Saturday, July 23, 2011

Which reveals more of my personality

So Norway was hit with a bombing in downtown Oslo and a shooting at a youth camp on Utoya.

The death toll is striking over 80 people.

That's just for the shooting, which given the circumstances is very high. Unlike, for example, Mumbai in Nov'08 it took 10 terrorsists to kill 160 people. Apparently, this time it was one guy working alone efficient bastard.

And that's what strikes me. Mass shootings don't normally climb to quite that level, especially with just one man. I doubt the guy was a "one shot one kill" so how many hundreds of rounds did he carry and was freely able to use?

Again that's what gets my attention, the mechanics of how he was able to act so indiscriminately for so long, but again, it takes someone else with a weapon or a charge from a crowd of people to stop an active terrorist.

This is also worrying because I was hypothesizing with a friend that the most "bang for the buck" type of attack would be children in a school. Like Belsan in 2004. A relatively soft and plentiful target with victims that would garner maximum "eyeballs" for a terrorist interested in media reaction.

The circumstances will shed some light onto the mechanics of how such a slaughter could continue. Also a bit unusual was that the suspect apparently got away. Edit He was apparently captured on the island itself.

Normally, such shooters are captured on site or suicide.

If history is any guide this will likely result in a fresh batch of gun control laws in Norway and maybe other places. With the expected sad irony of making more people even more defenseless. Don't think a situation like this won't be exploited? See here.

Until 1996, the Federal Government had little role in firearms law. Following the Port Arthur massacre, the Howard Government (1996–2007), with strong media and public support, introduced uniform gun laws with the cooperation of all the states. The then Prime Minister John Howard frequently referred to the USA to explain his opposition to civilian firearms ownership and use in Australia, stating that he did not want Australia to go "down the American path".[52][53][54] In one interview on Sydney radio station 2GB he said "we will find any means we can to further restrict them because I hate guns... ordinary citizens should not have weapons. We do not want the American disease imported into Australia".... "I did not want Australia to go down the American path. There are some things about America I admire and there are some things I don't. And one of the things I don't admire about America is their... slavish love of guns. They're evil".[56] During the same television interview, Prime Minister Howard also stated that he saw the outpouring of grief in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre as "an opportunity to grab the moment and think about a fundamental change to gun laws in this country".

Inanimate objects are evil. And a national tragedy is an opportunity to be grabbed. Never let a crisis go to waste. And the next part about Aussie gun control orgs: "Gun control groups in Australia have very few members but a high media profile. The main focus of these groups is on tightening firearm controls on ordinary people, reducing legal gun ownership rather than reducing misuse or illegal guns." Familiar no?

Also anything from the number of perpetrators to the casualty count can change. That was actually my initial suspicion, that the report was wrong and that the larger casualty count was from the bombing and not the shooting. However, if you have the right targets and enough time and supplies, then yeah...

And back to the bombing I was struck by this quote:

"It wasn't any sort of a panic," he said, "It was really just people in disbelief and shock, especially in a such as safe and open country as Norway. You don't even think something like that is possible."

Safety is an illusion. For example, people can still get murdered in prison. Figuring out who did this (with a suspect in hand if he's the actual bomber and gunman) and how and why will be useful, but human nature does not change.

Ultimately, each individual is responsible for his or her own security. And as examples like this show, that is a frightening concept, but it is reality. What's even more scary is for a parent. A child is largely defenseless and must depend on others and a parent cannot be with them 24-7. This is the stuff of nightmares.

And this comment on a someone else explaining the ammunition needed, is telling: "and he never has to use his ammo to defend himself.. to spray an area to keep someone from shooting back, because there's nobody to shoot back" Yes no one to shoot back.

Storage laws, maximum ammunition counts, limits on the number of weapons in a given caliber and total weapons one can own, police inspections, transportation, and no civilian carry and only ownership if you hunt or belong to a sport club. Again, can bet odds on that changing.

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