Sunday, October 22, 2017

Always Follow the Links Back to Original Source

BreitbartNews ran a story about an illegal immigrant being arrested for arson in the disastrous Santa Rosa fires.  It originated with Alex Jones,  who typifies "alt-right" or perhaps "alt-reality."  When he gets something right,  it is a red letter day,  and likely an accident.  He attracts people who lack the wit to recognize they are beyond played.   Why BreitbartNews grabbed this mystified me.  Never blog something until you get back to the original source.  If there does not seem to be one,  like the hockey stick contempt of court story,  it is probably false;  almost CNN level.

Nice Fall Colors

Looking northwest from the top of my property.

Winter Has Arrived

Looking northeast from the top of my property.

The Hockey Stick

I can find lots of conservative discussion of Mann's refusal to turn over the data used for hours famous hockey stick chart of temperature.   (It is proprietary, in spite of being paid for by the U.S. government. )  I cannot find any news coverage of the court finding him in contempt of court for his refusal to do so.  Why?

Tonight's Incredibly Vivid and Strange Dream

It is some sort of Tea Party really or similar here in Idaho,  and some attractive female legislator is making the car for an initiative to put a tablet in the hands of every legislator.   To demonstrate the value of this,  she pulls out her tablet anew had some problem getting it to start.  In a second or two,  the helicopter view showed dozens of members of the audience risking the stage to help. A little farther back,  enthusiasm to help causes so many people to jump toward the stage that a human pyramid accidentally forms.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Those Who Believe in Nothing Will Believe in Anything

CBS Marketwatch reports that among millenials  belief in God is falling,  but a majority believe astrology is a science. 

It may be that they do not know the difference between astrology and astronomy which is a bit better than thinking astrology is a science,  but still makes you wonder what they are being taught.   Remember worship science;  especially Sun signs and "the Moon is in the seventh house,  and Jupiter aligns with Mars..."

Cultural Differences Must Be Tolerated

The Daily Telegraph reports that a Palestinian man was found innocent of raping his wife because he did not know it was illegal in Canada.

Honest judge,  I had no idea carrying a handgun into Canada was a crime.  At that point, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse from the law."  This is one of the reasons encouraging purple from radically different cultures to come here is a mistake. The Democrats are going to love living in a majority Muslim society.  

Copy Editing Stage

I have reached the point in Lock, Stockand Barrel where the publisher is having me verify text edits.   They have added a lot of typesetting codes as well.  One surprise was that periods ending sentences have only one following space.  I thought this was a Microsoft originated change to the standard of two spaces,  or maybe book publishers do this because justification makes the difference invisible anyway.

Once we complete this task,  the next stage is gallery proofs, done in PDF, not on paper.  Book should be available in February.

Isn't That Where You Dispose of Car Batteries?

I was driving down State Highway 44 in Eagle,  and I saw a box? In the road ahead of me being run over by a truck.  Too late to swerve, I realized it was a car battery standing up.  (Not in a box at all. )  It made a horrendous noise going under the Jaguar but there are no obvious signs of damage.   I will have the Jaguar dealer take a look for damage on Monday in case I need to call my insurance company.

Not Just Better Looking, But More Efficient

According to a Fox News analysis of White House personnel reports, Melania Trump has significantly reduced the number of aides on the first lady's office payroll in comparison to her predecessor, Michelle Obama.
During then-President Barack Obama’s first year in office, 16 people were listed working for Michelle Obama, earning a combined $1.24 million a year.
This year, just four people were listed working for Melania Trump as of June. Their salaries totaled $486,700.

Will Conspiracy Theorists Applaud or Put Trump in their Theories?

President Trump announced on Twitter that he will allow the release of thousands of classified documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy after years of delays.
The unexpected move means the trove of never-before-seen documents are set to be released by the National Archives by Oct. 26.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Odd Need

A customer who bought a ScopeRoller set in 2005 needs a replacement set.  The plastic of the wheels is corroding away.  The vendors charges a substantial fee for tiny orders.  I found the third hollow pin caster I need on eBay; the other two I found next to a pterodactyl.  But there is a 3/8" to 1/2" adapter that I need to complete this 3rd wheel assembly.  Any idea where I might find such an odd bushing?  It doesn't rotate; just allows a 3/8" bolt to not slop about in a 1/2" hole. Never mind, found some in the Paleozoic layer.

Remember: Media Bias is Not Real

 Best of all, these fools do no realize that Project Veritas has been video taping these idiots for a couple of years to expose their dishonesty.

Those Horrendous Fires in Sonoma County That Left 40 Dead

Immigration  is asking the Sonoma County Sheriff to hold the suspect in setting the fires.  ICE are not arson investigators; detainer holds are for illegal aliens.  But this is California and a pretty far left county (too many billionaires and millionaires).

Utterly fabricated.   Apparently stayed as fabrication and then spread.
Part of wby I never believe anything from Alex Jones.

Not Sure How Seriously to Take the Free Beacon...

The campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) spent nearly $40,000 on luxury private jet travel during the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Sanders, who has said global warming is causing "devastating problems" and is in favor of a carbon tax, made the payments for the posh private travel arrangements from his Senate campaign committee, Friends of Bernie Sanders, to Apollo Jets, a New York-based private charter company that is "dedicated to providing a luxury flight experience based on superior safety and exceptional customer care," its website states.
The campaign spent $37,567.53 to rent the private charters during the third quarter, which runs from the beginning of July to the end of September.

Star Trek: Enterprise

I grew up watching Star Trek when first broadcast.  My sister Marilyn and I would make one of the Chef-Boy-R-Dee pizzas in a box Thursday nights and watch ST.  I could never develop any fondness for the zillion later series.  ST: TNG especially bothered me because so many stories and plot devices were so obviously stolen from ST. 

I just started watching Star Trek: Enterprise, and I am really enjoying it.  One episode stole an ST plot device (blow up a shuttlepod engine to get Enterprise's attention), but otherwise it seems the writers were pretty inventive.  I am enjoying it.  I often found myself saying, "Where is this going?" 

There have only been a couple of slightly PC episodes (not that ST was free of these: "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," was very clumsily about the Civil Rights movement), one involving Suliban held in a Tandaran internment camp which of course is likened not to a concentration camp, but a Japanese-American internment camp.  And to be fair, the Tandaran camp is closer to that than a concentration camp, and with similarly expressed concerns about protecting Suliban from lynching.  (There were very few such incidents after Pearl Harbor: a pretty strong statement about the decency of Americans under terrifying conditions.)

 Star Trek: Enterprise is a prequel to ST, so the technology is not as advanced: the transporter is not completely trusted, so it is rarely used for living creatures.  Instead, all travel is by shuttlepod.  ST came up with the transporter because Roddenberry was concerned that transport by shuttle would be expensive special effects and slow down the plots too much.  I have always thought the transporter was the least plausible technology of ST; the amount of data to encode a human being is enormous; data transmission is another problem; you think 100 GB is slow?  There are other strategies: keep a standard human definition, and only transmit a code that says base code human, plus the deltas for this individual, or some truly amazing discrete wavelet transform.

To ST:E's credit, the humanoid aliens are often substantially different in appearance; ST had too many essentially human aliens.  There is at least an absurd explanation in "The Paradise Syndrome" episode of ST, when Spock discovers that some technologically advanced species has left an asteroid repeller on a planet inhabited by vaguely American Indian people.  (Of course, Kirk falls in love and gets Pocahontas pregnant.)  Spock explains that this now gone advanced species explains why there are so many humanoid aliens; they chose to protect those most similar to themselves.

Still, it looks like the writers cheaped out in later episodes of Season 1: too many aliens just barely different from humans.  Often just a small amount of paint or pseudo-flesh on the face.  You could well believe that God made all these species in His own image.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There Were Democrats Who Warned Them Not to Go There

I mentioned in July that well-known alt-right publication New York Times had pointed out the obvious corruption in the Uranium One deal to the benefit of the Russians.  The Hill now reports:
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
10/18/17 Fox News report Senate Judiciary Committee is starting to ask questions about this.   Maybe we can see both Clintons and Obama to go to prison.

Sore Muscles

And not from statins or the gym, but from yesterday's emergency honey-do project.  We have a split rail fence, which will not keep Rosie (the springer spaniel puppy)  in, so my wife and I put 400 feet of rabbit netting on it, held in place by zip ties.  She is now confined; wears herself out without being walked; and seems to be doing better about elimination in the right place.  But boy am I sore!

Conspiracy Theorists

My friend Dave Burnett informed of the correct response to conspiracy theorists: one up them!

"We never went to the Moon!"

"You believe in the Moon?"

"The Bush Administration blew up the World Trade Center."

"I've never been in the WTC.  How do you know it existed on 9/10?  Do you know anyone who ever worked there?"  (Phrase carefully, I have seen the giant inflatable balloons commonly called the WTC from New Jersey in 1999.)

Please: add your own favorite conspiracy theories and snappy comebacks.  I am sure my clever readers can come up many golden moments.

Who Knew We Had Time Travelers?

Maryland police charged a black man with a hate crime after he allegedly spat in the face of a disabled white man and shouted “all white people are evil.”
Marquis Evans-Royster, 27, walked up to a 52-year-old homeless disabled white man while on a city bus, WJLA-TV reported Monday. Authorities maintained Evans- Royster told the man he owed him because of slavery.
“You owe me for making my grandmother a slave,” Evans-Royster said to the man. According to police, he also turned to other passengers on the bus and yelled, “All white people are evil.” He also allegedly told two of the bus’ white passengers they should be dead. 
Homeless white guy: all that white privilege.  A 52-year-old enslaved this guy's grandmother?  He is a time traveler?  Let's do the math since Mr. Evans-Royster cannot.  Slavery ended in 1865 -- 152 years ago.  So 152-27 (his age) means he was born in 1990.  His mother must have birthed this hater no earlier than 1945, and her mother 1900.

Did his public school not teach history or math?  And obviously not manners or self-restraint.
"It speaks to the state of the times," said 70-year-old Tyrone Kenney, a black man who came of age during the American Civil Rights Movement. "People are desperate, they're looking for leadership, they're looking for guidance, but they're not getting it at home, they're not getting it from government. It's a period of time I've never seen before."
Not  getting it from government: Trump made him do it!

Where the Democrat Enthusiasm for Islamic Refugees May Take Us

CAIRO — A crackdown on gay people in Egypt intensified in recent days as security forces raided cafes in downtown Cairo and courts delivered harsh prison sentences, further driving the nation’s LGBT community underground.
More than 60 people have been arrested, human rights activists said, since a concert last month by a rock group where some members of the audience waved a rainbow flag — photos of which went viral on social media and caused public outrage.
Security forces have also detained people at their homes in the middle of the night, and have used apps and online chat rooms to entrap those believed to be gay. Some cafes frequented by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have been shut down.
Regular readers know that I think America's embrace (including by most Republicans) of the LGBT movement was a serious mistake.  But 1950s American disapproval of homosexuality was fairly liberal compared to Islam's view.  Best of all, the articles suggests Christians are part of this.

Watch for Yield Curve Inversion

10/18/17 CNBC:
The bond market is warning that trouble could be on the horizon, either from an economic slowdown or an eventual recession.
The yield curve, a set of interest rates watched closely by bond market pros, has gotten to its flattest level since before the financial crisis. The spread between 2-year note yields and 10-year yields this week reached near the lows, at about 0.75, it has been since before the financial crisis.
"Yield curve inversion" is when long-term Treasury bond yields get lower than short-term bond yields.  I bought 30 year Treasurys in 1994 that paid me 7.5% annually from 1994 to 2016, when they matured, paying me a slight capital gain.  These can be good times to buy bonds for low-risk, often better than inflation returns.

What if the Vegas Shooter Had No Access to Guns?

He was rich enough to wire $100,000 overseas. Could he have bought a gasoline tanker, driven into the crowd, opened the tank upstream from the survivors and thrown a match?  Here's what I found when researching just recent vehicle mass murders.

In the last few years, there have been multiple motor vehicle mass murders in Europe and Australia (84 killed with truck in Nice, France[1], 12 murdered in Berlin, Germany with truck[2], 3 killed with SUV, 1 by stabbing in London[3], 5 with truck in Stockholm[4], 13 murdered with truck in Barcelona, Spain.[5]  While these were terrorist mass murders, others have been mental health-related (6 murdered with car in Melbourne, Australia[6]

[1] Angela Dewan, Jason Hanna and Euan McKirdy, Attack in Nice: Truck Driver Identified as 31-Year-Old Tunisia Native, CNN, July 16, 2016.
[2] Anschlag in Berlin Zahl der Verletzten liegt bei 56, Berliner Zeitung, Mar. 6, 2017.
[3] 'No evidence' Khalid Masood had links to IS or al-Qaeda, BBC, Mar. 27. 2017.
[4] Simon JohnsonNiklas PollardRebecka Roos, Uzbek suspect in Swedish attack sympathized with Islamic State: police, Reuters, Apr. 9, 2017.
[5] Barcelona attack: four suspects face court after van driver is shot dead,
[6] Holly McKay and Cassie Zervos, Blackburn South woman dies in hospital after Bourke St rampage, [Victoria, Australia] Herald Sun, Jan. 30, 2017.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Gun Control Advocates Threatening Gun Violence

I have long thought that gun control advocates are that way because of projection;  they assume most gun owners are as unhinged as they are.   An NRA spokeswoman had had to move her family out of their house because of threats of gun violence by those who want more gun control.  If you are just barely on the edge of violence yourself,  it is easy to assume everyone else is at least as crazy as you are.

Irony Overload!

10/15/17 National [Canada] Post:
Hillary Clinton says U.S. elected 'someone who admitted sexual assault'
Slick Willie never admitted it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

James Shapiro's Shakespeare and the Jews

Columbia University Press, 1996.  ix+229 pp.  If you pick up this book thinking it is about Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, you are going to wonder how Shapiro filled a whole book with that one topic.  This really a history of how Englishmen considered their relationship wit the Jews, starting with the apparently extralegal, executive order expulsion in 1291, passing through early modern England ("early modern" now the preferred term for Renaissance England), the legal status of Jews resident in England in the interval from 1291 until Cromwell allowed them back in, and the vigorous debate about whether a Jew could really be an Englishman without converting. 

Along the way, there are many depressing discussions of how extreme the blood libel was in England--including not just the  murder of Christian children, so the blood could be made into matzoh (of which Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln is the best known today), but also ritual cannibalism.
You find yourself scratching your head at how anyone could have believed this, but the blood libel persists in the Muslim world today, often promoted by Arab government media.

The level of detail in primary sources is impressive, especially considering Shapiro is a professor of English.  Unsurprisingly, there is a bit more literary analysis than I would prefer, but he seems to regard the identity politics that has taken over the high falutin sewers of academia as destructive.

Leftist Opposition to Gun Control

Over at, a thoughtful article about leftist support for gun rights, with this great picture:

Those Black Neo-Nazis Must Be Confused

 - Court records show the man accused of spray-painting a swastika inside a residence hall at the University of Maryland in September is African American.
Students were surprised to learn someone who is a member of a race which has been historically oppressed is accused of the hate-related incident.
"I guess it proves that you don't have to be a certain race to hate people, but I mean, it's just you would think that someone, especially from a race that has been subjected to hate before, you would think why would you want to reciprocate that to somebody else," said student Abby Gorun.
So fake hate crime or AA at the Order?

I'm Sure This Wasn'T On PBS/ABC/NBC/CBS/PBS

Trump's swamp-draining continues.  The unauthorized billions of dollars the Obama Administration gave to its owners, the health insurers, have been stopped:
After a thorough legal review by HHS, Treasury, OMB, and an opinion from the Attorney General, we believe that the last Administration overstepped the legal boundaries drawn by our Constitution. Congress has not appropriated money for CSRs, and we will discontinue these payments immediately.
Trump has authorized Association Health Plans as another method of providing health insurance.  Apparently scraps the existing rules that prevented AHPs from operating across state lines.  Bush proposed this in 2005, but the Republicrats who are owned by the big insurers killed it.

Today's Odd Question for My Very Smart Readers

Put two rectangular magnets, side by side.  Up is the north pole of each.  Bolt them down to a non-magnetic substrate.  Is there any attraction on their equators?  Past experience tells me no.

We keep getting flats from nails and screws--I am thinking of hanging a magnetic nail catcher in front of each tire suspended on nylon, just above the road surface.

Climate Change and History

This is by the author of The Little Ice Age,  Brian Fagan.   He claims to believe in anthropogenic global warming,  even though his book is powerful evidence against it.

That Equatorial Platform

Slight delay.  I need to find a way to keep Big Bertha from sliding to and fro on it.   So I will next make three clamps to hold the ground board in place.   These clamps are L sections with a screw theough the upright part that will screw into a threaded hole in the ground board to prevent motion.  I will buy the L sections on Monday and hope to have everything operational that evening.   We have moved from warm but usually cloudy nights to often clear but incredibly cold nights.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I Think This is Going to be a Hard Winter

Mid-October and I had a hailstorm on the way home from the gym last night.   I do not have to look very much above eye level to see know on the mountains around us.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Too Stupid to Buy Bread Without Assistance

Instapundit quoted from this story, and the quote was so unbelievable that I had to verify it.  Why Megan Kelly is having trouble getting guests on her NBC show:
One publicist said they didn’t want their client to schmooze with Kelly, because her brand is too alienating, as a result of her association to the conservative news network. “I don’t even know if it’s as much her as it is Fox News,” the publicist said. “Because she came from Fox News, she was set up for failure because the industry is so polarized now and no one wants to touch anything associated with Trump.”
 Kelly's association with Trump was punching bag.  This was highly publicized last year.  So is it the publicist or his clients with the memory of a goldfish?

Comments? Suggestions?

Mass Murder: American Unexceptionalism
Clayton E. Cramer*
Is mass murder exceptionally American?  If so, can America’s relatively laissez-faire gun control laws be the explanation?  Would the courts finding increased regulation based on this apparent exceptionalism be consistent with the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a “right to keep and bear arms.”  Could a narrow reading of the Second Amendment qualify as “reasonable” or “rational” because of the social costs of American exceptionalism?
I.                 Brandeis Briefs and “Reasonableness”
Eventual U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis Brandeis is often remembered for his seminal Brandeis Brief in Muller v. Oregon (1908)[1], in which legal argument was secondary to social science claims and arguments.  His view was that “judges must decide on statutory rather than on constitutional grounds.”[2]  As part of that process, “In a democracy social policy is made by legislatures, not by judges, and the Constitution must be read as requiring the Court to exercise judicial restraint.”[3]  In the absence of clear-cut conflict with the Constitution, social science could inform judges on the “reasonableness” of a statute to solve a specific social problem.
This article exists on the assumption that Brandeis briefs will be submitted arguing that various types of firearms regulation can be considered “reasonable” because the United States is exceptional with respect to both firearms regulation and mass murder, and that there is some connection therefore (a post hoc ergo propter hoc error).  Such reasoning therefore might allow a narrower reading of the Second Amendment’s protections with respect to particular classes of arms in order to reduce a great social evil: mass murder. 
Under existing precedents, this would not be sufficient.  FCC v. Beach Communications (1993) very clearly protects “fundamental constitutional rights” from rational basis scrutiny.[4]  DC v. Heller (2008) appears to have recognized the Second Amendment as protecting a fundamental right.[5]  Nonetheless, precedents are as Mary Poppins described piecrust promises, “Easily made, easily broken.”  This is especially of concern because Heller is a very recent and highly controversial precedent, one that appears to have been largely ignored by most circuits, with little or no apparent interest by the Court in correcting them.[6]  As appellate court judges move up the ladder, this reluctance to apply strict scrutiny to a fundamental human right may well produce a future Court willing to overturn Heller, or narrow its protections with respect to the categories of protected arms.
 This article therefore seeks to demonstrate that the United States is neither exceptional in its firearm mass murder problem, nor exceptional in its mass murder problem for all types of weapons.

II.             The Claim of American Exceptionalism

In 2015, after a mass murder at a church in Charleston, South Carolina President Barack Obama expressed the widely held belief: “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”[7]  Almost immediately, critics pointed out that the first sentence was clearly incorrect: “Over the decade and a half studied, the researchers found 23 incidents of mass shootings in the other 10 countries, resulting in 200 dead and 231 wounded. In the United States over the same period, there were 133 incidents that left 487 dead and 505 wounded.”[8]  While the second sentence might be read as correct if looking only at number of incidents instead of the more commonly accepted measure of incidents per 100,000 population or dead per 100,000, even then, the U.S. is only fourth on the list of mass murder incidents per 100,000 (0.15) compared to Finland (0.34), Norway (1.3), and Switzerland (1.7).[9]

III.           Why Rates Matter

The first question that a naïve reader might ask, “Why do population rates matter instead of raw counts of such incidents?”  The reason is that many mass murders (as well as the more ordinary murders) are committed by persons with severe mental illness problems, whose actions are clearly a consequence of those problems.[10]  Some of the recent and widely publicized examples:
·       Russell Eugene Weston, Jr., after shooting two U.S. Capitol police officers to death in 1999, explained his actions to a court-appointed psychiatrist as an attempt to prevent the spread of a disease by cannibals, including the two police officers.[11]  Like many of the schizophrenics who become local, national, or even international headlines, Weston had a long history of mental illness well known to family, mental health workers, and police, but had not been hospitalized for any great length of time.[12]
·       An employee of the Postal Service, Jennifer Sanmarco, was removed from her Goleta, California workplace in 2003 because she was acting strangely, and placed on psychological disability. She moved to Milan, New Mexico, where her neighbors described her as “crazy as a loon.” “A Milan businessman said he sometimes had to pick her up and bring her inside from the cold because she would kneel down and pray, as if in a trance, for hours.” She returned to the Goleta mail sorting facility in January 2006—and murdered five employees, before taking her own life.[13]
·       In October of 2005, the family of David W. Logsdon of Kansas City, Missouri, contacted police over Logsdon’s deteriorating mental condition.  (Logsdon had a history of mental illness and alcoholism.) The police took Logsdon to a mental hospital for treatment, concerned that he was suicidal. He was released six hours later.  In April of 2007, Logsdon beat to death a neighbor, and stole her late husband’s rifle. At a nearby shopping mall, he shot and killed two people at random, wounding four others.[14]  The remarkable and fortunate early arrival of police, who shot Logsdon to death, prevented a larger massacre.[15]
·       That same month, Seung-Hui Cho murdered thirty-two students and faculty before taking his own life.  That something was not right was apparent to at least some of his professors, and he was briefly hospitalized after a stalking incident. The special judge who determined whether Seung-Hui should be involuntarily committed concluded that he was a danger to himself.  The next day, Seung-Hui left the hospital, and soon he was back on campus, living in a world of paranoid schizophrenia.  Because he was not involuntarily committed to a hospital, Seung-Hui’s name did not appear on the FBI’s firearms background check list, and he was able to legally purchase handguns that he used in the largest gun mass murder in U.S. history.[16]
·       In April 2009, Jiverly Wong murdered thirteen people at a Binghamton, New York immigrant-assistance center. Letters by Wong to local news media demonstrated what “Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU’s Langone Medical Center” described as “major mental illness, quite possibly paranoid schizophrenia.”[17]
·       In January 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on a crowd at a town hall meeting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her constituents, killing six and injuring thirteen.  Loughner had a history of police contacts involving death threats, and was expelled from college for bizarre actions that clearly established that he was mentally ill.  In spite of his frightening behavior, he was never hospitalized, even for observation – until he made himself nationally famous.[18]  A series of disturbing web postings and YouTube videos also confirmed that Loughner’s grasp on reality was severely impaired.[19]  Court-ordered psychiatric evaluations concluded that Loughner was suffering from schizophrenia, and was incompetent to stand trial.[20]
·       Certainly the most disturbing of these recent mass murders was in Newtown, Connecticut.  Adam Lanza had some sort of psychiatric disorder, but his childhood diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome is not typically associated with mass murder.[21]  Some reports describe Lanza as suffering from sensory integration disorder (SID), where sensory inputs overwhelm the brain.[22]  There is sizable overlap between the description of SID and the sensory problems that appear to be part of schizophrenia,[23] enough to wonder if Lanza was edging into schizophrenia, or if Lanza’s psychiatrist was reluctant to give this devastating diagnosis until he was certain.  Early reports indicate that Lanza’s mother was attempting to have him hospitalized, and his discovery of this may have provoked the crime.[24]

The mental illness often present in these tragedies, schizophrenia, is a genetic disease affecting about 1% of the population.[25] A nation of one million people will therefore have ten times more schizophrenics than a nation of 100,000.  A measure relative to population, as with most measures of criminal behavior, is clearly the only sensible evaluative method. 
Obviously, not all mass murders fit into the mental illness category.  Some are acts of terrorism.  The recent mass murder in Las Vegas seems to be a Black Swan crime: a multimillionaire who engaged in meticulous planning with devastating loss of life (although lower than at least four U.S. mass murders in the last three decades).[26]

IV.           Non-Firearm Mass Murders

For many people, it is a surprise to find out that there are many mass murders committed with weapons other than firearms.  USA Today gathered data on mass murders (“defined [as] killing four or more victims”) committed in the U.S. from 2006 through 2010. “A third of mass killings didn't involve guns at all. In 15 incidents, the victims died in a fire. In 20 others, the killer used a knife or a blunt object.”[27] 
Other countries, with more restrictive gun control laws, also have non-firearm mass murders, such as the five stabbed to death in Calgary, Alberta in 2013.[28]  Unsurprisingly, Matthew de Grood was found not criminally responsible because of “a mental disorder,”[29] 
Australia is sometimes given as an example of the effectiveness of gun control for preventing mass murders such as the 1996 Port Bryant mass murder.[30]  But Australia still has mass murders, such as the mass stabbing that killed eight siblings in Queensland, Australia,[31] and blunt object mass murders such as one used to murder five people in Sydney in 2009.[32]  Mass murders by arson are also a problem in such countries, as they are in the U.S.  Childers, Queensland’s Palace Backpackers Hostel was intentionally burned in 2000, killing 15.[33]  The 2011 Quakers Hill Nursing Home fire killed eleven, set by a nurse after police questioned him about drug abuse.[34]

V.             Firearms Mass Murders Outside the U.S.

Christian Dornier, 31, under treatment for “nervous depression,” murdered fourteen people in three villages in eastern France.[35]  He was later found innocent by reason of insanity.[36]  Eric Borel, 16, murdered his family with a hammer and a baseball bat, and then went on a shooting rampage in the nearby town of Cuers, France in September, 1995.  He killed twelve in total beside himself.[37]  In March 2002, Richard Durn murdered eight local city officials and wounded nineteen others in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris.  Durn had a master’s degree in political science and “a long history of psychological problems.”  After his arrest, he was described as “calm but largely incoherent,” but then leaped to his death through a window.  He was chronically unemployed.[38]
In April 2002, 19-year old Robert Steinhaeuser went into a school from which he had been expelled in Erfurt, Germany and murdered eighteen people before killing himself.[39]  In April of 2011, Wellington Menezes de Oliveira went into a school in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, murdering twelve children, before killing himself.  His suicide note was unclear, but a police officer described de Oliveira as a “hallucinating person.”[40]  Later the same month, Tristan van der Vlis went into a shopping mall in Alphen aan der Rijn, the Netherlands, and shot six people to death.  The Netherlands has very strict gun licensing laws; nonetheless van der Vlis had a gun license in spite of a history of brief mental illness hospitalization and suicide attempts.[41]

III.  Summary
As the preceding sections demonstrate, there is nothing exceptionally American about U.S. mass murder or even firearms mass murder.  While our rates of firearms mass murder are higher than most other developed nations, we are not at the top of the list.  Including non-firearms mass murders might move us further down the list.

[1] Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412 (1908)(“The statute of Oregon of 1903 providing that no female shall work in certain establishments more than ten hour a day is not unconstitutional so far as respects laundries.”)
[2] Philippa Strum, Brandeis and the Living Constitution, Nelson L Dawson, Brandeis and America (1989), 121.
[3] Id., at 121.
[4] FCC v. Beach Communications, 508 U.S. 307, 313 (1993) (“In areas of social and economic policy, a statutory classification that neither proceeds along suspect lines nor infringes fundamental constitutional rights must be upheld against equal protection challenge if there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the classification.”); For an explanation of the continuing debate about the limits of rational basis scrutiny, see Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 520 (1970)  (Douglas, J., diss.) (“The extremes to which the Court has gone in dreaming up rational bases for state regulation in that area may in many instances be ascribed to a healthy revulsion from the Court's earlier excesses in using the Constitution to protect interests that have more than enough power to protect themselves in the legislative halls.”)
[5] D.C. v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 2798 (“By the time of the founding, the right to have arms had become fundamental for English subjects….  Blackstone… cited the arms provision of the Bill of Rights as one of the fundamental rights of Englishmen.”)
[6] Nelson Lund, The Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the Roberts Court, American Federalism and Public Policy (ed. Christopher P. Banks, forthcoming) (“In the years since Heller and McDonald were decided, most federal circuit court decisions have had more in common with Breyer’s Heller dissent than with Scalia’s majority opinion.”)
[7].Kevin Liptak and Brenna Williams, Watch Obama React to Mass U.S. Shootings, CNN, Jun. 12, 2016.
[8]  Keeley Herring and Louis Jacobson, Is Barack Obama Correct That Mass Killings Don't Happen in Other Countries? ,Politifact, Jun. 11, 2015.
[9] Id.
[10] See Clayton E. Cramer, Mental Illness and the Second Amendment, 46 Conn. L.R. 4:1301, 1310-1314 (2014) for a list of recent high-profile mass murders clearly caused by severe mental illness; Id., at 1303-1310 collecting studies on mental illness and murder correlations...
[11] Bill Miller, Capitol Shooter’s Mind-Set Detailed, Wash. Post, Apr. 23, 1999.
[12] See Clayton Cramer, Madness, Deinstitutionalization & Murder, 13:1 Engage (Mar. 2012) for a detailed list of such murders.
[13] Martin Kasindorf, Woman Kills 5, Self at Postal Plant, USA Today, Feb. 1, 2006; Jim Maniaci, “Crazy as a Loon, Gallup [N.M.] Indep., Feb. 2, 2006.
[14] Maria Sudekum Fisher, Mall Shooter Used Dead Woman’s Home While She Was Still Inside, Topeka [Kans.] Capital-Journal, May 3, 2007.
[15] Maria Sudekum Fisher, Mall Gunman Planned to “Cause Havoc, Houston Chron., May 1, 2007.
[16] Close the Loophole Cho Sneaked Through, Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, Apr. 25, 2007; Dr. Michael Welner, Cho Likely Schizophrenic, Evidence Suggests, ABC News, Apr. 17, 2007.
[17] Austin Fenner, Kirsten Fleming & Dan Mangan, “I Am Shooting—Have a Nice Day, N.Y. Post, Apr. 7, 2009.
[18] Tim Steller, Man Linked to Giffords Shooting Rampage Called “Very Disturbed, Ariz. Daily Star, Jan. 8, 2011 (Loughner had previously made death threats and been contacted by police); College Asked ATF About Loughner Before Rampage, CBS News, May 20, 2011 (September 15, 2013) (behavior described by school administrators as “bizarre” and “intimidating”; laughing and ranting inappropriately; ordered by the college to get a mental health evaluation before returning to campus).
[19] David A. Fahrenthold and Clarence Williams, Tucson Shooting Suspect Jared Loughner Appears To Have Posted Bizarre Messages, Wash. Post, Jan. 9, 2011 (September 15, 2013) (Loughner left “a series of postings and homemade videos that laid out a fervent, though largely incoherent, set of political views.”  One quote from Loughner: “I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.”)  Some of Loughner videos are still available: Introduction: Jared Loughner (, Sep. 21, 2013).
[20] Craig Harris & Michael Kiefer, Judge Finds Jared Loughner Incompetent to Stand Trial, Ariz. Star, May 25, 2011.
[21] Daniel C. Murrie, Janet I. Warren, Marianne Kristiansson, and Park E. Dietz, Asperger’s Syndrome in Forensic Settings, 1 Int’l J. Forensic Med. 60-61 (2002) (reviews existing studies which argue whether Asperger’s patients are disproportionately violent, but points to one study that suggests such violence is not premeditated); Barbara G. Haskins and J. Arturo Silva, Asperger’s Disorder and Criminal Behavior: Forensic-Psychiatric Considerations, 34 J. Am. Acad. Psy. & Law 376-378 (2006) (the debate about disproportionate violence remained active, but again argues that violence by Asperger’s patients was the result of inability to read social cues and narrowly focused interests).
[22] Adam Clark Estes, Revelations About Adam Lanza’s Mental Health Still Don’t Explain the Violence, Atlantic Wire, Feb. 19, 2013 (August 24, 2013),
[23] Peter Falkai, Andrea Schmitt, and Tyrone D. Cannon, Pathophysiology of Schizophrenia, 42, in Schizophrenia: Current Science and Clinical Practice (Wolfgang Gaebel, ed., 2011) (discussing dysfunction “of the cortico-cerebellar-thalamic-cortical neuronal circuit” and its role in filtering sensory information);  Anthony J. Rissling and Gregory A. Light, Neurophysical Measures of Sensory Registration, Stimulus Discrimination, and Selection in Schizophrenia Patients 284-6, in Behavioral Neurobiology of Schizophrenia and Its Treatment (Neal R. Swerdlow, ed., 2010) (discussing the relationship between sensory input processing and schizophrenia).
[24] Jana Winter, Fear Of Being Committed May Have Caused Connecticut Gunman To Snap, Fox News, December 18, 2012 (September 15, 2013), (An acquaintance of the family reported that Adam Lanza had found out about his mother’s “petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed” and that this set him off; “[a] senior law enforcement official involved in the investigation” confirmed that Lanza’s anger over these plans was being looked at “as a possible motive.”)
[25] International Schizophrenia Consortium, Common polygenic variation contributes to risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, 460 Nature 748-52 (discusses research demonstrating the location of the genes responsible for schizophrenia.)
[26] September 11th Terror Attacks Fast Facts, CNN, Aug. 24, 2017 (2977 dead); Joan Mower, Associated Press, Dupont Plaza Fire Survivors Still Trying to Come to Terms With Tragedy, Los Angeles Times, Mar. 8, 1987 (96 dead); Larry Celona, Stuart Marques, Eddie Borges, et al., Fire kills 87 people at the Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx in 1990, New York Daily News, Mar. 17, 2015 (87 dead); Jayson Blair, A Nation Challenged: Oklahoma City Bombing, New York Times, Mar. 25, 2002 (168 dead).
[27] Meaghan Hoyer and Brad Heath, Mass Killings Occur in USA Once Every Two Weeks, USA Today, Dec. 19, 2012.
[28] Jason Van Rassel, Police officer's son charged in city's worst mass murder, Calgary [Alberta] Herald, Apr. 17, 2014.
[29] Matthew de Grood found not criminally responsible for stabbing five people to death at Calgary party, National [Canada] Post, May 26, 2016.

[30] Will Oremus, How Many Shootings Will It Take for America to Control Its Guns?, Slate, Dec. 16, 2012.
[31] Jonathan Pearlman, Eight Children Murdered In Mass Stabbing In Australia, [U.K.]Telegraph, Dec. 19, 2014.
[32] Jamelle Wells, Robert Xie Trial: Lin Family 'Murdered With Hammer Bought From $2 Shop, ABC [Australia], May 12, 2014.
[33] A Decade On, Childers Remembers Hostel Fire Tragedy, Brisbane [Australia] Times, Jun. 23, 2010.
[34] Candace Sutton, Man Who Murdered 11 People in Nursing Home Fire 'Frothed At The Mouth' From Drugs And 'Put Nails In Tyres And Poured Paint' Over Boss's Car, Inquest Hears, [U.K.] Daily Mail, Sep. 8, 2014.
[35] “Gunman’s Rampage in France Leaves 14 Dead,” Los Angeles Times, Jul. 13, 1989.
[36] David Lester, Mass Murder: The Scourge of the 21st Century (Hauppage, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers, 2004), 106.
[37] “Teen-Age Gunman Kills Himself and 12 Others in France,” New York Times, Sep. 25, 1995
[38] James Graff, “Politics Under the Gun,” Time, Mar. 31, 2002.
[39] Nick Caistor, “Profile of a Teenage Killer,” BBC News, Apr. 28, 2002, ; “18 Dead in German School Shooting,” BBC News, Apr. 26, 2002.
[40] “Brazil School Shooting: Twelfth Child Dies,” SkyNews, Apr., 8, 2011.
[41] “Safety council to investigate gun laws,”, Apr. 12, 2011,, last accessed May 21, 2011; “Schutter was al eerder suicidaal,” NOS Nieuws. Apr. 10, 2011,, last accessed May 21, 2011.