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Friday, June 6, 2014

Aaron Ybarra, Alleged Seattle Pacific University Shooter, Appears In Court

Posted by on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 4:18 PM


Aaron Ybarra told detectives that he had been "planning a mass shooting and wanted to kill as many people as possible before killing himself," according to court filings by Seattle police.

His eyes downcast, a dark-haired Ybarra made a brief appearance in court this afternoon, shackled and wearing a forest-green "suicide smock" designed to prevent him from injuring himself. A portion of a tattoo on his back peeked out, mostly covered by the smock, as he faced King County Judge Mark C. Chow.

When a prosecutor announced charges of one count each of first degree assault and first degree murder—which she said was pre-meditated and involved a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison without parole—Ybarra didn't visibly react. His public defender, Ramona Brandes, did not contest a move to deny bail. Ybarra let himself be guided by two court security personnel to a stand where he signed papers, before being returned to the jail.

Brandes then emerged into the cramped hallway outside. She cast her client in a deeply sympathetic light, explaining that he "suffers from significant and longstanding mental health issues including delusions that were in play during yesterday's tragedy." She said he'd been treated for these issues in the past, though she hadn't seen his medical records yet. And she had no information about why Ybarra wound up at Seattle Pacific University yesterday with a shotgun. One wonders, too, how the question of pre-meditation will be reconciled with claims that he was deluded.

But to the victims, Brandes said, Ybarra "is sorry for their pain." In the midst of his delusions yesterday—she did not explain what those delusions entailed—"he mentioned specifically hearing a female cry out." I asked her to elaborate. "He heard her suffering and that brought him to awareness," Brandes said. She believes that victim was shot in the torso and is now intubated and unconscious at Harborview Medical Center. (Reportedly after five hours of surgery.)

I asked her to describe her conversation with her client. He was "placid... stunned, almost," Brandes said. "Accepting of what he's facing... and [that] there will be significant consequences."

Then Brandes, like Mayor Ed Murray, pointed to the need for action. "Until we have universal background checks," Brandes said, "we're going to continue to have weapons in the hands of the mentally ill." For good measure, she slammed how America treats the mentally ill, calling it "a travesty."

Ybarra is scheduled to be arraigned on June 10. Until then, he'll remain at the King County jail in downtown Seattle. Brandes says he remains on suicide watch, meaning he's checked on every fifteen minutes on the jail's seventh floor, apart from other inmates.

"We are so very shocked and sad over yesterday's shootings at SPU," Ybarra's family said in a statement today. "We are crushed at the amount of pain caused to so many people. To the victims and their families, our prayers are with you."

 

Comments (74) RSS

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1 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
2
Initiative 594 will require background checks in WA state. As far as publicity, the most important factor is the alleged shooter's mental instability,not his desire for publicity. It was the publicity to previous shootings that had SPU put an emergency reaction plan into place - likely saving a number of lives.
Posted by pat L on June 6, 2014 at 4:46 PM · Report this
3
Wait, I thought he was a crazed, sexist, homophobic white kid?
Posted by Whiter shade of pale on June 6, 2014 at 4:48 PM · Report this
ferret 4
@1 Yes, typed words on the your screen will cause the next mass shooting, but easy access for semi automatic weapons with large capacity ammunition clips to young males with mental health problems, will have nothing to do with the next mass shooting..
Posted by ferret http://https://twitter.com/#!/okojo on June 6, 2014 at 4:50 PM · Report this
5 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
delirian 6
@1: If anything, the reporting on this mass shooting will probably discourage future shooters. It clearly didn't go as the shooter planned. He didn't end up with glory. He ended up in a suicide smock feeling bad for murdering a man and hurting a woman, and sheepishly going through the court procedures that are probably going to see him incarcerated for the majority of his life. If you think other potential mass shooters are looking at this coverage and saying "I want to go out like him, my hero", I think you are confused.
Posted by delirian on June 6, 2014 at 4:56 PM · Report this
7
@1, I like this new claim that news stories are the reason why the shootings keep happening. They blamed comic books, and dungeons and dragons, and violent video games. And now they've moved on to blaming reporters presenting the facts.

I wonder what loony bullshit they'll blame next.
Posted by GermanSausage on June 6, 2014 at 4:58 PM · Report this
ferret 8
@4 Many of these shooters are mentally ill, many like Elliot Rodger and Seung Hui Cho had a combination of a personality disorder and mental illness. Describing the events and the court hearing is journalism 101.

The mentally ill don't need a motive, they just need easy access to firearms... words and video games don't cause mass shootings and mass killings of innocent people, firearms do that trick..
Posted by ferret http://https://twitter.com/#!/okojo on June 6, 2014 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 9
@5

Maybe is this were 1978 then like Rupert Pumpkin or Lee Harvey Oswald, if you were not made famous by mass media, you hijack it with an attack on the mainstream or one of its icons.

But it is 2014, and now both the sane and insane can blog, and make YouTubes and post comments and tweets.

As movies theaters close that is all there is to fame today. Maybe these shooters aren't so much out of their minds as anachronists.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on June 6, 2014 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 10
#9

That's Pupkin of course...no thanks to auto spell check.

Tablets are simply great for everything except text manipulation, which is also the most important activity on the web. I will get a Surface, when they fall to $49 bucks...
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on June 6, 2014 at 5:20 PM · Report this
Fnarf 11
What @8 said. Mental illness is hard, access to unlimited guns is easy. Too easy.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on June 6, 2014 at 5:36 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 12
@6
They want fame, that's it. That's what motivated the Newtown shooter. Infamy is a form of fame. Notice how these guys almost always kill themselves? That's because they were planning suicide but didn't want to die nameless. Thanks to douche bags in the media, like Ansel, they get their wish.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 5:42 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 13
@8
If guns are to blame for this, then pressure cookers are to blame for the Boston Bombing.
And as I said, you can report on the court details without naming the defendant or showing his picture, which is often what they want. They want to be feared and feel powerful, and Ansel gave him his wish.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 5:46 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 14
@7
But blaming an inanimate object (a gun) does make sense. Okay...
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 15
There was story on CNN that said Ybarra had asked to be committed at some point, but that request was declined, because he was not deemed to be dangerous. It's sad if a guy is crying out for help, and the mental health system turns its back on him.
Posted by Gern Blanston on June 6, 2014 at 5:55 PM · Report this
seandr 16
@delirian: If anything, the reporting on this mass shooting will probably discourage future shooters.

This is the same line of shit-for-brains reasoning as the idea that the way to prevent shootings is to put more guns in people's hands. If anything, the reporting on this mass shooting will cause future shooters to be better prepared so as to increase the kill count and die in the end.

@collectivism_sucks: It's guns and fame, not guns or fame.
Posted by seandr on June 6, 2014 at 5:59 PM · Report this
17
@1,5,12,13, and 14
you are a moron.
Posted by theonemichael on June 6, 2014 at 6:03 PM · Report this
18
News flash: Not everyone who kills people is looking to get famous. They are looking to kill people. For revenge, for the thrill, because they are disgusted with humanity, because they think they are righteous crusaders... the list goes on. Giving the public information about the person who lost their shit and tried to kill a bunch of people is not encouraging other people to kill, it is informing the public. Also, since we have this information, we have been able to see a trend in the last few mass shootings, a trend of otherwise unassuming young men who have a history of mental illness and access to firearms "snapping" and deciding that today is a good day to die, and take as many people down with them as possible. There are so many more complex motivations for murder than fame...
Posted by Penny3021 on June 6, 2014 at 6:20 PM · Report this
19
And while we're on the subject of guns. You are right, guns don't kill people, people do. But you know what? In most of these cases, mentally ill people have killed lots of people with guns. Maybe we should take a second and think about this. If we know that there is a person who has become mentally unstable for one reason or another and we realize that the likelihood that this person may lash out violently is fairly high, shouldn't we be able to say that maybe they shouldn't have a gun license? I mean, if you have a drivers license and then suddenly develop a condition that makes it dangerous for you to drive, (like blindness) your license is suspended. If someone repeatedly seeks help for mental problems that make them want to be violent, maybe they shouldn't be allowed to have a gun.
Posted by Penny3021 on June 6, 2014 at 6:32 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 20
@19

How would your proposed system work exactly?

Mental Health professionals are already required to report crimes, threats, etc.

Under your system would people receiving Mental Health treatment have to register with a State or Federal agency?

There's currently much talk and wringing of hands over mental health, but I have yet to see anyone propose an actual solution which can be implemented.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on June 6, 2014 at 6:46 PM · Report this
21
Why do we have public defenders for people who FOR SURE did it?!
Posted by perry13 on June 6, 2014 at 7:48 PM · Report this
22
Why do we have tax-payer-funded public defenders for people who FOR SURE did it?!
Posted by perry13 on June 6, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 23
@ 13, that comparison is a loser. Why? Because guns are designed to harm, but pressure cookers (and kitchen knives, and cars, and household cleaners, and many other things used to kill) are not. Those things have to be used in a way flr which they were not designed to hurt and kill. It's why most of those things are poor weapons compared to guns. They can do the job, but not as well as guns. That's why no one is calling for the control of pressure cookers.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 24
@ 21/22, don't be stupid.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM · Report this
25
Guys. Guys. I have the answer that will solve all of these shootings. So, like, good guys with guns, right? We need them. But, wait, think about it. What if... What if a good guy with, uhm, a Katanananana! I say we vote for legislation that puts CS's sweet sword and LARPING skillz to work!

And then, like, we could give TCL another gun and, like, they could fight crime too. They'll be our awesome ultra skillzed heros and stuff and fight the state and corportism and crazy loners for all of us!

Awesome plan, right? Right?
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on June 6, 2014 at 8:11 PM · Report this
26
@25: I don't know, assembling a strike force of that nature requires the utmost of training and dedication.

Fortunately, we have the hero we need, but probably don't deserve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbLTepYm…
Posted by themightywoozie on June 6, 2014 at 8:20 PM · Report this
27
@23

It's interesting that you mention this. I've been doing a fair bit of research in the last couple weeks on mass murder an America and found that guns aren't the weapon of choice for mass killing.

You know what is?

Gasoline.

Of the 25 worst mass killings in American history, 52% were committed via arson. Why? Because as easy as guns may or may not be to obtain, a gallon of gasoline is available to anyone.

During the 20th century, guns killed an average of 4.92 victims per mass murder in the United States , slightly edging out knives, blunt objects, and bare hands, which killed 4.52 people per incident. Arson killed 6.82 people per mass murder, while explosives far outpaced the other methods at 20.82.

The thing is that although mass killings actually peaked in the 1930's, the media's sensationalism of such is a relatively recent occurrence and, sadly, all of the information most people get regarding mass killings comes from the media.

It's been fascinating reading for me lately, I've gone through a number of interesting papers published in leading criminology journals... and wasn't surprised when the facts aren't lining up with the media's narrative.

Posted by CPN on June 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Baby Blue 28
@15 Amen. When my son was suicidal, there were no beds available to admit him and we were sent home. When a bed became available, the insurance company tried to deny authorization because he was "no longer in imminent danger". I had to coach him to say what they needed to hear so that he could get help. The system is not only broken, it is woefully inadequate.
Posted by Baby Blue on June 6, 2014 at 8:22 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 29
@28
I'm a libertarian, but even I think the government should spend more money on mental health...I would argue that the money for it come from what we're wasting on the war on drugs and endless wars overseas as opposed to new taxes, but it makes sense to spend money on mental health.
My only issue is why is it people ONLY talk about mental health when someone is killed? Jesus, isn't it enough that people are suffering?
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 8:42 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 30
@27
Very good point! I wasn't even thinking of arson.
Bottom line is where there is a will to kill, there is always a way. A gun is an easy way of defense, but offensive weapons are very easy to improvise. One can't easily defend themselves with an improvised weapon (except maybe Macgyver) but one can easily kill with an improvised device.
Every read the older, uncensored version of this book? It's an eye-opener: http://www.amazon.com/The-Anarchist-Cook…
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 8:47 PM · Report this
31
There's something kind of absurd about how these events lead to arguments about who's explanation is better - is it guns? Media? lack of mental health care? Quick, everyone choose a side and start defending it! There can only be one explanation, otherwise... something. And I'm not just talking about the 2nd amendment fetishists, either - the anti-gun folks are just as fundamentalist. And none of it is doing any ounce of good.
Posted by Jude Fawley on June 6, 2014 at 8:53 PM · Report this
32
I pay taxes, and I don't want my $ going to public defenders for people who for sure committed the crime.

When it's 100% certainty, just have a standard consequence (life in jail, death sentence, whatever that state deems appropriate for crime). no brainer. This would save millions of dollars in taxes.

Our society (not my earlier comment) is stupid with all of the tax payer waste.
Posted by perry13 on June 6, 2014 at 9:11 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 33
@ 27, citation please. I can see arson leading guns in mass deaths prior the 70s, but not since. (Your figures should include the number of incidents, too, not just body counts.)

Keep in mind that this is a tangent. Mass murder by gun is still a problem that needs to be addressed, in part, by gun control. Arson murders don't change that fact at all. But I'm interested in seeing if you can actually back up your claims.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2014 at 9:29 PM · Report this
34
@1

Your choice to comment repeatedly on this post increases its visibility and impact; thus, by your own logic you are complicit in the act you've condemned.

If silence is what you desire (or demand), teach by example.
Posted by Our silence will not protect us on June 6, 2014 at 9:29 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 35
@ 30, that was the very book by which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold designed the propane bombs that were to be their primary weapons. They were hoping to kill hundreds, and their guns were meant for picking off those who were fleeing the mayhem. The bombs were massive failures because the Anarchist Cookbook is a joke.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2014 at 9:32 PM · Report this
Fnarf 36
We pay $200 billion a year on mental health. You're asking for the impossible. Just figure out a way to keep them (i.e., us) away from guns.

Mentally ill. For chrissakes, listen to yourselves. I was depressed twenty years ago, am I mentally ill? I'm depressed twenty years from now, am I mentally ill?

Just make it harder to get a gun. You want to be constitutional? You want a musket or a muzzle-loader, not a shotgun or an automatic rifle.

THIS ISN'T HARD. Except for lunatics making it hard for no reason.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on June 6, 2014 at 9:34 PM · Report this
37
@32, the only taxpayer waste you are demonstrating here is either the failure of you own education (was that on the public dime?), or that it was a waste for the government to create the internet because it produced your comment. (I'm probably being trolled here but screw it)
Posted by Jude Fawley on June 6, 2014 at 9:35 PM · Report this
38
@collectivism_sucks I have to say your trail of comments over various threads the past 24 hrs has been epic.

I'm speechless. Sure words and phrases spring to mind but putting them all together into a concise encapsulation of your performance. I'm stumped.

Such a magnificence melt down.

Thank you.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on June 6, 2014 at 10:27 PM · Report this
39
@collectivism_sucks

When political ideals (distributed power is more desirable than concentrated power) become immutable dogma applied to law (any restriction by a representative government or by vote of the people on an individual's desire to own a gun is wrong and evil) reveals you as a religious sycophant, not a reasoned citizen.

Handguns and military assault rifles are designed to severely injure or kill human beings. Arguing that you have them as works of art or a doorstop in your home does not change the purpose of their design.

Consumer capitalists' belief that they are entitled to whatever they can afford has confused a generation of Americans into believing that gun ownership is subject only to ability to pay. Even a cursory reading of the Bill of Rights would not yield such a simpleton's understanding of this right.

The right to keep and bear arms is assigned to the purpose of a well-trained militia to protect and defend the state or nation in times of conflict, a nation whose constitution made no allowance for a standing army in peace time.

So, for those who purport to be constitutional purists, it seems dishonest and hypocritical to have segregated the right to keep and bear arms from the purpose of and accountability to a well-trained militia.

The right by design is clearly bound to the purpose of being part of a group to whom you are accountable and whose membership is predicated on some legitimate process of training and certification for the purpose of state and national defense. The individual right is subject to the group and its purpose, not to the desires and purposes of the individual.

Separating the right to own and use guns from the responsibility of service and accountability of membership makes moot any constitutional purist's argument against others doing the same to suit their ideals.
More...
Posted by No Militia, No Right To Keep and Bear Arms on June 6, 2014 at 10:41 PM · Report this
40
Incidentally (and before I moved to Canada, where they feel it's a better social investment to medicate people with mental illnesses than put them in debt or let them harm themselves or others) I've been through the mental health system in Washington State and I can tell you a few things about it. Let's just put aside the obvious shit about guns needing to be regulated, and mentally ill people not getting enough treatment/attention/blame because facts are hard for people who want to keep their guns.

1. Washington has one of the absolute worst mental health care structures in the nation. Western State Hospital turns out more assault on staff claims (and probably one for five not reported) than any other institution in the state. 2011, I believe, was 311. To be a nurse's aide or a nurse there is the most dangerous job in the state.

2. This isn't because mentally ill people are intrinsically dangerous, though getting into that hospital takes some seriously gravely disabled status, it's that overcrowding them into mixed gender ward and then having only a 4/10 staff to patient ratio, zero constructive or rehabilitative programming, frequent facility break down, terrible food, limited access to social workers, and perpetually existing in a state of heightened anxiety and fear for your own safety can actually MAKE YOUR ILLNESS WORSE.

3. It's a bus ride from there to the Tacoma Dome, where they can have gun shows requiring no background checks or authorization.

4. There is no real permanent solution for housing the criminally insane. If there was, Isaiah Kalebu wouldn't have escaped to kill and rape my friend's neighbour. If they troubled to spend the kind of money they do on nonsense, and spent more on creating a system that separates the violently mentally ill from people who are less likely to become violent while mentally ill by being shoved in with the former, that would help rehabilitate a lot of people who might otherwise offend.

5. I wouldn't willingly commit myself again in Washington state, because being in WSH is like being in a warzone. It's terrorizing people who are terrified already. And that needs to change. People need to feel like they can ask for help when their thinking or their actions are disordered. It needs to be easier to walk up to a hospital desk and say "I'm having these thoughts and I'm afraid" than to walk into a gun shop and buy firearm. There is no one or the other. It all needs to be addressed, right now, and the state and federal supreme court needs to get on that shit because the Republican legislator who has WSH in his bailiwick? He shakes his head about how awful it is, says he's working to help rectify the problem, and that's what he'll say next time one of his addled constituents kills someone or themselves.

More...
Posted by stilettov on June 6, 2014 at 10:45 PM · Report this
41
@38 if Machiavelli was framed (I KNOW RIGHT?) what does Machiavellian even mean any more?
Posted by stilettov on June 6, 2014 at 10:47 PM · Report this
42
@40 myself, correction, Isaiah Kalebu was RELEASED, rather, he did not escape, which was my point.
Posted by stilettov on June 6, 2014 at 10:50 PM · Report this
43
@41 :)
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on June 6, 2014 at 11:08 PM · Report this
44
@32

Don't just pick and choose rights that you don't imagine you'll ever need. Be bold, eliminate all of the expensive Bill of Rights.

Just think of all the taxes we'll save when we're all in this alone instead of being forced to share the responsibility for one another together.

Just imagine the world you could have inherited if all of those Americans who came before you had done the same.
Posted by D-umbass Day on June 6, 2014 at 11:12 PM · Report this
45
@15, you don't get committed by asking to be committed. You can, however, sign yourself into a hospital. CNN often gets it wrong; what they should have said (or possibly did say) is that he was taken in for an examination regarding involuntary commitment -- TWICE, yet -- but he did not apparently meet the legal commitment requirement. That's the fault of our too-tight involuntary commitment law, not the mental health system.
Posted by sarah70 on June 6, 2014 at 11:23 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 46
@40

I actually didn't know most of that. Given your knowledge, can you point towards information resource(s) for more about Washington State mental health care, Western State, and how our State stacks up relative to others?

I was a witness to an attack on a Metro driver a few years back, and before it came time to testify the attacker had been moved to western state hospital. As far as I know he's still there, the prosecutors office hasn't been in touch since notifying me years ago that I wouldn't have to go to court because he was unfit for even the preliminary hearings. I thought WSH was part of the criminal justice system, the mentally disturbed portion of the Washington State prison system TBH...
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on June 7, 2014 at 12:12 AM · Report this
47
I'm a student at SPU. It's been really difficult reading all things related to the incident, but it's good to keep informed.

My personal opinion, fame was part of it. It was said how obsessed he was with the columbine shooting and that was the most famous mass shooting of all. He looked up to the shooters, so it would only make sense that he would want that for himself as well.

As far as his guilt? I'm not buying it. He said he felt remorse after hearing Sarah (the girl that was shot) cried out. If he had felt any sort of remorse he would have stopped shooting, or at least not gone in to reload his gun.
Posted by jessikathmandu on June 7, 2014 at 12:57 AM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 48
@36
You had to bring the old musket fallacy into this, didn't you? Easy as hell to rebuttal: GET OFF THE INTERNET! THAT WASN'T AROUND BACK THEN EITHER!
https://impliedinference.files.wordpress…
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 7, 2014 at 1:04 AM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 49
@36
Dude, you are honestly ignorant. Being depressed and having clinical depression are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. And America may spend a lot on mental illness, but is that going to people who need it or to a bunch of people's marriage counseling or wait loss counseling?

And let's say we did ban the guns and the mentally ill didn't have access to them AND didn't kill anyone else. So you would be okay with them just suffering from mental illness and killing themselves?

I had a friend who became agoraphobic after his mother died. He didn't leave the house for months and it almost killed him. And he didn't have insurance and it was a struggle for his family to get him help. I say we take the money wasted on foreign wars, the war on drugs and corporate welfare and provide help for people who need it.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 7, 2014 at 1:10 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 50
@ 47, the irony of looking up to the Columbine killers is that their plan was a total failure. They made bombs using propane tanks that were supposed to blow up in the cafeteria when the maximum number of students were there. Their plan was to kill hundreds and top the Oklahoma City bombers in body count. They brought guns along to shoot stragglers and anyone fleeing the mayhem, not to go into the school and shoot it up, as they ended up doing when the bomb failed to detonate.

In short, he looked up to failures. And he failed himself. This wasn't even news outside of Seattle - just a brief mention, nothing more. Only Seattleites will remember his name, and no future school shooter (God, how depressing to be certain of more of them) will look to him for inspiration.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 8:25 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 51
@ 48/49, awaiting reaction to my comment @35.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 8:32 AM · Report this
52
@33

“The patterns and prevalence of mass murder in twentieth-century America.” Justice Quarterly - 2004

"Circle of Distortion: The social construction of mass murder in the United States." Western Criminology Review - 2005

"Mass Murder in the United States: A History" - Grant Duwe

"Mass Murder in the United States" - Stephen T. Holmes
Posted by CPN on June 7, 2014 at 9:13 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 53
@ 52, judging from those titles these arson murders aren't current. True or false?
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM · Report this
54
According to a recent study conducted by the World Health Organization, no less than four of the top ten causes of disability worldwide are severe mental illnesses. Major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder account for an estimated 20 percent of total disability resulting from all diseases and injuries. Based on NIH’s own estimates, for every research dollar spent, 15 cents is allocated to AIDS, 10 cents on cancer, two cents on heart disease, and less than one cent on schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses. In contrast, the total costof schizophrenia to society, per research dollar spent, is $161.26, compared to only $65.65 for heart disease, $9.96 for cancer, and $6.86 for AIDS.
-this from The National Alliance On Mental Illness

*if you are reading this is because you went to the media for more information. Are you going to shoot up a school in pursuit of fame? No. Why not? Because you are not mentally ill.
Posted by Polly on June 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM · Report this
55
Is the young man related to the great Yankees catcher and coach Yogi Yberra? If so, this proves guns don't kill people, baseball kills people.
Posted by Lee_T on June 7, 2014 at 10:21 AM · Report this
56
@53

False. They aren't exactly outdated, particularly when you factor in the entire 20th century.

The first book on the list was published in 2007.

Posted by CPN on June 7, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 57
@56, the entire 20th Century doesn't apply, given that the availability of high power guns to the public doesn't cover the entire century.

The question isn't when the studies were done, but what trends do they find. If more people are dying in gun massacres than arson TODAY, then we can say that guns are a bigger problem TODAY.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM · Report this
58
@57

Uhh. High power semiautomatic firearms have been available to the public since around 1910. AR-type weapons have been available since the late 60's.

Regarding trends, I gave you my sources. Are you saying gun massacres have skyrocketed since 2007? Show me the numbers and your sources. I'm interested to look at whatever you've got.
Posted by CPN on June 7, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 59
No, but they have since the 60's. Instances where someone like Whitman just went to some public place ti kill as many people (whom he never met) as he could.

I trust you to summarize your sources for me. But stay focused: something that was a problem in 1900 has little nearing on today. Gun folk like to bring up car deaths, but they weren't a big problem at the turn of the last century.

Were such high powered weapon AS WIDELY and AS EASILY obtainable in 1910? If no, then that doesn't exactly disprove me.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 1:55 PM · Report this
60
@59, Fully automatic weapons were easily available starting in 1920. For the sort of situations that most of the mass killings have happened in (close quarters/defenseless victims), I'd say that a fully automatic Tommy Gun would be more deadly than a current AR15. (And yes, if I had a choice, assuming I was getting shot, I'd much rather get shot with a .223 caliber projectile than a .45 at relatively close range - less than 30 yards or so.)

Furthermore, until prohibition, you could buy a Tommy Gun, or any other gun for that matter, mail order or from your local hardware store - no background check, no nothing. So yes, I'd say they were even more easily obtainable.
Posted by randoma on June 7, 2014 at 8:14 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 61
@ 60, I'll grant you the technical point there, but back then you didn't have the NRA working for gun manufacturers, telling people that they were a-comin' for their guns. It's a different world today - one more reason why we must ignore what occured before the 60s, or possibly the 70s.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 8:29 PM · Report this
62
@61, First you claimed that the availability of "high powered weapons" is higher now than it was in the early 1900's. Discovering that is not true, you now claim that it is the NRA's fault for making the country gun-obsessed.

Now you say that we need to ignore what occurred before the 60's or possibly 70's. However, gun ownership was *higher* in the 1960's than now. Peak gun ownership was around 60% pre-1970's and has steadily declined since then (roughly 32-35% in the first part of this decade).

Additionally, until the 1980's (1990's really) there were very few restrictions on firearm purchases - background checks via NICS didn't happen until 1993. While the 1968 Gun Control Act made it illegal for criminals to own/purchase firearms, there wasn't any good method to verify if someone was a criminal on a national level.

Here's some information for you:

http://usgovinfo.about.com/blguntime.htm

The fact is that availability of "high power" firearms was significantly higher pre early 1990's.

On the other hand, nationwide media coverage of mass shooters has greatly increased in the last decade or two.
Posted by randoma on June 8, 2014 at 12:40 AM · Report this
63
So Tommy guns could be ordered from your local hardware store. I imagine there were quite a few out there prior, well you know, we decided to regulate them. Finding one now, not so easy. Sure it took awhile but seems to me it worked.

And I bet the private collectors who still own them and trade them are very very very careful about it.

A well regulated militia knows who is responsible for it's arms and holds them liable.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on June 8, 2014 at 1:22 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 64
@ 62, the problem isn't with ownership overall. The problem is with a portion of our population, our culture, AND the easy access to such high powered weapons. You can cut and dice the stats as you see fit or split hairs over what constitues "easy availability" (I say the background check makes a barrier so meager that it's irrelevant - the guys doing the kiling have no criminal record most of the tome) - but none of it will challenge the conclusion that guns and they way they are and are not regulated are a major part of the problem.

America in 2014 is not America in 1914. For whatever reason, they weren't going on gun rampages then. So for the sake of intellectual honesty, we can only look back if our intetest is in finding what has changed in our culture that is leading these people (increasingly young men, where they used to be 30 or older) to go hunting humans.

So, what do you think ought to be done? That's something people on your side always seem to be mute. (Other than mental health spending, which Fnarf has pointed out is already very high and is a buzzword for doing nothing.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 10:01 AM · Report this
65
@64 - You were saying that CPN's data (which I haven't looked at and don't really have any opinion on) that mass killings have decreased since earlier decades. So apparently "they" were going on gun rampages (or arson rampages as it may be) then. The change, claimed by CPN, is in media coverage. As in, 40 years ago, there were more mass killings, you just didn't know about them.

The problem that I, and others, have with background checks is they are more 'feel good' legislation that will not, as you, yourself point out, have much effect. As I've said before, something that most gun-control-nuts seem to fail to realize is, every piece of legislation has a cost in political capital. If your legislation has a measurable beneficial effect, you get your political capital back and probably gain some. For example - gay rights legislation and marijuana legalization have a measurable economic effect. When you legalize marijuana, you can easily measure the benefits. This makes it easier to pass more legislation dismantling our antiquated drug laws. Conversely, when you pass legislation to require more background checks, purportedly to decrease mass murder, and it has no measurable effect, it becomes more difficult to pass additional legislation. Does that make sense?

As far as what I think should be done, and I've said most of these things before, as have other "gun nuts", you just don't listen well - there are different issues involving firearm related crime and mass murder. Firearm related crime, I think, is, at the root, relatively easy:

1) reduce economic inequality (I'm of the opinion that minimum wage should be closer to $25 than $15. And I'm also of the opinion that there should be a cap on the maximum difference between the highest paid worker in a company and the lowest. No one person is worth more than, say, 200 times what another person is worth - the CEOs of McDonalds and Starbucks currently make over 600 times what their slaves make. Additionally, I'm in favor of a wealth tax rather than an earnings tax.)

2) Legalize drugs and provide better care for addicts. I think that Prohibition proved, without a doubt, that making something illegal did not work.

3) Although #1 would help greatly, there are many things that can be done to reduce the prevalence of gangs in low income areas. Boston has had some success in reducing gang size and gang violence. We can do a lot better.

Both Vermont and Virginia have relatively low levels of firearm related crime. Both of them also have relatively low levels of income inequality. The main problem is that the majority of firearm related crime is non-white and therefore isn't as important to the media as the far rarer mass murder victim.

As far as mass murder goes, that's a lot more difficult. I think a good start would be:

1) Stop referring to perpetrators by name. Don't give them the fame that many of them seek. Immortalize the victims, immortalize the place if you have to, but let the perpetrators be forgotten.

2) The NIH says that roughly 25% of the population suffers from mental health issues and roughly 6% suffer from severe mental health issues:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publicati…

If we do, in fact, spend $200 billion per year on mental health (Fnarf doesn't give any links to where his data comes from or how that money is spent) that is less than $4,000 per person, if you divided that $200 billion among the severely afflicted, that is still only $16,000 per person. A *single* hospital visit can run $4,000. So, yes, in the greater scheme of things, $200 billion is chump change. Many mass murderers had many indications that they had issues before hand. Many of them were not given the treatment they needed.

3) We, as a society, possibly in reaction to the earlier decades where mental health patients could and were essential incarcerated based on very little data (don't like your wife anymore? Just take her to the local institute and have her put away..) we have a reluctance to pro-actively treat mental health issues. I think this is a very slippery slope, but one that could be navigated.

--------

You'll notice that none of the things I list say anything about gun control. We already have many laws regarding gun control. Those laws are poorly enforced. Until we can enforce the laws we have, I don't think that adding new ones is the answer. Many states already have laws for criminal liability for firearms. If your child, or someone elses child is killed due to a "terrible accident" based on your negligence, at a minimum you should be charged with manslaughter. In reality you're more likely to be treated as a victim and have no consequences. That is broken.

Similarly 'crime' weapons are actually fairly easily traced. And many of them come from a single person/business. It is illegal to sell a firearm to a felon, it is illegal to buy a firearm for someone else (straw purchase). How many cases have actually been prosecuted? If I remember correctly, the guy that sold the gun to the guy that shot up the temple was under investigation because he had sold over 200 firearms. The majority of illegal firearms in the Chicago area come from around 5 dealers. I can not believe that if the laws we have were currently enforced that these people could get away with it.

The fact is that most illegal firearms and firearms used in crimes did not come from the "gunshow loophole". Most of them were obtained from crooked dealers or friends/family. Despite the liberal and media portrayal, very few illegal/criminal weapons come from gunshows. (I have provided links to studies of this before - you can search though my prior comments if you really want them).
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Posted by randoma on June 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 66
I've heard the "poorly enforced" soundbite for decades, but I haven't heard an example of such a law.

Also, you're mistaken. I never said that background checks are ineffective, or would be. They're quite effective with common gun crimes. But the guy who goes on a massacre usually doesn't have a record. That doesn't make background checks ineffective. But it is why high powered weapons designed for combat should be prohibited. (Ybarra would likely have injured and killed many more if he had the weaponry and high capacity magazines James Holmes had, instead of a shotgun. So I think such a ban demonstrably would save lives.)

Keep in mind that we have to address these massacres and recognize that they are a distinct kind of crime. This isn't about ALL shootings. Those are by and large good suggestions for common gun crime (but without much of a way to enforce or effect change, but maybe the gun folk like you can get serious and use your political muscle for some good on that front), but they have little to do with the problem of gun massacres today. I say a prohibition on high powered combat guns is the most effective way to save lives starting now. It won't do anything about the guns already out there, but few of the massacre guys grew up in a household arsenal like Adam Lanza did. They typically buy their guns shortly before going on their rampage.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 1:10 PM · Report this
67
@66, Okay. You win. Facts can't compete with things you "believe". As in: FACT: Rifles of any type have killed a microscopic percentage of all firearm fatalities. FACT: Most straw purchases are not pursued in the court of law. FACT: Most 'accidental discharges' do not have a criminal or civil penalty. FACT: The white kindergarten shooter, who I refuse to name, but who you continue to immortalize, would have had just as high a body count with many other weapons. I don't think you have any clue whatsoever what a "high powered" weapon is. (That last one sentence is a belief, not a FACT, but you certainly haven't shown otherwise.) Incidentally, a pump action shotgun can be 'reloaded' at any time, it doesn't have a magazine per se, so you don't have to drop the mag and insert a new one to add a new shell. If his problem was spending time loading it was due to inexperience/inability, which may, or may not, have had an effect with any other weapon.

Also, for the record, I was referring to your statement in the context of mass shooters. I am not against background checks (other than that I believe that the money for them should go to the state/feds and not private parties as it is now) and I believe that they help, to some small degree, with common crime. However, I was pointing out that you said, and I agree, that they have little to no effect on mass killers.

And, as usual, you basically ignore all of my proposals and go fishing in regards to how I have portrayed your statements. But you have affirmed that you are not concerned with ALL shootings. Just the ones that take the lives of middle-class white people. As long as gun crime stays in the ghetto, that's okay.

So maybe you gun control 'folk' can get together and use your political muscle for some things that might have a real and marked impact. Rather than wasting it on feel good initiatives like Goldy's gun buyback that netted him an inert movie prop. (I have to say that The Stranger's news coverage has taken a marked downturn since Goldy left/was forced out/whatever.) Seriously - nearly an entire week on Macklemore's costume?
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Posted by randoma on June 8, 2014 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 68
@ 67, FACT: gun massacres are now routine. FACT: that makes them a priority problem. FACT: they are not like other gun crimes, therefore discussing them as thiugh they are is intellectually dishonest.

FALSE: Lanza would have killed as many with a shotgun. FALSE: refusing to name him gives you any moral edge in the discussion. FALSE: gun folk care more about than lives and reducing/preventing massacres as much as we do.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 2:36 PM · Report this
69
@68, Like I said. You win! I gave you my thoughts on both mass murders and common crimes. You choose to act as if I ignored one. I did not, in any way, discuss them as if they were the same. In fact, I specifically detailed that they were NOT the same. The intellectual dishonesty is all yours.

You have no idea how many people he would have killed with a shotgun. Additionally I did not specify a shotgun - although I do believe that he would have been just as "successful" if that is what he had been armed with. Also, I'm not looking for a moral edge. You can go on immortalizing and following the media hype.
Posted by randoma on June 8, 2014 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 70
You don't have any idea, either. But we've seen more than one attempted mass shooting by shotgun, and they have had far fewer deaths and injuries than those committed with military grade arms. I think there's something to be learned there, whether you choose to learn it or not.

Anyway, discussing other kinds of gun crime in this context AT ALL is where you lose credibility. It's your attempt to relevel the intellectual playing field in order to score points and portray the prohibition or restriction of certain arms as ineffective. Sort of like when you twiste my words regarding background checks. So pardon me if I take return charges of dishonesty with a mountain of salt.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 3:36 PM · Report this
71
Really? We've had other attempted mass murders of elementary school children with a shotgun?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook…

There's a pretty detailed report on what happened there, step by step. Apparently his rifle jammed/had trouble with reloading several times, yet no one tackled him during those opportunities. I guess, in your mind, a "high power" firearm makes one invincible just by holding it.

I gave you specific answers to both issues. Answers that were, in no way dependent on each other. To quote myself: "there are different issues involving firearm related crime and mass murder." (From @65) I then gave you my thoughts on things that could be done for the two SEPARATE issues.

Additionally, you said, "I say the background check makes a barrier so meager that it's irrelevant - the guys doing the kiling have no criminal record most of the tome". (From @64)

Perhaps you should be more clear when you make statements like that. So that other people don't, "twiste my words". (From @70)

My reference to prohibition has to do with the "war on drugs". I'm of the opinion that the "war on drugs" greatly contributes to the level of crime (firearms related or not). You may disagree with that assessment. However it is not an attempt to "relevel the intellectual playing field in order to score points and portray the prohibition or restriction of certain arms as ineffective." (From @70). I'm not even sure what that means.

I have proposed several ideas for each of the issues. I have provided links to data in this thread and in prior threads. (@65 - I'll say it again - $200 billion is chump change for the scale of the problem). You never provide actual data. You never provide actual ideas or solutions. In fact, rather than addressing my proposals, you want to argue about semantics and morality.
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Posted by randoma on June 8, 2014 at 5:41 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 72
Look up Arapahoe High School. I know it's not a kindergarten and neither was SPU, but it's remarkable that the shotgun killers shot significantly fewer victims. Maybe that was due to inexperience - maybe Lanza would have been just as deadly because he grew up with guns all around him. But we can see that getting off 50 rounds with having to reload helps a killer a lot, too.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 6:01 PM · Report this
73
Actually, if you read the provided link, you'd see that he often swapped mags with as much as 15 rounds left in them (out of a 30 round magazine, not a 50.) The point is, no one was actively trying to take him down. Or do you think that the teachers that were fleeing (or bravely trying to shield little kids with their bodies) would have suddenly turned into heroes like Jon Meis just because he had a shotgun?

The Arapahoe shooter was targeting a *specific* person. He wasn't interested in a high body count.

Why don't you look up Carthage Nursing Home and Washington Naval Yard - both relatively high body counts with a shotgun.

The two highest body counts, other than Newtown, were the Virginia Tech and Luby's. Both of which were perpetrated with handguns. Based on the reports of both, the magazine capacity was really not an issue.

Incidentally, all four of these incidents have one thing in common - all four of them were perpetrated by mentally ill people and there were many points of time before the incidents when, if we had a better mental health system, that they might have been stopped (except, possibly, for the Carthage shooting). Furthermore, the Virginia Tech shooter was able to purchase his firearms through legal channels because, at that time, the state did not report mental health issues to NICS, so he was able to pass a background check even though he should not have been able to.
Posted by randoma on June 8, 2014 at 7:36 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 74
On that we can agree.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 8:03 PM · Report this

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