U.N.C. Charlotte Student Couldn’t Run So He Tackled the Gunman – The New York Times

By David Perlmutt and Julie Turkewitz

“CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In an alert that flashed across computer and phone screens all over campus, the instructions were spare but urgent: “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately.”

But Riley Howell could neither run nor hide. The gunman was in his classroom. So, the authorities said, he charged at the gunman, who had already fired several rounds, and pinned him down until police officers arrived.”

Gun Smoke and Mirrors – by Andrew Rosenthal – NYT

“As I watched President Trump blathering to a group of governors on Monday about

throwing people who have not committed a crime into mental hospitals to prevent mass shootings at schools, I recalled a country where I once lived in which the government had that power — the Soviet Union.

From the mid-1960s until the fall of Soviet Communism, the Kremlin employed the notion of “sluggish schizophrenia” — dreamed up by the Mengele-like psychiatrist Andrei Snezhnevsky — to imprison people on the ground that they were on their way to becoming insane.

Rejected by most civilized nations as a transparent fraud, sluggish schizophrenia was used against dissidents and other citizens who simply dared to seek exit visas. When I worked in Moscow as a reporter in the mid-1980s, I knew an Estonian man who was committed twice for refusing to enter the Red Army during the war in Afghanistan, an act of sanity. It was a literal Catch-22.

Now comes Trump, urging the nation’s governors to return to a time when he said the states could “nab” people and throw them in a padded room because “something was off.”

In fact, the law has required court-ratified findings of actual mental illness for involuntary commitment since around 1881, said Dr. Paul Appelbaum, a professor at Columbia University’s medical school. “It was never the case that people could be involuntary committed for being a little odd, or even for that matter thought to be dangerous to other people unless they had evidence of mental illness,” he said.”

via Gun Smoke and Mirrors – The New York Times

Opinion | How to Reduce Shootings – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

Inevitably, predictably, fatefully, another mass shooting breaks our hearts. This time, it was a school shooting in Florida on Wednesday that left at least 17 dead at the hands of 19-year-old gunman and his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.

But what is perhaps most heartbreaking of all is that they shouldn’t be shocking. People all over the world become furious and try to harm others, but only in the United States do we suffer such mass shootings so regularly; only in the United States do we lose one person every 15 minutes to gun violence.

So let’s not just mourn the dead, let’s not just lower flags and make somber speeches. Let’s also learn lessons from these tragedies, so that there can be fewer of them. In particular, I suggest that we try a new approach to reducing gun violence — a public health strategy. These graphics and much of this text are from a visual essay I did in November after a church shooting in Texas; sadly, the material will continue to be relevant until we not only grieve but also act.

via Opinion | How to Reduce Shootings – The New York Times

The Truth About the Florida School Shooting – by David Leonhardt – NYT

It’s hard to imagine a worse distinction for a country to hold. A recent study in the journal Health Affairs concluded that the United States has become “the most dangerous of wealthy nations for a child to be born into.”

via The Truth About the Florida School Shooting – The New York Times

Death Toll Is at 17 and Could Rise in Shooting – The New York Times

PARKLAND, Fla. — A heavily armed young man barged into his former high school about an hour northwest of Miami on Wednesday, opening fire on terrified students and teachers and leaving a death toll of 17 that could rise even higher, the authorities said.

Students huddled in horror in their classrooms, with some of them training their cellphones on the carnage, capturing sprawled bodies, screams and gunfire that began with a few shots and then continued with more and more. The dead included students and adults, some of whom were shot outside the school and others inside the sprawling three-story building.

The gunman, armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, was identified as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, the authorities said. He began his shooting rampage outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in this suburban neighborhood shortly before dismissal time around 2:40 p.m. He then made his way inside and proceeded down hallways he knew well, firing at students and teachers who were scurrying for cover, the authorities said.

“Oh my God! Oh my God!” one student yelled over and over in one video circulating on social media, as more than 40 gunshots boomed in the background.

via Death Toll Is at 17 and Could Rise in Shooting – The New York Times

There are excellent comments after this NYT piece. Here is one I chose to repond to.

Katherine

St Louis 16 hours ago

If Sandy Hook didn’t lead to gun control reform, nothing will.

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Dear Katherine, I hope and believe that you are wrong, that nothing can be done about creating sensible gun control in the US. We have to oppose in elections the politicians who are well paid water carriers for the NRA, and the gun industry they choose to represent. This year, 2018, there will be a major mid-term election in November, and it is a good year to identify political action organizations or political candidates that will bring about sensible gun control.

In parts of the world where there has been strong gun control for a long time, these mass shootings are extremely rare. That would be most of the rest of the world. The United States is an outlier, in having a gun violence epidemic.

Here is an important story. “In 1996, Australia Enacted Strict Gun Laws. It Hasn’t Had a Mass Shooting Since.” by Will Oremus, Slate.com The political effort I refer to will cost us some time and money, but we owe it to the innocent casualties of these cruel and unnecessary mass shooting, to fight this fight, no matter how long it takes. I pledge $100. to this cause, for this election. But if all you can afford is $5.00, or just to make phone calls, it is time for the public to rise up, and insist on a “well regulated” militia.

x

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer – The New York Times

When the world looks at the United States, it sees a land of exceptions: a time-tested if noisy democracy, a crusader in foreign policy, an exporter of beloved music and film.

But there is one quirk that consistently puzzles America’s fans and critics alike. Why, they ask, does it experience so many mass shootings?

Perhaps, some speculate, it is because American society is unusually violent. Or its racial divisions have frayed the bonds of society. Or its citizens lack proper mental care under a health care system that draws frequent derision abroad.

These explanations share one thing in common: Though seemingly sensible, all have been debunked by research on shootings elsewhere in the world. Instead, an ever-growing body of research consistently reaches the same conclusion.

The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.

via What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer – The New York Times

A Trump Travel Ban We’ve Seen Before – The New York Times

“The central question to ask about President Trump’s latest travel ban, which he issued on Sunday, is: Will it make Americans safer?The answer, as best as anyone can tell based on publicly available information, is no.Starting Oct. 18, the United States will permanently bar entry to most citizens of seven countries — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Certain citizens from Iraq and Venezuela will face restrictions and heightened scrutiny.

Mr. Trump justified these restrictions — which target countries that either failed or refused to meet new vetting standards — by saying he was acting “to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people.” Americans should be skeptical. While it may appear more modulated, Sunday’s proclamation is a direct descendant of a central plank of Mr. Trump’s campaign — his call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States, which he made in 2015, and which remained on his campaign website as late as May.”

 

Yes, and here is a comment I really liked.

jimbo

Guilderland, NY 4 hours ago

If the goal of not allowing people from certain countries from entering the US is to lower the risk to as close to zero as possible, I ask why we are spending so much time on changing existing policy when almost all of the terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11 have been committed by American citizens and not by recent immigrants or visitors to the US. If it’s risk you want to avoid, why are people allowed to obtain guns here when hundreds of times more people are killed by guns in the US by US citizens than all terrorist activity combined? Why is that far greater risk acceptable? Why no concern whatsoever when individuals shoot up a church or place of business or commit suicide or kill their spouse/ girlfriend, or people praying in a church? Why does that violence not trigger a desire to ban activity to lower the risk to as near zero as possible? Why not address the effort to maximum benefit? In the words of Dylan, ” How many deaths does it take til you know that too many people have died?”

Facebook Groups Act as Weapons Bazaars for Militias – The New York Times

“A terrorist hoping to buy an antiaircraft weapon in recent years needed to look no further than Facebook, which has been hosting sprawling online arms bazaars, offering weapons ranging from handguns and grenades to heavy machine guns and guided missiles.The Facebook posts suggest evidence of large-scale efforts to sell military weapons coveted by terrorists and militants. The weapons include many distributed by the United States to security forces and their proxies in the Middle East. These online bazaars, which violate Facebook’s recent ban on the private sales of weapons, have been appearing in regions where the Islamic State has its strongest presence.”

Source: Facebook Groups Act as Weapons Bazaars for Militias – The New York Times