Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nightmare at the Gym

Yahoo News reports on the nightmare shooting at a fitness club near Pittsburgh which left 5 dead.

An armed man strolled to the back of an exercise class at a health club in suburban Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and then pulled out two guns and started spraying bullets, leaving five people dead, including himself, and injuring at least 10 others, police and a hospital said.

"He did not say anything," Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said. "He walked right into the room where the shootings occurred as if he knew exactly where he was going."

The shooting was at the L.A. Fitness Center in Bridgeville, a community of about 5,000 residents not far from downtown Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh International Airport.

I suppose this is a good story to point out to AztecRed in response to his comment to me the other day. Pennsylvania has been the home to many a tragic shooting. This one illustrates the absolute absurdity of the pro-gun position of arming the good guys in response to possible violence. Can you picture the aerobics teacher leading a class wearing a gun? Can you picture armed citizens, members of the club, encouraged to wear their guns while working out. The swimming pool would be a problem, I imagine.

No, I'm afraid these situations would be absurd. The only way I can see to improve things is through stricter and better enforced gun control laws. I realize this would inconvenience legitimate gun owners, but it would also prevent some of the nuts like this Pennsylvania shooter from getting their hands on guns.

What's your opinion? Don't you think it's a worthwhile goal to make it more difficult for people like this go get guns? Aren't all these high profile shootings too high a price to pay for the pro-gun idea of freedom? I say yes.

Can we talk about responsibility for a minute? The gun manufacturers, who make huge profits from selling guns in America knowing full well that many of them end up in the wrong hands, share in the blame for this. That's my opinion. I know what the courts decided in the Glock case, nevertheless, this is what I think. It's not unlike the tobacco industry, after decades of litigation, finally being held responsible for the damage their product causes. They knew it was doing harm but chose to focus on the smokers who enjoyed smoking without getting cancer. Glock knows that their product does harm but chooses to focus on the legitimate use of their guns.

Anti-gun control people share in the blame too. If it weren't for them, their organizations, their lobbyists, their influence, America would be a safer place today. That's my opinion. I never said any particular gun owner is "responsible for murder," like I've been accused of. What I do say is legitimate gun owners who actively oppose gun control share in the responsibility for the mess.

Please feel free to leave a comment. If you're not sure what's acceptable, please consult the New Commenting Policy.


  1. Your premise is wrong. I can and do have my handgun with me at the gym. Swimming? It's in my fanny pack with my towel. It might be at most 25 yards away but that's only a few seconds in the time domain--far shorter than the shooting spree would have lasted.

    Since your premise is wrong everything that follows is either wrong or extremely suspect.

    How is it you determine truth from falsity again?

  2. Joe, You say I'm "wrong" and that I get "truth from falsity."

    Please notice that I said it would be "absurd." That's my opinion. I didn't say it could not happen. I didn't say no one would ever do such a thing. I wasn't surprised at all that you do what you described. To me it's absurd.

  3. I did not say you got true from falsity. Please read what I wrote again more carefully.

    We must be using a different dictionaries because mine says:

    ab·surd [ əb súrd, əb zúrd ]



    1. ridiculous because of being irrational, incongruous, or illogical

    Since I, and many others, routinely do this it cannot be said to think that someone would do this as a solution to the threat of an active shooter blasting away at the gym destroys your claim that "these situations would be absurd".

    It is no different than saying for someone to travel 500 miles in one hour is "absurd" when thousands of people do that everyday.

    Hence you are (please chose one):

    1) Wrong.
    2) Using a different dictionary.
    3) Other (please elaborate).

  4. I don't carry a gun at the gym, so I would have been as helpless as anyone there. I could legally carry a gun at the gym, of course, but it is an inconvenience I'm not ready to undertake.

    The problem is that you, like all other anti-gun people, respond to gun violence with a "shotgun" approach that any gun law is clearly a good gun law. I'm wondering which of the current mantra of "sensible" gun laws would have mattered here.

    1 gun a month? How many guns did he need?

    No non-background checked gun sales? We don't know the details, but most mass murderers like this have clean records and usually no reason they wouldn't pass a background check.

    Less capacity magazines? Anyone who knows guns knows that a mag change takes 3 - 5 seconds. One of Cho's gun had only 10 round clips, it didn't slow him up. A mag change is too short for fleeing people to turn and attack.

    Assault weapons ban? We don't know what kind of gun he had, but we do know that any kind of gun is effective against unarmed people. A pump shotgun is as lethal as any, and trying getting that banned!

    No CCW? Did he care about CCW since he came there to kill? CCW might have allowed someone to fight back, though in this case obviously it didn't matter. But it definitely didn't make things worse.

    Total gun ban? That actually might help with mass killers specifically, theough they may find a non-gun way to accomlish their murder (see post here: But it would have a 100% disarmament effect on the tens of thousands (or millions, depending on what study you like) of people who defend their families with a gun every year. Bad trade-off on every level!

    And in terms of "overproduction" of guns ... has there ever been a mass murder because someone decided with so many guns around he should go out and shoot someone rather than let them go to waste?

    Instead of proudly waving around fresh bodies and demanding laws that wouldn't have affected the killing, how about if you tell us what kind of law would help? If you have any gun ownership at all, whether just hunting rifles or AK47's, how do you stop the average mass killer, who has never committed a crime in his life, from having a gun?

    The only way you can have any real effect is to make sure civilians can be armed. Which is the case in P.A., but he picked -- as you pointed out -- the best possible place to strike. Probably not by accident.

  5. As absurd as you think it would be to have armed citizens at the gym, it could have saved someone's life.

    Pennsylvania is also one of those top Brady-ranked states I mentioned in the other post. #10 to be exact. I think in the past month, you've covered a shooting in half of their top 10 states and some of the states you've covered multiple times:

    Brady-ranked #2 New Jersey -

    Brady-ranked #5 Maryland -

    Brady-ranked #6 New York -

    Brady-ranked #8 Hawaii -

    Brady-ranked #9. Illinois -

    Brady-ranked #10 Pennsylvania -

    The only low Brady-ranked state to get frequent mentions on your blog is Florida, which is ranked #36, scoring 6 out 100 possible points.

    After seeing Linoge's chart, it would be interesting to see a chart that compares each state's Brady Score with their gun-related homicide rate. My guess is you'll find either a slight positive correlation or no correlation at all.

  6. Joe, I think carrying a gun in a gym is irrational, incongruous and illogical. I think we're both using the same dictionary, it's just that we each think the other is wrong.

    And maybe you'd better read what you wrote:

    "How is it you determine truth from falsity again?"

    Followed by:

    "I did not say you got true from falsity."

    Are you splitting hairs, Joe? Or is this one of those subtle philosophical differences that escapes guys like me?

  7. Sevesteen did a graph of that a while back.

    Overall the Brady numbers had zero correlation with crime as they stand. If DC is inserted as #1, there was a slight negative correlation of high Brady rank to high crime.

    I went hunting for Seve's post, and couldn't find it. Just found where he linked the chart and it has since expired.

  8. Since you aren't going to accept any information that is contrary to your opinion on gun control, let's talk about finances.
    The gun manufacturers, who make huge profits from selling guns in America knowing full well that many of them end up in the wrong hands, share in the blame for this.
    I know of only a couple publically traded companies whose financial information is available:

    Name - Profit(loss) - Margin
    Ruger - $20.6million - 9%
    S & W - ($64million) - -19%

    Taurus is traded on some market down in Brazil. Please tell me that you don't really think a $64million dollar loss is "huge profits"? The margin for RGR isn't even that impressive.

    Overall, if the privately held companies finances were made public, I would bet that you would find that the firearm industry is not much different from other industries that sell long lasting products. Companies that make "obscene" profits (which I support whole heartedly) usually deal in consumables: oil, groceries, drugs, etc. Selling something that lasts 100+ years is not a recipe for "outrageous" profits.

    Quit using an emotional argument (which is what "huge profits" is) to try and bolster your position. Especially when it isn't true.

  9. When you mentioned companies that make absurdly huge profits, you conveniently forgot Insurance companies.

    Other countries can deal with gun control without impeding the percieved freedom of their citizens.

    Why is America so different?
    Why does Joe think it is reasonable that he has to be ready, packing heat in the gym?
    Why does he have to "be prepared" with a gun in a fanny pack while he is in the pool?

    This incident made international news and the frequency of incidents such as this in America has the rest of the world puzzled.
    This is another of those self fulfilling realities. As I get older, I realize that most of our problems are caused by our own illogic. We make the problems we want.

  10. MikeB,

    How about using some of your so called common sense on this issue, eh?

    Do you think if a majority of the people were carrying guns at the gym that his guy would have chosen the gym to do his shooting?

    It really is very simple. People like this want to have a high body count. They don't want to be shot down before they can do much damage. If there was a strong chance that people could defend themselves, the criminal would be less likely to choose that spot.

    Isn't it that simple?

    How many mass murder attempts do you see at police stations, at gun clubs, at gun stores?

  11. Remember, Mike, guns don't kill people. Or is that just some NRA hogwash?

  12. "Other countries can deal with gun control without impeding the percieved freedom of their citizens"

    Really? Name one. Show me anywhere that gun control has not impeded the ACTUAL freedom of citizens.

    The fact that you can even use the term "perceived freedom" is sad.

    MikeB - Are you going to apply your gun manufacturer crap to car companies, whose products kill far more people each year than guns? Should they be held responsible for vehicle related deaths & injuries?

  13. I did the Brady Score correlation with violent crime rates. Results are here.

    Mikeb302000, it appears you misunderstood something I said. I said, "How is it you determine truth from falsity again?"

    What I intended this to mean was "What is the process by which you determine what statement or conclusions are true and which are false?" Not that you "get truth from falsity". I don't think you can tell the difference between truth and falsity--not that you have a process by which you arrive at one from the other. The other alternative, which I am strongly inclined to believe, is you just play the anti-gun role to show how absurd it is.

    You say, "I think carrying a gun in a gym is irrational, incongruous and illogical." Yet you claim this shooting "illustrates the absolute absurdity of the pro-gun position of arming the good guys in response to possible violence." And how is that you arrived at that conclusion when thousands of people do, in fact, carry their defensive tools with them at the gym. "Absolute absurdity"? Your adherence to an anti-gun position in the face of the evidence is what is absurd.

    Little Steve, timed between the last shot with the old magazine and the first shot with the fresh magazine my magazine changes on my carry pistol take an average of 2.25 seconds (10 yards, A-Zone of an USPSA target) to about 1.5 seconds (10 feet, A-Zone of an USPSA target). 3.0 to 5.0 seconds is a D-Class shooter in my world.

  14. Actually, if gym attacks such as this became common, it would be irrational to NOT carry a weapon for self defense if you are willing to use one.

    The US has much higher murder rate than other Western countries. But mass murders per capita are no higher here than in most countries, they are just committed with guns instead of cars, knives, arson, or bombs. But dead is dead.

    People who just want to kill are not unique to the US, and it is intention that is more important than hardware because a committed murderer will find a way.

    Look at my post on non-gun mass murderers:

  15. "The US has much higher murder rate than other Western countries"

    And even then our murder rate is quite low except for one tiny demographic. (young black males)

  16. The updates are coming out now.

    He was planning this for months.

    Now tell me what gun law would have prevented this.

  17. I posted on this as well, with a link back to your post.

  18. Joe asked me, "And how is that you arrived at that conclusion when thousands of people do, in fact, carry their defensive tools with them at the gym."

    I'm sure that's true about the "thousands," I have the sense that you tell the truth, Joe. But I'll tell you something that's also true. I've been to gyms and health clubs all my life, in NJ, IN, NV, CA, FL and now in Rome Italy. Those are the major places I've lived. I swear to god I've never seen a single weapon. If there's anyplace you would see the concealed weapon it's at the health club, right?, and I never have. That's thousands of visits, I've probably been in the company of tens of thousands of other members, and not one gun.

    I asked my Austrian colleague what she thinks about the idea of carrying a gun to the gym. She laughed. To her it was a totally absurd idea. I believe that's the general or normal or typical reaction, not yours.

  19. "I swear to god I've never seen a single weapon."

    You do understand the nature of a concealed weapon, no?

    I worked with a guy for 2 years who carried a gun everyday at work; I never saw it.

  20. I asked JayG the other day how he carries his Glock 30.

    I don't like Glocks for a number of reasons, but one is how big and bulky they are. the G30 is no different. I have yet to notice it, even when I KNOW it's there!

    (I hope the same is true for my carry pieces)

    BTW Mike, Check out the 2nd video on this post. I dedicated it to you and your ilk.

  21. "I swear to god I've never seen a single weapon."

    That's the way it's supposed to be. Concealed means just that. In some states, you can be penalized if your concealed weapon is visible, so most carriers take great care to conceal their weapon.

  22. I think some of you guys forgot that we're talking about IN THE GYM." I've seen plenty of guns in plenty of situations, but not at the health club or gym or swimming pool.