allegedly for bad behavior. Goh wanted to get even. He went to Oikos University in Oakland, CA, and opened fire. Seven people died, at least three more were injured. 

Racial Hatred

April 6, 2012: Jake England and Alvin Watts hate African-Americans so they bought some guns and went hunting for them. In separate incidents they shot five black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Three dead; two injured.

August 5, 2012: Wade Michael Page, a white-supremacist, went to a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. There he shot as many people as he could.

Seven died; many more were wounded, some of them children.

Then the coward killed himself.

I Know You and I Hate You

August 24, 2012: Jeffrey Johnson had a beef with a former coworker. In broad daylight, Johnson shot and killed the former coworker near the Empire State Building in NYC.

He went on to shoot and injured nine more people before NYC police shot and killed him.  One dead, plus the shooter; nine injured.

Why So Many Guns?

First, let me say up front, this is not an anti-gun law diatribe. If someone wants to own a firearm to hunt game, shoot at targets for sport, or buy a gun to protect themselves, that's fine with me.

But I have a problem with people who collect an arsenal of guns and ammo. Does anyone really need two dozen guns and enough ammo to kill dozens of people?

And I have a huge problem with thugs who use assault weapons to kill police officers, not to mention innocent bystanders and people they don't know.

Like the guy in the movie theater. And there are others out there just like him.

Copy-cat Killers

On July 23, 2012 (3 days after the Colorado theater massacre) Maine State Police seized an arsenal of weapons from Timothy Courtois, 49. Why? Because Courtois (mugshot at left) brought a loaded gun to a movie theater showing the same Batman movie that played in Colorado.

The day after the show police clocked his car going 112 mph on the Maine Turnpike. Inside his car they found an AK-47 assault rifle, four handguns and several boxes of ammunition.

They also found news clippings about the Colorado massacre. Courtois told police he brought the gun into the theater but didn't use it. When they stopped him, he said he was on his way to Derry, NH, where he planned to shoot a former employer.

Okay, that's enough dreary news. As a reward for sticking with my rant, I'm going to tell you a story and cheer you up. Read on, you're gonna love it.

Save the Bunny!

June 7, 2012: Michelle Carey-Brown and her 3-year-old daughter, Riley, were taking an MBTA trolley in Boston. Somehow, when they left the train, Riley dropped her stuffed animal, as cute a bunny as you'll ever see.

The bunny fell on the tracks, beyond the reach of Riley's mother. Riley's mom said she'd get her another bunny, but Riley didn't want another bunny. She wanted her "friend."

When Riley saw another train coming down the tracks, she got even more upset, fearing the train would squash her beloved bunny.

Then a quick-thinking MBTA worker came to the rescue. Two workers, actually. One called the oncoming train to alert the driver that something precious was on the tracks. The driver stopped the train just short of Riley's bunny, allowing the MBTA worker in the station to safely retrieve Riley's "friend."

The next day, Riley and her mother got to thank Fannie Matchette, the quick-acting MBTA worker, in person. Matchette (photo below) said she was thrilled to have made the little girl's day.

Just another day for a public service worker. But not for Riley. She's got her friend back and Machette has a bouquet of flowers.

And take it from me, police officers and public service workers like those MBTA employees are much happier to make a little girl's day than they are cleaning up after the mass murderers.

I expect to get some comments on this post, some positive, some not, but hey, I can take it. Good or bad, leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you. NOPD homicide detective Frank Renzi signing off.


Business Insider: Here's A Timeline of Mass Murders in the U.S. Just This Year, Ashley Lutz, 8/25/2012,

"Dark Knight" shooting: Mass Murder Up, Even While Gun Violence Down, Huff Post CRIME,

Mass shootings are a fact of American life, James Alan Fox, 1-10-2011, USA Today

Bangor Daily News: Arsenal seized from Biddeford man who saw Batman movie with loaded weapon; Nick McCrea, 7/23/2012

Amazing news blog: Boston transit workers save bunny


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[ Posted by R. Doug Wicker, September 13, 2012 20:57 ]
     Do people NEED two dozen guns and enough ammunition to kill dozens of people? Perhaps not, but it's not up to others to decide if what I want should be curtailed in the name of what I "need." Guns are like any other tool and, as such, they can be used properly or abused. A .22 target pistol serves an entirely different function from, say, a compact .380 used for easy (and legal) concealment, a compact- to medium-size 9mm for (again, legal) concealed carry, or a large-capacity .45 for home defense.

People don't "need" more than one car, either, and every year cars kill many more people than do guns. Some cars injure, maim, and kill a dozen or more people in a single instance. Yet, do we decide how many cars people "need" and restrict accordingly? Of course not.

And mass murders do not need guns to commit such acts. They can resort to chemicals, homemade incendiary or explosive devices, or even use airliners to target thousands. Yet, we still sell ammonia, gasoline, fertilizer and diesel fuel, and allow airliners to ply the skies overhead. Even Tylenol has been used as a murder weapon, killing seven people in Chicago in 1982.

Fortunately, we have the Constitution to protect these rights and others, because just as some people have an irrational fear of free speech, different cultures or races, and unfamiliar religions, others have an irrational fear of guns and would attempt to infringe upon the rights of others to own them.

The solution isn't restricting lawful gun ownership by responsible, law-abiding citizens. The solution is to enforce existing laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who are already prohibited by law from owning guns because they have a mental condition or have demonstrated that they are a danger to themselves or others. In the vast majority of mass murder cases, the perpetrator had a known mental condition or a criminal record that made gun ownership a violation of federal law.

That's my 2 on the subject. Thanks for allowing me to respond. Well written article, by the way.

[ Posted by admin, September 14, 2012 7:44 ]
     Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Doug. I must disagree with your statement "Guns are like any other tool." No, they are not. Guns are used to kill people (or animals) and AK-47s [and other assault weapons] are designed for one purpose: to kill many people. Can you tell me a different purpose for this "tool?"

That said, I too do not believe that restricting gun ownership is the answer to the problem of mass murders. However, I also do believe that there is any way to, as you said, "keep guns out of the hands ot those who are prohibited by law from [owning] them because they have a mental condition or ... may be a danger to themselves or others. This would not have prevented the white supremacists from murdering the black men in Tulsa, OK. And that is but one example.

Again, thanks for the comment. We respect diversity of opinions here.

[ Posted by Patricia Grasso, September 14, 2012 7:52 ]
     What a "cheerful" blog.... What depresses me (besides all those dead people and not knowing where and when this will happen again) is that I'm old enough to remember the first famous mass murder. Okay, I was a young child, but I still remember that guy who climbed the Texas University's watch tower and started killing people like it was a turkey shoot. The country was in shock. Somehow, people have become sort of immune to that violence. Beats me how to fix it.

[ Posted by admin, September 14, 2012 7:58 ]
     Thanks for the comment, Patricia. I agree it's not a "cheerful" blog ... well, did you notice the story about the bunny at the end? But I believe that awareness of a problem is the first step to solving the problem.

We need to talk about this problem. Part of it has to do with guns. But much of it has to do with hate. Why is there so much hate? Why does one set of people "hate" another set of people because they are "different" in some way? This is not an "inborn" trait. This is a learned trait. We need to educate children not to "hate" those who are different. That might be one step in the right direction.

[ Posted by trevor, April 11, 2013 2:41 ]
     Look at data...how can u say that its guns that kill people. You know how many people have swords, what are they for. PROTECTION. Just because you probably sit in a nice lil apartment in the burbs, and you can judge people. Live in the ghetto and ask why do you have so many guns. WELLLLL the people around me own them illegally, and are willing to kill me for 100 dollars, why else would i own one. one thing i will say, make harsher illegal gun owning penalties instead of hurting the people that LEGALLY own their guns...theres a difference

[ Posted by admin, April 12, 2013 16:02 ]
     Trevor, you are entitled to your opinion so I am posting your comment. But you can't argue that guns don't kill people. That is why people buy them. Yes, many own guns illegally. Let's work on stopping them.

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