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Lawyers, Guns and Money
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A few things puzzle me about this whole gun debate thing.Having been raised around firearms, and taught to disassemble and clean a Colt 1911 before I was 10, the one lesson my elders never forgot to get across was that guns are dangerous.That means all guns, up to and including BB guns, spud guns and slingshots.Maybe a person who is unfamiliar with the use of a gun feels that a tricked-out, blacked-out, synthetic and alloy AR-15 “military-style” rifle is more menacing than Grandpa’s old single-shot 12-gauge; the fact is, it is simply not true.A semi-automatic repeating rifle, no matter how cool it looks, is no more dangerous than any hunting rifle in the hands of someone who knows how to use it.Rifles with high-capacity magazines are not much more efficient than a single-shot scattergun and a pocket full of buckshot if the shooter is bent on mayhem. The other puzzler is why America perceives that the mere presence of a firearm will turn an otherwise normal, well balanced person into a frothing, murderous beast.Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America told the Associated Press last week that when the numbers were run on mass murder in the United States it was found that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s, and mass killings, in which four or more people were killed in one incident, actually reached their peak in 1929.“There is no pattern, there is no increase,” said criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University.Allen added that the random mass shootings that get the most media attention are the rarest.If you look at the list of mass killings worldwide for the last hundred years, some surprising trends pop up.People in China tend to set fires (weddings, subway stations) when they go off their rocker.Germans quite often use their cars when they lose their grip, driving into busy train stations, or simply down a crowded sidewalk, although one enterprising man from Cologne killed 10 people with a pike and a flamethrower made from a garden sprayer in 1922.There is a movement in the U.K. to ban Samurai swords because so many Brits have chosen one when the urge came to take some people out.The worst school massacre in US history took place in Bath, Michigan in 1927, when a man killed 44 victims with explosives. It is amazing how many nutcases worldwide managed to kill a large number of people with a knife or a club.Think of it this way: More than 3,000 people were killed with boxcutters in the most horrifying mass murder in U.S. history, when a group of men hijacked two planes and forced them into the World Trade Center.There is a common denominator to be found, and it has nothing to do with the weapon used to perpetrate these terrible crimes.Severe mental illness is the common thread.When a disturbed person decides to go awry, lack of access to a gun will simply lead to another plan.Did a gun drive these people to insanity?

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