Tell Me Again the Weapon Doesn’t Matter in a Murder Spree

There’s been another armed school attack, this time in Pennsylvania. A 16-year-old sophomore arrived at his high school one morning, armed and ready for murder, and there were 22 victims before he was successfully stopped and taken into custody. But there’s a reason this more recent attack hasn’t bumped Parkland from the news cycle it has dominated for weeks: this student was wielding only two large knives and while there were critical injuries, all 22 stabbing victims survived the attack.

The student has been charged with four counts of attempted murder and 21 counts of aggravated assault. He was prepared to take as many lives as possible. But since he didn’t manage to secure a firearm prior to the attack, a potentially major fatal tragedy was reduced to a deeply traumatic experience for the students and staff of this school. Importantly, life will go on for these victims.

The students in Parkland, Florida were not so lucky. Armed with an AR-15 capable of firing hundreds of rounds per minute, which each bullet travelling about four times as fast as a round fired from a typical handgun, and capable of leaving an exit wound the size of a grapefruit, the difference in the outcomes of these two similarly-intentioned attacks could not be more stark. Two equally-deranged individuals, but two radically different death tolls.

There are many more examples that show the stark difference a weapon can make.

In Canada, where AR-15s aren’t so freely available, the two mass shootings that occurred in 2016 (yes, two–a far cry from the United States’ near-daily occurrence of mass murder by gun) comprised a crossbow attack in Scarborough, Ontario, where three were killed, and a shotgun attack in La Loche, Saskatchewan where four were killed.

In the latter case, the four murders did not happen in a single incident. The murderer actually killed two cousins at his home, then traveled to a school to continue the spree. So, he only managed to kill two people in the same event before he was stopped. And many times gunmen in Canada and other countries with better gun laws than the US have been apprehended without successfully killing anyone. Just not when they have an assault rifle.

Do we think the Las Vegas shooter who managed to kill 59 from a great distance in 2017 would have done the same kind of damage with legitimate hunting tools like a shotgun, crossbow, or standard rifle? Of course not. No one is claiming that an assault rifle ban would eliminate any and all murders or even shooting deaths, but most of them? Maybe 90 percent or more? The data suggest that is more than likely.

Every other developed country has figured this out, and so have the vast majority of US citizens. Now, the question is whether enough of us are finally sick and tired enough to hold the NRA and their political shills to account when they lie to our face and say gun violence is unrelated to guns.

Thanks largely to the leadership skills of the student survivors at Parkland, we may finally be at that point.

Photo credit: NATO.


Marie W
Marie W10 months ago


Angela G
Angela Gabout a year ago

The govt has tanks and no one with guns will stop that if things break down

Mary B
Mary Babout a year ago

Gee Eric, why would you assume that because we want ALL assult weapons banned, it means we don't want the people of Mexico to be able to defend the lives of their loved ones and themselves ? After all, They've got KNIVES ! Susan Holmstrom Felt the need to tell us that, like we must be reminded it's another NRA talking point. No doubt, some fool had to go out there and attack people with knives to make sure we all knew for sure he was right and so is the NRA. Guess what? We're not fooled. So how do you think you gun folks are going to stop tyrany when you can't tell the difference between that and freedom anymore ? If even you could tell the difference, how would you stop it. This is 2018 America,not 1930s Germany. How about you get out of your little bubble of the past instead of trying to scare everybody. What happened in Hitlers Germany is a horrible thing to keep bringing up to manipulate the Jews. It's not like it hasn't been talked about a million times already.

Eric Lees
Eric Leesabout a year ago

I'll be heading to Mexico later in the week for work. In Mexico only the government and the Cartels/ gangs have the guns. I'll be in a state that is a Level 3 according to the USA government with several districts in the city listed as no go zones for state employees.

Do you think the citizens of Mexico are not deserving the right to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones?

Stop and Think people, look at the big picture beyond the little safe bubble you live in.

Eric Lees
Eric Leesabout a year ago

@Janis K
"We could do the same thing they did in Australia, but we must organize, register, and VOTE!"

That is a very big risk to take. Australians took a bet that they would never face Tyranny or foreign invasion. They may feel safe for now but who knows what the future holds? The world isn't exactly a safe place with many active wars. There are millions of people that have been slaughtered or displaced.

Nobody needs it until it is too late to choose. That is why we must defend our Liberty.

Eric Lees
Eric Leesabout a year ago

@Susanne W
"As a german, I can't understand that self-righteous weapon-mentality. For me: weapons don't belong in private hands, but exclusively in the hands of state officials. For good reason. Owning a gun doesn't mean to be able making rules. The sad past has told (hopefully) everybody a better one."

Susanne, as a German you should know better. Have you forgotten your own country's history of Tyranny and Genocide? Hitler disarmed the people then slaughtered many of them.

Danii P
Past Member about a year ago


Janis K
Janis Kabout a year ago

We could do the same thing they did in Australia, but we must organize, register, and VOTE!

Henry M
Henry Mabout a year ago

Stop gun violence by limiting guns

Veronica D
Veronica Danieabout a year ago

Thank you so very much.