Sunday, June 12, 2016

School Massacres, Mass Shootings & Gun Laws and Accessibility

In light of what is being reported as the deadliest mass shooting and attack on the LGBT community in American history: the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, I am writing this post and my thoughts on gun laws and accessibility and why things should change. **All information is sourced from Wikipedia as well as various news sites.**

This weekend (June 10th - 12th) so much has happened. On Friday, June 10th, Christina Grimmie, a Youtuber and singer, performed at a concert and afterwards was signing autographs and hugging and meeting fans when an apparently deranged "fan", 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl, came up and shot her 3 times before he wound up killing himself. She later succumbed to her injuries and passed away in the early hours of June 11th. (The Orlando Police Department has said that Loibl did not have an arrest record in Pinellas County, Florida (his home county), and did not appear to know Christina personally. A department spokesman said Loibl had traveled from another city, presumably St. Petersburg, in Florida seemingly just for the purpose of harming Christina, bringing with him two handguns, two extra magazines full of ammunition, and a hunting knife. Leading up to the murder, Loibl had developed an obsession with Christina. He underwent Lasik eye surgery, got hair transplants, and adopted a vegan diet in order to make himself more (physically) appealing to her, frequently mentioning to coworkers that he would "make her his wife" while playing her music at work. Loibl alluded to meeting Christina previously and claimed to play games with her online. This claim was later proved to be false by a source close to Christina, who stated the two had never met. After finding out through coworkers that Christina was rumored to be dating her producer, Stephen Rezza, Loibl is said to have reacted violently to the news. It is also speculated that Loibl posted "disturbing messages" regarding Christina and his delusions of a relationship with the singer. Loibl is said to have a history of violence, with two instances involving police interference. In 2013, a police report was filed when he shattered the bones of his step-mother's wrist by slamming it in a doorway during an argument. Loibl later claimed that he was fleeing from her, as she was inebriated. No charges were directly filed. In 2014, Loibl was involved in a dispute with his father. No charges were filed. It is also speculated that Loibl grew obsessed with Christina's outspoken Christian faith, posting "insane rantings" about the singer's faith online on facebook.
On Sunday, June 12th, 50 people were killed and another 53 wounded  from a mass shooting perpetrated by Omar Mateen at a nightclub for LGBT people where it was supposed to be a place where they could feel safe, accepted and loved and have a nice time.

I feel like a lot could have prevented situations like this from happening.
Such as help for those of which that live and suffer in poverty, better education for everyone, more/better medical availability, awareness and a better understanding of mental illness so that mentally ill people, especially potentially dangerous mentally ill individuals get the attention and help they need. Better family values and teaching kids and people in general to be more accepting of others that are or live differently than they are as well as more awareness and prevention of the bullying (and bullying in general) that has driven some people to kill. And though not everyone agrees that it will make a difference, I feel like even if just slightly, it might help: gun control/restrictions or better gun laws, or at least a better handle on how accessible firearms are.
The problem is definitely a social one, but it's also an issue that guns are so accessible and the wrong people, people who are dangerous and corrupt because of social issues or people who are planning a massacre or mass shooting or a terrorist attack, are able to get their hands on a gun so long as they're able to pass a basic background check.

(WARNING: image contains "gore",
click here to see the unblurred image)
These are the shooters from the
Columbine School Massacre
after they committed suicide in the
library. Columbine is regarded as one
of the deadliest high school massacres
in American History. It was,
originally supposed to be a terrorist
bombing, (meant to rival the
but their bombs failed to go off as
planned. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold
shot and murdered 12 students and a
teacher, and injured an additional
24 people, before ultimately killing 
themselves. The publicity this massacre 
got has since "inspired" other dangerous
individuals which resulted in the 


I definitely recommend the book written
about The Columbine Massacre by
Dave Cullen. It's a hefty 443 page read,
but really interesting.
Look, I get it. People want their freedoms and their rights and there's tons of people who want access to firearms because they just want them or they feel like having them is just some form of protection, but I'm not saying take everyone's guns away (even though i'm sure some of you who own guns are people that probably shouldn't have them). Keep your guns, just make it harder to obtain guns for those of which don't have them already or should not have them at all.



There are people who go through bad times and deal with bad things and it turns them into a dangerous person who is angry and wants to make other people feel the same way they do or they just want to hurt people and make people suffer like they have. There are people who just wake up one day with the urge to kill. There are people who kill because of their religious beliefs or their views on what's right and wrong.
In my honest opinion, stricter gun laws would make it harder for those people to get firearms and thus make it harder for them to act on their urges or them being mentally/emotionally unstable, or just plain dangerous.
"Well, Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Even if there are no guns, they'll still kill people".
That's a great point, and while that's true, a lack of accessible firearms would make it harder. Guns allow you the freedom to be far or near your victim/target and still hurt them. They can run away and you can still get them. It gives them the ability to take out several people at one time. They've gotten, quite honestly, much more dangerous than they used to be (see the above video). If you take that away, they have to use knives or other weapons that don't allow them the same freedom that a gun that can fire 45 rounds in 1 minute can. Someone having to use knives, unless they're ridiculously quick about it, wouldn't be able to take out or hurt as many people as they would have been able to were they to use a gun, unless there were multiple attackers on the scene. (As for explosives, I realize that would be hard to restrict with laws because people can make even just little explosives using simple chemistry and bottles
It would be a huge step in stopping shootings of any kind. I'm not saying they would stop completely. Stricter gun laws and accessibility doesn't mean there will never be another shooting ever again. It would just mean they'd be a lot less likely, and there wouldn't be a news report every month or even every week about another shooting.
After the Orlando shooting, a journalist in Pennsylvania experimentally purchased the same weapon in literally 7 minutes to show how easy it is. It took them 7 minutes to buy a weapon that can fire 45 rounds in 1 minute.

A woman in Texas, who was a firm supporter of the second amendment (having said in the past: “It would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away,” she wrote in March, “but that’s exactly what Democrats are determined to do by banning semi-automatic handguns.”) shot her to daughters to death after convening a family meeting.
"The Texas mother who fatally shot her two daughters last Friday before being fatally shot by police "convened a family meeting" in her living room and then opened fire on her two daughters, according to a press release from the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.
According to the release, Christy Sheats's daughters Taylor, 22, and Madison, 17, along with Christy's husband, Jason, ran out of the house through the front door. Jason ran to the end of the cul-de-sac, but Madison collapsed and died, the release states.
Christy followed Taylor into the street and shot her again. A witness confirms to PEOPLE that Sheats went back into the home and reloaded her gun before coming out to shoot Taylor again.
According to police, two calls were made from the home, with one coming from Taylor and the other from Madison, although all family members can be heard in each of the recordings, as Mr. Sheats, Madison and Taylor yell throughout the phone calls, and Taylor struggles to tell the operator during her call that she's been shot.
A frantic neighbor also placed a third call to police, telling the dispatcher that two people had been shot outside and a woman with a gun was coming out of the house. Staying on the phone for nearly nine minutes, the neighbor described Christy's appearance, adding that two ladies were lying in the street and a man was trying to help them, as a woman stood over them with a gun." - SOURCE // SOURCE 2
You want protection for your family? Cool, if you really insist on it, you do it. However, keep it in a safe or somewhere that you know not just anyone can get to it so it won't be misused, but if you are someone who is aggressive, or gets super heated up in an argument or you're someone who thinks violence of any kind is a good answer for anything, having a gun ready and handy might not be the best thing for you. If that's still something you insist on having, get your mental and emotional stability in check before doing so.

Christy had a history of mental illness,
"Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office had been to Sheats's home "for previous altercations" involving her "mental crisis," A neighbor who witnessed the shooting and wanted to remain anonymous tells PEOPLE, "My parents witnessed her being put into an ambulance" several years ago. The neighbor said Sheats was a recluse: "She never came out of the house," she says.
Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office had responded to 14 calls for service at the home since January of 2012."
This woman wanted protection, so she had it on hand and at the ready probably in her purse or near her person, and in a moment of emotional and mental instability (something she had a history of, and something that should have prevented her from access to the weapon in the first place), she used her family's "protection" (a five shot, .38-caliber handgun, which her husband said had been passed down by her great grandfather to "protect her family") to murder her children.
I'm not saying take guns away, I am saying be responsible about who has access to them and especially if you already own one.
Guns don't kill people, people kill people using the guns that the right laws and precautions would not have allowed the wrong people to have access to.

Adam Lanza killed his mother and the people at Newtown Elementary using his mothers gun collection. It was that easy for him to access a gun because she decided to collect them and keep them in a place that made them easily accessible
If you really insist on being able to collect or own firearms or weapons of any kind, you should keep them locked up or keep the ammunition and such separated and locked up.
I've been reading about School Massacres lately and watching Zero Hour (I wish there were more episodes. It's a very fascinating show) and it's just sad. It's sad that the shooters did these things. It's sad that people had to die. It's sad that there's families who are suffering because of those losses. It's just sad. It's also sad that none of the shootings, past or present, have really pushed anybody in the government to alter the gun laws and potentially save lives.
Not only would better laws and changing how accessible firearms are save lives, but so would paying attention and doing something about social issues that effect people in a such a negative way that it would eventually drive them to do something harmful or paying attention to a person's mental health. For example: Elliot Rodger. (Read his "manifesto" here.)
He was someone with mental issues, and he was an aggressive individual towards those who did not give him the attention (and sex) that he felt he was entitled to have (Although he said that he was unable to make friends, acquaintances said that he rebuffed their attempts to be friendly.)
According to his family's attorney and a family friend, Rodger had seen multiple therapists since he was eight years old and while he was a student at SBCC. The lawyer said that Rodger was "receiving psychiatric treatment", but Rodger was never formally diagnosed with a mental illness. A psychiatrist had prescribed him anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but he refused to take it.  According to Rodger's mother, he was diagnosed as having high-functioning Asperger syndrome, but a formal medical diagnosis of the disorder was not made. After turning 18, Rodger began rejecting the mental health care that his family provided, and he became increasingly isolated. 
In July 2011, Rodger followed a couple he was jealous of out of a Starbucks in Goleta and threw coffee on them. In a later incident, he splashed his latte on two girls sitting at a bus stop in Isla Vista for not paying attention to him.In July 2012, Rodger purchased a super soaker, filled it with orange juice, and used it to spray a group playing kickball at Girsh Park.
Referencing an incident that occurred on July 20, 2013, Rodger wrote that he tried to shove girls at a party over a ten-foot ledge after being mocked but failed, and instead other boys pushed him over it. He said that he "felt a snap in his ankle, followed by a stinging pain" and "tried to get away from there as fast as he could". Realizing that he left his sunglasses at the party, Rodger returned to retrieve them but the "same people he had tangled with before began mocking him and calling him names, then dragged him into the driveway to beat him up". One of Rodger's neighbors said that "he saw Rodger come home, crying" and said that Rodger claimed that he was going to kill the men involved, and kill himself. Rodger told investigating officers that he had been assaulted, but they determined that he might have been the aggressor. He wrote in his manifesto that the incident was the final trigger for his planning of the attack. 
In September 2012, Rodger visited a shooting range to train himself in firing handguns. In November 2012, he purchased his first handgun, a Glock 34 pistol, in Goleta, after doing research on handguns. As documented in his manifesto, he assessed the Glock 34 as "an efficient and highly accurate weapon."
In spring of 2013, Rodger bought two additional handguns, both SIG Sauer P226 pistols, writing that they were "of a much higher quality than the Glock" and "a lot more efficient". He purchased the weapons in Oxnard and Burbank.
According to his manifesto, Rodger had saved $5,000 of pocket money, which was given to him by his parents and grandmothers, in order to purchase the weapons and supplies that he needed for the attacks. Gun law experts have said that there was nothing in his known history that prevented him from making legal firearm purchases.
If they had paid attention to his past social incidents and conflicts and past issues with his mental health, perhaps something could have been different and he wouldn't have been able to get the weapons that he did, which is why I feel that those things should matter a great deal when it comes to who has access to firearms.

Omar Mateen
The Orlando Nightclub Shooting's mass shooter Omar Mateen is another example of why people need to pay more attention, especially when it comes to people who have a bad history, or even those of which that have an interest or a connection to terrorist groups. **Please note: all information presented below is that of which I have collected from wikipedia and news articles and is all I have to go by, if any of it is incorrect, please let me know**
(At approximately 2:00 a.m. on June 12, 2016, Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and began shooting. Mateen took hostages after police arrived and engaged in a shootout with him. At approximately 5:00 a.m. police shot and killed Mateen, ending the attack. The attack was the deadliest terrorism-related mass shooting in United States history, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001. It's being said that he had gone to Pulse at least a dozen times maybe even as far back as 3 years prior and according to the Orlando Sentinel"Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent" and "We didn't really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times. He told us he had a wife and child." One Pulse regular even stated that he had recognized Mateen from dating apps like Grindr, Cord Cedeno told NBC. "I recognized him from one of the apps but I instantly blocked him because he was very creepy in his messages." (SOURCE)
Further investigation shows he used a few dating apps (Grindr, Adam4Adam, and Jack'd) and had shown romantic interest towards a past classmate at a police academy (who said he had thought Mateen was gay, also saying that Mateen was socially awkward and that no one seemed to like him) in 2006, and that they had spent time together at gay bars a few times.
Prior to this mass shooting, however, he and his wife had, as recently as April, scouted Walt Disney World as a potential target, possibly because Downtown Disney, or Disney Springs, does not have security or bag checks before entry (IMO, that is a huge risk) whereas Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot all have metal detectors at their entrance as well as random selection for screenings.)
"Following the nightclub attack, Mateen's ex-wife told media outlets that during their 4 month long marriage, Mateen was mentally unstable, and would beat her and keep her completely separated from her family. He reportedly remarried and had a three-year-old son. His first wife also claimed that he was bipolar and had a history with steroids."
Mateen became a person of interest to the FBI in 2013 and 2014. The 2013 investigation was opened after Mateen made "inflammatory" comments to co-workers and the 2014 investigation was opened after Mateen was linked to Moner Mohammad Abu Salha, an American radical who traveled to Syria and committed a suicide bombing there. Mateen was interviewed three times in connection with the investigations, which were both closed after producing nothing that appeared to warrant further investigation.
U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the Department of Homeland Security informed him that Mateen had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (According to unnamed law enforcement sources,  At 2:22 a.m., he made a 911 call in which he pledged allegiance to ISIL and also referenced Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombers.). The Washington Post reported that Seddique Mateen advocated "support for the Afghan Taliban", which is known for terrorist acts against civilians and for the oppression of women. Seddique Mir Mateen said of his son's actions, "This had nothing to do with religion." He was quoted as saying that he had seen his son get angry after witnessing a gay couple kiss in front of his family at a festival marketplace in Miami months prior to the attack, which he suggested might be a motivating factor. 
All of this still wasn't enough to make it so he couldn't have access to guns? (In regards to him being or not being religious, is it at all possible that he might have shown interest or connection to ISIS or ISIL because of what he was against and what he thought was right and wrong? Or are they strictly an extremist religious group? And if they are strictly a religious group, does one actually have to be religious themselves to agree and stand and pledge allegiance with them and the things they do?)
In the end, whether he was religious or not, I think it's pretty clear that this was a hate crime against the LGBT community. (An old high school friend and coworker has said that a number of Mateen's coworkers at Treasure Coast Square were gay and he apparently had no obvious conflicts with them. I think the keyword in that statement is obvious. No obvious conflicts doesn't mean there were no conflicts at all. After-all, please note the "inflammatory" comments he was reported to have made in 2013 towards co-workers.)



1 comment:

  1. Gun control is a complicated issue for me. I grew up in a house that had guns. My father and older sister hunted on a regular basis. When I was in kindergarten my father took me out and had me shoot skeet… the bruise on my shoulder from the kick back taught me to never even think about touching his guns. He taught all of us the importance of always treating any gun like it was loaded. So I feel like gun ownership is something that can be done safely and is useful for purposes like hunting.
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