Friday, June 29, 2018

Maryland Newsroom Shooting

     It didn't happen out of the blue; the shooter had a long-running grudge against the newspaper (since a 2012 report on a harassment suit against him) and when discussing filing a restraining order, one of the staff had told the paper's attorneys that "this is a guy who will shoot us."

     He used a shotgun, not an "assault weapon."  He was almost certainly legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

     Maryland's gun laws are strict; the Giffords Law Center seems to have taken over from the Brady people on handing out letter grades and they rate Maryland A-, just like New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and a few other states.

     But the paper never filed a restraining order; the killer was able to walk right up to what are described as the "glass doors" of the newsroom with a longarm and shoot them to smithereens, which suggests that physical security was inadequate.

     Blame the gun?  Shotguns are one of the most widely-owned and least-expensive firearms in the United States.

     Blame the law?  Maryland has nearly every law gun-controllers might want.  It didn't stop him.

     Blame the paper?  --True, they made an inadequate response to a known threat -- but newsrooms deal with angry people bearing grudges every week, if not daily.  It's been a part of the "background noise" of the news business for decades and winnowing the real threats from the idly irked or harmlessly loony is difficult if not impossible.*

     Blame the NRA?  They didn't put the shotgun in his hand; and if he was indeed prohibited from owning guns as a result of his criminal history or a restraining order, that's a law the NRA is happy to see enforced.

     I don't have any easy answers and I'm not about to test the ire of concerned people by offering "thoughts and prayers."  This is an outrage; murders are always an outrage, always a tragedy.  I don't think there are any nice, neat ways to prevent them.

     We can expect the usual arguments to be thrown back and forth.
* My workplace puts a greater emphasis on security than many others in the news business -- but we've got bigger budgets.  The dreadful calculus is that you get as much of the security your bosses think you need as your employer can afford.


Paul said...

Amen sister. Hopefully it will have a short arc as most stories that involve minions of the left going off are not news.

RandyGC said...

Later reports indicate that the goblin barricaded the back door from the outside, denying the only available exit to those inside.

When you have someone going to those lengths it becomes even harder to find easy answers. (by easy, something practical to implement that someone hasn't already tried)

Windy Wilson said...

I heard a rumor on national media that the murderer made a single tweet against the paper for some anti-Trump report. It remains to be seen if this is true or not, and if true, if it gives the story legs.

Roberta X said...

Way off-base, Windy; he had a grudge going against the paper since they ran a story back in 2012 on a harassment suit against him.

pigpen51 said...

There sadly but obviously are never going to be any easy answers for either school shootings nor the type of shootings that we saw at the newspaper. Certainly if it were easy, it would have been done already, one would hope.
For those who believe the Biblical account to be true, mankind has been killing each other since the day of Cain and Abel. And nothing has happened to change the inner heart of people. For those who don't believe that the Bible account is to be believed, it is obvious that laws alone won't change the fact that both hate and mental illness are always present in society, and are factors that can't be legislated out of existence.
I have had a strong sense as an individual it is to my benefit, as well as those around me, to get further training in first aid beyond the basic type that I have. In fact, here in Michigan, I wish that the training for our CCW permits, which mandate 4 hours of classroom, and 4 hours of range time, would forgo 2 hours of the range time in favor of 2 hours of first aid.
The range time that we had was honestly pretty much worthless, unless you had never seen any kind of firearm at all. I might have fired 25 rounds of .22 caliber from a Ruger Semi Auto of some kind, without scoring. There were just too many students to get through the training to spend on any individual.
Unless laws are changed to allow for the carry of a firearm by people in any place they choose, with no more gun free zones, I suspect that more lives could be saved by advanced first aid training than by armed civilians.
Of course I can agree with your assessment completely about the thoughts and prayers thing. After a while, it begins to sound so trite and demeaning, even as you say it. Certainly we feel bad for those who lose a loved one, and are sorry that they have their lives cut short, often in their prime. But for me, a middle aged man living in Michigan, to say my thoughts and prayers are with someone who has lost their child who lives in Florida or Maryland, and think that helps them deal with that loss in any way, is condescending and self centered.
Is there a solution? I don't even pretend to know. Every side likes to think that the only solution is the one that is put forth by their side. I imagine that any solution, if found, will be more of a combination of many different things.