The article illustrates a Glock 17, while the Wall Street Journal reported, January 12th, that Loughner used a Glock 19 with a 33-round magazine. This shooter is emptying the magazine as rapidly as possible without much care in aiming.
Ex-Serviceman thinks Glocks are more reliable and better made. “My guess is that, per Occam’s razor, the cops, gangbangers, and psychos of the world just figured they might as well use a high quality handgun.”
Texas Gun Enthusiast is less sure, but thinks it must be the brand-name.
I don’t especially agree with either of them. I was discussing the same subject a few days ago on my class email list. A liberal classmate immediately assumed that Glocks (and semi-automaic pistols in general) are innovative and intrinsically deadlier types of ordinance, which ought to be strictly regulated. I replied assuring him that Glocks are not super-weapons.
I wrote, and have slightly re-edited:
Glocks are ordinary pistols. Semi-automatic pistols are flat and somewhat easier to carry concealed, they have magazines typically containing more rounds, and they are slightly faster to reload, but lots of shooters still think revolvers are preferable and superior.
Semi-automatics are certainly not intrinsically more accurate than revolvers. Loughner’s performance suggests that he was a competent shot. A revolver can be reloaded very quickly using a speedloader, and compared to a normal magazine a competent shot could fire not all that many fewer rounds with equivalent accuracy in the same space of time. Loughner did use an unconventional 33-round magazine which definitely gave him a firepower advantage over a revolver, but which also diminished his weapon’s concealability and significantly increased the possibility of a malfunction.
If this incident proves anything, it proves that, in a country of 300 million people, there exists a real percentage of crazy and malevolent individuals bent on mayhem. Ordinary people need Glocks and other handguns as portable tools for self defense and the defense of the helpless and unarmed.
Guns have lots of purposes. Hundreds of millions of them exist in private hands in this country. Only an infinitesimal number of guns are ever used in crime and only a still more microscopic percentage are ever actually fired with intent at anybody. God only knows how many Glocks are out there. I expect there are probably hundreds of thousands of them. (The WSJ noted that 70,000 were sold in the USA in 2008.) I would not be surprised if the real figure was more than half a million. If a Glock’s only purpose was to kill or maim human beings, there would be one hell of a lot larger body count nationwide, wouldn’t there?
A Glock pistol is not an assault weapon. It is an ordinary semi-automatic pistol. Semi-automatic pistols have been in common use since the 1890s. The German Army adopted the Luger in 1908. The US military adopted the .45 Colt Automatic in 1911.
American police used to be skilled shooters and overwhelmingly preferred to carry revolvers chambered in .38 Special or .357 Magnum until a few decades ago, when a new fashion emphasizing semi-auto pistols and big magazines came along as part of a general nationwide militarization of American police, in my view representing one more evidence of a sissified nation’s increasing timidity and paranoia.
My experience is that the Glock pistol is surprisingly easy to shoot, but it also has—in my opinion—some very objectionable features and can be dangerous to an unskilled user. A lot of police are accidentally shooting themselves in the leg with Glocks these days.
Glocks are made in part of synthetic material and are in no way aesthetically appealing.
Glocks have long, rather heavy trigger pulls, and they have no real safety. There is a little lever on the front of the trigger, which must be depressed for the trigger to move. That is it for a safety on a Glock. If you are pulling the trigger, I would say, you are inevitably depressing that little lever, too. Essentially, the Glock is designed to operate like a double-action revolver that can only be fired double-action.
Nobody expects a revolver to have a safety, Glock argues, so why do you want one on your semi-automatic pistol? Just treat it like a revolver.
I do not own a Glock, but if I did, I would carry it with an empty chamber, in lieu of a safety, and be content to rack the slide if I intended to use it. The Glock’s long, heavy trigger pull, I will grant, is smooth, and with practice you can tell when it is about to fire, so you can aim accurately. The mechanism is quite good at absorbing recoil, so it is easy to stay on target with a second shot. I would rate the Glock’s ability to stay on target with multiple shots its most attractive feature.
Beyond that, my impression is that Glocks are so popular because they are comparatively inexpensive. A Glock is a Toyota of handguns, not a Mercedes. When people all over the country take mandatory gun safety courses these days, the center-fire pistol they are going to get to shoot will, overwhelmingly most commonly, be a Glock.
So, I’d say, Loughner used a Glock because the 9mm Glock has become today what the .38 Smith & Wesson Model 10 Military & Police revolver used to be, what the Colt Model 1873 Peacemaker was a long time ago, the conventional choice of personal sidearm, most police department’s choice of issue weapon.
Byron York observes that Barack Obama has managed, in his Tucson speech, to succeed in having it both ways.
Pundits and politicians alike praised President Obama’s speech at the Tucson memorial service last Wednesday. “A wonderful speech,” wrote the New York Times’ David Brooks. “A magnificent performance,” wrote National Review’s Rich Lowry. “A terrific speech,” wrote Sen. John McCain.
And those were just the voices on the right.
Obama’s tribute to the victims of the shooting and the heroism of bystanders was appreciated by everyone. But many conservatives particularly admired the speech because the president took care to say, in clear terms, that political rhetoric did not cause the violence in Tucson. “It did not,” Obama said flatly. After days during which prominent voices on the Left—by and large Obama supporters—blamed the Right for inciting the violence, the president’s words were a welcome change.
But how could he have said otherwise? By the time Obama spoke, there was irrefutable evidence that shooting suspect Jared Loughner was deeply mentally ill and acted out of no recognizable political agenda. Obama simply could not have made the case that Loughner’s acts were in any way the product of political rhetoric from right or left.
He didn’t need to. The point Obama wanted to make was not that political rhetoric caused the violence but that such rhetoric—like, for example, criticism directed at Barack Obama—should be toned down. So even as he conceded that rhetoric did not cause the violence, Obama argued that it should be muted anyway. And he cloaked his appeal in so much emotionalism, in so many tear-jerking references to the recently departed, that some in his audience might not have noticed he was making the political point he wanted to make all along. ...
Some Democratic strategists hope Obama can capitalize on Tucson the way Bill Clinton capitalized on Oklahoma City. Perhaps he’ll be able to, and perhaps he won’t. But he’s already trying.
Substantively, the left has lost the “civility” debate, but the low-quality mainstream media goes right ahead talking about “a change in political rhetoric in response to the Tucson tragedy” as if they’d won.
Warren Meyer warns us that they are up to their usual tricks. This time, fortunately, it appears that they will not be able to exploit tragedy successfully.
We libertarians cringe when presented with a “national tragedy” like the shooting of Gabriella Giffords. Not because we are somehow more or less sensitive to violence and loss of life, but because we begin bracing for the immediate, badly thought-out expansion of state power that nearly always follows any such tragedy, whether it be 9/11 or Columbine or Oklahoma City or even Pearl Harbor. Those looking to expand the power of the state, and of state officials, make their greatest progress in the emotional aftermath of a such a tragedy. These tragedies are the political equivalent of the power play in ice hockey, when defenders of liberty find themselves temporarily shorthanded, and those wishing to expand state power rush to take advantage.
In the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin discusses why the left’s attempt to exploit the Tucson tragedy failed: both new alternative media and, for once, professional journalists actually did their job, and even the White House declined to follow the loony left’s lead.
In the end, they only discredited themselves.
Why were the last four days a mini-disaster for the swampland of the left? It boils down to: facts, response and time.
Members of the left pounced first and didn’t much care about the facts. Before it was clear just how crazy Jared Loughner is, the left blogosphere and their more high-minded print compatriots were ready to affix blame on their opponents. As the facts emerged, more quickly and thoroughly than every before in the 24/7, twitter-driven media environment, the narrative fell apart. A chorus on the left claimed causation between Sarah Palin and the killings (and then the amorphous “climate” and the deaths) and didn’t much care for a careful analysis until it became clear their preferred narrative was false. As for the president, he doesn’t buy it at all. He said: “And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.” (Emphasis added.) Or, as I put it, rhetorical civility and mental illness are discrete problems. And it doesn’t help the liberal line when it turns out this particular lunatic was a-political and didn’t watch news.
So, for my friends on the left: facts count. You can’t spin a narrative and not be expected to be called on the underlying, flawed premise.
The response was unlike anything I have seen since the emergence of the new media. It wasn’t just conservatives that rebutted the left’s narrative, but diligent reporters. We think of “rapid response” as a campaign skill, but in reality that is how pundits, activists, reporters and politicians now react. Because the left’s narrative was so noxious—Sarah Palin or a floating cloud of conservative meanness caused a mass murder—the right was filled with indignation and responded passionately, quickly and effectively. And, meanwhile, in the race to report on the biggest story of the year, the working press furiously disclosed the facts, which, as I noted above, undercut the left’s storyline.
And then there is time. The reason I believe that Obama entirely avoided politics, indeed rebuked the Krugman-Daily Kos narrative, is because he saw the pushing and shoving, read the polls, figured which way the wind was blowing, and steered clear of associating himself with the tone-deaf left. Conversely, because the left couldn’t restrain themselves, they pounced immediately and left a trail of inanity on twitter and websites.
——————————————————— Rush Limbaugh cites some examples of violent metaphorical speech by President Obama.
Liberal-Progressive Hate Speech & Death Threats list.
Barry and Sarah Talk Violence
George Will eloquently addresses liberal efforts to link the Tucson shootings to “vitriolic” conservative political speech, to Sarah Palin, and to the Tea Party movement.
On Sunday, the Times explained Tucson: “It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But . . .” The “directly” is priceless. ...
This McCarthyism of the left – devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data – is a mental tic, not an idea but a tactic for avoiding engagement with ideas. It expresses limitless contempt for the American people, who have reciprocated by reducing liberalism to its current characteristics of electoral weakness and bad sociology.
Alan Caruba points out once again that gun control laws are ineffective in disarming the insane.
In 1247, the Bethlehem Royal Hospital was established at Bishopsgate, just outside the London wall. It was better known as Bedlam and was the first asylum for the mentally ill in England. By 1403 it had some prominent guests. Bedlam had become the generic name for psychiatric hospitals and, more colloquially for a disturbance of the peace.
There was such a disturbance on Saturday when Jared Loughner shot U.S Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the brain at point blank range. He then shot others including a Federal judge and a nine-year-old child.
There is something like 25,000 laws on the books concerning the purchase and ownership of guns and not one single one of them could have prevented what happened.
This is not a defense of guns. The U.S. Revolution began at Concord and Lexington when a group of farmers picked up their guns and shot at British soldiers. No one is going to un-invent guns and everywhere they were banned, tyrannies of every description occurred.
This is about the Jared Loughner’s who, in my lifetime, assassinated men like John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Some nine U.S. presidents have either been killed or attacked by assassins. ...
Anyone who has been a reporter as I have been will tell you that every American city has a section that local residents fear to travel to or through. Murder occurs in every American city, large and small, every day. Usually it is a drug deal or robbery gone bad or a gambling dispute.
For reporters, the killing of someone prominent is a news bonanza. It overrides the usual buzz in a newsroom devoted to the more commonplace stories. There’s a reason the news channels are into full coverage mode and why, by the end of the week, when they have exhausted the few known facts of the Tucson shooting, they will return to a normal coverage of the news.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind. It’s not about gun laws. It’s not about Tucson. It’s not about Arizona. It’s not about political analysis and dialogue, so you can ignore the hypocritical ravings of MSNBC’s Keith Olberman and others eager to blame Rush Limbaugh or the Fox News Channel.
Loughner is Hinkley redux. Described by all who know him as “a loner” and rejected for military service, invited to leave the campus of a local college, more than a few people understood that Jared had a screw loose.
The closest you can get to understanding what happened is to rent Martin Scorsese’s brilliant film, “Taxi Driver.” There you will see Robert DeNiro’s portrayal of Travis Bickle, the archetype of every lone gunman. And yes, also in the film, you will find Jodie Foster.
The shooting was about mental illness. It was about paranoia. It was about schizophrenia. It was about all the other killings where innocent people were gunned down by someone hearing voices in his head.
Say a prayer for Rep. Giffords, but remember, they walk among us.
Matthew had a nice comment apropos of all the opportunistic leftist whingeing about “vitriolic political speech.”
The First Amendment is the singer on stage in front of everyone whose voice can not be ignored, while the Second Amendment is the individual in front of the stage making sure no one kills the performance.