(Since this was originally written an Army-trained marksman and a teenage accomplice have been arrested as the perpetrators, though details of motive are still unclear. I don't feel the need to change my original essay in light of the "resolution" of this particular case. I do note that Vladmir Putin would probably have had an easier time of it if some of the Russian citizens in the audience at the theatre in Moscow had pulled out their own Makarovs and shot it out with their captors. Oh yeah, I forgot… we're meant to die like cattle because guns are evil and only soldiers and policemen are allowed to have them… or maybe be gassed and then die like cattle. Still, a better result than Waco I guess.)
As I write this the UK papers, and presumably the American ones, carry reports of the Maryland sniper and his (the probability of it turning out to be a woman are indeed vanishingly small and further I'll assume he's a "lone gunman" for the purposes of this piece) growing tally of victims, apparently targets of opportunity and chosen for no reason other than momentary availability. In one shooting, a State Trooper was only 50 yards away from the victim at the time of the attack (cue idle speculation as to why the civilian was shot rather than the Trooper). I haven't yet seen the website proclaiming the killer is a CIA MKUltra "mind control" assassin but no doubt that's to come (you read it here first… oops, I took too long to write this, that's already happened). Of course, shootings in the US are generally given much higher profile in the UK press than shootings in the UK -- an armed robbery in Nottingham is considered secondary news. The simple fact is that in spite of Britain's "gun control" regime it could just as easily happen here in the UK. The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) says…
"Anyone who wishes to obtain a firearm will have little difficulty in doing so whether genuine, reactivated, modified or replica."
…and presumably this is what the Government wants us to believe since the NCIS is a creature of Government. I'm confident that it's objectively true in any case.
There's no indication that the shooter has any advanced marksmanship skills from what little information has been released. For instance, one shot kills with a rifle at ranges around 100 metres (my guess is all shots were much shorter range than that, in fact probably at ranges I'd consider pistol range) shouldn't prove a problem even for a very inexperienced rifleman. (Having been on some public ranges in America I'm not sure about inexperienced, but inexpert would certainly cover it.) Since to the media a "sniper" is anyone who can haul back the trigger on a Kalashnikov I don't suppose we'll ever know. In any case, your government is happy to provide interested parties with marksmanship training, yours truly being a beneficiary of such schemes for one -- which is why I feel qualified to make the former assertion -- and there's always Lee Harvey Oswald, once a US Marine, and Charles Joseph Whitman, once a US Marine. In fact in various times and places marksmanship training was/is compulsory. And no, the army has no more chance than the medical profession to spot potential Harold Shipmans and likely wholesale murder… if the army should actually try to weed out people with an enthusiasm for such a hobby in the first place! (Judging by the Paratroopers I've met and… interacted… with I'd say the British Army makes determined efforts in the other direction, at least in the case of Paratroopers -- and if I've offended any Paratroopers by writing that it just means the fight can start sooner rather than later.)
The bottom line is that "random killers" using various methods (and for various motivations including "terrorism" in the furtherance of some political goal or another) are a fact of everyday life and the Government can't protect you. I'm with the likes of Chomsky, governments in general and the American Government in particular are the biggest sponsors of organised terrorist groups. Let me also pause here to "thank" the American public for their fulsome support of Sinn Fein IRA over the years. And as for the lame advice about tactical movement under fire (zig-zag to make yourself a more difficult target) being given by police as advice to Washingtonians, you couldn't pass off such absurdity as fiction! Demanding "gun control" may make you feel better. Unfortunately it won't make you safer. If only life were that simple we could wish all our worries away. Disarming yourself makes you more easily victimised rather than protecting you from "gun violence." A whole world of empirical data proves this beyond reasonable doubt to anyone who examines the situation with an objective mindset.
Unfortunately politics, especially in the modern world, is about public perceptions not about results. That's why mentions of Winston Churchill and Hitler still pepper politicians' speeches today when they're just dead white males who can do nothing today in the real world. Sure we can change the world but there are real limits to what can be achieved given the human condition and from where I'm sitting it looks like politics in general and "gun control" in particular are making things worse for people rather than better. It's a sure bet scared people are more likely to do what they're told though, so I suppose "gun control" is working just fine as far as most career politicians are concerned. For myself, gun control is about hitting the target.
Over here, over there, everywhere,
today, tomorrow, always:
Bad men there are.
Hate you they do.
Kill you they will.
Watch out you better!
-- Shoshone Indian saying.