Home » Politics » The Giant, Comprehensive, Definitive, End All-Be All Article on Guns and the Fallacy of High Capacity Magazines

The Giant, Comprehensive, Definitive, End All-Be All Article on Guns and the Fallacy of High Capacity Magazines

I recently watched a video in which Rachel Maddow took Ted Cruz, Freshman Senator from Texas, to task for giving Senator Dianne Feinstein a lecture which Maddow called “condescending” and, among other things, asserted that Cruz resorted to misogyny when he couldn’t defeat his opponent with actual arguments. I find the claim absurd, laughable, and just plain wrong (not to mention its reeking of hypocrisy). Cruz did defeat Feinstein through superior logic-that is to say, he actually used some. Furthermore, he would have given that same “lecture” to anyone trying to infringe upon the Constitution and take away the rights of Americans, be they a senator or a president or a passer-by. And when the person trying to infringe on our rights and our Constitution is as ignorant as Feinstein is, they need a lecture, and perhaps they should take a basic Civics’ Refresher course as well. Anyone who talks about “imploding” bullets should be talked to like a six year old.

As for the hypocrisy, Maddow claims that Cruz couldn’t defeat his opponent by using actual arguments, and then Maddow goes on to accuse him of being condescending to women, giving Feinstein a lecture and talking down to this woman of immense standing purely because she is a woman (when in fact Cruz talked down to her because she is a despicable hag of a career politician who should have retired ten years ago and who is ignorant of facts and the Constitution). But rather than defeat Cruz with actual arguments, Maddow uses the same, illegitimate tactic she accuses Cruz of using: ad hominem. To show just how absurd these types of claims are, allow me to make the following claim: Rachel Maddow only accused Cruz, a Hispanic, of being disrespectful to women because Maddow is playing on the Hispanic stereotype of anti-woman behavior. Therefore Maddow is an anti-Hispanic bigot. Of course Maddow is a lesbian, so I suppose I only accused her of being anti-Hispanic because I’m a homophobic bigot…

Don’t you see how stupid that sounds? How could anyone take those claims seriously? More importantly, they distract from the actual issues. Claims about being anti-woman are impossible to prove or disprove. Discussions about guns, violence, the Constitution and ways to prevent events like Sandy Hook are concrete discussions that can reach a definitive conclusion, the opposite of the ad hominem discussions. And that is one of the most frustrating things about the Left: they’re smart.

They’re like the Viet Cong: they know that if they ever encounter us (Conservatives/Libertarians) in open battle, they will lose because both the facts (especially economics) and the Constitution are on our side 95% of the time. It’s only slippery things like gay marriage or being anti-woman that they have a chance of standing their ground, so they stay slippery and refuse to emerge from the jungle of ad hominem and will not have an open discussion on concrete issues like the growth of government, debt, et cetera (and when they do, they usually use fake facts to balance their inherently weak positions).

However, before Maddow made her stupid assault on Cruz, she went through the Sandy Hook shooting one more time. She fixated on the fact that the “Bushmaster assault rifle” used by the shooter fired 152 rounds from multiple 30 round magazines in less than 5 minutes. I will get to that in a bit, but first I have to correct the glaringly obvious error. Rachel: it kind of undermines your credibility when you call something that isn’t an assault rifle an assault rifle; assault rifles are select fire (i.e. capable of full auto) weapons that shoot intermediate cartridges. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon. So while you could call it a “military style weapon” (since it is styled after or made to look like the weapon the military uses), you simply cannot call it an “assault rifle”-without being wrong, that is. One could also correctly call it an “assault weapon” since “assault weapon” could apply to just about anything, since it is a fabricated term made up by politicians to scare people and confuse them into thinking that we are talking about actual military-spec assault rifles (which we aren’t).

As for the 152 rounds in less than five minutes, I want to do a little math. Maddow claims that it is just a disgusting failure of our politicians to allow people access to weapons and magazines that can fire quickly enough and magazines that hold enough ammunition to fire 152 rounds in less than five minutes. She claims that, had the shooter needed to reload more frequently because he only had 10 round capacity magazines, he wouldn’t have been able to fire nearly as many bullets as he did and thus wouldn’t have caused as much harm. This is where the math comes in.

Let’s assume the shooter fired all his bullets in four minutes flat, 240 seconds exactly, and that he completely emptied every magazine he loaded (which he didn’t). That’s a generous assumption in terms of time, but by no means an impossible one. Dividing 240 seconds by 152 bullets works out to an average of about 1 bullet per 1.6 seconds (1.57894 seconds to be precise). Assuming that the shooter could reload in 5 seconds, which is again not an unreasonable assumption given his extensive training and tactical vest holding his spare magazines, reloading five times (had he fired 150 he only would have needed to reload 4 times, but the extra 2 rounds require a fifth reload) added a total of 25 seconds to the spree. Incorporating the 25 seconds into the spree (that is: 215 seconds of actual firing and 25 seconds of reloading), the average rate of fire drops to 1.41 bullets per second. If we keep the total firing time at 240 seconds exactly and add the reloading time onto the end of it, then the total time of the massacre is a shade under 4.5 minutes at 4 minutes, 25 seconds. That equates to a total average of 1 bullet per 1.74 seconds for the entire spree.

Now let’s examine how long it would have taken the shooter to fire 152 rounds with 10-round magazines. We’re still assuming 5 second reloads and a complete emptying of every magazine loaded. To fire 152 rounds would require 16 magazines (15 magazines holding 10 rounds with an eleventh holding the extra 2 rounds). Total reloading time rises to 80 seconds (an increase of 65 seconds total over the previous scenario).

If the shooter fired 1 bullet per 1.6 seconds while he had ammunition in the magazine, discharging a 10 round magazine would take 16 seconds. With a 5 second reload, that equates to 21 seconds per magazine. To get through 15 entire magazines would take 315 seconds (5 minutes and 15 seconds), with another 8.2 seconds to eject the empty 15th magazine, insert the fresh 16th, and fire the surplus 2 rounds, bringing the entire time of the shooting to just about 5 and a half minutes (323.2 seconds or 5.38 minutes to be exact).

That means that had the shooter had access only to 10-round magazines, the killing spree would have been extended by a paltry 83 seconds. Even if we use the slowest average shooting time (1 bullet every 1.74 seconds and 5 seconds to reload), the entire spree would have lasted a whopping 344.5 seconds (5.74 minutes or 5 minutes and 44.5 seconds). That’s a mere 104.5 extra seconds added onto the entire shooting.

And here is the most devastating number yet: 1,200. That is the number of seconds it took for police to arrive at Sandy Hook after the first 9-1-1 call was placed. It took the police 20 minutes to arrive at the scene. Now you know why they say “when seconds count the police are minutes away”. When the entire shooting took about five minutes and the police only arrived 20 minutes later, what difference would 105 extra seconds have made? Had the shooter wanted to, he probably could have killed twice as many people as he did, and it is only by the Grace of God that he didn’t.

Even assuming an absurdly slow 10 seconds to reload and 10 round magazines and only 1 bullet per 2 seconds, the entire shooting would have lasted 464 seconds from the first shot fired. That is a total of 7.73 minutes (7 minutes and 44 seconds). Even rounding up to a total time of 10 minutes from when the shooter entered the school to when he stopped firing, that would still leave 10 minutes before the police could arrive.

If I’m generous, and I go with Wikipedia’s account of events, the first police dispatch to request officers at Sandy Hook was put out at 9:35 AM and the shooter stopped firing between approximately 9:46 and 9:49 AM. That puts at least 11 minutes between the first police dispatch and the cease fire (which may or may not have been caused by the arrival of the police). Even if police arrived in as little as 11 minutes and even if the shooter only had 10-round magazines, the shooter would still have had enough time to fire 152 bullets.

In other words, Rachel Maddow’s argument for a limit on magazine capacity based on the idea that 10 round magazines would have saved lives at Sandy Hook is nothing more than wishful thinking.

In fairness to Maddow, she did say that more reloads would have given up more opportunities for something to go wrong-a jam, the shooter drops something, or perhaps even enough of a gap for someone to confront and disable the shooter or escape. On the face of it, that is not an entirely unreasonable idea, but there are a number of problems with the idea.

Firstly, lower capacity magazines are more reliable than higher capacity magazines, meaning that a 10-round magazine would make jams less likely, not more. Secondly, though the shooter might have dropped his weapon or a magazine in the process of reloading, that would have done nothing more than add a few seconds onto the time of the rampage. Even if (and that is a big ‘if’) the shooter did drop his primary weapon, the AR-15, he still had two back-up pistols on him. If he dropped the AR and a teacher tried to confront him, he could easily have whipped out one of his pistols and killed the teacher. And once the teacher was gone, the children had a 0% chance of survival. Likewise, the possibility of someone escaping the carnage in the gap between the shooter dropping his weapon and resuming his rampage is similarly limited.

So we reach the sobering conclusion that even if the Sandy Hook shooter only had 10-round magazines, it would not have made a shred of difference to the victims. The one thing that could have possibly made a difference on that terrible day would have been an armed citizen at the school-a teacher, an administrator, or even an armed parent dropping of their child. Would the odds of survival have been 100%? No, of course not, but the odds wouldn’t have been zero, as they were in reality.

Given this fact, and given the fact that Maddow suggests unarmed teachers could have and should have tried to resist their armed assailant with neither assistance from other adults nor some kind of weapon (as the principal did in reality and was killed doing it), it would seem illogical for Maddow to oppose arming school faculty (or rather, allowing school faculty to lawfully carry legal weapons if they so choose). While Maddow herself has never commented about the prospect of armed school faculty, as far as I am aware, her fellow liberals are not only skeptical about the idea and opposed to it-they dismiss it out of hand! One need only read liberal blogs or the comments on articles (like this one) about the proposal of armed teachers to get an idea of where liberals stand on it.

If I were (heaven forbid) in a mass-shooting scenario and I was given the chance of survival or the prospect of guaranteed execution, I would take the former, but that is just my personal preference. I suppose liberals think dead children killed by a gun are more noble than living children saved by a gun. Perhaps I am wrong?

-SL

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