Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
◆ We continue to learn more about Las Vegas shooting but still don’t know motive
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the shooter also hit aviation fuel tanks. Two bullets hit the tanks at the nearby airport, one penetrating the tank. No fire.
The gunman also rented rooms overlooking other outdoor music festivals, including one in Chicago, but did not occupy those rooms.
Comment: If he fired only twice at the fuel tanks, then they were not a major target. Still, the fact that one bullet penetrated the tanks and could have caused a conflagration is deeply disturbing.
We don’t know if the fact that the gunman did not attack the other venues he scouted indicates only his methodical preparation or something about his motivation to attack one kind of concert-goer and not another. For example, one concert had rap-music stars so an attack would have immediately focused on racist motives. Perhaps he did not want such speculation. In any event, we simply don’t know the answers yet and may never know them.
Mia Bloom, a prominent scholar working on terrorism, makes two important points. First, the girlfriend’s cooperation indicates she was never part of the conspiracy; in cases where the girlfriends did know, they refused to cooperate. Second, she sees no evidence of ISIS involvement at this point, only wannabe credit.
Comment: I know Prof. Bloom and take her judgments very seriously.
◆ “Bump stocks”
Bump stocks are off-the-shelf kits to convert semi-automatic weapons, which can be purchased legally, into fully-automatic weapons, which cannot.
Twelve of the rifles the gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting had in his 32nd-floor hotel room were each modified with a “bump stock,” an attachment that enables a semiautomatic rifle to fire faster.
The device replaces a rifle’s standard stock, which is the part held against the shoulder. It frees the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the energy from the kickback shooters feel when the weapon fires. The stock “bumps” back and forth between the shooter’s shoulder and trigger finger. –NYT
- Illegal: A machine-gun (fully-automatic)
- Legal: Semi-Automatic
- Legal: Bump stock to convert semi- into machine-gun
- Hence, you can legally (and easily) create a weapon that is illegal to purchase
Why are bump-stocks legal? Because the ATF rules that bump stocks were legal under current law. The ruling came during the Obama Administration so it was not the result of White House pressure.
Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is leading a Congressional effort to make sales of bump-stocks illegal. His effort has bipartisan support–even pro-gun Congressmen say they are willing to have a discussion. We don’t yet know the depth of that support. (Washington Post article here.)
Breaking news: NRA supports “regulations” on bump stocks (Washington Times)
Unclear if they intend to support a complete ban.
Comment: One of the most depressing things I have heard in this whole shocking affair was Kinzinger saying that the ATF should simply change its ruling because that would be faster than passing a law.
Speed in changing this rule is very important–and may be decisive in this case.
Still, it was depressing to hear an elected US official saying that a bureaucracy, not Congress, should act on what should be enacted by law.
Comment: And she picked a really tough interviewer, as you can see.
Carmen Yulin Cruz has decided her political future is better by “going big” in her fight with Trump. It will build support for her on the island, at least initially, and divert attention from her own inept performance.
Anybody–anybody at all–think Trump will quietly ignore this?