The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [2ndAmendment]
2017-10-04 10:04 by Karl Denninger
in 2ndAmendment , 1701 references
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Seriously.  God does sometimes bless us even when we have seen what is unspeakable evil in our midst, and He did this last weekend.

I'm talking about Vegas, of course.

We're learning more but there's much being withheld -- intentionally so.  If you've been paying attention to the "press conferences" you've detected that the LEOs out there are quite-intentionally not telling us more than they are talking about and they're worried about something too.  We'll eventually find out what the "something" is, and I bet we won't like it one bit.

But I want to focus on some facts that ought to give you a great deal of pause before rushing to ban something -- guns, slide-fire stocks, etc being the screamfest targets this time around from certain political factions that always go down this road.

Let me be clear: The lack of such bans saved hundreds of lives.

Yes, I mean that: Hundreds of people are alive today because we did not previously ban such things.

Let me explain.

First, it appears that the rifles were all fitted with bump stocks.  A bump stock is a device that has a spring in it, basically, so that when you use muscle power to "load" the spring the recoil of the weapon causes your finger (which presses the trigger) to move forward and then back again, thus firing the gun rapidly.  It's not a machine gun because your finger presses the trigger once for each round that goes off.  The salient feature focused on is the more-rapid fire, however, the price for such more-rapid fire is much worse accuracy.  In this particular case the lack of accuracy didn't matter because he was shooting into a mass of people roughly the size of a city block, so any round put into a huge area was likely to hit someone.  However, in virtually any other case the use of such a device would lead to a much lower hit rate.  In other words in the general case these devices make a firearm less lethal rather than more-so (only hits count, of course.)

Second, the shooter appears to (from the pictures that have gotten out) chosen very-high-capacity aftermarket magazines.  Many people want to ban such magazines.  That's dumb; these magazines undoubtedly saved many lives in this instance.  Why?  Because they're unreliable, something the shooter obviously didn't know.  It's quite-clear that he never practiced with these magazines or he would have known that they don't work well; they tend to jam a lot, and they did.  This explains the long pauses in his shooting (he apparently tried to clear the jams, failed, and then switched to another gun.)  The shooter's decision to use these unreliable pieces of junk probably saved dozens of lives.  In addition he selected weapons that are, in relative terms, less effective at the long range he was shooting, which further showed that he was both inexperienced and unpracticed.  Are you sure you want to ban things that make a mass-murderer less effective?

Third, this guy undertook a lot of planning.  There are reports the hotel was sold out for weeks prior to the event; that makes sense, as it was literally across the street from the festival.  That in turn means he knew exactly what he intended to do and arranged for that room well in advance.  He booked the room using his girlfriend's name, maybe to prevent the casino's computer from flagging his stay and comping him, as he was a known high-value gambler in Vegas (ed: It has now been reported that the room was comp'd.) Finally, he also placed cameras both in the room and in the hallway so he would know if law enforcement was coming upon his position once he started shooting.

Fourth, this guy was a typical loser gunman.  We know this because when challenged (a cop and security guard came down the hall to try to interdict him fairly early on) he emptied a mag through the door at them, having detected them in the hallway outside.  The guard was shot in the leg but not seriously hurt.  Then the gunman killed himself.  In this case the shooter apparently had previously driven screws into the doorframe to prevent a hotel employee with a keycard or similar from getting in without using extraordinary means.

Fifth, he obviously tried to set up his girlfriend with a nice life prior to his act, as we know he wired 100 large to the Philippines prior to doing it.  100 large in many places in the Philippines (ex Manila, for example) is a lot of money.  She's now in deep **** and for good cause; we'll eventually find out if she knew anything about the assault, and it's odds on she did simply because of the amount of planning he had to have engaged in and the amount of time involved.  Never mind the 100 large wire transfer.

Sixth, and most-importantly, you should thank God for guns.  I know that sounds crass, but it's true.  This guy had ammonium nitrate in his car.  He had no legitimate reason to have it (it's a fertilizer) but one very bad illegitimate reason -- it can be used to make a very nasty bomb (think Oklahoma City.)  In addition he apparently had a fairly large amount of Tannerite, which is a commonly-used "exploding target" material.  It is almost impossible to make explode except by shooting it, which is why it's legal to buy and possess by ordinary people, since it's virtually worthless for bomb-making in general.  However, this guy was also a licensed pilot and owned at least one light aircraft and, by some reports, two (although there are questions as to whether he still had them.) Had he chosen instead of guns to use an aircraft and made a bomb with said material, which he had in his possession, flying it into the open-air crowd on purpose the body count would have been in the hundreds dead and many, many more injured.  There is literally nothing that could have been done to interdict him had he suddenly veered off and committed this act with his plane, so in point of fact that he was drawn to the "fascination" factor with guns saved a huge number of lives -- probably hundreds.  It sounds crazy but it's utterly true folks.

There is some chatter about the shooter recently being prescribed Valium.  There may or may not be a connection here, but it's at least somewhat unlikely simply because of the long lead time necessary to plan this assault and the obvious amount of thinking and planning that went into it.  However, the potential link to pharmaceuticals should not be discounted until it is fully-explored.  SSRIs, in particular, have a long history of potentiating homicidal rage monster attacks and it's entirely possible that they played a role here, although at this point there's insufficient evidence to consider that as likely.

We all want answers and I suspect we'll eventually get at least some of them -- there is much more to this than originally meets the eye, that much I'm sure of.  What we must do, however, is cut the crap on the politicization of events like this.

The facts are that we know from repeated experience when these events happen the fastest way to stop them is for anyone to offer immediate armed resistance, no matter how effective or outmatched, as the odds are overwhelming that as soon as anyone shoots back with anything the shooter usually commits suicide rather than engage in an actual armed battle.  We saw this in the Clackamas mall shooting where an armed civilian with a handgun caused a rifle-toting nutjob to withdraw into a hallway and cap himself and the civilian didn't even have to fire; the mere presence of armed resistance making an appearance was enough.  It's a repeating pattern; these people are mentally incapable of processing the fact that bullets can travel in more than one direction, possibly because their deluded state has led them to believe "they're better" or "the only ones who can deal death" and as soon as that illusion is shattered by either a threat of or actual rounds coming their way they kill themselves.

This shooter had over an hour before SWAT showed up but again I remind you that it appears he capped himself as soon as an ordinary cop and hotel security dude came down the hall.  On the evidence the facts are clear: The more people who can and do direct fire and do so quickly, no matter how out-matched, at such a nutjob the fewer victims wind up being shot.  This should and in fact must inform our response, such as it is, to these sorts of events.  SWAT is very useful in the event of a barricaded hostage-holding gunman but in the case where someone is actively shooting like this the first and foremost response priority is to get any sort of fire going back in the shooter's direction RIGHT NOW, even if it's non-lethal ordnance such as tear gas, bean bag or rubber rounds.  At worst you'll force him to keep his head down (which prevents him from shooting accurately) and most of the time he'll kill himself as soon as any sort of resistance is offered, ending the assault.

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