Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bullet Casings at the DC Sniper Shootings

I became quite concerned the other day when I wrote this post about Josh Horwitz' ideas on microstamping.  Our frequent commenters kaveman and Fat White Man both accused Josh of lying about the bullet casings at the scenes of the DC sniper shootings.

"Each of the DC shootings was a single shot fired by Malvo from INSIDE the trunk of a car. They had cut a hole in the trunk just large enough to poke the barrel out and get a sight picture.

It is highly unlikely any shell casings were recovered by police through this tiny hole."
said kaveman.

First of all, Kaveman is quite correct. The reports at the time said that no shell casings were found at the scene of the crimes. said Fat White Man.

So concerned was I, thinking that it makes sense what they said about the shootings and that would mean that maybe Josh Horwitz is like they say too.  So I wrote to his organization.

On my gun control blog I'm daily bombarded with the vicious and usually badly-formed attacks of the pro-gun crowd. But in this case I'm a bit at a loss. How do you respond to them when they say Josh was lying when he said there were shell casings left at the scene of the DC sniper shootings?
I received a very quick answer frim Ladd Everitt, Director of Communications, CSGV.

Thanks for the email, Mike.
A great source of the extensive ballistic evidence recovered during these shootings is Charles Moose's book, "Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper":

You can search the terms bullet, casing, shell in there, etc., etc.

Ladd Everitt, Director of Communications
Well, you know me. Those instructions to search for key words looked a little complicated for me so I did what I should have done in the first place. I went to Wikipedia. In less than a minute I found this about the first shooting.

At this crime scene the authorities discovered a shell casing as well as a Tarot card (the Death card) inscribed with the phrase, "Call me God"
Well, I haven't looked any further. I figurd that answered my questions adequately about whether I should believe what biased, close-minded gun-rights folks say. I apologize to you Mr. Horwitz, and the staff at CSGV, for having entertained even for a moment what these guys say about you. It won't happen again, I promise.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Actually, you needn't have gone to Charles Moose or CGSV. A simple google search on "DC sniper shell casings" would have given you all the info you needed. In fact, there's a Slate article dated 10/8/2002--during the DC sniper killings--that revealed police had several shell casings and knew what kind of weapon was being used.

    You have to understand 2 rules about gunloons:

    1. They do not tell the truth.
    2. See Rule #1.

  2. BTW, if you do the google search I mentioned--you get some neat results. Although MSM sources provided articles about the shell casings as early as 6 Oct 02--you had wingnut media (WorldNutDaily, FreeRepublic, and Lew Rockwell) all claiming no shell casings had been found--even after the snipers had been caught.

  3. Zorro, What that quote about the ONE shell casing told me was the Fat White Man and kaveman were wrong in what they'd said. The fact that they'd said it with such certainty, actually calling Horwitz the liar, was doubly funny.

    I didn't read any further, but as Jadegold sagely pointed out, there were other casings.

    The fact that the rifle in question was "stolen" is another question that we've written about extensively around here. That was the obvious bullshit story of the crooked FFL guy up in Washington State. I'll ask you what I asked some of the other biased closed-minded gun crowd last year, if you'd been the owner of Bull's Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma, would it be even remotely possible for you to "lose" hundreds of rifles? Would you be incapable of preventing the "theft" of hundreds of items?

  4. I never mentioned Mr. Horwitz in mt response. I never accused anyone of lying. I said it was highly unlikely any shell casings were recovered from shots fired inside the car trunk.

    Do try and keep up.

  5. Thanks for covering this important issue on your blog, Mike. As you and Jadegold have now pointed out, there was extensive ballistic evidence recovered from the D.C. sniper crime scenes.

    You are also correct that the man who armed the D.C. snipers, Brian Borgelt, owner of Bull's Eye Shooter Supply (at the time), "lost" hundreds of firearms. He never could explain how the Bushmaster rifle made its way into the snipers' hands, but he suggested that one of his employees sold it off the books to John Allen Muhammad.

    The Bushmaster was actually not the first gun that Muhammad obtained from Bull's Eye. He had a friend straw purchase another rifle for him months earlier from the store.

    For more on this story, see the blog our Director of Communications wrote after meeting personally with Borgelt in 2008, "Shooting with the Enemy":

    Best regards.

  6. SGV, Thanks for the confirmation.

    kaveman, You're right, you made a carefully worded comment designed to mislead. FWM is the one who embarrassed himself.

  7. I'm hardly embarrassed. How could anyone be on this blog with Jade rules in place?

    I stand by my statements. Josh said that the ground was littered with shell casings at every crime scene and it was not. During the investigation the first few crime scenes, no shell casings were recovered or at least that is what Moose told the world. He said that the recovered bullets told them what caliber but he repeated to the media that they did not know what type of action was used as the cases would tell them upon examination. Microstamping as it is theorized would not have prevented nor solved that crime.

    No microstamping law authored has ever included rifles. Using the case of the DC Sniper as a reason for Microstamping is fear mongering--it does not apply.

    Sort of like Brady and that straw purchaser hero of theirs using those poor victims of Virginia Tech as a reason to end gun shows and private transfers when the shooter did not buy his guns through a gun show or private transfer.

    But I really don't blame Josh, or you or Jade for that matter. When the truth is not on your side and you keep losing at nearly every turn, you don't have much else to fall back on but lies, half-truths and fear mongering.

  8. The "straw purchaser heroes" in Virginia would be Colin Goddard, who was shot four times at Virginia Tech and survived, and Omar Samaha, whose sister was shot and killed at Virginia Tech.

    Nor did they straw purchase the guns in question at Virginia gun shows. They bought the guns for themselves and then turned those guns into local police departments for disposal.

    They had to undergo a background check in order to turn the guns into the police, but not in order to purchase them in the first place at the gun shows.

    As for the Virginia Tech families, 25 of the families have come out strongly in support of closing the Gun Show Loophole:

    Not a single family has announced their opposition to this reform.

  9. FWM, you need to man-up, man, and just admit you were wrong. Instead of quibbling over the meaning of "littered," or denigrating my blog, just say you were wrong. I swear we won't hold it against you, on the contrary...

    But as embarrassing as that is, now it seems you've had the "Colin Goddard is a criminal" story all wrong too.

    You're on a roll, man.