What Won’t Happen

And why – in the wake of the latest horrific school massacre. What I mean is the banning of gun ownership in the US, or the abrogation of the Second Amendment, or the passing of so-called “sensible” new gun restrictions (which will be as little-enforced as the last set of so-called “sensible” restrictions). Not going to happen, no matter how emotional the demands by the ban-gun advocates scream, weep, stomp their feet and accuse gun-owners and organizations like the NRA of having blood on their hands. And no, we don’t much care how they do it in Europe, or Britain, or Australia. Weirdly enough, in the United States, the most violent cities are the ones with the most restrictions on personal firearms. Violent crime is generally the preserve of a distinctly urban racial sub-culture, which if omitted from the statistics, presents a very different picture when it comes to violent criminal activity in the US as a whole. That’s an anomaly and discussion for another time, although it does have slight bit of bearing on this one.

I’ve rather lost track of how many times we have been to the gun-violence rodeo since the Columbine school shooting. Now it seems like we go through this hyperventilating over gun control every six months or so. I do recall, though, the reaction being extraordinarily muted when Republican members of Congress and their staffs were shot up at baseball practice by James Hodgkinson last June. But muted, or loud and foot-stompy, the results are about the same. It comes down to demanding that innocent, law-abiding citizens, exercising their rights under the Constitution, must be punished for the deeds of a single criminal, or for the deeds of a small number of criminals; collective punishment, in other words. The realization comes – or a sensible person should realize – that screaming grief to the skies and demanding collective punishment is the easy, cheap, facile response. It’s a reflexive reaction – understandable in the case of the grief of the bereaved, people with normal feelings of empathy, or the demand of a media personality under pressure, dammit, to say something before the cameras and microphones. Easy, and pointless – which is why it happens every damn time. Actually going ahead, full-steam ahead on repealing the 2nd Amendment would not only be hard work, even enforcing a total gun ban might prove ultimately impossible, as discussed here.

Effective efforts at preventing mass shootings that come out of the blue at schools, nightclubs, office Christmas parties, midnight movie showings and at concerts and malls is hard work, hard, complicated, and not a one-fits-all solution – made harder when a law enforcement agency like the FBI totally blows off tips concerning worrisome behavior by individuals, as in the current case – or an organization like the military not passing the word about a violence-prone individual, as was the case of the Sutherland Springs church shooter.

A common element in the last two decades is – besides a member of the Religion of Peace going all jihadi with guns, knives, and homemade bombs – is the element of crazy. A young male, as is the sad case last week in Florida, possibly not wrapped terribly tightly, over-or-under medicated, whose behavior in real life or on social media increasingly gives those around cause for extreme worry. Sometimes local police have long been aware of erratic and dangerous behavior; at the very least, friends, neighbors, employers all have reason for serious concern. But at present – how do we, or should we go about containing the crazy before the point where the crazy flips out for good and all and leaves a trail of bleeding bodies? Safeguarding the community and the crazy for their own good is another one of those difficult projects; running straight into the conundrum of accommodating the civil rights of the crazy-accused … and who gets to decide, anyway. There are pitfalls down that route; namely the danger of it being too damn easy to declare someone a danger on account of their words or beliefs and lock them up. Shades of the Soviet system, anyone?

Yet another element, discussed last night at Conservative Treehouse – the policy of schools to keep law enforcement away from problem students in the interests of protecting racial minorities. And a final element, related to the above – the problem of boys growing up without a father in the picture, or even a suitable, authoritative father-figure, compounded with the professional feminists blathering on and on about toxic masculinity. Too many professional and elite toes would be trodden heavily on, in the process of ameliorating those situations. Not that it would be impossible, just a very long job, the work of decades and small advances by individuals in reversing the policies that lead us to this point.

The short-term solution may be to follow the Israeli example, as is being done in some school districts in Texas, to arm selected teachers. But that will also be a long and bitterly-contested process. Discuss, and contribute your own thoughts.

63 thoughts on “What Won’t Happen”

  1. One thing that would probably help is to reverse the trend toward very large schools. (The one in this case was reported variously at 3000 and 4000 students.) Putting that many kids in one place almost guarantees a climate of anonymity and anomie. (Possible exception if the school leadership is particularly strong, but that is not to be counted on)

  2. If only you wingnuts and haters would stop promoting the killing of children we could have a national conversation about common-sense disarmament of you people.

  3. It would be nice to reverse that trend of enormous schools, wouldn’t it? The thing that I noticed with smaller high schools here in Texas was that there wasn’t the mutually-hostile cliques. A kid with any kind of interest or skill had a chance to participate and shine. Could dribble a basketball fairly well? Then, shazam! You were on the basketball team, even though at a bigger school you wouldn’t have had a chance. A smaller pond, and the smaller fish had a chance to be someone.
    My daughter went to a private four-year high school – a student body of about 250. There was no sitting in the back of the class, going unnoticed. One of her hard subjects was mathematics; she improved no end, after being in a small class of eight or ten pupils.

  4. Liberals: Illegal immigrants commit very few crimes. GOP racists spotlight the freakishly rare exemptions for their own racisty racist purposes. No major conclusions can be drawn, certainly no preventative actions can be taken, since that would impinge upon the 99.99% of law abiding immigrants. Illegal immigrants have constitutional rights, after all.
    Also: Muslims commit very few crimes. GOP racists spotlight the freakishly rare exemptions for their own racisty racist purposes. No major conclusions can be drawn, certainly no preventative actions can be taken, since that would impinge upon the 99.99% of law abiding Muslims. Muslims have constitutional rights, after all.
    Also: There is a crisis of school shootings. These are so typical and representative that massive actions must be taken, no matter their impact on the 99.99% of law abiding gun owners. Gun owners have no constitutional rights.

  5. In the past there were very few if any large scale shootings by students at school (or for that matter by adults anywhere). While watching an old revival of “Dennis the Menace” on cable, the storyline of students fighting came up. Dennis’s dad wanted him to stand up for himself, while his mom wanted him to report the bully to the school. It all ended up fine of course on TV. It got me to wonder if the older practice of letting boys be boys in generally harmless schoolyard fights had the benefit of allowing even the craziest kids to feel some kind of release. Today we combine a no tolerance for horseplay or fighting with a hypersexualized teenage social scene that leaves no easy way out for some.

  6. You are idiots. An entire country composed of children who never grew up. You believe in the boggie man and love stories of good guys and bad guys. Kinda pitiful and dangerous.

    I’m tired of watching your children die for your stupid gun laws. Industrial tools are treated more carefully. A device designed to kill people is just part of your culture. Culture grows on a dish halfwits.

    [PenGun, unless Sgt. Mom wants otherwise you get to make one more comment in this thread and that’s it. Jonathan]

  7. “In the past there were very few if any large scale shootings by students at school ”
    This is true in the present as well. These incidents are freakishly rare. And in every case they have been perpetrated by someone who is profoundly and obviously severely mentally ill.

  8. Many here have probably already seen this, but it’s worth showing it again.

    Students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida describe how they protected students, where the JROTC students utilized their training and leadership skills to save their classmates.


    Growth in number of young Swiss shooters

    The number of Swiss youngsters taking part in gun courses to learn how to shoot is on the rise, it has been reported.

    The number of young people participating in so-called “Jungschützen” [junior rifle] courses to learn how to shoot has risen from 7,000 in 2015 to 10,079 in 2017, according to figures from Swiss Shooting, an association representing Swiss sports shooters, cited in an article in Sunday’s Aargauer Zeitungexternal link.

    As we’re all probably well aware, the violent crime rate in Switzerland is about half what is it in America, and the Swiss murder rate is many times less than in America.

    The problem is not too many guns, but too few good people anymore trained in possessing them.

  9. “The problem is not too many guns, but too few good people anymore trained in possessing them.”
    The problem is that Columbine set a precedent that a small numbers of psychopaths have followed, all of whom should have been institutionalized long before their murder sprees, and also that our media covers these events in such a way that inspires more psychopaths to act.

  10. “It would be nice to reverse that trend of enormous schools, wouldn’t it?”

    That won’t happen. I was distressed to learn that my granddaughter goes to a high school with 3000 students.

    Her father graduated with a class of 25, many of whom are still life long friends, after 30 years.

    I wish I could pay for her to go to the same school but tuition has gone out of sight.

    This is his school.

    The last I checked tuition was $ 25,000 / year.

    It was about a 10th of that when he attended.

    My two younger daughters attended this high school.

    Again, the tuition, not as long ago, was about $250/month. I think the classes were larger but about 300 or so.

  11. There are several common sense steps we must take immediately to protect children in schools. These do not require any new laws or authority beyond those of the local school trustees and superintendent.

    1) Ban lunch bags, coolers, etc. These provide the hiding place troubled kids conceal weapons of all sorts within. Given the federally funded cafeteria there is no need for anyone to carry a bag of food.

    2) Ban book bags — and for that matter, books. As above, a bag must be presumed to conceal a troubled student’s weapon, and a textbook of contemporary size is easily modified to remove pages and hollow out another space of concealment. Given federally funded internet terminals, network gear, and the students (small) portable phones, there is no need for books.

    3) Ban overcoats, trench coats, baggy sweaters, etc. The Columbine example shows that loose oversized clothing is used by troubled children to conceal weapons. Given modern HVAC systems, often subsidized by federal energy grants, there is no need for any student to wear heavy clothing.

    4) Close all but one entrance to the school building, and install TSA style security at that entrance. All students must be subject to full body scan before entering, lest troubled students conceal weapons within the nooks and crannies of their anatomy.

    5) DO NOT ALLOW EXIT after a student arrives at school. Obviously the schools are a safe environment, but troubled students have troubles at home and bring those troubles with them into the schools. Allowing students to leave, re-enter, leave again, re-enter again — it’s a recipe for disaster. Students should serve year long admission sentences, rather like military draftees or prisoners, and once within the school system, stay there.

    6) Arm the staff. The prison model can only go so far, unless the teachers and administrators can manage to keep orderly procedures running smoothly despite the size, tempers, violent habits, and over-crowded conditions stressing troubled students. The first lesson the students must learn is respect for authority, and if the staff deploys suitable taser, mace, billy club, and pepper spray behavioral modification gear, it should be rare indeed that any of the troubled students need to be shot.

    7) Isolate the schools. The 1000 yard invisible line of the “gun free zone” is conceptually correct but ineffective in practice. Instead a physical wall, or moat, razor-ribbon barrier, or electrified chain link barricade to keep students in, and trouble-makers out, is the only way to safe guard our precious future.

    8) Make safety the number one priority. Too many teachers and administrators focus on lesser issues: Standardize testing. Sports. Pay rates, bonuses, summer vacations, and sick days. Some even allow themselves attempting to provide instruction in Reading, writing, and arithmetic to troubled students poorly prepared to receive such provision. These lesser concerns must be set aside if not eliminated from the schools’ mission altogether.

    9) Appropriate — and borrow — more money to spend in our schools. For locks, walls, fences, scanners, security, and so on as set forth above. But over all we simply must pay our current superintendents and administrators more. Those school boards now served by unpaid volunteers must be re-constituted on a more professional basis and the trustees compensated at fair market rates. The safety of children can not be left to amateurs and under-paid, under-qualified, idealists more in love with the idea of education than security.

    10) Shut down newspapers, talk radio shows, blogs, and television networks that spread lies, misinformation, or even promote questions about the American School System. The system can only work with the support of the citizenry – and the citizenry can not support any institution with which they have become overly familiar. Out of sight and out of mind, the children can be protected. But allowing families and common citizens insight — or worse, input — into the system should by now be unthinkable.

    I trust these suggestions will be considered in the spirit with which they are offered.

  12. I’ve made the point repeatedly over these issues that the root problem isn’t that we’ve got too many guns, but that there are too many victims out there.

    One man with a gun, two men with guns, even three to five… Going into a location where there are thousands of other human beings, and shooting them up? That ought to be a situation where the survival rate of the gunmen approaches zero. Yet, it isn’t. Why?

    Were you to approach this as a military operation, and order me to take a handgun or just a rifle into a situation like that, and kill as many unarmed civilians as I could…? Aside from the obvious fact that doing such would be an egregious violation of the laws of war, the fact is that one man, alone, no matter how well armed, is going to die, and die horribly at the hands of the mob he’s going to raise against himself in many of the less-“civilized” parts of the world.

    And, yet… In our oh-so-civilized and refined part of the world? The killers don’t die at the enraged hands of their intended targets. The victims, well-trained as they are, huddle sheep-like in corners, and wait for their executioner to come for them.

    This is not how humans should behave, and yet we’ve made this a cultural norm. Were you to do what the killers did at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, and do it somewhere out in the wild world where still dwell feral, untamed humans…? Oh, but their deaths would have been things to behold, torn to shreds while still living by the enraged mob.

    Nobody at any of these venues chose to fight back. They all fled or hid, awaiting rescue, ignoring the opportunity to take the battle to the killers. Why weren’t some of those adult, able-bodied males at Virginia Tech laying in wait for Cho, as he came through any one of the innumerable choke points, with improvised clubs to take him unawares from behind a door…? Why weren’t there people rifling through janitor’s closets for corrosive chemicals, and why didn’t Cho take a faceful of toilet bowl cleaner as he walked through a stairwell…?

    Simple answer is, we’ve trained everyone to be sheep. Call 911. Wait for someone to come rescue you. You can’t help yourself, you’re a victim. Your role in all this is to bleat helplessly to the people you call on your cell phone, pathos embodied.

    Pull this shit a few generations ago, and you’d get what happened to the James Gang when it tried pulling off a bank raid in Northfield, MN. Why aren’t we seeing more people doing like Flight 93 did, when confronted with hijackers? Simply put, we’ve trained them to conduct their lives as sheep, not men.

    As well, the optics of the whole thing…

    If you’re a shooter, you die either at the hands of the police, in glory, or you go to prison and maybe die several decades later, disconnected from the events, still lauded by the media. Were the actual case that these creatures were having their last moments of life kicked away at the end of an impromptu rope the mob looped over the nearest handy limb or streetlight…?

    Yeah; bang, there goes the romance: “Yes, Barbara, this patch of blood and grease is where the mob caught up with the shooter, and stomped him into the ground… I think that bit over there might be a part of his intestine… As we saw on the many videos posted on YouTube, he died horribly at the hands nd feet of the mob…”.

    You couldn’t pull this crap on anything other than domesticated animals. When the weasel or the fox goes on a killing spree, they don’t pick on colonies of crows or flocks of starlings; they pick chicken coops full of ready, willing victims.

    I wonder why that is… And, why we are shocked when human predators do the same, and subsequently fail to take the obvious lessons.

  13. There were multiple missed signals of violent, irrational, and possibly sociopathic ideations, acts, and behaviors by committed by the recent school murderer, long before he started murdering his former classmates.

    The FBI is properly criticized for missing the problem, as they were notified about the threats to murder students at the school, and they failed to follow their own procedures to notify local police and officials, so that further action could be taken locally.

    However, they are not the only agents of chaos enabling this massacre.
    The Broward County School Board was a major systemic contributor to the environment which caused the cracks through which the shooter slipped, almost unnoticed, until he actually started shooting.

    In an effort to reduce the number of arrests of students, which “disproportionately affected black and Latino students” the Broward County School system determined that they would “handle (non-violent) misdemeanor crimes within the school system”, and that as a policy, “students were referred to social workers or counselors” at the school level.

    These policies denied local police an opportunity to be informed of what the students of the school already knew, “that if anyone was going to shoot up the school, it would be him”, and as another student said, “that he always had knives or weapons around him, so I avoided him”.

    Florida law provides for short-term incarceration so that a mental health assessment can be done, when a person acts or threatens conduct which “presents a danger to self or others”. By keeping needed information within the school administration, Broward County Schools has failed their students.

    A good article on this (and many other subjects) is at “The Conservative Treehouse”. Link:

    Links to other cited articles are below.
    John in Indy



  14. This shooting makes two of the points I brought up in an earlier post-comment thread.

    Normal Politics is inflaming the Left. Losing the culture war on any of their identity issues makes them wig out and double down. And guns are now a Gay-Marriage identity issue with them.

    Two, the “Alternate Trigger” for Right Wing violence to over match the Left is getting closer.

    Gun restrictions in the environment of a protracted Leftist wig out will complete the de-legitimization of both Law Enforcement and the Judiciary for the Right.

    Making society one where the rules are “all power comes from the barrel of a gun” is really stupid when one of the players in that society is “Heritage America.”

  15. PenGun is largely on target although he couches his comments in an insulting way. We do embrace dangerous tools and we do have a large number of intellectually and socially retarded people (compared to earlier generations, at least) who are empowered, and so, dangerous.

    From my point of view, I embrace the 2nd amendment. The problems that this entails should be dealt with. Raising the age-bar for purchasing a gun should be raised (21 is the natural point, but really, if 25 is the new 21 perhaps it should be 25). IMO young people are too susceptible to random arguments and fantasies…they act much like schizophrenics from time to time. Parents might want to help their kids grow mentally fit and less perverse by limiting their time online and in front of TV. A related point is: a person who makes a firearm available to an underage shooter should be dealt with harshly. Raising the enfranchisement age would not completely solve the problem but I’d estimate it would reduce the number of these incidents.

    I’ll peremptorily add that an 18 year old may go to war, have a gun, but he really doesn’t…the Army has the gun (and the kid) in its’ control.

  16. “a person who makes a firearm available to an underage shooter should be dealt with harshly.”
    So you don’t think 10 year olds should be allowed to hunt with their parents?

  17. Simple answer is, we’ve trained everyone to be sheep. Call 911. Wait for someone to come rescue you. You can’t help yourself, you’re a victim. Your role in all this is to bleat helplessly to the people you call on your cell phone, pathos embodied.

    I posted this two years ago.

    One commenter wondered what Someone was doing while this ‘tragedy’ occurred. “How come there was an alarm raised, carrying that machine gun, it was obvious to the onlookers in the picture. Somebody could have prevented another tragedy in the name of this perverse and ancient religion.”

    Yes, where was that Someone ?

    The West is filled with millions of people like Alex, all of them waiting for Someone.


    I don’t agree with the age idea as that is not the problem. Parenting is part of it but the culture is deteriorating since the 70s.

    Armed guards at schools, especially high schools, is the best we can do now.

  18. “Jungschützen” [junior rifle] is incorrectly translated. It means “youth self-protection”. Junior is “junger”. Rifle is “Gewehr”.

    I was part of my high school’s rifle team and was mediocre. That probably put me in the top 10 percent of the population. It taught me much about my limitations and just how difficult precision shooting is. Building on that during my military career and lifelong shooting and hunting allowed me to maintain, increase and broaden my shooting, hunting and defensive skills.

    I was fortunate to have a father (WW II vet) with these same interests and career path. He taught me how to safely handle and use firearms stating when I was nine, using the same single shoot .22 rifle his father (a WW I vet) had started him on. My observation is that those who do not have such youthful introduction to weapons often have an irrational fear of them. When military service was more widespread, those who served had a good grounding in weapons and many were able to pass this on to others.

    While I have always kept weapons for home defense and sporting purposes, we (my wife and I) have decided not to be the victems of unforeseen violence and to be part of the solution to this increasing threat. I carry.

    I doubt that in the community where I live that I will ever have to use a weapon for defense , but I would be unable to forgive myself if it were needed and I was unable to respond. We have all had fair warning. How you deal with it is your personal decision. But know that your personal safety and the safety of those close to you are your personal responsibility and you can not contract that out. The shooting in Florida lasted about three minutes. Law enforcement arrived about 10-15 minutes after it was over.

    Even if we were to reach a broad consensus that we need to address the societal and political causes of these threats, it would take decades to reduce the probability to negligible. And we already know that no such consensus is likely possible at this point in time.

    Many of the very costly security suggestions (armed security, surveillance cameras with real time monitoring, external security barriers with entry control, metal detectors) would likely deduce these attacks where they are comprehensively employed, but do nothing to reduce the pool and creation of possible perpetrators. Such solutions will likely drive the violence to other opportune killing fields as we have also seen (shopping areas, churches, public events, etc.). The most cost effective deterence is allowing trained educators to carry on campuses. This is unlikely to get any widespread support because it is “scary” to the many who have no security or weapons experience.

    Will we seriously act to protect society from the truly mentally ill or even career criminals? I’ve seen little evidence we will. The issues of single parent families, group identity victimhood, cultural obsessions with wanton violence, failing government educational systems at all levels, social media distortion of social interactions, empathy, personal responsibility and maturation into adulthood, etc. are all major drivers in both the violence and our inability to address these issues.

    For the remainder of my life, I see Familieschützen as a primary effective personal strategy.

    I have provided guns, Jungschützen and ammunition to youth: first my two boys and then my four grandchildren. I also helped corrupt my wife and my daughter-in-law. I guess I should surrender to PenGun and Tyouth for my harsh treatment ;) Not likely. Molon lape or as we say down here, “Come and take it”.


  19. “Every man, woman, and responsible child has an unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon — rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything — any time, any place, without asking anyone’s permission.”

    The Atlanta Declaration

  20. /whips out copypasta

    Source: FBI.gov
    Expanded Homicide Data Table 11
    Murder Circumstances
    by Weapon, 2011
    Total: 12,664
    Total firearms: 8583
    Handguns: 6220
    Rifles: 323
    Shotguns: 356
    Knives or cutting instruments: 1694
    Personal weapons (hands/feet): 726

    Source: FBI.gov
    Expanded Homicide Data Table 3
    Murder Offenders by Age, Sex, and Race, 2011
    White 4,729
    Black 5,486
    Other 256
    Unknown 4077

    Note throughout that for demographic purposes, Hispanics are lumped in with Americans of European descent. When the FBI says ‘White’, they mean Hispanic and Caucasian put together. And yet every cartel member and meth head in the country are still outgunned by black inner-city hoodlums… by a dysfunctional subculture hiding within 13% of our population. Note also if you look at our homicide rate broken down by weapon type, 323 people died to rifle fire in 2011. We lose more people to freaking bee stings…. but nobody ever mentions this in public, least of all the dinosaur media. Some minorities are more equal than others, it seems.

    Guns aren’t dangerous. White men aren’t dangerous. Black men aren’t dangerous. The violent, misogynistic, racist hood rat subculture is dangerous. We all know that. But ethnocentric black people and their Alinskyite handlers in politics and media won’t let us talk about it.

    Also, Carthage must burn and Penny needs to be banned.

  21. Open high school campuses are a worry.

    My grand daughter’s high school is wide open and has 3000 students.

    The private high schools that four of my kids went to were closed.

    Limitation of access and an armed guard is the best we can do.

  22. I graduated from high school in the early 90s. My high school had over 3000 students. A school shooting never crossed anyone’s mind. I remember one kid who was badly bullied threatened to blow up some of his tormentors, and got a couple of days of suspension. Nowadays he’d be locked away. I think a strong case can be made that Columbine was the most important cultural event of the past 40-50 years.

  23. Death6, Re: ” a person who makes a firearm available to an underage shooter should be dealt with harshly.” I could have bean clearer here. I assumed that the “shooter” refers to a youngster that uses the weapon to wantonly harm others. If your kid(s) turns out to be one of those, then, yes, you should be judged harshly. Someone in your position has a heavy responsibility.

  24. Brian – Columbine should have been a loud and clear wake-up call that the female-friendly (for teachers and students) college prep curriculum adopted in the 1990s was not working for a significant number of students, and not just minorities. Two middle class white boys who, according to SJWs, should have been enjoying their white male privilege in those un-woke times were instead inspired to commit mass-murder/suicide. Clearly something is wrong, and just as clearly we’ve spent the better part of two decades avoiding discussing what it is.

  25. Here’s what’s wrong, from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

    The Journal of the American Medical Association published the definitive epidemiological study on the impact of TV violence. The research demonstrated what happened in numerous nations after television made its appearance as compared to nations and regions without TV. The two nations or regions being compared are demographically and ethnically identical; only one variable is different: the presence of television. In every nation, region, or city with television, there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the murder rate. Why 15 years? That is how long it takes for the brutalization of a three-to five-year-old to reach the “prime crime age.” That is how long it takes for you to reap what you have sown when you brutalize and desensitize a three-year-old.

    Today the data linking violence in the media to violence in society are superior to those linking cancer and tobacco. Hundreds of sound scientific studies demonstrate the social impact of brutalization by the media. The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “the introduction of television in the 1950’s caused a subsequent doubling of the homicide rate, i.e., long-term childhood exposure to television is a causal factor behind approximately one half of the homicides committed in the United States, or approximately 10,000 homicides annually.” The article went on to say that “. . . if, hypothetically, television technology had never been developed, there would today be 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United States, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer injurious assaults” (June 10, 1992).

    The legacy media wants to disarm America, but they’re blaming us for a problem they created in the first place.

  26. “I could have bean clearer here. I assumed that the “shooter” refers to a youngster that uses the weapon to wantonly harm others. If your kid(s) turns out to be one of those, then, yes, you should be judged harshly. Someone in your position has a heavy responsibility.”

    I assume then that you would then agree than any parent whose child turns out to be one of those who wantonly harm others with such weapons should be judged harshly. I would add, based on this logic, that those who have failed to teach their children proper use and respect for the use of “youth self-protection” weapons and whose child engages in wantonly harming others using these weapons should bear an even higher measure of harsh judgement than those who took the initiative to impart this knowledge. Same with driving and drinking as well as other hazardous activities where others may be harmed.

    My responsibility is heavy. But not as heavy as those who do not take on such responsibilities for their children in such a world as we actually live in. I am much less concerned about having given my children and extended family such guidance and training and it be rejected or misused than I am trusting society to guide them and set boundaries and ethical standards of access and use of such tools of protection as well as to keep them safe from those who will come intending to do them harm. Abdicate or be proactive? It is a spectrum of choice and each one has to choose what measures they will take.

    I’m not arguing that that being armed and trained is an absolute, sufficient or universally necessary solution or that other actions aren’t highly advisable. I am saying that raising the chances that armed, trained and willing people will be present and act will both deter and limit the consequences of such attacks as well as restore more personal responsibility for collective action. I thought Kirk gave a pretty good statement of where we are today: Run, hide, protect yourself, let the others do the same. Unless we really want to adopt the prison model, these attacks will continue. And even if we do adopt the school prison model, we will just tranfer them to other target rich and relatively unprotected venues.


  27. “a person who makes a firearm available to an underage shooter should be dealt with harshly.”

    Those poor folks who took that kid in are in big legal trouble.

    The husband said he thought he had the only key to the gun safe. Not good enough.

    If they saw the problems he had, they should have had a locksmith change the lock.

    I wonder if they were afraid of him?

    How did they happen to take him ? Foster parents ? He is 19.

  28. D6, I don’t think “any parent whose child turns out to be one of those who wantonly harm others …” should be judged harshly. Parents do the best they can, some try harder than others, sure. I do think the parents should be judged harshly if they provided the criminal child with the means to do harm and most especially if they buy or let the the kid a new “toy” that is deadly without exercising control over the kid and the weapon.

    Taking the young ones out to the range or hunting is nothing but good, probably in a number of ways.

  29. @grurray,

    Grossman is a hack, pure and simple. Using him as a cite in any discussion about combat stress or anything else he’s pontificated on over the years is a sign that the person doing so hasn’t looked into the background very far, at all.

    Grossman is professionally unqualified to be pronouncing on any of the areas he’s stuck his nose into, having conducted no original research or actually verified any of the work he’s supposedly basing his statements on. The most egregious area he’s tried to be an expert in is the arena of combat stress and participation, basing his position on the discredited work of S.L.A. Marshall with regards to combat participation.

    I’ve actually spoken with the man in person, years ago. He’s a nice enough guy, but in terms of intellectual capacity? He’s in way over his depth. You try to engage him with counterfactuals in regards to his work, or question him on lines he hasn’t taken, and what you get from him is a restatement of his thesis, and dismissal.

    Don’t be taken in by the fact he taught at West Point; hundreds of other officers can say the same, and they weren’t selected to do that round as instructors because they were freakin’ geniuses or especially well-qualified. It’s a career progression thing you get selected for, and the sieve used in selection ain’t exactly what I’d describe as being either refined or discriminatory.

    Grossman is an essentially decent human being, but he’s got no business doing what he’s been doing, and if he says something about these subject areas, I’d almost automatically dismiss it as wrong and/or useless. You really want to get an argument started? Bring up Grossman and his work with some of the Special Forces community, and God help you if you take his side or try to use his arguments with him.

    Grossman was a line infantry officer, and someone who never “saw the elephant”. Among those who have, he’s a joke.

  30. Sgt. Mom asks:

    “Pouncer – will you need a pair of pliers to remove your tongue from… your cheek?”

    Maybe. But maybe too there is a point to the exercise. Where does anyone draw a line along the spectrum of things we might do that might make a difference and things we are asked to do by people who profit from doing it?

    Some high schools have already given up on hall lockers. Too many troubled kids hiding stuff there — or stuffing one another into them like micro-cages.

    It’s not a leap to suppose the next step is giving up on back packs of various sorts. A step, but not a leap.

    And so on.

    So too people are unwilling to legalize noise suppressors. Silencers. We back away from the currently legal bump stocks. We discuss banning large capacity magazines… Where is the line in the progression of small steps?

  31. “The most egregious area he’s tried to be an expert in is the arena of combat stress and participation, basing his position on the discredited work of blah, blah, blah, blah…”

    from Grossman’s research in that article-

    In more modern times, the average firing rate was incredibly low in Civil War battles. Paddy Griffith demonstrates that the killing potential of the average Civil War regiment was anywhere from five hundred to a thousand men per minute. The actual killing rate was only one or two men per minute per regiment (The Battle Tactics of the American Civil War). At the Battle of Gettysburg, of the 27,000 muskets picked up from the dead and dying after the battle, 90 percent were loaded. This is an anomaly, because it took 95 percent of their time to load muskets and only 5 percent to fire. But even more amazingly, of the thousands of loaded muskets, over half had multiple loads in the barrel–one with 23 loads in the barrel. In reality, the average man would load his musket and bring it to his shoulder, but he could not bring himself to kill. He would be brave, he would stand shoulder to shoulder, he would do what he was trained to do; but at the moment of truth, he could not bring himself to pull the trigger. So, he lowered the weapon and loaded it again. Of those who did fire, only a tiny percentage fired to hit. The vast majority fired over the enemy’s head.

    I’ve seen estimates that 50%-75% of the Confederate casualties during Picket’s charge were from artillery.

    Is that how it really was? Sure you can argue over historical statistics. I personally don’t believe much of what I read and even less of what I see. But throwing up anecdotes to dismiss other anecdotes isn’t science either. I’m sure modern special forces can tell us a lot about killing. Can they tell us a lot about boys rushed into hellish battles with questionable strategies and barely a few weeks of training?

    We know Patton believed in marching fire tactics, and we can imagine a lot of that fire didn’t hit anything.
    We also know Hurtgen Forest was a three month sonofabitch, but I’m sure some of our boys overcame their fear and the reticence of Courtney Hodges, climbed out of their foxholes, and did what they had to do.

    What do think the differences and similarities were? Could it be some were trained to kill, and others were not? Clearly.

  32. On the other hand, a discussion or negotiation might actually be interesting.

    Would the legislators trade off a ban on bump stocks for legalizing silencers? Would those who shoot often, intending to improve their ability to actually hit what they aim at, support such a legal trade?

    Would we trade higher restrictions on high capacity magazines for lessened restrictions on single-shot shotguns, or 5-round capacity wheel gun revolvers?

    Would we support requirements that firearm owners buy some sort of liability insurance if, as with ObamaCare, there were federal subsidies to help needy shooters acquire the mandated coverage?

    There are a lot of calls to sit down and have a discussion about gun laws. Fine. It seems to me that there could be a lot to talk about — if its not all about what one side’s evil intentions and the other’s frustrated mitzvahs.

  33. It would be fun to start that kind of dialog, Pouncer. It really would. At the next CNN Town Meeting to discuss gun control.

    *Note to self – order a yuuuge quantity of popcorn…*

  34. @Grurray,

    The basic problem with Paddy Griffith and S.L.A. Marshall is that they both went into the whole thing with an axe to grind, as did Grossman.

    Civil War and earlier conflicts? LOL… Such wonderful, terrible things there. The idea is that “people don’t like killing people”, and they never considered the state of training in those days, which was laughably poor. The multiply-loaded muskets? Take a look at how they practiced drill–Very little to no live-fire, the soldiers going through the motions only. Take that half-trained soldier onto the battlefield, scare the shit out of him, and Hey! Presto!, we wind up with a panicked young man loading a rifle a dozen times under the pressure of front-line combat, without once firing it, because actual live fire was never part of his training….

    If there were a genuine inborn “reluctance to kill”, then we should see similar things happening elsewhere, yes? Like, in the concurrent battles with the Indians on the frontier, and in Minnesota/Wisconsin… Where I’ve yet to hear of that having happened. Asked a guy who did history up there about that very issue, and the guy just laughed at me: “We had the Regular Army, up here, not a bunch of conscripted state militia…”. Also, the Regulars were rather… Ahh… Well, there’s no polite way to put this: Eager to kill the Indian. Unlike, say, the general run of immigrant Irish and Germans who found themselves on the Union side down south…

    About the limit of that whole “reluctance to kill” thing ought to go would be to say that the average, well-socialized member of a modern Western society generally does not like to kill members of their own in-group, due to sympathy with them…”. Note that this does not extend to out-groups, like Indians, the odd Japanese, or those perceived as beyond the pale, like Waffen-SS volunteers. For those groups, the average person will quite willingly participate in campaigns of extermination, without much restraint. Ask any of the Japanese who found their defleshed skulls mailed back to various girlfriends in the US, during the Pacific campaigns.

    The thing about Marshall and Grossman that pisses me off the most has to do with the blase manner that they both write off the junior leadership, and the rest of the guys “down on the line” in WWII combat. I bought their bullshit myself for quite awhile, but then got my ass handed to me by some actual combat veterans of that war, and did some reflection: Do we really believe that the “combat shirkers” were somehow invisible to their peers and immediate leaders…? Or, that the guy who was constantly going forward, carrying the battle to the enemy, was going to put up with being the only guy doing that…? Yeah; right. Believe me, as a Corporal or Sergeant team and squad leader, you could not possibly miss that PFC Schmuckatelli had full ammo pouches and/or a clean rifle. You’d also be supervising his conduct of fire, watching what the hell he was shooting at and directing his fire. “Combat avoidance” in those circumstances…? Rapidly would have turned into “combat street justice” as the guys who were actually doing the fighting would have “taken measures” of their own.

    As well… You really want me to believe that the majority of a unit was ducking down in their foxholes, as the Japanese human waves came overhead in their Banzai charges? Really? And, with the combat participation rate in Europe supposedly at less than 10-15%, that we would have even been able to fight off those attacks? Marshall notably never did his little thing in any of the Pacific theaters, which consisted mostly of making shit up about his ideas on this issue.

    And, Grossman? He’s never done shit in terms of actual direct research. It’s all scholarship, all strictly based off his highly selective reading of the literature. No primary research, whatsoever. And, he’s an “authority”. I laugh, loudly, at that.

    Most of this stuff is entirely subjective, and very, very poorly researched. I really hate to tell anyone this, but most of what we “know” about combat is mostly bullshit, purely subjective, and entirely delusional. We really don’t know what the hell is going on out there, at the other end of the two-way range. We think we do, but the reality? LOL… Let me tell you what I learned, down at the NTC where we have the armored vehicle fight wired for sound and extremely well-documented: What the players at NTC take away from a training event battle is rarely what actually happened. The guys up in the Tactical Analysis Facility see every shot fired, by every vehicle, and know who killed who when, and how it was done. The number of times where I’ve seen dramatically different “ground truths” from the TAF, vs. what the players thought happened? More than I like to admit, when I reflect on what we take away from actual combat where the real facts are not known.

    You take fire in the hills of Afghanistan. You fire back, say with one of the new Wunderwaffen like the XM-25. The enemy quits shooting at you. Now, tell me–How the hell do you evaluate the efficacy of that weapon from those facts alone? Did the enemy quit shooting at you because the weapon worked? Or, did they run out of ammo by coincidence? Did they cease fire because the new weapon presented an unusual new signature, and they wanted to figure out what the hell was going on…? We don’t know. We really, fundamentally don’t know.

    Hell, try to get an evaluation on how well your standard weapons work is ‘effing difficult. Were those dudes who were moving up on us stopped or killed by our rifle fire, or was it that burst of machinegun fire from the flank…? Were we hitting our targets, and they weren’t going down, or did we miss them, entirely…?

    I’ve got to acquaintances who were Rangers at Mogadishu during the events that were immortalized in Blackhawk Down. One was carrying an early M4, and became convinced that the rifle was useless, because he was seeing what he was sure were hits on the Somalis, but they weren’t going down. Little puffs of dust, center-of-mass, and they were still coming. He’s now a huge believer in bigger cartridges, like the 7.62mm NATO. He’s convinced that the 5.56mm is useless. The other guy I know who was there? He had the exact opposite experience with his M4–What he hit, went down, and he thinks the 5.56mm is a veritable death ray. These guys spent part of that battle virtually within arms length of each other… And, they’ll tell you two diametrically opposing views on the effectiveness of our individual weapons.

    And, we’re basing our understanding of what the hell goes on in combat on such entirely subjective impressions. How accurate do you suppose we really are…?

  35. Sarge says:”It would be fun to start that kind of dialog, Pouncer. It really would. ”

    Gotta start somewhere. I have no pull at CNN, though. Near killed me, back in the early oughts, to get the Dallas Morning News interested in reporting on school funding corruption deal. I’m even older and tired-er these days. Funny how that sneaks up on a person.

    Back to mass casualty shootings, though. When our left-wing friends wonder what sorts of restrictions on the manufacture, purchase, ownership, and loading of firearms might be acceptable to a center-of-the-bird coalition, I have other suggestions.

    How about we ban the manufacture of handguns color/patterned in pink camo? (THOSE are annoying, aren’t they? Nobody NEEDS a pink pistol.) Or again, when anybody proposes banning “assault rifles” based on cosmetic features like flash suppressors and bayonet lugs, the pink camo feature should at least be proposed as an amendment to the feature list.

    Suppose anyone wanting to buy a firearm had to show — on top of every document already required — a valid photograph-bearing Voter ID card? Would not most of the right-wing legislator who have wanted to require a Voter ID for, you know, VOTING on the basis of how easily such a document is acquired, be okay with pairing that requirement to this civil right as well? (Until the courts recently intervened, a Texas “Carry” license was accepted as a photo-ID for voting, same as a driver’s license.)

    How ’bout we all agree that there is a finite number of firearms any one household “should” possess. No more than, say, six hundred sixty-six. And, of course, also, no fewer than four (shotgun, rifle, revolver, and one additional of the homeowner’s free choice. If you can’t afford the set you shouldn’t be buying any … ) The advantage of this negotiation is that numbers are very, well, negotiable.

    You posted, in the original thoughts, that “A common element in the last two decades is … the element of crazy.” Well, yes. Among the news media and legislators nearly as vividly as the shooters. Since we can’t seem to quiet them down, at least let’s give them some new ideas to wail about.

  36. In the interest of full disclosure I should probably say this. I first became aware of Grossman, as did many others, after Columbine while seeing him on the news. I haven’t read his book On Killing, but I have seen and heard many military people from generals on down to sergeants endorse it. The reason I brought him up today is a blog I read called Second City Cop shared his thoughts on the 15 year phenomena. The blog is run by Chicago police officers. They aren’t known for too much theorizing or speculation. What they know was learned by patrolling the streets. Grossman has held several seminars with them, and they like him. That’s good enough for me.

    Now about the issue of soldiers in the European Theater and how it’s possible that we had such poorly trained troops, how their squads leaders could put up with it, etc. Some time ago, I was educated on this issue by Donald Vandergriff, who directed me to his excellent book The Path To Victory where he discusses the problem of replacements

    Soldiers were shipped to the front like cattle after as little as sixteen weeks of individual training. After suffering through processing at theater depots, where “the experience of replacements en route tended to destroy their morale and to undo the effects their training,” they were moved toward the front.37 New soldiers joined units made up of experienced men who had learned how to survive and work together. Often the veterans did not want to know the names of the “newbie” because they might not be around for long. Replacements either learned quickly how to operate with the unit in combat or they became casualties. The unit continued to cooperate with a core of experienced soldiers who themselves were under fire and had little time to assimilate a new man into the unit. The number of psychiatric casualties suffered during World War II highlights the paramount problem with this system. The U.S. Army was the leader in this category among both the Allied and the Axis powers.38 A combination of individual replacements and combat caused more than 320,000 discharges for psychiatric reasons. In January 1944, 76 percent of the casualties in Italy were to “sickness, accident, or exhaustion.” Psychiatric casualty rate were as high as 120 to 150 percent per year in infantry units fighting there. These statistics indicate an ineffective system that destroyed morale among those who suffered the most.39

    Unit cohesion was decimated by the personnel system. Not only with replacements. There was a lot of political pressure to increase rotations home.

    Also the attrition tactics were combined with outdated Taylorist management methods where poorly trained officers put pressure on subordinates to follow orders without question or else.

    Finally, the regular army officer corps adapted to its new responsibilities of leading a large number of amateur officers being continually fed into non-cohesive new units and practicing a doctrine that embraced applying massive amounts of firepower. They had perforce to employ an authoritarian style of leadership. Some senior leaders, such as First Army commander Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, treated their subordinates with indifference almost amounting to contempt. An example of this negative command climate occurred when Hodges, despite the contrary advice of subordinates, decided to attack into the restricted and heavily forested terrain of the Hurtgen Forest in September 1944.67 Many division, regimental, and battalion commanders lost their positions between October 1944 and February 1945. Orders were expected to be carried out at all costs. Failure often resulted in the relief of subordinate commanders. Officers would often threaten their subordinates that if they did not carry out an order it would adversely affect their careers. This kind of distant, authoritarian, and hostile attitude toward subordinates persisted throughout World War II.68

    This obviously wasn’t the case everywhere. Patton’s 3rd Army was able to overcome the pipeline of poorly trained and assimilated greenhorns with some innovative thinking

    Some leaders found the individual replacement system lacking in creating combat effectiveness and did something about it. One was Maj. Gen. Ira T. Wyche, commander of the 79th Infantry Division Europe in 1944-45. Dissatisfied with the individual replacement system, he developed a system for receiving and allocating replacements to avoid unceremoniously “dumping” green replacement with little preparation on a frontline unit. His system was similar to the German replacement training battalions. His division formed their own replacement pool, where recruits were orientated and divided into regimental pools. There, NCO and officer cadres detached from frontline units trained recruits. This proved to be an excellent system for bringing replacements into units and was noticed favorably by both Generals Bradley and Eisenhower.40

    But unfortunately we know Patton was too often overly constrained and relegated to the margins when it mattered the most.

    It’s a good book. Check it out. He covers World War I and II in chapter 3, and he has a lot of great ideas to drag military manpower into the 21st century.

  37. So I’m not sure how seriously to take the flood of comments on gun-rights twitter accounts saying that the fact that the “school resource officer” was a disgraceful coward shows that the “good guy with a gun” argument is garbage because simply holding an AR-15 imbues a mentally deranged teenager with such super powers that a trained professional with a handgun would be powerless before his onslaught. Assuming they are real (which is doubtful), is it really the case now that people get all their information from video games and the movies? (Rhetorical question.) I don’t see how to have rational conversations on much of anything if that’s the case.

  38. I read Grossman’s book when it came out.

    There has been a lot of criticism of Marshall and I am not equipped to evaluate it. He interviewed soldiers soon after combat,

    I think the Air Corps and Marines both found that 25% of all fighter pilots made all the kills.

    Some of Marshall’s accounts sounded right to me. He said that many soldiers would stay in place and help by providing he shooters with ammunition.

    They would not shoot but they did not run away.

    I am currently re-reading for probably the 5th time,Keegan’s “Six Armies in Normandy” and he has an account of Staff Sergeant Harrison Summers who was assigned to lead a group of paratroopers from the 502nd PIR against a group of German stone barracks. His men refused to help and he did the job almost alone.

    In the middle of this one man fight, a private asked him why he was doing it and Summers responded, “I can’t tell you.” The private agreed to help him.

    The account is on page 108 and 109 of the original edition. These were not replacements but paratroopers on D Day.

    He was not even given the Medal of Honor.

  39. The “school resource officer” was probably frozen in place as he was outside and it takes more courage (I suspect) to go into the building than to defend yourself if trapped.

    Also, it sounds like he was more bureaucrat than patrol cop.

  40. Yes, SROs are not exactly the cream of the crop.

    The gun grabbers can’t exactly rationally argue:
    1. Give up your guns. The police (including security guards at schools) will protect you.
    2. Actually the police can’t/won’t protect you.
    3. Give up your guns anyway.

  41. Assuming they are real (which is doubtful), is it really the case now that people get all their information from video games and the movies? (Rhetorical question.) I don’t see how to have rational conversations on much of anything if that’s the case.

    This is a significant problem in having discussions with some people, as I think David Foster noted here recently. An outstanding example of this phenomenon is when people cite the projections of computerized climate simulations as evidence rather than hypotheses.

    The failures of our primary and secondary educational systems are costly in many ways.

  42. Brian, Mike K:
    Also, it sounds like he was more bureaucrat than patrol cop….Yes, SROs are not exactly the cream of the crop.

    Having been a teacher, I have some perspective on SROs. How do SROs function in schools? One thing some do is to fix traffic tickets for principals- which I observed with my own eyes and ears: “Take care of this.” Ironically, I had been ticketed not long before for speeding. I didn’t use the SRO to fix my ticket. Granted, this is a snarky example. In addition, this principal was less than competent- which both teachers and (eventually) the central office agreed on.

    (Ironically this principal, who did not get her contract renewed, is now an Ed School professor specializing in training prospective school administrators. While the adage “those that can’t do, teach” is usually false, in this case the label is entirely appropriate. A failed school administrator is now training prospective school administrators.)

    In general, SROs are the eyes and the ears of the school administration. The students that voluntarily talk with SROs tend to be from the problematic subset of the student population- the troubled, the troublemakers. It is amazing what students will confide to SROs- but nothing said to an SRO will be considered confidential. No, not all SROs will gather such information, but the good ones do. As such, SROs can be valuable in heading off trouble before it starts.

    Nor are SROs without humor. One SRO talked to me about doughnut-loving cops.

  43. Has anyone seen the current Hawaii 5-0 series? From watching that you’d think Honolulu was like Mogadishu, with gun battles between machine gun wielding cops and criminal gangs on a daily basis. Compare that to the original, which was a much more or less realistic portrayal of life. I wonder how many people actually think that shows like this are realistic, and that’s where they get their ideas about guns from. I hope not, but I wonder.

  44. @ Mike K;

    Do yourself a favor, while you still can, and go out and find some actual real-life WWII combat vets. Then, start asking them questions about what Marshall had to say, and what other historians have written. You’re going to find an awful lot of variance between first-person reports, and what you’re going to read in the oh-so-carefully digested histories.

    You’re going to get an earful, in short, and leave that conversation with some serious doubts about the veracity of much of what you read and hear about military history.

    One of the thing you have to remember about that account of SSG Summers, and I have read that same passage in the book, is that the soldiers he was trying to get to follow him were not his, if I’m remembering right. As with most Airborne operations, they were all scattered, and the guys with him were all “other people’s soldiers”, and thus, not inherently loyal to him. Airborne operations have a way of generating an element of anonymous anomie, because the soldiers are separated from their “native chains of command and loyalty”, and thus we have to assure a higher level of aggression and esprit de corps among them.

    Typically, the answer to someone in one of the line units getting that response from their own soldiers…?

    I was told, once, by multiple guys at the same reunion, that the platoon sergeant who’d been given the “combat refusal” simply started shooting the replacements who refused, and the chain of command basically said to the survivors “Yeah? So? Get your ass back on the line, and all you have to worry about is the Germans shooting at you…”.

    Guy in question was still feared, forty-odd years later. And, that’s the sort of thing that doesn’t get into the history books, either.

  45. A lot doesn’t get into the history books.

    Most of the guys I knew as a kid were Air Corps and most were bombardiers.

    I think everybody agrees that “12 0’clock High” is the best movie about the air war.

    I had one cousin who was at the Bulge, on the shoulder in 7th Army. He had frostbite neuropathy in his feet until he died a couple of years ago.

    I don’t think he saw much combat per se.

    I’ve read Hackworth’s books and used to exchange e-mails with him.

    EB Sledge is about the best about the Pacific.

    I used to know a guy who flew Corsairs off Guadalcanal. Two friends were shot down and tortured by the Japanese. He could not stand Japanese.

    Keegans’s books are about as good as I think we will see. You are correct about Summers. He had a group that were from scattered outfits but all the paratroopers were scattered.

    I’ve read “House to House” and it is pretty intense.

    I think combat training in marksmanship is probably better but it may have the problem that video games have copied the methods and led to more risk of shooters in kids.

  46. If you are familiar with Hackworth, then you know how he described being Marshall’s escort officer in Vietnam, as well as how Marshall worked.

    I used to really admire and respect Marshall, having read all of his stuff. Then, I started talking to guys who were actually around the things he described, particularly in Vietnam, and started to wonder what was going on with him. The guy who really opened my eyes to Marshall’s specific line of BS was an old-school warrant officer who’d been around the Army since forever, and who’d worked on the periphery of the Trainfire program that Marshall was constantly taking credit for. Per his testimony to me, Marshall was a complete unknown, to anyone in that program, and when Marshall started taking credit for it, that he’d even been involved in it came as a great shock to those who had. And, indeed, you go back and look… Zero evidence for what Marshall imputed about his involvement in Trainfire’s genesis and development. The whole thing was all a part of his marketing program, similar to what Hackworth described him doing in Vietnam.

    From Marshall to Grossman…? Same schtick, same BS. I talked to Grossman personally, back when he was still on active duty, out at Fort Lewis where he was trying to sell his book at the PX while he was working the ROTC Advanced Camp. The man is, I’m sad to say, not really all that bright. You bring up questions to him in conversation, based on what he wrote, and what you get is a turgid repetition of what he said in the book. Speaking with him, I afterwards reflected that I’d almost believe he’d memorized something someone had ghostwritten, and he was just the public face. You threw a contradictory fact at him, like the one about the lack of repetitively loaded muskets on Western battlefields during the Civil War, and he’d just rewind and repeat what he said in the book, ignoring the information.

    As well, he’s a deeply Christian man. As such, he’s apparently well-indoctrinated with the side of Christian thought that sees men as inherently good, and that’s a position he cannot leave, for fear of what it would imply about the nature of man in general. He certainly isn’t a Calvinist, that’s for damn sure…

    All this crap about “reluctance to kill” is just that–A reluctance to admit to the facts of human nature, which are that absent proper upbringing and acculturation, people are basically bastards. You can’t “appeal to man’s better nature”, in general, because he ain’t got none. What he has is a thin veneer of civilization and cultural baggage, overlaying a very brutal and entirely survival-oriented set of inborn behaviors. Return men to a “state of nature”, and you’re going to get some seriously unpleasant surprises, if you’re stupid enough to rely on that bullshit “reluctance to kill” idea. Disbelieve me? Try taking that shit to somewhere a bit closer to the bone than middle-class whitebread suburbia here in the US, and you’ll discover just what a crock you’ve been sold. “Reluctance to kill”, my ass–It’s more like “Reluctance to acknowledge unpleasant reality, and delusional fantasy about the inner nature of man”.

    In general terms, I’ve got no delusions about the general run of humanity. Which is why I go armed. The majority of y’all are untrustworthy bastards, and I refuse to put my life in your hands.

  47. Like the nature vs nurture debate, I think the answer probably lies somewhere in between.

    Whether Grossman is right and people are basically good, or you’re right and people will basically revert to their evil mean, the implication is the same. Culture, customs, traditions, training still have the capabilities to keep us out of that abyss. Or their absence will sink us back into it.

  48. Kirk,
    I’m trying to figure out why you have the hair on the back of your neck standing straight up. Nothing personal, just can’t relate.

    I’m a retired Regular Army officer who served from 1970-1990. I don’t meet your standard for qualification to comment on participation or why men fight since I never saw combat. I have read S. L. A. Marshall’s book on the subject. In discussions with my father (WW II Airborne Infantry officer, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart), he affirmed the validity of the Marshall’s substantive conclusions about these issues based on his WW II experiences. I know nothing about Marshall’s Viet Nam activities so I have no comment on that. Neither have your comments actually informed me of exactly what you have issues with, either with Marshall or Grossman.

    I’ve read several things written by Hackworth and was unimpressed. Frankly the only thing I can recall about him is that he seemed to be quite in love with himself and prone to bombastic language rather than substance. I subscribe to Creighton Abrams’ assessment of how we could have decisively won the Viet Nam War even as late as 1971 while Hackworth was being interviewed and offering his unauthorized opinion that the war was lost. Perhaps Hackworth’s Viet Nam reputation for the fight-like-guerillas tactics style and his leadership in combat should be partially judged by the cows that came home in the Tiger Force shortly after he departed when their actions were very like the VC.

    My own inadequate observations in four full tours in armor/armored cavalry units at platoon, company/troop and squadron/battalion and close relationships with Viet Nam veteran non-commissioned and commissioned officers, supported these same substantive conclusions of Marshall. Certainly I found methods intended to build unit cohesion and realistic training under high stress to pay great dividends in unit and individual performance. I remain convinced that they would show positive comparison in combat to any other methods.

    I am a Christian and I know of no commonly known denomination that holds that man is inherently good. In fact quite the opposite, man is sinful and fallen and without the grace and redemption of God acts inherently evil.

    I have a hard time even considering your positions on the issue under discussion because they seem largely based on personalities rather than ideas, your gross misrepresentation of basic tenants of Christianity and what I learned from many combat veterans concerning what motivates men to fight and to do so effectively. Watching them lead effectively in peacetime was most instructive.

    I do not think I know Dave Grossman or his work. I also taught at West Point (1978-81) and count it as a great honor to have been recruited for and served as such. Judging by the quality and performance of the other professional officers I served with, I consider your dismissive comments about the faculty and staff of the academy to make your other opinions further suspect. In the interest of disclosure, I am not an academy graduate. My father was OCS and I was ROTC.


  49. Check out this Instapundit thread —


    It turns out there were, count ’em, FOUR BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES cowering while this kid killed 17 people. Until the Coral Gables cops took matters into their own hands and went inside.

    The next time this happens — and there will be a next time – Parents with guns are going to show up straight away responding to their kids texts and F**k the local Florida cops.

    ‘Cause the parents know the local cops are cowards.

    The Florida cops now are going to have the option of shooting at armed responding parents trying to get in while they wait for SWAT, or worse, while they are inside the building trying to engage she shooter.

    And this whole make everyone leave the school with their hands up SOP sh*t is dead dead dead.

    This is the legitimacy collapse of the state written in the blood of children.

  50. This is a comment from that instapundit thread I linked to above —

    April 20, 1999. Columbine High School, Jefferson County, CO. I had a police scanner at the time. I listened to dispatch and man to man conversations. I heard a lot. I heard a 911 operator giving CPR instructions. I heard dispatch telling police that a man we later learned was Coach Dave Sanders was in dire need of medical care. I heard cops asking to go in, and I heard word from then Sheriff John Stone (piss be upon him) to wait for SWAT. I heard the voice on the 911 call say “I think he’s gone.”

    He was, of course.

    I have a relative who was a teacher there that day. He was told by the principal to run away from the firing and to get the kids out. He got hundreds of kids out and still feels guilt that he didn’t run TOWARD the shooting. Big, quiet but imposing guy, but he didn’t have a vest, and he didn’t have a gun, and his kids would likely be fatherless today – and he wanted to run towards the threat..

    Columbine was supposed to change everything. Our protectors were supposed to adapt to the new tactics of the enemy. Hostage negotiation teams are worthless if hostages are not taken. The Broward County Sheriffs office is, if not staffed by men without chests, staffed by men whose training stopped in 1998. From what I’ve read about the cronyism in that office, I’m of the opinion that they are hollow men.

    Post scriptum: Sheriff John Stone declined to seek re-election and became a Florida airline cop. I have his successor’s autograph on my CHP.

    What bet that when Broward Co. Sheriff Scott “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep” Israel is up for re-election that he is going to do the same thing?

  51. The following links to specifications of one Smith & Wesson version of an AR-15, sold with a standard 25 round magazine.


    It has a pistol grip. It has a flash suppressor. It has the “banana clip” style magazine. But all these “scary” bits are colored black.

    The rest of the item is a very fashionable magenta/pink in an organic wilderness woodland print.

    Is this an “assault rifle” or not? If so, would changing out the black bits for other matching pink accessories make it a sporting device, instead?

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