Five Dead In Mall Shooting In Washington State, Gunman Still At Large

A late night attack at a shopping mall, and a suspect still at large have raised tensions in Seattle.

Seattle Mall Shooting

Five people were killed last night by a gunman who opened fire inside a Macy’s at a mall outside Seattle, Washington and police are still searching for the gunman:

A shooting at a mall north of Seattle on Friday night left five people dead and the police searching for the gunman, the Washington State Patrol said.

The gunman killed four women in the cosmetics department of a Macy’s store at the shopping center, the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash., said a spokesman for the patrol, Sgt. Mark Francis. Another victim, a man who was critically wounded, was brought to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and Sergeant Francis said Saturday morning on Twitter that the man had died.

The gunman, who was believed to have been armed with a rifle, left before the police arrived, and the mall was evacuated after the 7:45 p.m. shooting, Sergeant Francis said. He described the suspect as a Hispanic man wearing gray.

The authorities believe there was only one gunman, but it was unclear whether he had help, Sergeant Francis said at about midnight in a briefing outside the mall. He said the gunman had last been seen walking toward Interstate 5.

The F.B.I. said early Saturday that it had “no information to suggest that additional attacks” were planned in Washington State, and that it was coordinating intelligence efforts with the local authorities.

After the shooting, the police converged on the mall and were making a store-by-store sweep 440,000-square-foot mall, looking for survivors, some of whom had locked themselves in dressing rooms and other areas, too frightened to come out,KIRO, a television station in Seattle, reported.

“It becomes more commonplace obviously, these shooting situations in our country, but until you’re one of the ones inside a building like that it is really hard to describe,” Sergeant Francis told reporters.

Eric Mathews, 40, who was meeting his son there, said it was a typical Friday night at the mall in Burlington, about 65 miles north of Seattle. He described it as a “teenage scene kind of thing.” He arrived around 7:45 p.m. when the shooting occurred. Mr. Mathews and his son, Kai, 16, left just before the mall was locked down, he said.

our of Kai’s friends were stuck inside after the mall was locked down, he said.

Referring to his son, Mr. Mathews said: “Imagine I was late or if he didn’t answer his phone. That stuff is running through my mind.”

Stephanie Bost, an employee at Johnny Carino’s, a restaurant at the mall, said a customer said there had been a shooting about 100 yards away. “We went on lockdown” and shut the doors, she said.

“We saw people being evacuated from the mall and running out to their cars,” she added.

More from The Seattle Times

BURLINGTON, Skagit County — Five people were fatally shot Friday night in the Cascade Mall in Burlington, and officers fanned out searching for the shooter, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Four female victims were confirmed dead Friday evening, State Patrol Sgt. Mark Francis said. A male victim who had been flown to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center in critical condition died overnight, Francis tweeted at 3:28 a.m. Saturday.

It’s unclear if there were any other victims. No other details on the deceased were immediately available.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s with a close-shaved haircut. He used a long gun similar to a hunting rifle, Francis said. Police released a security-footage photo of him shortly after 9 p.m.

Francis said the suspected shooter was last seen walking west toward Interstate 5 from the mall around 7 p.m. A search at the mall and surrounding area included bomb-sniffing dogs and a helicopter. Just before 11 p.m., Francis said two-thirds of the mall had been cleared, but there were locked doors and rooms that needed to be opened.

Emergency medics entered the 434,000-square-foot mall escorted by police, Francis said. Some people were still possibly holed up in the mall.

The casualty count fluctuated through the evening. Law enforcement officers first said four people were fatally shot, then lowered the toll to three before raising it again.

The four female victims were fatally shot in the Macy’s store on the west side of the mall, the State Patrol said.

Around 9:20 p.m., police were swarming an area directly across I-5 from the mall. Police were telling people, “Get out of here immediately; you’re not safe here.”

Nearby residents were being told to stay inside and call 911 if they see anything suspicious. The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management also urged people to avoid the mall area. State transportation officials asked drivers to avoid the freeway near Highway 20, as well.

Michelle Fuller said her niece was in the mall and heard the shots, and then led people to a nearby bathroom to hide. When her niece called her, “You could hear the panic in her voice.”

Tari Caswell told the Skagit Valley Herald that she was in the Macy’s women’s dressing room and heard what she thought were balloons popping, which seemed strange.
“Then I heard seven or eight or more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn’t feel right,” she told the Herald. “And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store.”

People who were inside the mall were being taken to His Place Community Church near the mall, Francis said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has no information to suggest additional attacks are planned in the state, spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-William said. The FBI is sending a team to help local law enforcement with the investigation.

As of this morning, the police and other authorities are sharing very few details beyond those that are already being shared by the media. There was even the suggestion in a report this morning that the police have at least some idea regarding the identity of the suspect but that this information was not being released to the public at this time. Given that authorities in situations such as this typically don’t want a suspect to know exactly what they may know regarding an ongoing investigation, this is understandable. If times goes on and the search proves fruitless, though, it’s likely that we’ll get additional information in that regard. Also not contained in any reports we’ve received is any suggestion of motive, whether any of the victims may have been specifically targeted, or whether the suspect said anything before or during the attack. Again, this is understandable given the fact that we’re still early in the investigation.

All of that notwithstanding, given recent attacks in places such as San Bernardino, Orlando, and the Tri-State area and Minnesota just last weekend, there’s already some obvious questions being asked about whether or not this attack might be terrorism related. The fact that the shooter escaped rather than engaging in some kind of suicide attack, which is typically what we’ve seen in domestic mass shooting cases such as Columbine and Sandy Hook. Absent evidence in either direction, it’s not appropriate to jump to such conclusions, of course, but its understandable why people would do so. Additionally, attacks like this at shopping mall are particularly concerning due to the large numbers of people who congregate in such locations and the difficulty in properly securing them from these kinds of attacks. Here’s hoping the shooter is caught soon, and that we get quick answers to these questions.

Further updates as warranted.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Queue the gun-nuts who will do the usual song-and-dance about mentally deranged, lone wolf killers and nothing could be done.

    Unless the suspect turns out to be Muslim.

  2. Loviatar says:

    @Tony W:

    Queue the gun-nuts who will do the usual song-and-dance about mentally deranged, lone wolf killers and nothing could be done.

    Go ahead and just say Jack, we know on this site, when you say gun-nut you mean Jack.

  3. Tony W says:

    @Loviatar: Mass shootings tend to bring the cockroaches out of the corners. We get lots of guest nuts on these 200+ comment threads.

  4. Moosebreath says:

    @Tony W:

    And it’s interesting to compare the casualty list here to the one last weekend in Minnesota:

    Knife attack — 9 people injured, no life threatening wounds.

    Gun attack — 5 people dead, none injured.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    $100 says this one turns out to be a domestic dispute

  6. stonetools says:

    Another day, another mass shooting in America. Eventually we will find out that this has been done by a guy who legitimately bought a high powered rifle at a Walmart or wherever, after a cursory back ground check which confirmed that he wasn’t a convict but did not nothing to determine whether he had the mental capability or training to have that kind of killing power.
    You know what Einstein said that the definition of insanity. That applies to societies too. Oh well, one day we will learn.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    Well, it’s Jack unless a black man has been killed, then Jenos will pop up.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
    — Nietzsche

    Shooters are rare. People willing to arm them are everywhere in this insane society.

  9. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Moosebreath: And it’s interesting to compare the casualty list here to the one last weekend in Minnesota:

    Knife attack — 9 people injured, no life threatening wounds.

    Gun attack — 5 people dead, none injured.

    The “knife attack” did have one fatality. The knife-wielder.

    Knife attack — stopped by good guy with a gun. (Quite possibly in violation of a “gun-free zone” notice.)

    Gun attack — apparently the shooter was the only one who had the sheer nerve, gumption, and audacity to obey the inevitable “gun-free zone” signs.

  10. Gustopher says:

    I know this sounds horrible, but it feels kind of refreshing to have a mass shooting that isn’t at first glance related to ISIS, white supremacists, or someone hunting police. Just a plain, old mass shooting.

    It’s like America is going back to normal a little.

    (Normal happens to be horrible, but it’s normal.)

  11. bill says:

    @Tony W: hate to break it to you but he used a regular hunting rifle- not the “scary looking” kind that makes liberals shit their pants- let alone a handgun.
    so how will y’all try to spin this one?
    -he’s id’d as “hispanic” so far, but he could be anything. maybe he saw a “trump” hat on someone and went nuts?
    -dark skin/hair, could be a few other races share that trait?
    -he killed 4 women, 1 man. maybe he has women issues?
    -if/when caught, how will the msm make him look like a “victim” of something?

    but really- how can you keep hunting rifles from people, let alone crazy people? hint, you can’t keep guns away from ex-cons who can’t legally own in heavily gun controlled cities – so how will that work?

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Your “good guy with a gun” was extremely well trained, and literally trained others in how to handle a gun in a high pressure situation.

    He wasn’t some shlub from down the street who buys a gun because he is terrified of shadows, and is just a danger to himself and others. We get lots of stories in the papers about those ones, shooting themselves in the leg, leaving their gun behind in a movie theater, or having their kid shoot someone with their unsecured weapon,

    I would be perfectly happy if we required training everyone like that first guy before letting them out of the house with their guns.

  13. stonetools says:

    @bill:

    From the Seattle Times

    Officials have released several photos of the suspect taken from security-camera footage inside the mall. He was wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and black shorts.

    Cammock said the suspect walked into the mall apparently unarmed and returned about 10 minutes later with a rifle. A rifle was recovered by police at the scene, he said. He did not disclosed the caliber.

    Assuming he had the weapon concealed on or about his person, I don’t think we can assume he was using the long barreled hunting rifle you have in mind. And since these days, an AR 15 is considered a “modern sporting rifle” ( or so says the gun industry lately ) I’m not sure we can conclude just what he used . Here is a You Tube video showing how a guy could have a concealed AR15, lots of ammo, and a handgun, even if casually dressed. It’s virtually an instruction video for a guy who wants to carry out the kind of mass shooting done in Washington.
    This is more data point for any would be terrorist who wants to carry out an attack in the USA.
    The idiot who carried out the attack in Manhattan used crude home made bombs. Most of them didn’t work and the one that did caused minor injuries to 31 people ( OK, it did terminate a dumpster).
    The wacko in Washington killed 5 people- and still got clean away(so far). In the US, guns trump bombs as the the terrorist’s weapon of choice-and it’s not close.

  14. stonetools says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    1. There have been a number of mass shootings in which there were “good guys with guns” present-dating back to Columbine.The evidence is that GGWG don’t deter or stop mass killers.
    2. Washington is an “open carry state” so you would think that there would be all sorts of “good guys with guns” civilians around.As usual, they are never around when you need ’em
    3. This happened at a shopping mall, so there were presumably all kinds of “good guys with guns” around- mall security , Macy’s security, local police. Not only did they not stop this attack, they couldn’t even catch the attacker.

    Maybe the “good guy with a gun” concept is just a little oversold?You need some better material, mate. That particular talking point is just sad now.Too easily debunked.

  15. Gustopher says:

    @stonetools: Skagit County Department of Emergency Management tweeted a photo of the suspect entering and also of him with the gun*

    https://mobile.twitter.com/i/web/status/779707145994379264

    I will leave it to others to identify the make and model of the gun.

    I’ll just note the responses from all the people who think the guy looks more like an Arab than a Latino. So, I wouldn’t really trust anyone who claims to identify the gun until we have the gun in custody, or the person who identifies it is actually credible.

    (* suspect, because we don’t know it was shooter. It might have been someone else walking in and brandishing a gun. A good guy with a gun, perhaps, or a morally ambiguous guy with a gun)

  16. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Gustopher: I’ll just note the responses from all the people who think the guy looks more like an Arab than a Latino.

    Islam isn’t a race, it’s open to people of all races. (Which is why it’s fun to laugh at people who say that not liking Muslims is “racist.”) Hell, as is often pointed out to me, it’s entirely possible that “Arab” is not the largest ethnicity in Islam.

  17. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @stonetools: Maybe the “good guy with a gun” concept is just a little oversold?

    I wouldn’t say “undersold,” I’d say “undertested.” Because too many people wet themselves so badly at the mere thought of guns that they can’t even consider it.

    But to your three points:

    1) Can you cite any mass shootings where the presence of “good guys with guns” made things worse? Yes, there were cases were they were ineffective, and there have been some where it helped, but for all the horror stories of how it will be a catastrophe never seems to happen.

    2) “Open carry” laws do not override “no guns allowed” policies by property owners. I’d wager that the Washington mall in this case had “no guns allowed” signs up.

    3) I would be ASTONISHED if any of those private security forces were allowed to carry guns. I have never seen a mall cop with a gun. If they’re lucky, they might get a Taser or pepper spray. But a gun? Virtually unheard of.

  18. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Islam isn’t a race, it’s open to people of all races. (Which is why it’s fun to laugh at people who say that not liking Muslims is “racist.”)

    I prefer the broader, more generally applicable term “bigot” — there’s a lot less splitting hairs. None of the “no, no, I’m not homophobic because I’m not scared, I just hate them”, or “It’s not racist to hate Islamofascists!”. I don’t know why the word has fallen out of favor. And, often, bigots are cross-disciplinary haters, so it saves time to just lump the antisemites in with the racists and the other deplorables.

  19. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Gustopher: I prefer the broader, more generally applicable term “bigot” — there’s a lot less splitting hairs.

    Full Definition of bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

    I think I can go along with that term. It’s a lot less charged, a lot less overused, and can be tossed back with great justification and relish.

    Nicely proffered.

  20. barbintheboonies says:

    He has been caught, his name is Arcan Cetin a native of Turkey, now an American citizen. Just 20 years old and full of hate very sad.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @barbintheboonies: Various other details that may or may not be relevent:
    – Legal Permanent Resident
    – Graduated from High School last year
    – Prior arrest for assault, due to a domestic violence call at his parents
    – Required to undergo mental health counseling
    – Plays “Call of Duty”
    – Muslim
    – Posed with a statue of Buddha
    – ROTC
    – Believed to have stolen his father’s hunting rifle
    – Believed to have shouted out a woman’s name before the shooting
    – Believed to have entered the Macy’s unarmed, left and then reentered with gun.
    – Referred to Obama’s policies as “sounds like Communism” in 2013
    – Suggested Hilary Clinton and “Hitler’s Wife” be on the face of the new $10 bill (2015)
    – Followed the following on Twitter: AllGenders4Trump, Esquire and CNNMoney (plus some others)
    – There had been a no-contact order, preventing him from contacting his parents, after the assault changes, but it was lifted.
    – Found in compliance of court orders

    So, in all likelihood, an emotionally messed up kid suffering from Clinton Derangement Syndrome who showed some signs of being dangerous but not enough to separate him from society.

  22. Tyrell says:

    @barbintheboonies: Yes, and the reports from the police are that he was in a “zombie” like state. Possibly a trance ?

  23. Tony W says:

    @bill:

    he used a regular hunting rifle

    That’s simply your strawman.

    I have never made the distinction. I want all guns registered, insured and the owners held liable for actions in which those guns are used.

  24. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: Someone who claims to have known him commented on Reddit:

    I used to play xbox live with him. He’s probably the most Washington State style American I know. He loves hunting and fishing. He love’s football. He LOVES the military (It’s why his family is in the US and Oak Harbor specifically). He even worked on base. The last time I hung out with him we went cliff jumping at Whistle Lake.

    He’s book smart as f*ck, but he’s always been off socially. He’s never been violent though, ever. Never been confrontational to people. He was “normal” for high school I guess. Senior year he kinda went off the end. He became super weird and lost a lot of friends.

    I kinda feel bad because my class slightly bullied him through out the years. He was hardly ever seen as a “foreigner” since most people don’t even know he’s from Turkey. He was christian all through school and went to youth group with my friends.

    Before this he was the weird/funny chubby kid who wore an Ushanka to school. It’s gonna suck to hear his name in the same sentence as killer.

    edit: If you hear any anti-Muslim shit after this tell them to f*ck outta here.

    Not sure what his family’s connection to the military is, but there’s a Naval Air Station just north of Oak Harbor.

    (An Ushanka is one of those big fuzzy hats you see Russians wearing. I had to Google it…)

  25. bill says:

    @stonetools: um, did you not see the picture of the guy with a wood-stock hunting rifle? i’ll assume not, otherwise you wouldn’t be wasting time on youtube.
    some interesting things happened overnight!
    -he’s from turkey, not a “hispanic”. i wonder if the hispanic community is offended now?
    -he’s been arrested for domestic violence, beating on his step-dad from all appearances. and a drunk driving arrest too
    and get this, the judge told him he could not possess a firearm! how could he possess a firearm if a judge told him he couldn’t?! what kind of world do we live in when people don’t listen to judges?
    lol, it’s called the free world and most of y’all will blame the gun instead of the shooter.

    @Tony W: um, so what about the people who actually do most of the gun killings?
    -they usually aren’t permitted to own guns let alone live somewhere where they’re permitted.
    -they won’t obey laws, ever.
    – we know who they are, but we can’t take their weapons away as we’ll violate their rights….how that works is beyond me.
    -are these the “strawmen” you speak of? the illegal gun owners who shoot each other en mass but aren’t held accountable by whiny liberals?

    no mention if he went to a certain church as of yet, but he seemed to have some “women issues” after all.

  26. Jack says:

    @Tony W:

    I want all guns registered, insured and the owners held liable for actions in which those guns are used.

    Want in one hand and shit in the other, see which fills up first.

  27. stonetools says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    ) Can you cite any mass shootings where the presence of “good guys with guns” made things worse? Yes, there were cases were they were ineffective, and there have been some where it helped, but for all the horror stories of how it will be a catastrophe never seems to happen.

    So that’s the standard-that GGWG not cause a catastrophe? LOL. Thanks for conceding that they aren’t a solution for the mass killings problem, which is what the NRA has been saying.

    2) “Open carry” laws do not override “no guns allowed” policies by property owners. I’d wager that the Washington mall in this case had “no guns allowed” signs up.

    Since you have presented no evidence that there were such signs, I dismiss your claim as unproven.

    3) I would be ASTONISHED if any of those private security forces were allowed to carry guns. I have never seen a mall cop with a gun. If they’re lucky, they might get a Taser or pepper spray. But a gun? Virtually unheard of.

    You may be correct about private security forces , although they might have guns in the back room( Bank or jewelry store guards generally do have guns). I am certain that local Washington police have guns, and they would be quickly on the scene, if they weren’t already patrolling the mall.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    So, in all likelihood, an emotionally messed up kid suffering from Clinton Derangement Syndrome who showed some signs of being dangerous but not enough to separate him from society.

    So a Trump voter?

  29. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    I’d wager that the Washington mall in this case had “no guns allowed” signs up.

    I’d wager that a lot of concealed carry folks don’t give a rat’s ass about “no guns allowed” signs.

  30. Tyrell says:

    @Tony W: “all guns registered and insured” : would that apply to guns like my
    1917 Poland rifle, tucked away in the garage somewhere, with no firing pin or ammunition, never been fired since I have owned it. Maybe they don’t even make any for that thing any more. Or how about the neighbor’s colonial flintlock mounted on the wall ?

  31. Tony W says:

    @Jack:

    Want in one hand and shit in the other, see which fills up first.

    Sure dude – just don’t preach to us about all these “responsible” gun owners who don’t want any liability for what they do/allow to be done. Fact is that the proliferation of guns combined with a liability-free lack of controls has put us in the position we are in today.

    In this instance is a guy with some real problems, and he was able to get his hands on a gun. I think the irresponsible gun owner should have some liability for this dude’s actions. Like most days, today at least 5 people are dead because the NRA and it’s lackeys are totally irresponsible.

    Tomorrow we’ll see more of the same because our politicians are spineless cowards with a 95% re-election rate.

  32. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell: Yes, probably. It would apply to all of those weapons, and you’d be required to report them stolen if they ever were stolen. Maybe if a weapon is permanently disabled we’d have it registered that way – that’s for the committee staff to work out.

    Edit: BTW: this sort of question really pisses me off. Sure, you can find some sort of silly minutia or corner case which doesn’t apply – then that becomes the argument to do nothing. Details are hard. Republicans can’t seem to think beyond bumper sticker slogans.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell: I can’t even get a sword cane in this state — concealed weapons laws here cover handguns, but not swords.

    There has never been a law without some unanticipated side effects — they either get hammered out over the years, or we are left with an unjust society where I cannot even suddenly surprise ruffians and vagabonds by pulling a sword from my cane. Generally, if the cases are large enough that anyone cares about them, they get worked out.

  34. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @stonetools: So that’s the standard-that GGWG not cause a catastrophe? LOL. Thanks for conceding that they aren’t a solution for the mass killings problem, which is what the NRA has been saying.

    Stop being so shallow and stupid. I know you’re smarter than that.

    Let’s start by defining the terms. When I say “GGWG,” I tend to exclude police officers. By and large, the presence of cops is pretty random, and stopping these things is their job. So I’m talking about private citizens exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.

    Now, we’ve got a mass attack (knife this time, but usually a gun) and the presence of a GGWG. There are, generally speaking, three results:

    1) The GGWG slows/stops the attacker (“Good”).

    2) The GGWG has no affect (“Neutral”).

    3) the GGWG makes the situation worse (“Bad”).

    I can cite several cases where #1 happened. There are probably plenty of cases where #2 happened, but the GGWG didn’t take any action and didn’t identify themselves, so we’ll never know.

    The main argument against GGWGs is always cited as the danger of #3. But I can’t recall any cases of that actually happening.

    I’m not seeing the logic in saying that because one option might happen, it should be the determining factor, when there have been numerous opportunities for it to happen, and it hasn’t.

    If you can cite examples of GGWGs making a situation worse, please cite them. I’m sure that someone as intelligent as you has reasons for your argument.

    Finally, on the topic of armed guards in the mall… I’ve dealt with some mall management in my life, and the ones I’ve encountered were seriously hard-core about “no weapons” on the premises. I wasn’t part of the discussion, just an observer, but it made quite the impression. They didn’t trust anyone to have a mall-authorized weapon in the mall, because they were terrified of the liability.

    Please note I’m not endorsing their position. I’m just noting it, and respecting their right to hold it and enforce it. I think they’re wrong, but they have the right to be wrong. It’s their property, so it’s their rules.

  35. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: I think much of the argument against the notion of Good Guys With Guns is that everyone thinks they are a Good Guy.

    The Good Guy who shot the Minnesota Stabber was, in fact, a pretty good guy. He was well trained in marksmanship in high pressure situations. He was basically the Best Of All Possible Guys With A Gun.

    The guy who leaves his loaded gun in a movie theater, or the woman who put her gun in her purse where her toddler finds it and shoots her, and all the people who have their guns taken away by the TSA as they try to board a plane… they all thought they were Good Guys, and their carelessness endangers everyone around them.

    And the Good Guy With A Gun who protects his home from invasion when his kid is sneaking in late.

    And then there’s the issue with when the Good Guy With A Gun gets into an argument, and becomes the Bad Guy With A Gun, which again, happens far too often.

    To quote Spider-Man and his uncle, “with great power comes great responsibility.” The power to kill your fellow citizens at a moment’s notice is great power. Most people don’t handle great responsibility that well.

    Would you support giving handguns to the homeless, provided they have not yet had their rights stripped away from them in a court of law? The homeless are one of the most vulnerable groups out there, and if anyone needs to be able to defend themselves, it is the homeless. Many of them are also undiagnosed mental health hazards, alcoholics, and drug addicts. So, I’m going to assume that you would not want them all armed — Handguns For The Homeless is a terrible idea, and a complete strawman pulled out just to demonstrate that there is some lower bound where even the most enthusiastic gun enthusiast is going to hesitate. It’s as useful a lower bound as the guy who shot the Minnesota Stabber is a useful upper bound.

    99% of the population falls somewhere in the spectrum from the schizophrenic crack ho who hears voices (but has not yet had a run in with the law) to the guy who shot the Minnesota Stabber. And, while most people like to assume they are closer to the perfectly responsible man, they really aren’t — not consistently, and not without a lot more training than most gun owners have.

    And then there is the guy who is afraid to go to Wal-Mart without his AR-15 who got written up in the Washington Post. Is he a danger to himself and others? Maybe, maybe not. If I had to bet my life on it, I would say he’s absolutely a threat, and I would be one of those who call 911 every time he goes out in public.

    Anyway, good guys with guns — most people are at best Usually-not-screwing-up-too-badly Guys With Guns, and that’s just not Good enough.

  36. anjin-san says:

    @Gustopher:

    So, I’m going to assume that you would not want them all armed

    Don’t be too sure. Jenos got very worked up once when I commented that I had taken a gun from a relative with serious mental health issues.

    Of course it does not take a lot to get Jenos worked up…

  37. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @Gustopher: Would you support giving handguns to the homeless, provided they have not yet had their rights stripped away from them in a court of law?

    I have, on occasion, demanded that I be provided with a gun, free of charge. I have said so facetiously, in response to an argument that a right that one has to “pay for” in some way is no right at all, and simply because one has a “right” to something means that it should be at no charge. I think it was mainly about abortion, but I very well could be mistaken.

    By and large, I respect and trust my fellow citizens. If someone meets the legal requirements to own a gun, and can afford one, and can comply with whatever restrictions they might face, and chooses to own a gun, I am inclined to not put my judgment ahead of their own.

    (An aside — that was the point of my mocking anjin over the example he cited. He chose to assert his right to judge his relative’s mental stability ahead of mental health professionals, and to deprive another person of their property and their Constitutional right. He decided, on his own, that his judgment was all he needed to take that action. He took the law into his own hands, appointed himself cop and judge for his relative, and he’s awful proud of being a vigilante there.)

    You probably meant your “arm the homeless” as some kind of snide putdown, but I’ll take it seriously. I’m no expert, but I believe it would be illegal for a homeless person to buy a gun. When you buy from a dealer, they have to fill out a Form 4473, and Box 2 is ” Current Residence Address (U.S. Postal abbreviations are acceptable. Cannot be a post office box.)” By definition, a homeless person has no address, and lying on a 4473 is a felony.

    But back to my point: I asked for an example where a “good guy with a gun” had made a bad situation worse. You’ve cited examples where people with guns have had bad things happen to them, and I recognize at least one of them as based on an actual incident. So they’re valid.

    I’d point out, however, that considering just how many guns there are, and how many gun owners there are, the fact that those anecdotes make the news indicates that they are the aberrations.

    Planes landing safely don’t make news. Trains traveling safely don’t make news. And millions of gun owners who go through the day without anything bad happening with their guns don’t make news, either.

  38. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    He chose to assert his right to judge his relative’s mental stability ahead of mental health professionals

    In fact, I had been working closely with the mental health workers associated with his care for many years at this point, and their diagnosis was about as bad as it could possibly be. It’s also worth noting that I am just a few credits short (barring changes in requirements for credentials) of being eligible to work in the mental health field in California, so I am equipped to understand what said mental health professionals were telling me.

    But don’t let not having a clue about what you are prattling on about stop you. If you did, you would be forever silent…

    being a vigilante

    BTW, you should look up the definition of “vigilante” – even if you were not egregiously wrong in your interpretation of these events, you would still be wrong about what a vigilante is.

    But then if you did not trumpet your ignorance, you would have no horn to blow at all…

  39. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @anjin-san: Your manner of constantly evolving your story, revealing more details to match criticisms, is positively Clintonian. You started out with “I had taken a gun from a relative with serious mental health issues,” and now it’s you worked with authorities and professionals.

    So, did you actually take possession of the gun personally? Did you have any kind of authorization to do so? Did you register the weapon? Did you inform the authorities that you now had possession of this other person’s property? Were you legally authorized to possess the weapon? How did you avoid technically committing theft, by taking the gun from its lawful owner? Are you legally qualified to possess a gun?

    No, don’t bother answering. I’m sure your answers will be equally self-serving,

  40. Jack says:

    @Tony W: Meanwhile California police state that over 300 guns have been stolen from them. I presume the state will step up and take responsibility when these lead to death too? Right? Right?

    How about the Fast and Furious guns? When has Obama stepped up and taken responsibility? C’mon. Let these officials take some responsibility for all these guns on the streets.

  41. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    now it’s you worked with authorities and professionals

    Actually, I’ve been working with them since he first became symptomatic, about 12 years ago, and as recently as last week. Worked with doctors, nurses, social workers… That’s what normal people do when a close relative is seriously ill. That you don’t seem to get that is telling.

    How did you avoid technically committing theft, by taking the gun from its lawful owner?

    How do you know he was the lawful owner? You make assumptions about a serious situation, with your only goal being to tell yourself you won a point in an argument with a stranger on the internet. Is this really all there is to your life? While you play your sad little games, I am busy trying to keep someone alive, safe, and as well as is possible – and to keep others safe.

    Are you legally qualified to possess a gun?

    Legally qualified in what way? Please be specific…

    I’m sure your answers will be equally self-serving

    90% of people who are as ill as the person we are discussing are abandoned by their families. You know them as homeless people. I am pretty sure my motives in this situation are not to self-serving. Another thing you don’t seem to get.

    I keep telling you that the more you talk in here, the more you reveal about yourself. And it’s almost alway ugly. But you can’t help yourself, can you?

  42. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @anjin-san: I linked to the 4473 form, which spells out the legal requirements. I also predicted that you would keep revising your story to address the shortcomings I pointed out, just like Hillary Clinton does.

    So rejoice in your heroism, which grows more heroic with each telling.

    (Click)

  43. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Well little Jenos, I guess we will have to add the 4473 form to the excruciatingly long list of things you don’t understand. That form is used when someone makes a gun purchase from a federally licensed firearms dealer (something I have done more than once over the years)

    As for “my story”, well there are people on OTB who are familiar with my real life, and this story in particular. You are the one who hides in the shadows dude, not me. Again, it’s telling that you actually believe someone would make this all up just to impress a… person such as yourself.

  44. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @anjin-san: And now you resort to Assertion of Authority. You’re the awesomest hero ever, behind your pseudonym, and you have plenty of unnamed people who bill back that up.

    And the one thing you actually say is wrong. Yes, the 4473 is the form used for buying a gun from a dealer, and is not used in all cases. But it quite thoroughly summarizes the legal restrictions on possessing a gun, and makes a handy one-source reference for what the law requires.

    And no, you’re not doing this to impress me, you’re doing this to divert me and shut me up. It’s your one trick.

    (doubleclick)

  45. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    But it quite thoroughly summarizes the legal restrictions on possessing a gun, and makes a handy one-source reference for what the law requires.

    I’m sure that information was news to you – being the “everything I know, I looked up on Google 2 minutes ago” kind of guy you are – me, I have been through the process multiple times going back decades, so those disqualifies for making a legal gun purchase from a FFL license holder are not news to me. So you can say I am wrong all day if you like – it means nothing to anyone but yourself. Since you clearly have no inhibitions about embarrassing yourself in public, please proceed.

    Also, please show where I made any kind of claim to any sort of personal” heroism”. Of course, you can’t. When you have to make shit up to prove your point, you don’t have much of a point. I do realize that your life experience does not prepare you for the idea that a grown up man might think that taking care of your family is just something you do. Maybe you should try to get out more.

    If there is a hero in the story, it is my wife. Among other things, she single handedly lifted her family out of poverty (this was before I came along). In addition to her many sterling qualities of character, she is also quite stunning. Like more than a few guys on OTB, I probably got a little more than I deserve in the wife department 🙂

    Gosh Jenos, are you going to hang up on me again? Or will you quietly slink off to the next thread and pretend all this never happened, like you have done countless times before?

  46. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @anjin-san: You are so awesome, I am not worthy to speak to you.

    At least, not on the topic of your awesomeness. And as that’s the only thing you ever want to discuss in detail, I think our interactions are at a conclusion.

  47. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    In other words, you’ve got nothing. Kinda knew that going in. So now it is time for you to slink away.