People are scrambling to answer the question “Why?”
I think it’s pretty irrelevant. In fact, I hope no reason is uncovered. Then we have to face a harsh truth that can’t be passed off on a terrorist movement, an ideology, racism, religion, political, crazy, etc etc etc.
He shot people because he could. He had the guns. He had the ammunition. He had the modifications to the guns to fire a lot of rounds.
I’ve been wrong on one thing. People have been saying automatic weapons need to be banned and they mostly are. I’ve always dismissed firing on auto — my training and experience is that it was a waste of bullets. Placed, effective semi-auto is much more dangerous. It just never occurred to me that someone would be placing plunging fire from the 32ndfloor of a building into a packed crowd of thousands. I’m a fiction writer. I wrote about crashing planes into buildings before 9–11. But this? Nope. Here’s the scary thing — now it’s out there. It will happened again. Concert. Sports event. It will.
He didn’t have weapons capable of automatic fire as of the latest report. Instead he had something called a “bump-stock”. I’d first seen this a few weeks ago. It works like this: the shooter keeps his finger on the trigger, but otherwise keeps that hand free of the grip. The non firing hand braces the gun in the firing position. The gun fires, recoils back on the stock, which resets the trigger as a new round is loaded. The bump stock pushes the gun back to the firing position. Since the trigger finger is held stationery it thus ‘automatically’ pulls the trigger. I thought: That’s kind of dumb. What would you ever want that for as it makes automatic fire even more inaccurate? Got my answer.
You don’t have to be accurate in this instance.
So, while not technically automatic, it’s automatic. When I heard the firing, it sounded weird to me. I’ve heard a lot of firing of all kinds of weapons. I knew it wasn’t an AR on auto. Almost AK, but not right either. Also, the time between firing made me think it was multiple shooters. One shooter with multiple weapons works too.
I remember a few years ago a range instructor was killed in Nevada by a young girl. Her parents took her to the range so she could fire guns. Including an Uzi on full auto. The instructor wasn’t 100% focused, she pulled the trigger, the gun recoiled. He’s dead. That’s how it happens. A momentary lapse. Happens every day. Every day. Guns do not forgive. Guns also don’t fire by themselves.
But people can’t shot someone without a gun.
I’m seeing all the argument in social media about suppressors, automatic, “if he didn’t use a gun he’d use a truck” etc etc etc etc. I don’t care.
He used a gun. Multiple guns. He used a modification on the guns to fire a lot of bullets from weapons which have been designed for combat; not sport shooting or hunting. That’s not opinions or open to discussion. Those are facts. I know guns. I know the history of guns. I know weapons from all over the world. They were the tools of my previous occupation. I have a lot of respect for those who use guns in their occupations or for hunting. I worked with some of the best shooters in the world. Who did it every day.
When Sandy Hook happened I was devastated. I know what it feels like as a parent to lose a child. And to lose it that way would have been even worse. It is an exclusive club you do not want to be a part of. Despite that, I always believed, and still believe, the crime scene photos of Sandy Hook should have been splashed on the front page of every paper, presented on the cable news nonstop. Yes– horrible. But not many Americans have seen what 5.56 does to the human body. To a child’s body.
More parents have lost children this week, not just in Las Vegas but all over the country. They’ve lost spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers — people.
It comes down to a simple fact we have to digest and let it become part of our true reality.
He did it because he could.
Originally published at bobmayer.com on October 3, 2017.