Mass Shootings and Random Acts of Violence

I’ve long been a strong advocate of an armed populace as the best means of self-defense. I also believe it is by far the best deterrent and way to stop both mass shootings and terrorist attacks involving firearms.
Back when I first became interested in the topic of mass shootings, however, there weren’t as many, and at least here in America. It was largely relegated to the occasional insane person run amok. Aside from 9/11, we did not yet have to worry Muslims conducting their own mass shootings in the name of terrorism.
Now we do, and it looks to get a whole lot worse before it ever gets better.
Society has several tools available to deter terrorism and mass shootings:
– Intelligence (costly, even when highly focused)
– – requirements
– – planning and direction
– – collection
– – processing and exploitation
– – analysis and production
– – dissemination
– Security (the physical deterrence and protection of people 
– – Law enforcement (federal, state, county, and local)
– – Personal protection (planning, training, and weapons)
So, should we make it more difficult for people to obtain guns?  Should we reduce magazine capacities?  Increase background checks?  Reduce calibers?  Limit ammunition capability?  Create more “gun-free” zones?  Mandate the use of “smart” guns?  Increase waiting periods?  Ban certain types of firearms based on their appearance or general level of public trepidation?  Put a cop on every street corner?
anti-gun desperation
No.  NONE of these measures has proven effective in either deterring or stopping mass shootings or random acts of violence, and most of them significantly increase the cost of obtaining a firearm to the average law-abiding citizen who seeks protection.
By far the most immediate and most effective deterrent against both mass shootings and random acts of violence, whether the result of insanity or terrorism, is a well-armed general populace comprised of law-abiding U.S. citizens who are both properly armed and well-trained.
The greatest threat to our security comes not from the lunatics and terrorists, but rather, from those second-guessers, the Monday-morning armchair quarterbacks who are NOT well-trained (if at all) yet who for whatever blitheringly idiotic reason feel like they’re *somehow* qualified to force their opinions down the throats of an otherwise free and well-trained general populace, usually in the form of ideas that sound good but either do nothing or actually do more harm than the harm they’re supposed to address.
mass shootingsThroughout history, a well-armed/trained populace has always been the most effective deterrent and counter to mass shootings and random acts of violence.

Single-Shot, Semi-Automatic, and Automatic Weapons

Whoopi Goldberg just doesn’t get it.  In the video below, she says several times, “There’s no reason anyone needs to have an automatic weapon.”  Watch it, now:

What’s wrong with Whoopi’s comment is that her own context clearly indicates she’s including “semi-automatic weapons” in her incorrect use of terminology.  In another segment, she clearly indicated she thinks you can blow up a deer with an AK-47.  Obviously, when it comes to firearms, Whoopi is a Class-A ignoramus, if not merely just an idiot.  With all the outstanding information out there, you have to work fairly hard at remaining ignorant about the difference between single shot, semi-automatic, and automatic.

So, in order to help counter Whoopi’s heavily opinionated lack of knowledge, as well as clear up the volumes of confusion, bad thinking, and worse literature on this subject, let’s review a few terms, organized into three clear divisions based on the action required by the shooter.  Each description is followed by two videos, the first video an example of how slow that class can be, followed by an example of how fast that class can be.  As you will notice, there’s not a lot of difference between the fastest shooters in each class.  In fact, there’s a great deal of speed and accuracy overlaps between classes.

Single shot:  A firearm that requires manual reloading between trigger pulls.  This class of firearms includes single-action (SA) revolvers, bolt-action rifles, lever-and pump-action rifles and shotguns, trapdoor actions, break actions, block actions, muzzle-loaders, and a few others.

Think:  “Each shot fired requires a manual load/reload and trigger pull.”

Cycle Rate:  Depending on the firearm and the shooter’s expertise, between less than second and more than a minute.




Semi-automatic:  A firearm that performs all steps necessary to prepare it to discharge again after firing, but does not automatically fire an additional round until the trigger is released and re-pressed by the person discharging the weapon.  This class of firearms includes nearly all  pistols (stacked, spring-loaded magazine), double-action (DA/SA) and double-action  only (DAO) revolvers (revolving magazine) and many long guns.  There are two differences between revolvers and pistols in this class.  The first is that that pistols also self-cock the hammer, thereby reducing the trigger resistance and increasing accuracy for subsequent shots, whereas revolvers do not.  The second is that DA/SA and DAO revolvers automatically cycle the cylinder when the trigger is pulled.1

Think:  “Each shot fired requires a trigger pull, but the gun reloads itself between shots.”

Cycle Rate:  Between a few seconds between successive rounds up to several rounds per second.



FAST (please note that he is using a revolver):

Automatic:  A firearm that performs all steps necessary to prepare it to discharge again after firing, and continues firing rounds so long as the trigger is held in the depressed position.  This class of firearms includes machine guns, machine pistols, and selective-fire guns.  By U.S. law, individuals are now allowed to possess an automatic weapon except under certain limited situations and only under significantly restrictive requirements, including personal registration with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, accompanied by some heavy fees.

Think:  “Whether a short burst or continuous burst, only one trigger pull is required to fire multiple rounds.”

Cycle Rate:  Between several rounds per second and more than a dozen rounds per second.




In summary,  Given the fact that there’s a great deal of overlap involving both speed and accuracy between the three primary classes of firearms, Whoopi’s statements about firearms are laughable, at best, and seriously misleading — if not endangering — to the civil public at large.

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED,” and for darn good reason, once you see what criminals can do with a firearm!


1Some people claim that a revolver cannot be considered a semi-automatic because a bullet is not ready to fire before the trigger is pulled.  In reality, however, the cylinder is the firing chamber, and not a magazine or clip, so all rounds in a revolver are indeed loaded.  Furthermore, pulling the trigger aligns the cylinder with the barrel, so that the revolver enters the “ready fire” condition before the trigger pull is finished.  The key point to remember here involves the actions of the shooter.  For both DA/SA and DAO revolvers, as well as semi-automatic pistols, the shooter’s actions are identical:  Load bullets; aim, and repeatedly pull trigger to fire the initial and all successive rounds.  In both revolvers and pistols, there are no additional actions required by the shooter to fully discharge his or her weapon.  In both DA/SA and DAO revolvers, as well as pistols, it’s the mechanism within the gun itself that moves the next round into the firing position.  That’s the “semi-automatic” part.  Whether that reloading mechanism is powered by the previous round or as the initial part of the trigger pull cycle matters not.