Weapons of Mass Murder

170813002022-34-charlottesville-white-nationalist-protest-0812-exlarge-169A popular false equivalence floated by guns nuts after every mass murder is that “X {shovels, kitchen knives, pipe wrenches, etc} can also be used to kill,” followed by the straw man “so are you saying that we must also ban X?”

This  begs the question “What is the best weapon of mass murder?”  If we are talking sheer numbers of victims, then everybody thinks Airplane and 9/11!  2,606 killed at the World Trade Center!  Clear winner, right?  Well you must consider that there were 2 planes involved, one per tower.  If we take a single airplane strike on the North Tower there were 1,402 direct victims.  But the attack required 5 terrorists, so the effective number of victims per terrorist is 280.

Bombs? Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 with a single truck bomb, fewer than the airplane reaping, although he did manage to injure an additional 600 people.

Cars & Trucks?  In 2016 Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove into a crowd in Nice, France and killed 86 (injuring 458).

Guns?  Stephen Paddock is the current leading mass killer, murdering 59 people (and injuring 527) with his legal semi-automatic rifles converted with legal bumper fire kits to full-automatic.  In line with runner-up Omar Mateen who killed 49 (and injured 58) at a nightclub in Florida in 2016.

Knives?  Not so common in gun-friendly U.S., but we have Satoshi Uematsu in Japan in 2016 who murdered 19 (and injured 25)…but keep in mind that he was stabbing disabled people.  More realistic is the recent attack in China where 10 people killed 29 (and injured 130) at a train station – the effective number of victims per killer is 3.

Shovels, pipe-wrenches, candlesticks, etc?  Seems like people have killed somebody with just about anything at one time or another…but I couldn’t find any evidence of massacres using ‘found objects’…perhaps because these things aren’t specifically designed to kill a lot of people.

In terms of price/performance, the airplane attacks were about $192/victim, McVeigh’s bomb was $30/victim, the rental truck $6/victim, and Paddock’s gun massacre $102/victim, knives $10/victim.

Post 9/11 security has made another commercial plane suicide attack unlikely, and the cost and planning are unrealistic for the lone-wolf killer.  The truck-bombing provides low cost with a high murder rate, but requires careful planning and execution to avoid ending up on a watch-list and foiled by Homeland Security.  The truck attack offers the best price performance with a significant mass-murder effect, very little planning, simple execution and limited skills required – the clear weapon of choice.  The gun attack was surprising pricey in comparison and requires basic shooting skills, but  doesn’t require much in the way of planning.

And found objects?  Pure wing-nut bullshit.

 

 

 

 

 

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