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07/18/2003 Archived Entry: "The California massacre story you didn't read"
HERE'S THE NEWS STORY YOU DIDN'T READ THIS WEEK:
(This article was sent by a journalist who wishes to remain unidentified)
Mass murder in California
Elderly man mows down dozens with automatic weapon
An 86-year old man wielding an automatic weapon of immense destructive power murdered 9 people and wounded 45 others, 10 critically, in a deadly rampage in Santa Monica, California. The dead and injured far outnumber the totals of the infamous Columbine shootings, and represent one of the largest mass killings since the murder of 86 people in their Waco, Texas church in 1993. Police chief Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. characterized the slaughter as "The worst I've seen" in his 30+ year career.
Police say the man had a valid license for the powerful weapon, whose speed and power match anything owned by the police department. Why the elderly man needed such a large, powerful weapon, and why he was granted a license for it, were not disclosed. One police source, speaking anonymously, said
that the elderly and gang members tend to favor the automatic version of these weapons as they are both large and powerful while being easier to aim and use than the manual versions.
The power of the weapon was evident in both the speed and efficiency of the massacre. It took less than 30 seconds to kill 9 people, including a 3-year old child, and wound at least 45 others. The weapon was barely warm to the touch after its deadly work was done. State Police impounded the weapon and confirmed that it remained fully functional after the rampage was over, fully capable of inflicting still more carnage. The murderer was found with one body at his feet and another draped over his weapon. All ambulances and medical helicopters in the area were required to evacuate the dead and injured. At least 10 people remain hospitalized in serious or critical condition.
I heard a weapon just hit, bang, bang, bang," said Mojgan Pour, 38. "I heard people screaming. By the time I looked, I never even saw the weapon. I tried to help a man and he died while I was helping him."
"It was like a hurricane just came down the center of the street," said Megan Sheehy, general manager of a nearby restaurant.
Government officials demurred when asked if they would seek a ban on such powerful weapons, apparently intimidated by the powerful special interests that manufacture and market these dangerous devices, and the unions that give millions of dollars a year in political contributions to Democratic lawmakers.
Last year, nearly 46,000 people were killed by these weapons, and the carnage continues, although very few cases can match the ferocity and lethality of this one.
The Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU was quick to criticize the lax laws that allowed this tragedy to take place.
A notice on their website stated
Like any powerful special interest, the AAA works to secure its financial well being. It insists on a view that anyone 16 or older be allowed access to these automated killing machines and defies virtually all court decisions and contradicts findings of most legal scholars. In so doing, the AAA actively perpetuates a seemingly endless cycle of car-related fatalities. The AAA intimidates politicians because it is very well financed and, like any wealthy single-issue special interest, can muster considerable pressure and scare tactics against legislators who oppose it. For decades, the AAA has effectively promulgated its message. Other voices have recently begun to be heard, however, including the public health community, civil rights and civil liberties organizations and groups committed to women's, children's and family rights. The AAA implies that the Bill of Rights forces us to accept unlimited car ownership and tolerate the human tragedies that cars cause in our society. That simply isn't true.
Curiously, no charges have been filed against the murderer as yet. Police stated that they were considering charges of "manslaughter of some type." The reasons for releasing the murderer without a hearing or bail were not revealed.
Posted by Claire @ 10:59 AM CST