Friday, April 24, 2009

Alabama Shooter Michael McLendon

CNN reports on the release of a note written by the Alabama Shooter Michael McLendon, whom we've discussed before.

An Alabama man who went on a shooting rampage in March, killing 10 people and himself, left a note saying he put his mother "out of her misery" and that "some of the people who made us suffer will pay," according to newly released police records.

Among the dead were family members and strangers gunned down at random, police said. McLendon's letter offered only this explanation: "For me I've been miserable for a long time and can't take it no more. "

McLendon tried to become a Marine and couldn't make it. He was discharged from basic training in October 1999 for "fraudulent entry," according to records found in the house. He apparently failed to disclose a chronic shoulder dislocation. In a warning letter, one superior officer wrote: "He needs to improve his physical strength and confidence. ... He does not appear mentally sharp."

He was hired as a police officer in 2003, but let go a month later for what police called "physical issues." These disappointments must have been awful to bear.

Investigators found 41 DVDs focused on shooting and weapons, with titles such as "Deadly Effects: What Bullets do to Bodies," "Handgun Workout" and "How to Handle and Fire Fully Automatic Weapons."

Police removed two loaded shotguns, two loaded pistols, 22 empty ammunition boxes, a knife, a bayonet, two bulletproof vests, a gas mask and survival gear from the house. They also found some pornography in a footlocker.

On his rampage, McLendon was armed with two assault rifles, and two pistols and a shotgun were found in his car. Police said he fired more than 200 rounds.

Do you think Michael McLendon might have been the type of gun enthusiast who was trying to compensate for his insecurities? Understandably, gun owners don't like this kind of talk, but this type of person does exist, does he not? For me the only question is how prevalent is he. If he represents a "significant" percentage, then I think we need to consider that lenient gun policies create problems by this very fact.

What's your opinion? Are the Michael McLendons of the world an anomaly? Are they rare? Or, do you think like I do, that this type is responsible for too much damage and a way needs to be found to prevent him from getting guns.

Please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Weer'd, Your comments which include personal attacks against me are not welcome.

    Please comply with my wishes so I don't have to moderate.

  3. This type of gun owner may not be common, but the damage they inflict is. They remind me of the guys who own pit bulls and rottweilers and turn them into attack dogs. It's like the guns and the dogs somehow increase their masculinity.

    And the fact that responsible gun owners seldom speak out against them disturbs me. They always seem to ignore the problem while immediately jumping to their endless 2A arguments. Which doesn't make any sense, since it's guys like McLendon who are really threatening their rights. The NRA would be wise to lead the charge against these acts. I won't hold my breath.

    BTW, thanks for the compliment about DL (However did you stumble across us?)... and I'll definitely let you know the next time we're in Roma!

  4. If he represents a "significant" percentage, then I think we need to consider that lenient gun policies create problems by this very fact.

    I'd argue the opposite: that the harder you make it for ordinary people to own guns and thus the fewer ordinary people own guns, the more you make them abstract symbols of power and authority.

    Yes, I think McLendon sounds like he may have been compensating for his insecurities (note on taking armchair psychoanalyzing with a grain of salt taken as understood). He also sounds like the kind of person absolutely committed to owning guns. If you tried to "decrease the availability" of guns with, say, a Canadian-style scheme of intensely complicated and inconvenient regulation that discouraged normal people from gun ownership, McLendon is part of the minority that would jump through all those hoops.

    The only ways I can think of to stop McLendon from owning guns are to ban all guns outright (and hope he didn't have the wherewithal to get them illegally), or to give authorities so much discretion to deny people firearms for non-judicial reasons that you'd be inviting exactly the kind of capricious abuses you and I are so upset about in other civil rights cases.

    Frankly, I don't see a strong enough government interest in preventing these tragedies to warrant stronger gun restrictions. Events like this grab our attention because they're shocking, but to make policy descisions based on that shock is a fallacy of undue weight. We have to look at these shootings in the context of actual violent crime and death rates.

    Even if a crime of this scope happened every single week (which it clearly doesn't; even in this recent extremely atypical rash of shootings), that would be 520 "extra" deaths by assault each year. According to the National Safety Council, there are around 18,000 deaths by assault in the US in a typical year.

    That means that if the spree-killing rate wildly increased to one ten-victim spree per week, and if you could literally make the guns of potential spree killers disappear, and if you could prevent those people from reacquiring guns, and if the absence of guns completely stopped spree killers from killing anybody, you'd still see a maximum decrease in the rate of death by assault of 1/34th.

    Even with all those extremely dubious hypotheticals given, you end up with a pretty small benefit to balance against the evil of burdening the Constitutional and human rights of 300,000,000 Americans.

    If we're really concerned about protecting human lives, we'd do well to concentrate on the more "pedestrian" crimes that take so many lives every single day, rather than fixating on the big attention-grabbing ones. Who knows--maybe a reevaluation of those priorities might discourage spree killers who, after all, do what they do precisely to get all this attention.

  5. MikeB,

    You are a despicable hypocrite.

    You attack gun owners nearly daily yet are unwilling to apply the same logic to yourself.

  6. +1 Bob.

    Also I don't recomend a single personal attack against Mike B in my deleted post.

    Still Mike has no problem painting with a broad brush of unfounded libel.


  7. Oh and I have some "Flow" grist for your Mill, Mike.

    "PHOENIX – A spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department says they cannot find nearly a dozen of their high-powered assault rifles."

    Flow indeed. I wonder why Police are exempt for nearly all State and Federal Gun Control laws.

    What should happen to these officers when their guns are used by criminals in a homicide?

  8. And the fact that responsible gun owners seldom speak out against them disturbs me. They always seem to ignore the problem while immediately jumping to their endless 2A arguments.

    Let's say for the sake of argument that you're a Christian, or a lesbian, or a pot smoker, or an abortion doctor, or an environmental activist--whatever's important to you. And every once in a while a tragedy happens in which the person who causes the tragedy does something the same way you do. They think Jesus wants them to kill, or they're angry that they can't marry, or they bomb the shopping malls that somebody cleared wilderness to build. And every time this happens, people who hate what you do try to use the tragedy to justify taking away your rights. You can see that the tragedies are anomalies, and that the fault is with the criminal, not with your community as a whole, but every time it happens these people stand over the dead and make speeches about how you and people like you are to blame, and how it's a travesty that the government doesn't pass more laws to restrict what you do. Every. Single. Time. Usually while the bodies are still warm.

    After a few decades of this, marked by significant successes and bigoted, useless laws that make your life more difficult and demonize your community without actually helping anybody, you hear on the news that some unhinged loner's bombed a cancer research lab because he thinks it was mean to animals. Do you think you might have just the tiniest Pavlovian twitch in the direction of getting a defense together?

    The NRA would be wise to lead the charge against these acts. I won't hold my breath.

    The NRA is a frequent whipping boy on the left due to its high profile, but it's actually an extremely moderate organization.

    They supported the law after Virginia Tech that improved the reporting of mental health disqualifications, fixing the error that let Cho legally buy guns. Given that nobody's suggesting anything else that would actually help this situation, what exactly would you like to see the NRA _do_?

  9. I'm sorry, I've gone all rambly when I could've been much more concise. :)

    I should have simply pointed out that it's really the pointless, unconstructive anti-gun arguments that are "endless", and they naturally demand 2A responses. If the Brady Campaign would start worrying about actually protecting people from crime and stop fixating on guns, we could all work together much more productively to find a way to address the issue without all these distractions.

  10. Bob, I've left your comment up there because I want to try one more time to reason with you.

    My attacking gun owners on a daily basis, as you put it, is not the same as your calling me names like "despicable hypocrite." You've called me other things too.

    If you disagree with that, I'm afraid that's too bad. This is my blog and I'm asking you to play by the rules.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. "And the fact that responsible gun owners seldom speak out against them disturbs me."

    Ah, Pandora of DE Liberal. Can't say I'm surprised you shun personal responsibility. This is the same DE liberal crowd who routinely conflates legal gun owners with criminals.

    Look, I am NOT responsible for the actions of folks like McLendon or any of these other murderers (and they are murderers not "shooters")

    Should I ridicule you because you don't make a point to speak out against prostitution?

    Do you ever have a glass of wine or a beer? IF you do then do you also publicly condemn (on your blog) EVERY SINGLE drunk driving death?.... didn't think so.

    since it's guys like McLendon who are really threatening their rights.Nope, it's anti-gunners and disgusting politicians who use these tragedies to push for more gun control who are threatening my rights.

    Again, failure to consider personal responsibility and place blame where it lies. The only people who threaten my rights via legislation are the folks in a position to pass such legislation and those who lobby them, no one else.

    Honestly Pandora, what do you want us to say? This shithead McLendon and others like him broke a whole plethora of laws in committing their heinous crimes.

  13. Bob S. - That is typical of anti-gunners. They have double-standards for conduct on their blogs.

    "They can dish it out but can't take it" pretty much sums them up perfectly.

    Delaware Liberal was/is a perfect example of this. Numerous bloggers on their site had no decency and engaged in personal attacks, particularly against those who wouldn't toe the liberal/anti-gun line.

    Site contributors like pandora and many anti-gun commenters were not held to the same standards they applied to folks like Weer'd or myself.

    Pandora herself levied numerous personal attacks at me for having the auddacity to post FBI crime data (this was AFTER she called me a racist)

    Also, this is the same website where one of the founders said

    "I will always hate any and all Republicans" and

    "All Republicans should be lined up and shot."

    Are you sure you want to tie yourself to such vile folks MikeB? Especially given your notion of group responsibility.

  14. What a nasty, little liar you are, mike w. - how's that for name calling?

    I never called you a racist - NEVER. Go on and prove your lie. Supply a link. If you don't, then man up and supply an apology.

    Mike B, Sorry about this, but I can't tolerate someone lying about something this vile. Mike W. was banned from DL, after a lengthy probation and numerous warnings. He turned (hijacked) practically every thread, no matter what the subject, into a 2A rant and clogged our blog with hundreds and hundreds of comments. Our other readers were complaining so we took action in the best interest of DL. Needless to say... he isn't missed.

    Sorry this nonsense spilled into your home.

  15. "Mike B, Sorry about this, but I can't tolerate someone lying about something this vile."

    Why does it bother you? You and your ilk do it regularly over on DL. You, of all people seemed to get particularly pissy and snotty anytime I refuted your BS with a factual citation or asked you to supply proof.

    I'm not going to dig through months of DL archives. The totality of what I've seen over at your site speaks for itself.

    And if citing FBI UCR stats makes me a racist then so be it. Denial of facts doesn't make them any less true. It seems some people will do nothing but deny them.

    Pandora - Would you or anyone else like to respond to the points raised in my 4:18 comment?

  16. Pandora, I think it goes without saying that you're perfectly within your rights to do whatever you want on your own blog. I sometimes have to remind my commenters of that.

    About Mike W., I can say that around here he's been a bit abrasive at times but nothing that has come close to my wanting to ban him. But that may be because I have Weer'd and Bob S. to compare him to (that's a joke, guys).

  17. MikeB,

    If you want to see abrasive, I can arrange for that to happen....that is a joke and not a joke at the same time.

    Please stop confusing mildly worded with not being abrasive.

    You continue to insult and denigrate my friends, my family and fellow gun owners, but since you do it with mild words you seem to think it is okay. IT ISN'T.

  18. MikeB - You wouldn't believe some of the crap Pandora allows in the comments over at her blog (as long as you're a liberal that is) She and her ilk there allow shit that even I would be hard pressed not to ban someone for.

    I've been called every name in the book, been accused of racism more times than I can remember. I've been attacked numerous times because of my age, living status, even my CP many times.

    I might not agree with you on the gun issue, but I respect you to some extent. In large part that's because I was exposed to the rational, decent, intellectual and tolerant "progressives" over at Delaware Liberal.

    I mean hell, you avoid our points sometimes, but at least you engage in discussion.

    Over here I post FBI UCR stats and we have a civil discussion about it. Over at DL I do it and Pandora whines and calls me an asshole.

  19. Lots of talk, but still no link to me calling you a racist - and now you can supply another link to the post where you claim I called you an a$$hole.

    Of course, you have nothing, or else you'd be slamming this blog with links to those comments on DL.

    Everyone's watching and waiting with bated breath, mike w., to see your proof. How embarrassing.

  20. OK Pandora - Here you are calling me an asshole.

    And as I asked there

    "- Care to explain how YOU ignoring the factual FBI UCR crime data I post to prove my point makes ME the asshole?"

    I refute your baseless claims, you get pissy and bitchy about being asked to backup what you say. It's a pattern with the DL Liberal crowd.

    At least mike doesn't whine when we ask him to qualify his statements.

  21. As a long-time reader of Delaware Liberal, I would quantfy pandora as one of the most polite contributers....and at the same time everything MikeW says is true.

    It's a swamp of ideological hate.

  22. "I would quantfy pandora as one of the most polite contributers"

    So would I actually, though she and Cassandra had particular issues with me. Having to debate with someone who could actually provide EVIDENCE to support his claims really seemed to bother them, and it really pissed Pandora off that I asked the same of her over and over again.

    Though saying she's one of the most polite out of those at DL isn't saying much.

  23. LOL, Mike! You got me on the a$$hole comment. My bad.

    Now... admit I got you on the racist comment. I NEVER called you that, and it disturbs me that, despite your feelings toward DL, you would toss that hateful allegation into the ring.

  24. Just trying to find the quote myself I did a google search for "Mike W" "delawareliberal" and "Racist"

    and I got a LOT of hits from the vast majority of DL contributers refering to Mike W as a "Racist" (Mostly it appears for not voting for a man he doesn't agree with politcally)

    I didn't find any one post of Pandora using that libel.

    I also didn't see any of her complaining.

    I'd say you DID get Mike on the "Racist" crack...but you certainly appeared to be complicit in the whole deal.

    I certainly question your judgement for running with that rabbel.

  25. "I'd say you DID get Mike on the "Racist" crack...but you certainly appeared to be complicit in the whole deal.

    I certainly question your judgement for running with that rabbel."

    Hmm... is this coming from the same guy that cries foul over linking guns to gun crime? I thought people were only responsible for their individual actions.

    Sure you want to go down this path?

  26. Sure Pandora - As an admin at DL don't you have some responsibilty to moderate conduct "in your house" that occurs under your supervision?

    If 2 guests were at your home and one was continually slandering the other would you not have some responsibilty (moral) to moderate that dispute/discussion?

    I know that I consider myself somewhat responsible for the interactions between commenters on my blog. If someone regularly called you a "stupid cunt" in comments on my blog (or a "racist" for that matter) I'd put a stop to it because it's unacceptable.

    It's called policing your own house. It says a lot about you that you cheer that kind of vile conduct on within your own blog (so long as it's a liberal doing it)

    Saying I am responsible for the CRIMINAL misuse of firearms by people WHOM I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER isn't even close to the same thing.

  27. Ah... not going to man up over the racist claim, I see. Pathetic and typical.

    Now, I'm through cluttering up Mike B.'s blog with this nonsense. All I ask is that you be careful with the words you attribute to me.

    You may have the last word. (Of which, I have no doubt you will.)

  28. "it disturbs me that, despite your feelings toward DL, you would toss that hateful allegation into the ring."

    Spare me the faux outrage. It's only a "hatefull allegation" when directed towards you.

    When shit was directed at me (including maybe 100 accusations of "racism" levied at me by "Anonone" alone) you and your ilk laughed right along with it.

    Not to mention I asked Jadegold once to "back up what he says or leave" and you were OUTRAGED. I was told to leave by several commenters numerous times and you were either cheering them on or saying nothing.

    Any and all personal attacks are OK with you.....until they're directed at you or one of your own.

    So really, spare me the song and dance about "hateful allegations."

    Hell, just look at the "obama bucks, paying for racism" Every single one of you attacked me rather than my argument. But hey, I'm sure even MikeB will see that such is the DE Liberal way of handling dissent if he's willing to read through the archives.

    If MikeB is fed up with some of what Weer'd says I'm sure he'll be disgusted at his fellow anti-gunners when reading back posts at your website.

  29. Mike W., One time on your blog you told me you're not interested in my problems with Weer'd, that they were between me and him. I feel the same way about you and Pandora.

    I don't mind providing the forum for your argument, up to a point. But, I'm not interested in it enough to read the archives, mainly because I don't have enough time to do everything else I need to do. I hope you understand.