Rice Drops Out Open Thread




And I was looking forward to the confirmation process, too. It would have been a hoot.


The consensus seems to be that Senator Kerry will get the nomination, more or less because he wants it. Which is qualification enough, I guess.


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M Scott Eiland's picture

Ian O'Connor makes a shrewd guess as to why Tim Tebow won't be starting at quarterback for the Jets for the last two games of the season:

Maybe Ryan is afraid Tebow would go 2-0 against San Diego and Buffalo and make him feel silly for sticking with Sanchez.

Yep--playing two crappy teams with nothing to play for to close out the season is pretty much a tailor-made situation for letting the Jets win twice even if Tebow does nothing special, and the fans and NY football press would have undoubtedly roasted Ryan for waiting so long to wait the switch no matter how unlikely it was that Tebow was the difference. What a gutless SOB Ryan is--any general manager above pee-wee level that even thinks of hiring him after this should be fired summarily for the idiocy involved.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


HankP's picture

My God, what the hell has happened to the Jets?


I blame it all on the Internet

Final Punctuation On A Debacle

M Scott Eiland's picture

McElroy to take over as Jets' starting QB for rest of season.

If this was happening in Japan not so long ago, there'd be a lot of bloody white mats covered in innards in the Jets' front office by now--no one forced them to give Sanchez a new contract with $20 million in guaranteed money after a mediocre season. No one forced them to then go out of their way to needlessly sign Tim Tebow and create an utterly needless quarterback controversy with Sanchez already visibly having confidence problems--not to mention giving Tebow the opportunity to foolishly pass up the obvious better option of Jacksonville, where lower expectations and prior fan love would have made him a demigod even if he had been utterly mediocre. Appropriately given the Tebow signing (and mishandling of him once he arrived), the appropriate solution is to cleanse the Jets' front office of every last soul who signed off on the Sanchez extension and Tebow signings with metaphorical biblical fire, wiping out all traces of them and beginning from scratch.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.....

TXG1112's picture

I get the sense that the Tebow (and Sparano) acquisition was entirely driven by ownership and was not a football decision. It had all the hallmarks of seeking media attention to sell tickets and seat licenses. You may remember a similar hiring of Favre in years past. Unfortunately we can't fire the owner, so we Jets fans are going to be in for a long slog.


I don't think the games are even sold out. I can only imagine what would happen if the NFL enforced the blackout rules and didn't air the games. It would be the end of the franchise.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.


HankP's picture

seeking media attention in the NYC market? Someone didn't think through their cunning plan.


I blame it all on the Internet

Particularly Since. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .if that was the owner's master plan, maybe he should have declined to dump $20 million guaranteed on the guy who was pretty much going to guarantee that the new sideshow wasn't going to see much time as the starter, or put more pressure on Ryan to just start Tebow once it became rather clear that the $20 million was well and truly flushed beyond retrieval.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Whatever Was Expected To Go Wrong This Year. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .this wasn't it. Rex Ryan is toast, and I can't help but wonder if Sanchez' struggles will end up having a ripple effect on where Matt Barkley goes in the draft in April: USC quarterbacks have been rather disappointing the past few years. Tebow has been so invisible this year that one wonders if he actually *has* been in Jacksonville all this time.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

They need to make a strong move

Bird Dog's picture

Fire Ryan, and send a message that it's either Sanchez's team or Tebow's team or some other guy's. The Tebow experiment failed, the Jet defense never recovered from the loss of Revis (which tells you that they are talented but lack depth), and their O-line and receiving corps are glaring weaknesses (as is Sanchez). Braylon Edwards was a Seahawk reject but he was one of their better receivers last night.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

It's not just Sanchez

HankP's picture

he was awful, but so was just about every other aspect of the game. The defense looked lost out there against a pretty mediocre Titans team. It was just mistake after mistake.


I blame it all on the Internet

The commentators final words sum it up.

TXG1112's picture

"That's the way the Jets' season should end: Ugly and a loss". Even now, I don't fully blame Sanchez and would be willing to keep him for next year. I'm on the fence about Rex Ryan, he has to have some culpability but I put more blame on the GM and offensive coordinator. They don't have the personnel and talent they need to be competitive.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

The comment I heard

HankP's picture

I think it was on the NFL Network: "This game has set back football a hundred years. Teams played better a hundred years ago when they were trying to figure the game out."


The thing that surprised me was the defense. If there's one thing they've been known for for at least 5 years, it was a tight defense. They were just running around last night.


I blame it all on the Internet

I usually multi-task when I watch the Jets

TXG1112's picture

Multitasking gives me something else to look at if I need to avert my eyes to avoid egregious play, so I tend not to be very focused on the games. The Jets/Rams game was a festival of suck as well, with many mistakes on both sides as well. I'd be hard pressed to say which was an objectively worse game.


Their defense has been overrated for a few years now and I'm not sure it was all that deserved even when they were a better team. They haven't had a pass rush in a long time any they've had trouble stopping the run all season.


I suppose pinning my hopes of moving into first place in the pool on the Jets was not a wise choice.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

Interesting...and a little weird

Bird Dog's picture


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Daniel Inouye: 1924-2012

M Scott Eiland's picture

Medal of Honor recipient--second longest serving Senator in US history.

Godspeed, Senator.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

That guy again

brutusettu's picture

per wiki:



On April 21, 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy called Colle Musatello. The ridge served as a strongpoint along the strip of German fortifications known as the Gothic Line, which represented the last and most dogged line of German defensive works in Italy. As he led his platoon in a flanking maneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions just 40 yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and was shot in the stomach; ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his Thompson submachine gun. After being informed of the severity of his wound by his platoon sergeant, he refused treatment and rallied his men for an attack on the second machine gun position, which he also successfully destroyed before collapsing from blood loss.
As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively "clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore".[10] Inouye's horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye pried the live grenade from his useless right hand and transferred it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye tossed the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroyed it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them to return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, "nobody called off the war!"


awarded the Medal of Honor in the mid 90's




"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Luke Russert--Race Baiting Scumbag

M Scott Eiland's picture

From Twitter, after Nikki Haley selected Tim Scott to fill Jim DeMint's Senate seat until the special election:
Luke Russert Luke RussertVerified ‏@LukeRussert

With Scott going to the Senate and Allen West losing, the 113th Congress will see no African-American Republicans in the House.

I'm sure your father would be very proud. Maybe you should join the rest of your clan on Twitter and start throwing around Harriet Beecher Stowe and cookie based synonyms for "race traitor."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Yes Russert is inept

brutusettu's picture

I just watched the "30 for 30" on ESPN, that covered the 1962 Ole Miss riots because students and a host of white people down there didn't want to "integrate". 



ftr, the dog whistles have not all died down, some just have a higher calling and are able to fold that back in, distort it, change it, and twist that into a positive that there are dog whistles.


In the south, a lot of people will have had a family members that were targeted in de facto black only poll tax and subjective/sham "literacy" test.   Other types of people that did not always have to follow those "poll taxes" and "literacy" test or were grandfathered in, they started voting Republican around the time of the Voting Rights Act........


For Russert, seeing a game winning run scored on errors is a bad time to start complaining about the continued "lack of  runs" if he's trying to talk about "earned runs."




Tim Scott apparently identifies with the people like those in the King James Only crowd the most and wants "the" 10 commandments put up on public buildings, spare no expense.

I don't know which version of "the" 10 commandments he wanted posted or if he thinks it was "right or wrong" for God to tell Moses to tell the Levites that God wanted them to melee butcher their brothers, friends, and neighbors with a death toll of 3,000, or when God gave a balding prophet beastmaster skills to have 2 bears maul 42 kids.


"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa



pea-brained Luke Russert tweeted something factual and didn't realize it would be taken the wrong way.

I was assuming Russert was inept in a different way

brutusettu's picture

He'd have to be a pretty damn slow journalist either way.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

That's what you get with legacy hires nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

The 131 year long streak has been broken


That's how long since the last time an African American from a southern state served in the US Senate. Of course racism had nothing to with that streak right MSE?


But in any case kudos to Tim Scott. It will be interesting to see how things play out if and when he tries to be elected to the seat rather than appointed.

Plenty Of Racism On Display Today

M Scott Eiland's picture

Sadly, it's all from bitter liberals on Twitter. (Say, useless trouser stain of Tim Russert? How many black *Democrats* are in the Senate right now?).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Oh I'll agree that Tim Russert


is useless. But the feeble attempts by individuals who try to minimize the real and very prevalent racism amongst the bottom crawlers who make up the Republican base always amuse me. Particularly given the way demographics in this country are going and the voting patterns of minorities. You should check out the exit poll cross tabs from the last election sometime. Very interesting.

Tim Russert Is Dead

M Scott Eiland's picture

His son is the one who's useless.

You might want to check out the demographics of the district that Tim Scott just won in a landslide for the second straight election. It's rather inconvenient for the usual narratives.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Yes Luke is useless too


so what.


What's rather inconvenient for you is that you're only convincing yourself. Minorities don't agree with you and aren't voting Republican. And guess what? Pretty soon they won't be minorities anymore.


That you present Tim Scott as an argument seems rather odd to me though. Recall the discussion we had about Steve Cohen not too long ago? Your views then and now seem to be somewhat divergent. I won't speculate on what that means but the upshot of all of this is pretty simple MSE. The Republican party -- even the members who are not racist themselves, have tried to use racism for the last 40 years. They've had some success with that strategy but it's run out of steam. Minorities haven't forgotten it though and won't for a long time. It will take more than a few black and brown faces in the Republican party to change that.

Conservatism, an albatross


around the country's neck

Football roundup

HankP's picture

1. WTF is going on with the Giants? One week they look like world beaters, the next they look like lamers.


2. Last time I bet on San Diego


3. Poor Sulla. Just when it looked like Detroit was getting it's act together, they fall apart to Arizona


4. Not sure what they're feeding the Seahawks these days, but they're coming on strong at the right time. They sure seem to have fixed their OL problems


5. Denver is killing it. Very dangerous team


6. I don't care what anyone says, Washington and Minnesota are dangerous heading towards the end of the season

I blame it all on the Internet

And Cooling The Kicker Is Still Lame And Pathetic

M Scott Eiland's picture

I'm going to start rooting against every team I catch at it out of sheer spite.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


HankP's picture

not sure which team you'd root for, it's pretty much universal at this point.


I blame it all on the Internet

Yeah, That Occurred To Me

M Scott Eiland's picture

Maybe for only a few games at a time, or until I notice another one.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I'm no football fan but


I'm no football fan but they've been doing that for a long time.  Is it really a bigger problem now?

Hank Would Be The Better One To Ask. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .but it certainly *seems* to be more common in the last few years than before. Wikipedia suggests that the "modern" version of waiting just before the snap to call time out was the invention of Mike Shanahan, who has proven himself an utter tool in other ways over the years.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Not really

HankP's picture

I'm not a stats geek. I know it's been going on for about ten years, but don't know the frequency other than the games I see. I'd say it's been pretty common in the last 3 or 4 years.


I blame it all on the Internet

I should've know wikipedia


I should've know wikipedia would have an icing-the-kick page.

Gads What a New England Comback...Pete's Boys Also Great...




Edit: Spoke too soon, Kap brought SF back!


HankP's picture

I really wanted SF to lose, the Seahawks play them next week. If they lost the game tonight then next week would have been for the NFC West championship.


I blame it all on the Internet

Wha wha whaaat?

HankP's picture

A Texan who's not a football fan? I think you're pulling my leg.


I blame it all on the Internet

I know.  I never got into HS


I know.  I never got into HS football, went to a small UT branch without a team, never got into UT football when I was in Austin or afterwards.  After the Oilers left Houston, I stopped watching NFL regularly.  Now I just pay attention for the sake of my fantasy team.  So far I've been super lucky -

won most points for the league = top cash top

still in the playoffs, won this wkend


I just use the stats and projections on yahoo FF.  Got lucky in the draft.  I don't even know what teams my players are on.  It is shameful.  My own mother knows 10x the amount of sports I do.  


edit : lost, out of the playoffs.  My opponent had Aaron Hernandez, a TE that actually scored.

I don't know about shameful

HankP's picture

unusual maybe. I like football but I like watching football, I couldn't care less about stats and all my memories of a season fade about a day after the Super Bowl.


I blame it all on the Internet


Bird Dog's picture

Given my busyness (and resultant lack of activity), mine is on the left.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Wherein I Defend One Hillary Rodham Clinton

M Scott Eiland's picture

If the stomach flu she has is the same kind I have, I can and do absolutely believe that someone twenty years my elder is getting hammered *hard* by it, and that she won't be fit to testify until she gets over that concussion (I don't have one, but I can certainly believe she fainted) and stops spewing from both ends.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review


Meh. I went in expecting a ham-fisted, poorly realized adaptation of the story, and that's exactly what I got. But I wasn't expecting the film to be so ugly. The LOTR films are, for all their flaws, generally gorgeous. Great cinematography, great art direction, great sets, great CGI characters & effects (except for Treebeard).


The Hobbit just looks awful. Color grading is really bad. Early parts of the film have a made-for-television quality (flat lighting, desaturated), while Rivendell & the other outdoor scenes are blown out with ridiculous colors that look like bad dungeons & dragons fan art. Thank god there's an occasional outdoor shot of some breathtaking New Zealand landscape to remind you what nature can look like. CGI textures & lighting are poorly done, giving most of the animated characters an immersion breaking "painted-in" look. The sets, my God you can actually see the paint-on-plaster "rocks" when the dwarves are scrambling through the Misty Mountains.


I expected the story to be a bad hackjob adaptation of the novel, but I didn't expect the visuals to go to cheese as well. Be warned!


P.S. I watched the 24fps version, not the 48 fps 3D version. I'm not spending money to find out if the native format looks any better.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Shocks Me...You Could Always Depend on Decent Cinematography


...with Peter Jackson.


Oh, well.


Thanks, I was going to avoid it anyway.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Hank, tried a new bourbon


Russell's Reserve 10yr old small batch.  I have to hold off on the review until tonight.  I ate a few garlic bagel chips shortly before trying it. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Darth, tried a new beer

HankP's picture

Hop Rod Rye by the Bear Republic Brewing Company.


Wow. Absolutely outstanding. Two of my favorite things, rye and grapefruity hops. I may buy a bunch more for Christmas.

I blame it all on the Internet

I tried a new one as well.


Unfortunately, I was bit in the bag so I don't recall the name, but I do recall liking it.  Fortunately, the guy who let me borrow it lives just a few doors down so I can stop on by this week sometime and get the important info.  It was a locally brewed porter and is about the 4th locally brewed beer that I've been rather happy with.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Russell's is pretty good

HankP's picture

I reviewed it here. But no bourbon tasting is a waste of time or effort.

I blame it all on the Internet

Time for something on the lighter side

HankP's picture

I blame it all on the Internet

LOL...Brokeback Mount Part Deux? Funny, Saw Skyfall Finally



...and while I can't remember all of Jordan's review, I do know it was negative. I thought of him and others who told me to avoid Skyfall...I can't say they were entirely right, but much of the this very pretty movie, (an important factor to me), was just terrible.


There were however scenes that were supremely good also, visually arresting and well worth seeing.


Emotionally though...pifft. Logically, Pifft. Writing, Pifft.


But some nicely framed stuff also.


As is this recent work by myself...a busty sort of female in the distance, and under the image some comment on myself.


Birds of Paradise With Maillol in Distance




Best Wishes, Traveller




Bird Dog's picture

I thought it was one of the best of the Bond films.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Skyfall is terrible, isn't it?


It manages to be both brainless and nearly completely heartless, and the entire premise disintegrates like cotton candy sprayed with water if you spend even a few minutes thinking about the plot.


Are we living through the Age of Stupid in film, or has it always been this way? It's hard to tell sometimes, but it can't be just me who thinks many of the biggest films of our time (Dark Knight, Inception, LOTR) are almost jaw droppingly stupid. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



A movie so thunderously dumb I've had to try to convince myself Ridley Scott set out to deliberately make the stupidest film of his career as some kind of weird performance-satire against Hollywood. A film that purports to be about a scientific description whose plot is driven at every turn by characters using their elite scientific minds to make galactically ignorant decisions. When every single character in the film is Too Dumb To Live, you have to ask yourself whether the producers hate their audience, or merely think we're all goldfish. Then the film grosses a billion dollars and you realize most of the audience are goldfish, and thus, the Age of Stupid.


Avatar! Another hilariously dumb film, although at least some of the battle strategies made sense.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Sorry man but Avatar was great


Giovanni Ribisi as the unsung hero protecting shareholder's investments was an excellent casting choice. I think selecting a foreigner to play the whiiny back stabbing tree-hugger was a little too American-centric and the frustrated lesbian pilot was cliche. Sigouney Weaver was also a good twist, slaying Aliens in previous movies, like Galaxy Quest, and some other flick, just to hug them in Avatar. Finally, the pansy Col in charge of security is a warning to all those who don't take low testosterone seriously enough. 'I'll give you three months.' Go join the UN cheerleading squad, hippy.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

You realize I'm talking about the film, not the Six Flags ride?


Oh wait, there's basically no difference.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I loved Skyfall.  As for the


I loved Skyfall.  As for the plot - it is a James Bond movie.  You should be happy there were no secret island lairs or laser watches.

Beautiful looking films

HankP's picture

like Skyfall can get away with a lot. Many movie plots make sense on the level of feelings but not so much if you think about them for a minute or two. But who can think with the shaky cams, frantic cuts, beautifully framed shots and bigger and bigger explosions?


Thank goodness for the Coen brothers.


I blame it all on the Internet

And Yet This Will Be The Very 1st Bond Picture to Make a Billion




Go figure.


And I am a big fan of Sam Mendes, (Road to Perdition, American Beauty, Revolutionary Road), but I wonder if his divorce from Kate Winset has affected him.


And yet, people are happy with the movie he delivered so...?


Best Wishes, Traveller

Brokeback Mount Doom!


We're about to go see The Hobbit, and I'd just like for everyone on The Forvm to prepare themselves mentally & emotionally for the my inevitable hellish outpouring of nerdrage later this evening.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Maybe if you pronounce it French-style

Jay C's picture

i.e., "nair-drahzh", it won't sound so bad, as in "Vive La Nerdrage!"....

Prepare for the nerd rage this evening?


What do you think'll be different than the last 6 years of nerd rage that requires an additional girding in the general loin area.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I believe that's "Brokeback Mount Doom"

HankP's picture

I also saw Skyfall, and in general I agree that the cinematography was excellent (as you'd expect from Roger Deakins - seriously, take a look at his credits) but the story had some serious problems.




If you're doing computer forensics on a machine (especially the personal machine of THE GREATEST HACKER THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN), you NEVER hook it up to a network, especially your own internal network. In fact you generally don't even run the machine, you disassemble it and analyze the parts separately. If you run anything from it at all, it's in a completely isolated test environment and you run copies of the actual code.


I blame it all on the Internet



If you're going to assassinate the head of MI6 at a public hearing in the Houses of Parliament, why would you go to the trouble of getting arrested & detained by MI6 beforehand? Answer: because no human being spent more than 12 minutes thinking about this script and whether it actually made any sense.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

More spoilers

HankP's picture

the idea of intentionally getting captured to get yourself inside a high security facility isn't a new one, and I can usually cut the writers some slack for using it. But the problem here is that he didn't need to get captured to get in to a public hearing. Also, going from "locked inside a high security cage" to "escaped and killed the several commandos guarding him" was done off screen for a reason.




I blame it all on the Internet

More spoilers

mmghosh's picture

hydrocyanic acid will kill you before it rots your jaw.  


Does anyone read Agatha Christie these days?


HankP's picture

Does anyone read Agatha Christie these days?


Fixed that for you.

I blame it all on the Internet

Another day, another mass


Another day, another mass shooting.  This time at an elementary school with at least 18 children dead.  But we don't have a gun problem in America, do we?

I'm sorry but this is a


I'm sorry but this is a ridiculous comparison.


I'm prepared for another torrent of gun-lovers scoffing at the idea of more gun control (not you mmghosh).  It does get old, though, hearing how we shouldn't let our emotions drive policy.  An absurd idea, especially from the right wing.

Who's Mad at Bob Costas Now? People are Crazy...



...I don't say this badly or to denigrate people at all...but I am in the business of people going through stress and...they are just crazy...and teens and young adults are particularly susceptible to breaks with reality.


Guns are bad.


Guns have changed and continue to change America...for the worse.


We are crazy, collectively, and have blood on our hands for our 2nd amendment craziness.





No fatalities reported?


That would seem to prove the rule that it's a good idea to keep firearms away from potential mass murderers, no? Killing one person with a knife is hard work...killing dozens is nigh impossible. You have to physically catch people, physically slash or stab them, perhaps repeatedly in order to damage enough vital organs or open enough blood vessels so they'll bleed out before help arrives.


Shooting people requires a lot less calories. Guns therefore multiply the factor criminologists refer to as "opportunity." 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Whether Knife or Gun


mmghosh's question is still a good one.

Why are there crazy people in the world?

HankP's picture

Not sure how cogitating on this is getting anyone closer to any answers. Brains break, sometimes with warning and sometimes without.


I blame it all on the Internet

Is there a demographic pscyhological profile involved?

mmghosh's picture

I'm not completely sure about the stats, but there seem to be more random school stabbings in China and school shootings in the white US demographic than other societies.  Also, Korean IIRC.

That Malay Have a Word For It




Amok originated from the Malay word mengamuk,[4] which roughly defined means “to make a furious and desperate charge”.[5] According to Malay culture, amok was rooted in a deep spiritual belief. They believed that amok was caused by the hantu belian,[6] which was an evil tiger spirit that entered one’s body and caused the heinous act. As a result of the belief, those in Malaysian culture tolerated amok and dealt with the after effects with no ill will towards the assailant.[7]


Although commonly used in a colloquial and less-violent sense, the phrase is particularly associated with a specific sociopathic culture-bound syndrome in Malaysian culture. In a typical case of running amok, a male who has shown no previous sign of anger or any inclination to violence will acquire a weapon, traditionally a sword or dagger, but presently a variety of weapons are used, and in a sudden frenzy, will attempt to kill or seriously injure anyone he encounters. Amok typically takes place in a well populated or crowded area. Amok episodes of this kind normally end with the attacker being killed by bystanders or committing suicide, eliciting theories that amok may be a form of intentional suicide in cultures where suicide is heavily stigmatized.[citation needed] Those who do not commit suicide and are not killed typically lose consciousness, and upon regaining consciousness, claim amnesia.

An early Western description of the practice appears in the journals of Captain James Cook, a British explorer, who encountered amok firsthand in 1770 during a voyage around the world. Cook writes of individuals behaving in a reckless, violent manner, without cause and "indiscriminately killing and maiming villagers and animals in a frenzied attack." [8]

A widely accepted explanation links amok with male honor (amok by women is virtually unknown). Running amok would thus be both a way of escaping the world (since perpetrators were normally killed) and re-establishing one's reputation as a man to be feared and respected. Some observers[who?] have related this explanation to Islam's ban on suicide, which, it is suggested, drove Malay men to create circumstances in which others would kill them.





My understanding

HankP's picture

is that there are lots of people with serious mental health issues, but no one knows what pushes a very small number of them to perform mass murder.


I have personal experience with this, a guy I knew in high school killed his whole family.


I blame it all on the Internet

Your classmate had a small weewee

brutusettu's picture

There, I just stopped most mass murders, problem solved.  Next problem.



for example, that coverage on him will not focus on the Evil Menace part of him (which is a self-conception he finds flattering), but the Sad, Lonely Pathetic Guy Who Has a Small Dick and Couldn't Keep a Woman or a Job and Just Couldn't Hack It part of him.



"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Right.  His solution is to


Right.  His solution is to ask the media to report stories differently and focus on the killer's penis.  And he throws in the Evil angle.  And these are supposed to be the serious folks?  It is as useful as whining about the disappearance of God and Jesus in schools.  Good luck with that.  I'll stick to potential solutions that have a goal, like keeping guns out of lunatics hands, rather than a vague moral prescription.

I wouldn't know

HankP's picture

unlike Ace who apparently has tons of experience in evaluating the size of other men's d!cks.


My point was that it's easy to say that "someone should have known". Because as far as Harry went, I never saw anything that indicated that he was capable of what he did. I didn't spend a lot of time with him, but even people who did had a hard time believing that he did it.


I blame it all on the Internet

I suppose it is a good


I suppose it is a good question but pondering the minds of insane child-killers isn't going to prevent many deaths.  How has that worked out with serial killers?


edit : I realize this is a bad comparison, catching a serial killer before he kills again prevents more deaths.  Catching a mass shooter is usually trivially easy, or they kill themselves.

Shall we start a pool

Jay C's picture

as to how long it takes before somebody (and let's fine-tune it a bit and specify that it's "somebody" posting for some sort of "publication", not just an anonymous crank on the Web) makes the "argument" that if the school staff/teachers/kindergartners had been carrying, "lives would have been saved" ??


If, disgustingly, it hasn't already been done....

Why is this a disgusting argument exactly?


To be clear, until the identity of the shooter, his motives, his method in obtaining the gun(s) and the status of the one guy arrested are determined I think any talk on public policy changes are premature.  But since the calls for tighter gun control have already started there's no reason a counter-argument should be considered disgusting.  I saw your other post and I'm not going to comment on the sort of in-depth analysis one gets from a tweet any sooner than you're willing to defend some of the comments from notyou's original link.  But from here forward, I'd prefer to see a debate rather than attempts to shut one off.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


HankP's picture

Events like this are happening every few weeks. How much longer do we have to withhold judgment?


My problem isn't that the counter arguments are disgusting, it's that they're bone stupid. Arming everyone and having mass shoot outs doesn't seem like a reasonable or even sane argument.


I blame it all on the Internet

Homicide rates are at half-century lows


And mass shootings kill a statistically tiny number of total homicide victims.  It's really not as though we have an epidemic of mass shootings.

Homicide Rates Down...Yes, But Largely a Demographic Function



...we are having an aging society...therefore less Homicide, less crime in general, but this is not to say that it is at acceptable levels.


I'll note that an aging society brings with it these obvious benefits, but we have the natural added burdens and expenses of SS and Medicare.


I don't see why any of this surprises anyone.


Differing societies have differing issues to deal with....Nigeria with a young population, and a different history, is different and require different approaches than the United States.


People want easy...cookie cutter one stop answers and human beings are not that way, societies even less so.


Best Wishes, Traveller



A Bunch of Factors Have Been Proposed



One that tracks especially well is lead in gasoline. Lead does not just make people dumber, it makes them more violent and less able to exert self-control.


Abortion has also been proposed as a mechanism. Lower birthrates for troubled households would lead to lower numbers of children with a statistically higher potential to become criminals. I am less convinced this is a factor than I am with lead. The numbers don't track as closely and the number of single parent households increased over time, rather than decreased.


For the murder rate itself, better and faster trauma treatment is definitely a factor. People are not being shot as much less as implied by the murder rate because more people are surviving being shot. Your survival chances are vastly better than they were 30 years ago. Still, this does not explain the overall drop in crime, while lead does.


Yet, for all that, mass shootings have increased and become more deadly. I don't recall a single incident like this one in the 1980´s, a few in the 1990´s, and many more these past few years. I have two explanations:


  • An absurd, sad gun culture on steroids. Gun nuts talk routinely about owning dozens of guns and shooting hundreds and thousands of rounds on a regular basis. As someone who does not despise guns and have popped off a few rounds myself, I find this cartoonishly exaggerated culture disturbing. It is the success of an intense marketing effort designed to push product beyond the realms of reason. These people are saturated with weapons and combat paraphernalia and keep buying compulsively.
  • A dreadful videogame culture. A lot of mention of guns but few mentions of videogames. First Person Shooters, particularly, are now graphic and realistic simulations of mass murder, repeated millions of times a day in living rooms throughout the country. You could not come up with a better tool to condition mentally unbalanced individuals to act out their aggression through mass shootings. It's actually amazing that there aren't even more of these events, though with time there maybe.

At the end of the day, it's all about pushing product. Whether it be guns, military gear, or ultraviolent videogames, there are companies silently lobbying for the right to continue to arm and poison sick minds. This isn't going to go away without a huge political move to suppress both, and I don't see that coming.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

MA on the murder rate


if your premise that shootings are still up but medical capability has kept the incidents of death down then violent assault stats should have risen to take their place.  Problem is, they've also dropped right along with the murder rate.

Also, mass murders are nothing new.   The deadliest three on US soil didn't involve guns with 911 being the most recent of the three, Oklahoma City next and Bath School being the 3rd.  To add to the idea that mass murder is nothing new, the term 'going postal' was coined from an incident in the '80s.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Actually, Not My Premise


It was the premise of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, published a few years ago. I can't find it, but a quick Google got this story published on that left-wing rag, the Wall Street Journal:

At the same time, medical data and other surveys in the U.S. show a rising number of serious injuries from assaults with guns and knives. The estimated number of people wounded seriously enough by gunshots to require a hospital stay, rather than treatment and release, rose 47% to 30,759 in 2011 from 20,844 in 2001, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program. The CDC estimates showed the number of people injured in serious stabbings rose to 23,550 from 22,047 over the same period.


Mortality rates of gunshot victims, meanwhile, have fallen, according to research performed for The Wall Street Journal by the Howard-Hopkins Surgical Outcomes Research Center, a joint venture between Howard University and Johns Hopkins University. In 2010, 13.96% of U.S. shooting victims died, almost two percentage points lower than in 2007. (Earlier data used different standards, making comparisons useless.)

And mass murder in schools is definitely new, so I am going to have to call BS on your statement. I'm old enough to remember the 1980's very well, and there were zero mass shootings in schools. My high school had no security, no gates, no cameras, no entry "protocols", nothing. Anybody could walk in and through it from one end to the other, especially during class hours. Inner city schools did have gun violence, but it was drug or gang related, with specific targets or motives, not general slaughter. And even then, we are talking high schools, not elementary schools.


This problem is not business as usual. It's getting worse, and it's getting worse as a result of specific policy choices having effect over time.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Mass murders have been happening for decades.


The first mass murder at a school I can recall was the loon that shot up a college campus in the 60's.  Stockton CA, happened in the 80's, so it has happened.  Per your link, I can only argue what the book keepers say.  Homicide rates dropped a bit more than 2% during that time, like something closer to 20%.  Improvements in medical technology surely take some of the credit but by no means all.  Bottom line, we're overall less violent.


In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 



Stockton was in 1989, the tail end of the 80's, and it was quite specific because it was a hate/racial crime (the victims were of Vietnamese origin). In any case, five were killed, not 27.


The Texas University Clock Tower shooting was famous because it was the first of its kind and remained unique for  many years and certainly through the remainder of the 1960´s and all of the 1970´s. It got a mention in Kubric's Full Metal Jacket, since the shooter was an ex Marine.


Notice also that in recent shootings, such as this one or Columbine, the shooter is of school age or little more so, while previous shooters were adults. The phenomenon of children mass murderers is even newer than the mass shootings themselves.


Mass shootings at the K-12 level were unknown up to the mid 1980's at least, if not up to Stockton itself in 1989. Yet, since then we have had several. If you don't see the change here, you don't want to.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Not the first of it's kind

HankP's picture

The Bath School disaster


Sure, not a shooting per se, but pretty heinous.


I blame it all on the Internet

Not a shooting, and not by a child


The bomber was 55.


I am not arguing that horrible things don't happen from time to time, anywhere and at any time. I am arguing that these events should be outliers. Now, they are routine, and the killers are children or nearly so.


Like I said, it's different now. Gun availability is a part of it, but the widespread use of tens of millions of murder simulators is, IMHO, an even bigger cause of the problem, and tracks better with the evolution of the problem.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

I don't think so

HankP's picture

for the same reason that younger people aren't suddenly better drivers despite Mario Cart Racing. Or that US soldiers are all suddenly sharpshooters becuse of Duck Hunt. The physical skills are too different between computer devices, guns and cars. Also, until quite recently the graphics were nowhere near "realistic". Here's what the original Wolfenstien 3D looked like:


I blame it all on the Internet

Don't confuse skills with mental conditioning


Wolfenstein was far from realistic, but it was a start in the wrong direction, and the games improved vastly from there.


Sorry, the 15 to 20 year old age group were not mass murderers previously. The typical killer was a maladjusted, resentful 30 to 60 year old man. Someone who had collected grievances, perceived or real doesn't matter, for decades, or had gone through the trauma of military conditioning.


The 30 to 60 year old killers still pop up as usual, but the young guys are totally new. Something has changed in the environment. I come up with FPS videogames mass murder simulators, which did not exist prior to 1992. What have you got?

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Lots of correlations

HankP's picture

not so much that I'd be willing to call any a causation.


- the explosion in autism over the past 40 years. My guess is that it's related to environment, specifically hormone analogs, and there are many, many undiagnosed cases of mild autism.


- increase in poverty, erosion of middle class, fall in economic opportunities especially for the young


- increase in single parent homes


- increase in extremism, especially various right wing obsessions like fundamentalism, gun obsession and "end times" beliefs


And as a refutation, is there any evidence of obsession with FPS video games in any of these incidents other than Columbine?


I blame it all on the Internet



1. The explosion of autism is rather controversial. It may or may not be a function of reporting and diagnosis. Hardly a slam dunk. In any case, our generation was already being exposed to endocrine disrupters and so on (PVC and other plastics went huge in the 1960's), and while it may be impacting health, it did not lead to mass murdering teenagers.


2. Poverty had no impact here. Lanza's dad had money and was giving over $200K per year to his ex-wife. They lived in a large home. Single parent homes did not appear in the 1990's; they are as old as humanity, a mere increase cannot explain a totally new phenomenon. Nor is the neighborhood a poor one. Quite the opposite.


3. Increase in extremism may play a part in a very general way, but nothing has come out indicating that the kid had a political agenda. I'll grant that routinely violent language is now much more common if you go looking for it.


Many articles note that he was a heavy gamer according to people who knew the family. Apparently he damaged his disk drive so it will take time to get data on his activities, but at this point it looks like he was a frequent player of violent games.


I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.


HankP's picture

1. What I've read indicates that the prevalence/diagnosis issue is mainly confined to the last 20 years, but there really isn't any question that the incidence has increased dramatically since the 60s. Also, 1960s + 20 years = 1980s, which is when the frequency of these events went from once or twice a decade to 2 or 3 times a year.


2. We don't know what his financial situation is, kids do get cut off or try to make it on their own. Also, you're using FPS games as a cause, which is a society wide effect. Increasing poverty is also a society wide effect, not sure why Lanza's case alone contradicts that for the many other cases.


3. I'm not talking about political extremism per se, but extremism in general and "end of world" type talk about things like health care laws.


I blame it all on the Internet

MA, do you think games are related to a cause


I thought a study had been done that debunked a causal link between video games, TV and movies from violence.  SNK liked to it once back when he was active.  I'm not nay saying you, just wondering if this is supposition or if there is anything 'official' that supports what I think you are saying.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

My Argument Is More Subtle


I am not claiming a well-adjusted (a.k.a. "sane") individual will turn homicidal due to use of first person shooters. If this were so, you could not walk on a crowded street.


I am, however, claiming that there is a shift in the kind and scale of violence a poorly adjusted, unstable individual, is likely to engage in. I think the particular scenario played out in Connecticut is exactly like a first person shooter. The killer goes from room to room and methodically kills every last person in each room. You can't go to the next room till you are done in the one you are in, so multiple shots to make sure.


A typical study would not pick up on this, because it asks the wrong question. The game is not a cause, it is a booster. But you can say the exact same thing about guns.


If the NRA is putting the gun into the killer's hands, the FPS gaming industry is putting the gun into the killer's brain. In such a conditioned mind, the violent rage is thus "formatted" to maximum lethal effectiveness.


I can think of no logically or morally consistent argument that would favor banning assault rifles, but reject banning mass murder simulation software.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

"Mass murder simulation software"

mmghosh's picture

you could say the same thing about the Bible which describes the slaughter and genocide in Palestine in Exodus in graphic detail. 


And similarly about the religious texts of so many major religions that describes the executions of the "other" in exquisite and loving detail.  


The point is, violence is probably hardwired in a proportion of young men in every society.  My thesis is that the sub-cohort of these men who are also unstable, who would otherwise have been able to vent this violence in wars, or the abuses of patriarchy at home have had these doors closed to them in recent times (say, post 1980), which would also tie into the explosion of these events since that period.


I've written about Anthony Poshepny before, 

famous for keeping the heads of his enemies in formaldehyde and sending the ears to his superiors with his embassy reports

and the equally famous Stryker Kill Team.  The lack of opportunity to run with one's fantasies against the weak and vulnerable in distant lands is also perhaps a part of the problem.



violence is probably hardwired, but I think the forms it takes are cultural. Or at least specific to a given culture, often with practical reasons.


Some cultures raid their neighbours, some make war in massed ranks, some by battle of champions. The Romans had their games, Queen Pu-Abi was burried with her servants, the Aztecs cut out the hearts of their victims, in the 18th century Europeans duelled with sword or pistol.


So at the least, video games are like movies or books and are a part of our culture, including our culture of violence. I think a good argument can be made that FPS go further, not only in that the scenarios more closely resemble this kind of execution or that the culture in game is often intentionally calous towards the weak, but also in the fact that it is not reading or watching, it is doing. We don't teach pilots to fly by having them watch films about flying or reading Saint-Exupéry. We train them in simulators and FPS are simulators for just this kind of thing.

So these violent FPS games...

aireachail's picture

they aren't being played in Australia? Or in Canada?



But with 1/10th the population between them, frequency would be at most 1/10th as well.


And Australia at least has substantial, national gun control.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

And How Does South Korea Still Exist?

M Scott Eiland's picture

On the other hand, maybe the Chinese mass stabbing attacks are the result of gold farmers snapping.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Gun Control


It is virtually impossible for South Koreans to own guns, except for hunting, and even then tightly regulated.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

But They Do Have Knives

M Scott Eiland's picture

And South Koreans are very fond of MMOs involving methodical, repeated stabbing of lots of things.* Why aren't we seeing the kind of mass stabbing incidents in Seoul that we're seeing in China?

*--and other means of killing, but unless someone starts mass producing "wands of fireballs" we're probably safe from that.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



You were saying?

An unemployed man carried out a stabbing spree on Wednesday in Seoul, marking the fourth knife attack to take place in Korea in less than a week.


Eight people have been stabbed or cut in a rampage at an underground station just outside South Korea's capital Seoul.

Two police officers say no one was killed when a man used a large knife to attack people in Uijeongbu. They say a man was arrested running away from the station.

Took like one second on Google to find this. These probably don't make the global news because the death tolls are much lower, since stabbing to death is harder than shooting.




I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

No Indicated Connection With Gaming In Any Of These

M Scott Eiland's picture

The first one seems to be relating to having been fired--former employee mass violence has also been increasingly visible in recent years in the US and elsewhere. Are we going to ban the pink slip?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Moving the goal posts?


Gaming is rarely mentioned even in the Newton coverage. Did Lanza have a job by the way?


First you go "hey, no shootings in Korea", so I point out the gun control laws. Then you go "hey, no stabbings", then I dutifully point out the stabbings. Now you go "hey, gaming not mentioned" and, well, you can believe what you want to and I don't know Korean so i can't do a thorough check.


But given that sequence, perhaps you should ponder the fact that you were wrong at least the first two replies, and that maybe, just maybe your assumptions are not quite the pillar of solidity you think they are.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

The problem, of course

HankP's picture

is what happens when those young men come home. There was a guy in the town I grew up in, went to Vietnam for 3 or 4 years. He came back, it was rumored that he had several "souvenirs" such as you describe. He never left the house after that, at least not until I left 6 or 7 years later.


I blame it all on the Internet

Growing up in an atmosphere of violence, not just FPS

mmghosh's picture


Windham, ME – Inspired by the overwhelming response to Bushmaster’s “Consider Your Man Card Reissued” sweepstakes, today Bushmaster Firearms announces the latest part in the series; the Man Card online promotion.


To become a card-carrying man, visitors of bushmaster.com will have to prove they’re a man by answering a series of manhood questions. Upon successful completion, they will be issued a temporary Man Card to proudly display to friends and family. The Man Card is valid for one year.

Visitors can also call into question or even revoke the Man Card of friends they feel have betrayed their manhood. The man in question will then have to defend himself, and their Man Card, by answering a series of questions geared towards proving indeed, they are worthy of retaining their card.

Bushmaster invites you to visit www.bushmaster.com/mancard to earn your Man Card and have some fun. If you decide to revoke the Man Card of a friend or two along the way, that is entirely up to you.

Via Salon.


I think it was some time ago that a poster here had a little fun at the expense of non-alpha males discussing recipes and so forth.


The funny thing

HankP's picture

is that real men don't worry about such foolishness. A man knows he's a man, or he doesn't. No cards necessary.


I blame it all on the Internet

Plus, Oddly Enough. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .cooking--like contract bridge--is one of those areas of life where the female population as a whole is far, far more capable than the male one, but a vast majority of the very very best ones are male. It would be unkind but almost certainly accurate to suggest that this is probably due to certain obsessive tendencies in the male psyche that exist, for better or worse.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Well, you were discussing recipes.


Which is why you should always use a pseudonym.  At least nobody has completely flubbed the man rules and discussed rollerblading techniques or the positive aspects of peeing while sitting down.  Most of this sort of thing, whether discussing man rules or just ribbing somebody, is harmless or at the very worst it's mild social norming.  It's not an advocacy of violence or tolerance of violent tendencies.

Per the Bushmaster add.  Hmm, the very next time I watch TV for 30 minutes straight and don't see an add appealing to masculinity I'll take note and bring it up here.  I expect that comment will hit sometime in 2044.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

What a man's role is, is a multicultural thing, Darth!

mmghosh's picture

A true Islamist - you know, like the tough men you are fighting - should always sit down to urinate.  It is actually forbidden in Islam to stand up and urinate.

It is very common to see two men using the bathroom while having a conversation at the same time. Had they peeked over just a little they would have be able to see one another’s private parts. This is abhorrent. The Prophet ﷺ (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said,


“Allah detests it when two people relieve themselves uncovered and have a conversation.”1

The Prophet ﷺ would take so much care to seclude himself that Al-Mughīrah ibn Shu’bah said, “I was travelling with the Prophet. When he needed to relieve himself, he went far away from me.”

Or, As Hagbard Celine Would Put It

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Never whistle while you're p***ing."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

No, No. I'm sorry Mannish. Those recipes were for baked


goods, and that's some pretty universal sh*t.  Look, I don't dislike you, but I'm just going to have to call it like I see it.  You're not a man.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Mannish, taking your point of multi-culturalism


if it isn't clear, I'm just yanking your chain.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

All those arguments

HankP's picture

work just as well as talking about banning violent movies, comics, books, etc. Which is to say not at all. They all "program" certain individuals to think in certain ways.


Seriously, you're actually thinking of banning stuff you don't like without any evidence whatsoever, other then your personal hypothesis? Not a good approach to take.


I blame it all on the Internet

Movies and books are not the same


There is a basic difference between a simulator where you are the principal actor and a movie, not to mention a book, where you are a third party observer, and not even a third party really, since you are not only not a participant of the action, you are not even in the scene.


Watching a car go by is not the same as driving one. In fact, it's completely different. I am not sure why this is a difficult concept to grasp.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

No evidence whatsoever?


Hey, there is evidence. It might be circumstantial, but it's evidence. I did not go out asking for murder simulators to be banned before Newton and Columbine. My hypothesis is the result of observation.


And, my banning proposal is helped by the null social value of FPS games. Unlike say cars, which can also be used to kill people, or even guns, which can be used for genuine self-defense (though that is rarer than the gun lobby claims), there is no positive use whatsoever for murder simulation software. So banning such software involves no loss to society.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

"Null Social Value Of FPS Games"

M Scott Eiland's picture

Merits of the claim aside, that's a clear content based banning that will be immediately blocked by virtually any federal district judge, said blockage being upheld unanimously by any federal circuit court of appeal, and cert summarily denied by the Supremes on First Amendment grounds.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

But It's Not Content


My legal theory would be that it is not content at all. There is content in a murder simulator, such as images, characters, a story line. These cannot be banned. But the simulator itself is a mechanism or an algorithm. It is akin to a device. The code that connects the trigger to the effect of pulling it is not protected speech any more than the rod connecting a trigger to an RPG launch mechanism is protected.


You can ban devices. And you can ban algorithms also. We have laws that regulate encryption and decryption software, for example.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.


M Scott Eiland's picture

You might want to run this theory past a blogger who has both (significant) computer and legal expertise (this topic may well be active on any such blogs right now)--I lack the competence to analyze the technical end of it. I suspect that it would be seen as an end run around the First Amendment and be blocked--though your position may well attract more support in dissent than I would have suggested at first.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



...programmers have tried to do an end run around encryption software laws on first amendment grounds, and have failed.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Link To A Lengthy Article Analyzing The Subject

M Scott Eiland's picture

Not up to reading a seventy-five page long scholarly article right now, but there's a table of contents if you feel like skimming the thing.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Should Have Checked Further

M Scott Eiland's picture

Reversed by the Sixth Circuit in 2000:

Because computer source code is an expressive means for the exchange of information and ideas about computer programming, we hold that it is protected by the First Amendment.

Still, it could be used as persuasive authority for this different argument (and note the lack of a Supreme Court ruling on the issue), but the other side will certainly point to the reversal as rebuttal.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



As of 2009, non-military cryptography exports from the U.S. are controlled by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security.[9] Some restrictions still exist, even for mass market products, particularly with regard to export to "rogue states" and terrorist organizations. Militarized encryption equipment, TEMPEST-approved electronics, custom cryptographic software, and even cryptographic consulting services still require an export license[9](pp. 6–7). Furthermore, encryption registration with the BIS is required for the export of "mass market encryption commodities, software and components with encryption exceeding 64 bits" (75 F.R. 36494). In addition, other items require a one-time review by or notification to BIS prior to export to most countries.[9] For instance, the BIS must be notified before open-source cryptographic software is made publicly available on the Internet, though no review is required.[10] Export regulations have been relaxed from pre-1996 standards, but are still complex,[9] and often require expert legal and cryptographic consultation.[citation needed] Other countries, notably those participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement,[11] have similar restrictions.[12]

I am not entirely sure about the scope of the reversal by the Sixth Circuit, but it looks like encryption software is still subject to regulation and review.


In any case, I do not claim that my approach is bulletproof. I am not a legal scholar or even a lawyer. I do claim it is a plausible approach with regulatory analogs and that these are supported by the need to protect the public safety, the same as a murder simulation software ban would be.



I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

I don't think it's much more plausible


A "simulator" isn't what's being banned here, it's a simulator put to certain purposes whose content MA disapproves of. For that matter so do I and would never let my children (if I had any) near one.


But this line of thought has been taking place in a 1st amendment free zone as far as I can tell.

I'm Trying To Be Fair

M Scott Eiland's picture

Also, I am most definitely *not* an expert on the state of US law concerning legal limitations on computer software. An actual expert in the field might say that the proposition was not a frivolous one and could be tested without being an affront to legal ethics or even common sense. As I stated, I still suspect the argument would lose in the long run.

Or it could just be the stomach flu talking--who knows? :-P

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Seventy two hours of stomach flu (and accompanying very little food) and we've started having near identical reactions at the same time to the same comments. I'm scared!

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

And all I need is a little bourbon nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

Doom's graphics were similar


but the immersion was total. 


Reluctantly I think MA might be onto something, whetehr the mental training to put you in the place to pull the trigger or just part of the cultural fetishisation of the act of arming up and walking around shooting people - the power and simplicity of it - I can see how games like counterstrike could have an affect in the real world.

I Am Not a Gamer, But there are Lots (!) of Game Graphics Now


...out and cover Newtown and some of what happened there. I'd post the images, I saved them as part of cultural history, but Call to Duty and the school as a kill zone will earn me lots of bad will if I up load them here.


Of course, maybe they are just jokes put together by gamers...but they are out there. Things are too raw to post, but MA has a good point. They are very realistic!



Sweet Mary in Toast, Call of Duty games, Yes, very "realistic"

brutusettu's picture

....in the "normal" modes, get shot, screen blinks with red blotches on the side, don't get shot for a few seconds, back to full health*.



Hardcore is slightly more "realistic" your character doesn't heal....but it will respawn.  If anyone including teenagers or younger kids mistakes those for real life, they're messed up to begin with.



*unless you get hit with a combat axe, those things are deadly



**there might be a problem with people playing games like Black Ops II if they're psychopaths like Bryan Fischer or if prison seems appealing because they'd have time to stack things.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Look, I've always hated those "it's the films"


"It's the Dungeons and Dragons" it's the computer games lines of argument. Generally they're deployed by people who know almost zero about what they're blaming and supposed to be a cause for something that's as old as the ark.




Your character taking damage is not the point, it's rather the repetitve training to camly and methodically shoot other people, and that side of it is quite realistic. Any lack of realism is possibly a "bonus" since it focuses on the essential - killing repeatedly in cold blood. Not just watching it, but doing it. Doing it again and again - often on the same map - for hours and hours trying to perfect down to the last detail the slaughter of a group of people.


There is also the cultural aspect - having people obssess about small unit assault. To study and fetishise the weapons, to plan and value the tactics of prior organisation and surprise. The contempt for the weak. The way everything has to have the word "tactical" in front of it. Tactical vest, tactical flashlight.


I write this as someone who has played a lot of counterstrike. 


Maybe it's nonsense and not a factor at all, but i don't think we get to say that out of hand.

Then I think the question concerning FPS would be


If folks have a desire to act out violence in video games do the games 'slake the thirst' so to speak, or do they desensitize or even go as far as program folks to do real life acts of violence? 


In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

They Program


But they don't program anybody. They program those who are susceptible. The effect on others may be simply to desensitize, or there may be no effect. But on a subgroup of people, the effect is to weaponize their mental disease.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

The Same Could Be Said For "The Catcher In The Rye"

M Scott Eiland's picture

Are we going to start banning every book that sets some lunatic off? "Killing everyone in a room before moving on" isn't really that elaborate a concept for someone who, well, wants to kill a lot of people.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

My WAG would be that they slake the thirst


just like strippers slake the thirst for sex.


I suppose some examination of the habits of individuals involved in these rare events might teach us something. It might even rise to a level of statistical signifigance with good data about the people who do this and the general population. 

Except that strippers don't really slake the thirst for sex


but rather get someone worked up without an outlet.

Try male strippers then.


A face full of leopard print speedos would go a long way toward curbing any urges I'd imagine.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Uhm...that was actually jaguar.

aireachail's picture


Either way Air, at least it wasn't something tacky like


cheetah or zebra.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Darth, you're right



Actually Andrew, I think that would have been an appropriate


time to say 'Darth, you're wrong.  So wrong.' But thanks.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 




Hmm... that whooshing was the point of your earlier post


flying over my head.

Ahem, That's What's Porn is For...and...




...while I am not much of a stripper guy, I do know that they can often be available for various services.




Best Wishes, Traveller


HankP's picture

I have a feeling that people who blame FPS games because they're realistic haven't actually played one.


Like I said earlier, if this was true we'd expect 18 - 24 year old drivers to have the lowest insurance rates because of all the time they spend playing Need for Speed.


I blame it all on the Internet



I had no idea Need for Speed players do best when they drive defensively and follow all traffic laws and limits.


I blame FPS games because it is evident that, both in this case and in Columbine, the shooters were following a basic FPS scenario.


I have briefly played one or two of these games, and did not see the point. I don't need to be a player any more than you need to be a marksman in order to see the problem with assault rifles.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

The long peace has something to do with it

mmghosh's picture

every generation had its WW2, Korea, Vietnam etc (we have our insurgents too), where one could indulge in the violence needful without being questioned for it.


Every empire kept their violent young men ready for raids and skirmishes on the borders and in the marches in the past.

But Again, No Motive...Is There Some Fear of Saying What...



...motive in cases like this might be? Giffords was killed because she was a liberal Democrat in Arizona...is any one surprised by this? Oregon seemed to be a true psychotic break, but also aimed at other people being happy, as the shooter wasn't. I think the Newtown shooting is pretty clear as to why...does no one want to blame the mother? Sweet motherhood?


Kehoe...was he embezzling? Truly he seemed to have a real animus against the Bath School..por que? The Wiki gives no hint of motive.



When people die

HankP's picture

guessing at motives is pure speculation. Even if they live, you still have to try and figure out if they're lying or not.


Sorry Trav, there are no brain reading machines.


I blame it all on the Internet

I Got One...Called Simple Wisdom...I'm Joking A Little...


...but only a little.


It is NOT pure speculation...we have good ideas and I would insist that we have a duty to bring our analytical powers to bear...otherwise we are lost in the thicket, surrendered to the idea of caos.



Mother Jones has a decent


guide to the last thirty years' worth of mass shootings.


It appears that we get one to four mass shootings a year up until 2012, at which point all hell broke loose.

That's Not How I Read It


1980's - 8 shootings

1990's - 23 shootings

2000's - 21 shootings

2010's - 10 shootings (a rate of 40 per decade)




1980's - Average age of shooter: 43  youngest: 26

1990's - Average age of shooter: 33  youngest: 15 (in 1998)

2000's - Average age of shooter: 36, youngest: 16

2010's - Average age of shooter: 35, youngest: 20




1980's - Schools: 1 (in 1989)

1990's - Schools: 5 (includes Columbine)

2000's - Schools: 3 (includes Virigina Tech)

2010's - Schools: 2 (a rate of 8 per decade)


There is definitely a "phase shift" somewhere in the 1990's and it looks like a second one more recently, but the decade is yet young. This is not a static situation, it's progressing.


The first First Person Shooter, Wolfenstein 3D, was released in 1992.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

My last post was made with a brain full of Merlot


(because I'm classy like that).


I think you might be right about the FPS, but I don't know if it explains why this decade in particular has seen such a spike given that the ages seem fairly constant. Is it because mass shootings are--Deo gratias--still rare enough that even a few can totally skew the numbers? Or is something more insidious at work?



There Is A New Generation


I think the quality and realism of the games starting in the mid 2000's is of a distinctly higher order, and the story lines better aligned with mass murder of civilians. The first generation was relatively crude. Availability of sophisticated platforms like XBox became widespread.  Previously, a computer was required. And, the now common use of large LCD panels makes the games much more immersive than the typical 1990's 15" CRT monitors.


Not to mention, gun availability has increased and the end of the assault weapon restrictions has had an impact. The combination is a perfect storm, if you will.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

I think that the FPS has a whole lot to do with it


I'm thinking in particular about how mass shootings are nearly always middle-class white guys who've been immersed in a very culturally specific form of fantasy.


Joe Lieberman was right.


(Although still kind of a dick for killing the public option out of spite).

Oh, more of this "it would be


Oh, more of this "it would be unSEEMly" BS.  Someone today made the very apt observation that those who say that this isn't the time to politicize gun control are themselves politicizing the issue to their own benefit.  By trying to control the message, to turn it away from gun control, they are manipulating the national conversation (such that it is) to prevent gun control advocates from mobilizing and pushing for legislation.  That said, I don't doubt Darth's sincerity.  He isn't a political operative like Erickson or conserva-bot congressperson.


Of course, many of these same voices encouraging us to just sit still and quit being such ninnies are busy harping on a lack of God/church or too much gay/liberal in American culture.

Mike Huckabee blamed lack of school prayer and geography lessons

brutusettu's picture

or something. I'm not sure on what exactly his point is and why he thinks it will work.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Huckabee's point is on the top of his head.


If there's any justice in the universe, the man destroyed his political career tonight. Somehow I doubt that will be the case.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

What Political Career?

M Scott Eiland's picture

He couldn't make a go of it running for President in the last two cycles with weak fields--who's going to vote for the third rate William Jennings Bryan wannabe with the next generation ready to run in 2016? Huckabee might be looking at a dose of Rob Parker Syndrome for being particularly offensive regarding the wrong target at the wrong time, but he doesn't have political prospects to ruin any more.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Of course I'm sincere


I got to put my kid to bed tonight, 20 sets of parents didn't get to do that because some a$$hole had issues with his mother.

The guy broke a number of gun control laws as it was.  He picked victims that were most unable to get away or defend themselves.  Given the initial reports of the number of shots fired (I've read 100 but initial reports are always wrong) the guy had to reload and was able to do so uninterrupted.  Capacity limits on magazines would have forced a few more reloads but that doesn't look like it would have made a difference.  Background checks, which I've acknowledged seem to be somewhat effective, wouldn't have done a thing as the guns belonged to his mom and due to his age would have had to acquire them illegally anyway.  So what law would someone have passed that would have prevented this?  Gun free school zone?  Nope.  Registration? Nope.  Gun show loophole? nope.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


M Scott Eiland's picture

And the widespread citing of Japan and the UK--nations that have banned private gun ownership more or less altogether--is a sign that those out for outright confiscation are feeling their oats right now. And, sadly, I have no doubt that any number of gun control advocates are privately feeling as giddy as Traveler's (possibly apocryphal--I hope to heaven that he was making a point rather than describing a human that I'd sincerely wish to die on fire) acquaintance mentioned in that comment a few minutes ago.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The citing of other country's statistics is generaly pointless


Our murder rate w/o guns dwarfs most industrialized nations overall murder rate.  Gotta let that sink in for a second.  With guns being easily available in comparison to other countries, we still manage to stab, strangle, bludgeon and poison ourselves at a much greater rate than other countries manage murder of all types.  Why we're so murder happy in general is what we really need to be figuring out.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

And A Pretty Map To Go With The Statistics

M Scott Eiland's picture


English: Murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants most recent year.
Date 2012
Source Homicide Statistics 2012. UNODC.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I See What You Did Thar...! Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics


But see:


Northern America 3.9 13,558 Americas


    Western Europe 1.0 1,852 Europe


I could break out the countries for you, but you will never give way even awashed in a sea of blood, your eyes refuse to see the dead, the maimed, the terrified.


Yet, Japan, Great Britain and the US are illustrative:


 Japan 0.3 442 [8] Asia Eastern Asia


 United Kingdom 1.2 722 Europe Northern Europe


 United States 4.2 12,996 Americas Northern America



Thanks, but no thanks, intellectual games are games, dead people and a ravaged culture are real.



Some people define themselves up from the worst

HankP's picture

others look at how far down they are from the best. I'll take the second option. Worse than Egypt, Algeria, China and most of western Europe is nothing to brag about.


I blame it all on the Internet

But That's Not The Claim That's Usually Made

M Scott Eiland's picture

Claiming that the US is uniquely violent internationally or even regionally is quite simply not accurate--and my earlier comments link to proof that even those "peaceful" European nations haven't licked this problem.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

People usually mean 'among the developed world'


Same thing when people talk about social mobility, wealth inequality, and the uninsured.

For advanced wealthy countries we are an outlier

HankP's picture

comparing ourselves to Columbia or Lesotho doesn't mean very much.


I blame it all on the Internet

Colombia, please.


Columbia is a school.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

New York elitist


It's a major city in the good ol south

Anti-midwest snob

aireachail's picture

It's the home of the University of Missouri

anti-NASA nitwit


it's a a space shuttle that disintegrated upon re-entry

Funless fussbudget

aireachail's picture

it's a gorgeous double carousel at Great America.


M Scott Eiland's picture

The ranking of the US in intentional homicides per 100,000 people, that is. Even if we use total # instead, we're only 14th. Considering that we're 3rd in total population, that "most murderous nation on Earth" rep seems to have been fluffed up a bit.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Yes because we have so much in common


with all those 3rd world countries who rank higher than us. A better comparison would be with countries at an equivalent state of development. And we don't look so good there as is amply pointed out below.

Speaking of people giddy over this

brutusettu's picture

Bryan Fischer* is touting that God is a omnipotent & omnipresent gentleman that sits on the sidelines while a man shoots a room full of 5 year olds with a semi-auto assault rifle.



* Fischer could be a psychopathic con-man pretending to be a ultra-fundamentalist Christian.  

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Oh, I think Fischer's beliefs are sincere.


But he's still a psychopath.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Whatever gun control advocates are feeling tonight,


I doubt "giddy" is anywhere near an accurate description.


One could easily turn the question around: how many classrooms full of dead kids are acceptable so that Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the gun-fondlers in this sad, sick country can jerk off over their assault rifles?

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

And Turning It Around Again

M Scott Eiland's picture

What regulatory measures would have prevented what happened today?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Whoops, looks like the


Whoops, looks like the assault rifle was used to kill children, at least according to the first autopsies performed.  So much for that little chestnut.  Carry on.

Annual mental health screenings

HankP's picture

of people with access to guns in their house. Requirements for safe storage with mandatory minimum sentences if guns left unsecured. Only allowing long guns with bolt or pump action and no handguns. Limited magazine sizes.


They'll never get implemented, but you asked.

I blame it all on the Internet

Scott, That's Easy...An Assault Rifle Ban Would Send a Signal



...a change in the tacit cultural approval that these things are tolerated.


And this is really what the NRA and NRA types and NRA Supporters fear, let them keep most of their damned guns, but a cultural shift to shame is what is needed and appropriate and what most gun owners lack...a sense of the shame their weapons might and can create.


Straight talking to you.


I don't want a prohibition, I want a sense of the wrongfulness that guns can produce, death, and blood and broken lives.


So far gun owners have had a free ride, I want them shamed from the pulpit, turned away from in the donut shop...keep your guns, but let the larger society look down on how terribly dangerous they are.


Did you see the story last week of of the father than shot his son outside a gun store? God awful, I want Shame...that's what I want from an honest and non-barbaric culture.



We Already Had An "Assault Rifle Ban"

M Scott Eiland's picture

Oddly enough, it didn't solve the problem. It certainly wouldn't discourage someone willing to murder his own mother and dozens of children.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It Certainly Was a Brick In The Wall That Solves the Problem...


...and don't give that this is a product of.."Evil," as though this would be independent of the surrounding culture.


Again, you purposefully miss my point...it isn't taking assault rifles off the street, though this would be an absolute good, rather it is a cultural signal, a sign post.


That's what people are really resisting.


I don't like the current cultural markers...Aurora, Columbine, Oregon, Newtown. No other civilized nation has these.



No Other Civilized Country?

M Scott Eiland's picture

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Et al.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

You Are Citing Single, Gernerational Events...Not Weekly Like...


...the US.


And it isn't just mass killings...it's husbands killing wives and mothers and wives killing their husbands and, on occasion, their children killing their parents.


This is Insanity.



See Comment Titled "107th"

M Scott Eiland's picture

Perception and reality seem to have become thoroughly detached when it comes to this question.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

But in school massacres

mmghosh's picture

white Europeans and Chinese form a significant majority.


I'm wondering whether the Chinese exam system (and its adoption by Europeans) played a part.




brutusettu's picture

Memes and news becoming almost like advertisements/how-to-tutorials for the deranged?



If the Chinese melee attacks ever got widespread reporting in the US, it's probably safe to bet someone in the US would be far more likely to go around with a katana instead of a gun or with both.




"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

All this just proves

HankP's picture

how incredibly far we are from any kind of science of the human psyche. We're not even at the arithmetic stage when it comes to understanding how people think.


I blame it all on the Internet

Tough, workaholic societies

mmghosh's picture

Three Years After. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .the "cultural sign post" was passed the last time, this happened. One of the major reasons it was eventually resolved without any loss of life other than the scum who perpetrated it was that police were eventually able to gain access to firearms kept in private gun stores and use them to turn the tide. If we had passed a few more of those cultural sign posts by then, the body count might well have been a lot higher.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Wait, so an arms race between cops & robbers is the answer?


Note I'm not recommending an assault weapons 'ban' -- I'm hoping there are smarter ways of keeping powerful weapons out of criminal hands.


But what you're suggesting is that the police should keep upgrading firepower to keep up with what's available on the streets. So when regular patrol units have swat gear and SWAT teams have Apache gunships, UAV drones and .50 cal sniper rifles with DU rounds, the streets will be safer? How does that not turn into an arms race with ever more violent shootouts exactly like the one in North Hollywood, only more dangerous?


Especially with say drug smugglers, whose profits go up in direct proportion to the costs imposed by paramilitary policing? 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Three Years is a Might Nice Long Time Considering...



...that we can't get three weeks now.


And what was so God Awful important about catching the these robbers right then...who started and caused all the killing...the macho LAPD that just stumbled on the scene and started blasting away?


The Hollywood Shootout went down as it did not because the police didn't have assault rifles but because they, the police, preferred, WANTED to bast away with the weapons they had rather than do the hard police work that requires intelligence and restraint.


Those men weren't going to go anywhere!


Try again.





Suggesting That The Police. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .should have left heavily armed men who had already shot up a bank free to wander through residential neighborhood is an example why the left will continue to lose on this issue.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

As Long As You Get To Keep Making Up Facts...Maybe So...


...no one was hurt, the robbers had taken tantalizers to calm their nerves.


Two crazy men trying to get away....started an arms race that killed everyone on both sides, police and criminals.


More insanity.



The Wiki Lays Out The Facts

M Scott Eiland's picture

Not to mention that I was living nearby at the time.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

That's a fair question, Scott,


and if the media reports that the guns belonged to the shooter's mother are true, then the answer is none.


There are supposedly 300,000,000 circulating guns in this country, and the realist in me says we'll never stuff that genie back into its bottle. But I won't belittle the efforts of those who are motivated to try, even if those efforts turn out to be quixotic and end in failure.


Twenty dead little kids, Scott. That's where our blind worship of the Second Amendment and our coddling of gun fetishists has brought us.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

So, In Other Words--A Total Ban

M Scott Eiland's picture

Meaning that the "paranoia" of the NRA, et al, is no such thing.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

You're putting words in my mouth.


I've never supported a total ban on guns, and wouldn't even if it were possible.


But as for the paranoid fantasies of Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the losers at the NRA, let me paraphrase the late, great Kurt Vonnegut: they can all take a flying f*ck at a rolling donut.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

How Else Do You Reconcile. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .the first sentence of your previous comment with the rest of it? If no mere regulation would have prevented this tragedy, what noble goal are you refusing to belittle in the second paragraph? Since no mere regulation would have prevented the twenty dead kids, what are you condemning the "worship of guns" and the Second Amendment for standing in the way of? What conclusion are we meant to come to by connecting the dots?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Just for the sake of argument you could


Regulate the responsibility of securing your weapons from people that are underage. With sanctions etc. You could mandate design changes in future weapons that regulate who might use them. From a tech standpoint I am surprised that we are not there. Also Canada has not banned guns and has much less violence.  So maybe we have a cultural problem or lack of proper education on how to deal with emotional issues. I implied that screening and treatment might be a good solution and I still think that many people do not get the treatment they need. Still screening alone is imperfect and still leaves one looking for a mountain in a molehill. I have less issue of abuse related to psychiatry issues. Hanks example is the soviet union and the US has a different culture and constitutional protections. 


In my mind the conservative position is what is a solution that has the least impact on the individual. 18000-20000 deaths a year is consider a cost to freedom vs other infringement on rights or more confiscatory taxation on policy that will have little impact? That cost is 3,000,000 lives over a hundred years for a society that theoretically will hit 475 million in 2100. 


What is the cost benefit in rights and capital to save those lives? (Not getting into the moral question.)



Hope you all have a good holiday... posting sporadically of late... Sometimes seems like a circular firing squad other times it seem like the only place real conversation happens.... Even if we have tread many of these topics over and over again....


Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

Whats to debate Darth?


Whatever the particulars of this case we have a long history in this country of mass shootings by mentally ill individuals. Most of whom acquired their weapons through legal means.  Figuring out a way to address that is the obvious starting point.



The 'disgusting" part, Darth

Jay C's picture

...to me, anyway, is the reflexive response by public figures who really ought to know better, to mass-murders by guns opining/insisting that the "fix" is to simply get even more guns in the hands of (schoolteachers? kindergartners?) - based on (and again, IMHO) the tidy, but dangerous revenge- fantasy that crazed-shooter mass killings can somehow be prevented or mitigated by "armed citizens". Even though, AFAICT, these sort of killing sprees have never been so prevented.


But as has been amply pointed out by our fellow commenters, these sort of debates rarely go anywhere or do much of anything.


PS: I can't really say what my opinion of "the comments from notyou's original link" is, as I can't see anything he's linked to. Help?

Well that really depends on what


'Figuring out a way to address that.... ' ends up being doesn't it?

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Never mind the pool.....already done

Jay C's picture

And the winner? No surprise, it's Bryan Fischer of the AFA!!

It's not like the tell-tale signs aren't there.


Seems like after nearly every mass shooting, details come out that in hindsight make it seem clear that the shooter(s) were obviously disturbed individuals who needed help or some kind of intervention. 


Maybe part of the problem is the "none of my business" attitude. We probably all know at least a couple of people who are disturbed & potentially violent, but do we actually do anything to help? Do we even know how to help? It seems like it might be high time to attempt some kind of nationwide education & outreach: how to spot a potential murder-suicide lunatic and what to do about it.


But what would that look like? I have no idea.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

We have already made the


We have already made the policy decisions to limit mental health and gun control.  Which do you think is going to be more popular to change?

"In many ways, the profile of the mass killer looks a lot like


the profile of the clinical narcissist, and that's a very bad thing. Never mind the disorder's name, narcissism is a condition defined mostly by disablingly low self-esteem, requiring the sufferer to seek almost constant recognition and reward. When the world and the people in it don't respond as they should, narcissists are not just enraged but flat-out mystified. [V Tech shooter] Cho's multimedia postmortem package exuded narcissistic exhibitionism, and the words he spoke into the camera left no doubt as to what he believed — or wanted to believe — was his own significance. "Thanks to you," he said in one of his many indictments of his victims, "I die like Jesus Christ."

A very bad thing, says the writer, presumably because clinical narcissists are quite common...an estimated 1% of the total population, presumably higher among teenagers, among "clinical" populations who've sought psychiatric help or been incarcerated, in trouble with the law, etc. And they certainly aren't all violent or even potentially violent.


One good bit of news, however, is that nearly all mass shootings have quite a long prelude. Mass shooters generally are not otherwise normal people who "just snap." Rather, nearly all of them plan their atrocities weeks or months in advance, buying firearms and ammo, studying their targets, sharing their plans with confidantes or even the internet (like the Columbine shooters), making practice runs or dry runs, recording goodbye cruel world videos, etc. The Aurora shooter built up an arsenal, the V Tech shooter calmly waited 30 days, per Virginia law, before buying a second automatic pistol. 


In roughly 75% of mass shootings, at least one person has prior knowledge of the shooter's plans, according to the post-Columbine federal study. A fascination with firearms and bombs, and a fascination with prior mass shootings & media coverage also appears to be a common factor. Above all, most mass shooters, being narcissists, are eager for the notoriety that will come with being at the center of a full-court media circus. They want to be reviled, hated, feared, but also studied, respected and remembered. They want to matter to the people in their lives and the world in general in exactly the way they had been - to their mind inexcusibly - ignored heretofore. 


There's got to be a better way to anticipate these whackos before they can carry out their plans.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Here's the problem

HankP's picture

government control of mental health evaluation is possibly the most intrusive policy that a government can implement, and with some really bad precedents. Most people who even think about it for a few minutes, given a choice between government control of mental health evaluation and government control of gun ownership would take government control of gun ownership as a far less frightening proposition. But that's not how our electorate works, they don't want either and they don't want to think about it. In fact, it's getting worse as time goes on as with the "stand your ground" laws. So these tragedies will increase in number and in size, and I don't see anything in our political system that will counter the trend.


Also, in the "recent comments" sidebar this reads as "In many ways, the profile of the mass killer looks a lot like Jordan"

I blame it all on the Internet

This is exactly how I feel.


This is exactly how I feel.  America is paralyzed.  So, we must endure this tiresome, nonsensical "debate" every couple of months and nothing will happen.  Depressing.

I'm a little more optimistic: these events lead to enormous


political pressure against politicians & police agencies who'd much rather face irritated NRA lawyers than thousands of pissed-off, terrified parents in their own districts. 


The real problem, I think, is that these events are so rare that detecting early warning signs is often the furthest thing from the minds of those people best positioned to intervene. Consider: there are thousands of times more clinical narcissists who collect guns or share violent fantasies on the web than there are actual mass murderers. 


That said, this has now become common enough that, rare or not, patterns have emerged that might not have been obvious 10 or 20 years ago. I think it's possible to put together a public outreach packet that could be effective. A short checklist of symptoms/tells to look for, and more importantly a short, easy to memorize set of intervention methods that can be shown to be effective. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


HankP's picture

much rather face irritated NRA lawyers than thousands of pissed-off, terrified parents in their own districts


That's not what I see. The NRA and right wing pro-gun people are organized, parents aren't. I think most politicians would prefer to try and bamboozle amorphous disorganized groups rather than well-organized and funded ones.


I blame it all on the Internet

Happy Piers is Taking him to the Woodshed, (a Dream Killling?)



...for a spanking.


As noted, Great Britain has 35 gun deaths per year, the US has 12,000...it is insane. We are insane.


I am just off the phone with a gun control advocate in Northern California, and he says, "This is a Dream Massacre."


Angry, I say, "What do you mean, we are having these all the time, see the killing in the Mall in Oregon, the killing of the the Chief's football player...I am so pissed!"


Calmly he tells me, "That's just black people killing black people, nobody cares, and the Mall shooting, those were adults killed just like most of the people in Aurora Theater Massacre," and he pauses...


"These were white children in a safe location, a safe little town...I bet people will now pay attention."


I am appalled by the truth he has just told me....but, I step back, and maybe this is why all my complaining has been falling on deaf ears...it hasn't yet involved white children, now it has.


Best Wishes, Traveller


brutusettu's picture

You don't work with more people that think this shooting is a good example of why more average Joe schmucks should carry handguns on their person everywhere and anywhere?




---Life isn't a video game, friendly fire is always on.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa


M Scott Eiland's picture

People will start accusing you of being some sort of wingnut conspiracy theorist.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The Flynn effect.

mmghosh's picture

As noticed yet again.

While I.Q. measures something to do with mental acuity, it’s a rubbery and imperfect metric. It’s heavily shaped by environment — potential is diminished when children suffer from parasites or lead in air pollution. As a result, the removal of lead from gasoline may have added 6 points to the I.Q. of American children, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


“The brains of the best and most experienced London taxi drivers,” Flynn writes, citing a 2000 study, have “enlarged hippocampi, which is the brain area used for navigating three-dimensional space.” In a similar way, he argues, modern life gives our brains greater exercise than when we were mostly living on isolated farms.


It’s not that our ancestors were dummies, and I confess to doubts about the Flynn Effect when I contemplate the slide from Shakespeare to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”


But Flynn argues that modern TV shows and other entertainment can be cognitively demanding, and video games like those of the Grand Theft Auto series probably require more thought than solitaire.




And given the mess we're leaving to those who follow us, they'll need every bit of it.

Closely related question


about the effect of habits on physiology.


Do any of you wear glasses?   Have you noticed a groove in the side of your head where the folding arms of the glasses rest next to the temple and ears?  Not just a groove in the flesh, but one in the bone.   Not so worried about the groove in the skull as the possibly of a corresponding ridge on the inner surface.  JKC, could such a ridge make one unable to comprehend a problem with people "free riding" on something that isn't even a benefit? 

Multiculturalism is a tough sell.

mmghosh's picture

From the obit of Ravi Shankar.

“My brother had a house in Paris,” he recalled in one interview. “To it came many Western classical musicians. These musicians all made the same point: ‘Indian music,’ they said, ‘is beautiful when we hear it with the dancers. On its own it is repetitious and monotonous.’ They talked as if Indian music were an ethnic phenomenon, just another museum piece. Even when they were being decent and kind, I was furious. And at the same time sorry for them. Indian music was so rich and varied and deep. These people hadn’t penetrated even the outer skin.”

Mr. Shankar soon found, however, that as a young, self-taught musician he had not penetrated very deeply either. In 1936 an Indian court musician, Allaudin Khan, joined the company for a year and set Mr. Shankar on a different path.


“He was the first person frank enough to tell me that I had talent but that I was wasting it — that I was going nowhere, doing nothing,” Mr. Shankar said. “Everyone else was full of praise, but he killed my ego and made me humble.”

When Mr. Shankar asked Mr. Khan to teach him, he was told that he could learn to play the sitar only after he decided to give up the worldly life he was leading and devote himself fully to his studies. In 1937 Mr. Shankar gave up dancing, sold his Western clothes and returned to India to become a musician.

“I surrendered myself to the old way,” he said, “and let me tell you, it was difficult for me to go from places like New York and Chicago to a remote village full of mosquitoes, bedbugs, lizards and snakes, with frogs croaking all night. I was just like a Western young man. But I overcame all that.”


Some great 60s reminiscences in the comments.  Concert in an airplane terminal today, anyone?


On my departure from India several days later (it may have been out of New Delhi) we were subjected to a long delay because of an airline strike and as it turned out, so was Ravi Shankar and his entourage en route to the U.S. for a concert tour. To help pass the time and ease our stress, they gave an impromptu concert there in the terminal much to the delight of all. It is one of my most cherished memories.


It's both good and bad he never played with the Chieftains


It's bad because that much talent really should have played together at some point.  Maybe Sitars and Uilleann pipes weren't meant to go together but I guess those guys could have figured something out.  It's good because at the end of the day Paddy Moloney would have claimed some obscure Irish influence on Indian music.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

There is absolutely nothing in this comment


that I can find fault with.


Still, that's a collaboration I would have loved to hear...

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Is it too much to ask for a 'Darth, you are right.'?


And I swear to God if Catchy posts some sort of stupid video clip I'll have my vengeance.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Darth after someone posts "Darth, you were right"


This sub thread gave me a great laugh


I await the revenge promised.... :) 

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

Yes. Yes, it is. nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet