Sandy Hook Elementary (CT) School Shooting

The Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School
©2012 Kirby Sanders
December 15, 2012

Trying to dispassionately sort out the facts of the Dec. 14 shooting (now that we have some) in light of the predictable debate about firearms that it has engendered. My heart goes out to all of the parents and children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and everyone in Newtown CT, but my purpose here is merely to rationally analyze facts.

The biggest problem in analyzing the matter in CT is that the weapons used (a Glock pistol and a Sig Sauer pistol) probably would not be covered in any additional gun control or registration legislation. They are common-as-cockroaches contemporary civilian market pistols. The shooter did have an AR-15 style rifle (Bushmaster brand) in his car that was not used during the shooting — but it, too. is a fairly common civilian production firearm.

All 3 of these firearms are in fairly common use by American law enforcement, but none of them are military firearms — all civilian market commercial manufacture.

As to the shooter, Adam Lanza – obviously he was a psycho. Existing background checks for purchase of pistols disallow purchase by persons who have a history of severe mental illness. Granted, those background forms do rely on self-disclosure in the matter of mental illness, however, misrepresentation or falsification of facts and answers on those forms is a federal felony in and of itself. In this case, the matter of Lanza’s capacity to own said firearms is moot — reports I have read are they were not the shooter’s guns. Supposedly they were his mother’s guns — mother who was also murdered in the home prior to the shooting at the school. It appears she may also have properly registered the pistols. (In CT, pistols must be registered upon purchase with copies of registration filed with State Police and local PD.) There may be some question as to the shooter’s access to those weapons in the home. But on the face of it, it appears he stole those guns from his mother, killed her and then went to the school. It is also illegal to carry firearms onto a school campus — period. The guy was a twice-felon before he set foot on the campus (theft and murder); whereupon, by going onto the campus with the firearms, he had committed three felonies before firing a shot in the school. Additionally, Lanza took his mother’s car to drive to the school. If  Lanza took the car without his mother’s permission (which he must have because prima facie he took the car AFTER he killed her), there is a fourth felony (auto theft) prior to his firing a shot at the school. A fifth felony in one day prior to firing a shot at the school if he stole car in flight to avoid prosecution.

I don’t know what use these facts might be — but them’s the facts as we presently know them.

UPDATE – December 16, 2012.

Medical Examiner is now reporting that the .223 calibre Bushmaster was the main weapon used in the school shootings – which does not mitigate the fact that it, too, was registered per CT law to and subsequently stolen from Lanza’s murdered mother by her son Adam Lanza. That new snippet does not mitigate any other facts regarding Adam Lanza’s multiple felonious actions leading up to the school shooting.

As to the matter of the Bushmaster / AR-15 clones, their .223 calibre ammunition was developed under contract by the United States military to be a particularly destructive (and cheap to produce) round specifically for the purpose of killing human beings. Those machines, the .223 calibre round and its later European counterpart (5.56mm) have a horrid reputation amongst serious military historians and those who study the changes in firearms technology as being unreliable (they tend to jam — a lot) and suitable to no other purpose than human slaughter.

As to the claim that Lanza’s weapon “could hold 100 rounds” – I believe CT law regulates magazine capacity to 10 rounds (and am not aware of any AR-15 compatible mags of greater than 30 round capacity). If Lanza was using restricted-capacity magazines, he was already using an illegal configuration of the weapon and more law would not mitigate that fact. He’s gonna worry about breaking the law worse? I doubt it. Some reports indicate that Lanza used a common trick of duct-taping two magazine together contra-posed to one another that would allow for quick magazine changes. A fire rate of 60 rounds per minute would be conceivable – assuming you weren’t aiming the shots. And the cowardly act of firing into a crowd of children would not require much aiming. Mostly “spray and pray”. There is also the likelihood of “pass-through” wounds  with .223 calibre. One bullet passes through one target and hits another. The only way to know how many shots were fired is to recover all of the spent cartridges and count them.

Them’s the forensics. I will leave to opinions to others.


10 thoughts on “Sandy Hook Elementary (CT) School Shooting

  1. Charles Carter

    I wish I had the answer. I believe in the right to bear arms but think that the laws are way too lax. Yes, they have a law that says ALL convicted felons are not allowed to own a firearm but that law should be amended to only pertain to those convicted of a violent crime for the simple reason that it would be a lot smaller part of the population to keep a watchful eye on. The laws concerning gun shows should obviously be changed to make it a lot harder to purchase one. In a lot of states NO background check is required. I know a lot of this is not pertinent in this case and there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

  2. yellerkitty

    Here’s the thing, while the law may preclude sales of weapons to people with a history of mental illness, I have seen nothing indicating that Adam had ever been diagnosed or treated. In fact, that seems to be the most common prevailing pattern in cases like this, that the perpetrators, in spite of a general consensus of the opinions of those who know them that they are “psycho”, to use your term, have not gotten sufficient, if any, treatment.

    Secondly, while laws do proscribe the sale of firearms to felons, Adam was not a felon until he gave his mother a face full of lead for breakfast. Any subsequent felonious behavior was still in a timeline that would have failed to prevent him from acquiring guns prior to that.

    So, in summation, the information we currently have is tangential at best and not of any real help in analyzing the dynamics of this situation.

  3. Kurt Sims

    And the assault weapon he used could hold 100 rounds of ammunition and be fired at a rate of 60 bullets a minute. That’s how he was able to shoot each child 3-11 times according to the medical examiner. The former assault weapons ban limited them to 10 rounds.

    BTB – I am working up a new analysis of the firearms used in the 61 mass killings since Columbine 1999. 75% of research finished indiacates that favorite firearms in the slaughter sweepstakes have been ……. drum roll please ……. Glock pistols followed by AR-15 style rifles.

  4. Kurt Sims

    You need to do some research before claiming A-15’s don’t have clips that hold 100 bullets. You’re wrong. The A-15 used by the Aurora, CO shooter had a 100 round clip. To suggest we should not bother to have laws because they are broken is nothing but stupid. Sorry but all laws are broken, but you don’t do away with laws because they are not always followed. The purpose of laws is not to prevent things from ever happening. Do I really need to point these obvious things out to you?

    1. kirbytheog Post author

      I know enough about AR-15s to recognize that they are crap rifles worthless for anything but killing human beings — if they don’t jam in the process. I would like to see some citation that Lanza was using an aftermarket drum mag that actually worked. Thus far, I have seen no such documentation — but I am certainly willing to inspect any such documentation / citations that are proffered.

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    1. kirbytheog Post author

      I spell well but type quickly to get the thoughts out of may brain and onto the paper. Also prone to sentence fragments on occasion. Don’t always get back to proofreading and correcting on a regular basis. I am much more cautious with such things when being paid to be more cautious.


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