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June 12, 2016

After most deadly mass shooting in US history, sadness and frustration and realism

The tragic news today from Orlando, which is already being identified as the worst mass shooting in US history, is not a sentencing story because the shooter apparently was killed by the police while on the scene of his horrible crimes.  But, I feel compelled to blog about this horrific crime in order to express my deep sadness.  I also have to express my frustration that, no matter what I or others have to say, the circumstances of this horrific crime will likely engender political and social discussions that may just deepen divisions among Americans who cannot help but want to "do something" and yet rightly struggle to figure out just what can be done about man's inhumanity to man.

June 12, 2016 at 01:54 PM | Permalink


The Orlando police have now released the shooter's 911 call, made after the attack began last night, swearing allegiance to ISIS and mentioning the Boston Marathon bombers. We can't stop American citizens like this, given our Constitutional rights (including the 2nd Amendment) and civil liberties.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Jun 12, 2016 1:58:46 PM

What to do? A good start would be a) close Guantanamo as Obama promised and release those innocents held and b) get real with gun control. Also, having just seen the dvd Why We Fight (Eugene Jarecki), understand that the US needs a belligerent and aggressive foreign policy like a hole in the head. If it needs to "protect its interests" around the world, this is best done by the promotion of peace and trade, not the export of its own brand of political and commercial militarism which serves not humanity, nor even America, but festers resentment and reaction that most Americans seem barely to register. Dare I suggest it .... a good time for Republicans and Democrats to talk and negotiate together in good faith and with vision for a better way?

Posted by: peter | Jun 12, 2016 3:22:05 PM

First things first--this guy was a registered Democrat. Of course, it's impolitic to point that out, but we have heard before liberals and democrats pointing out the supposed political affiliation of the various nut jobs who have decided to shoot things up before. Imagine if some conservative had shot up a gay bar? Second, more "gun control"---um, ok---so let's all be powerless when thugs or terrorists decide to shoot something up. Third, isn't about time we recognized the sickness in the Islamic world? From hatred of gays, to FGM, to honor killings to the subjugation of women . . .

Posted by: federalist | Jun 12, 2016 4:05:12 PM

federalist - 1) how is it relevant which way he voted since for all practical purposes there are only two options? (or do you favor a one-party state?), 2) over 300 people seem to have been unable to rely on any weapons they might have owned and so prevent the death of 50 people and the injury of a similar number (or do you suggest that when people go clubbing they should have a holstered gun secured on their person at all times?), 3) the "sickness" in the Islamic world as you phrase it flourishes in some minority quarters as a backlash against the cultural rape imposed by the US and others who determine "their political and economic interests" are more important than respectful, honest and fair negotiation (I also seem to recall some very strange practices among some US "religious" sects in recent times! - both are abhorrent but just as we shouldn't tar the entire Christian faith with the actions of minorities, neither should be tar the entire Islamic world.), 4) ask Donald Trump what his position is on the subjugation of women

Posted by: peter | Jun 12, 2016 4:31:16 PM

Frankly surprised the nutters, of whatever stripe, haven't taken a bomb into a crowded place like this. Airports, with the TSA lines, ironically, are a sitting duck for this kind of attack.

No gun control in the United States is going to take guns off the black market and therefore out of the hands of criminals and nutters. They have been part of the fabric of this country from the outset, that is why no other country is a valid comparison.

The sad fact is that nutters gonna nut. It is conceivable that a more robust mental health system could take some of them out of circulation, but not all of them are floridly mentally ill.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 12, 2016 9:52:34 PM

yep, peter, people slice the clitorises off of millions of girls, and America is to blame.

The registered Dem comment--hey, I'm just taking the lead of those who told me that the political motivations of people like Jared Laughlin (or whatever his name is) are relevant. Perhaps next time peter, you could read before commenting.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 13, 2016 8:01:04 AM

Federalist - smoke and mirrors as usual. The political motivations, if any, were hardly related to whether he was a Democrat or Republican supporter. If he was an ISIS supporter then his supposed allegiance to either is clearly meaningless. Likewise, whilst we identify FGM as a practice that should be outlawed in all societies as it a human rights violation, that in itself does not make the Islamic world members "sick". The practice occurs in many societies and has a long history. Just as slavery could be described as a "sick practice" and was eventually outlawed in the US, so FGM can be tackled by education and political pressure both from within and from without Islamic society.
But as usual when you attack my analysis and comment, you have diverted substantially from the real topic in your efforts to deny any link between the actions of the US (and its allies including the UK) and the reactions of "terrorists" who hit back. That is not to justify their appalling actions but there is a need to understand their perspective if we are ever to address a solution. Military might and the deployment of hundreds of drones to "exterminate" the enemy just doesn't cut it.

Posted by: peter | Jun 13, 2016 9:24:05 AM

The aim here should be to reduce the problem as much as possible.

Even a drop in a pond here can save a few lives.

A standard line is such and such would not stop such and such but the problem here writ large (including dealing with domestic violence) is interconnected. And, it is about saving people from getting hurt and killed. If the people are not exactly the same people hurt in the crimes that help motivate reforms -- and, yes, sometimes this can involve missteps -- that's okay.

I think there is a right to own a gun & can agree that disarming of certain groups including those who commit certain types of crime goes too far. But, there is a middle path & sometimes excesses of the NRA etc. clouds judgment. This is true in other areas too since any talk here -- we see it in the comments -- will bring up "what abouts."

Posted by: Joe | Jun 13, 2016 9:54:57 AM

What "excesses" of the NRA?

Just askin'

Posted by: federalist | Jun 13, 2016 10:28:42 AM

This isn't even the "worst mass shooting" in Orange County, Florida's history. As many as 500 black people were murdered by a white mob in 1920, many of them by gunfire, others under threat of gunfire. Yesterday's murders in Orlando were brutal and evil. Alas, the murders are only the "worst in history" for those whose sense of history dates back only a few a decades.


Posted by: Stephen Hardwick | Jun 13, 2016 10:42:43 AM

I don't think it useful to try to formulate some sort of list but think "the NRA etc." like "other areas (groups)" do at times are excessive. If people think the NRA is never excessive in a way that clouds judgment, that's their choice. I speak generally.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 13, 2016 10:56:03 AM

Radical Islamic Terrorism...need I say more? Guess not... the GOP is dead to the water, with Trump the standard bearer that only David Duke could appreciate.

I attended an NRA convention where concealed carry and open carry were allowed, and many individuals took advantage of the policy. Not one shot was fired in the entire convention, nor any weapons brandished in a threatening way, even inadvertently. So can the anti-2nd amendment rhetoric.

The Miami shooter was on a watch list, then removed through State action despite indications he should not have been.

But Obama blamed "extremist terrorism"...in the same speech he called some Republicans "right wing extremists"...so of course a correlation is set.

But alas! we are approaching the new normal, which ultimately will result in the societal belief that White Europeans, Christians, and ensuing New World whites were the ultimate terrorists, and every major tragedy is a result of such a deplorable racist history.

Ironically, the United States will ultimately fall, the prisons will be filled with 10x their numbers now, and Sharia law will supercede any law, and Professor Berman will have to sort out the new post-constitutional bits and pieces here in Sentencing Forum, which will undoubtedly compare different stoning techniques, feminine bare skin violations and the unfortunate collateral damage that occurs when gays are thrown off of American skyscrapers.

(Sorry, a bit disillusioned with the destruction of the country. Instead of rectifying injustices, we are hell-bent on increasing them.)

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jun 14, 2016 12:25:15 PM

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