Fact: The kinetic energy for a 55-grain projectile traveling at around 3,000 fps is 1098.9 foot-pounds of force.
Fact: The kinetic energy for a 4,000-pound car traveling at around 20 mph is 53,475.0 foot-pounds of force.
The takeaway? Both objects are deadly. The question, however, is why we are so concerned with the former when the latter presents an equal, if not greater, threat (at least from a physics standpoint)?
Let’s take a look at a real world example. Just this past week a woman repeatedly rammed her car into a cluster of people on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night, killing one person and injuring 37, six of whom were critically injured.
It’s not clear on why the woman, identified as 24-year-old Lakeisha Holloway, opted to mow down innocent bystanders. But police maintain that it’s not an act of terrorism.
“This was not an act of terrorism,” said Brett Zimmerman, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department deputy chief. “We are treating this as an intentional act.”
Sorta puzzling, isn’t it? Holloway intentionally runs over people — killing one, maiming others — but it’s not terrorism? Okay, maybe it doesn’t fit within the strict domestic terrorism parameters, but let’s not kid ourselves, it was attempted mass murder! What we had on our hands was an active driver situation!
Yes, part of what I’m saying with the “active driver” is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek (an obvious play on “active shooter), but part of me is also serious because Holloway’s 1996 Oldsmobile sedan was indeed a deadly weapon as it was barreling down the crowded sidewalks of Sin City.
“The car rolled right in front of me. By the time I looked over to the right, all you could see was (her) driving away, and people were bouncing off the front of the car,” witness Antonio Nassar told CNN affiliate KLAS.
“She rode the sidewalk, she came to a stop at the Paris intersection, people are punching into the window. … She accelerated again and just kept mowing people down.”
Police charged Holloway with murder with a deadly weapon, leaving the scene of an accident and child abuse or neglect — oh yes, she had her 3-year-old daughter in the back seat as she was crushing people under her car. Pleasant thought, huh?
Following the incident, Gov. Brian Sandoval released a statement hinting at a desire to increase public safety.
“The state stands ready to help and will provide any assistance needed to ensure the safety of our visitors and residents,” Sandoval said. “Kathleen and I extend our deepest sympathies to all who are affected by this shocking and tragic event. Additionally, I would like to thank the first responders and the medical professionals who are caring for the victims this evening.”
However, what can possibly be done to stop an active driver situation? Are we going to ban all automobiles? Are we going to require universal background checks before one is allowed to possess or drive or rent a car? Even if we did, would that keep bad people from using automobiles to take the lives of innocents?
Let it be known that this is not the first time this has happened on the Las Vegas Strip. In Sept. of 2005, 27-year-old Stephen Ressa intentionally drove his car into a group of people in from of Bally’s Casino. Ressa killed three people and injured 11. For that vicious act, Ressa was sentenced to hundreds of years in prison.
Ultimately, what these incidents illustrate is the great flaw within the anti-gun doctrine. Despite what the gun-grabbers argue, banning firearms (or cars or other tools) will not make the public any safer because it doesn’t address the fundamental cause of violence: the will to kill. Bad people want to do bad things and there are any number of ways for them to carry out their craven schemes in a free society. Firearms are one way, cars are yet another, makeshift bombs yet another. And if one doesn’t think that mass murderers and terrorists are aware of the multiple ways in which they can use common tools and household items to take innocent lives, they ought to examine this excerpt from Norway spree killer Anders Behring Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.”
IF they take away our AN-fertilizer, we will use AN from Ice packs! If they take away our ice packs; we will hi-jack propane trucks and use them as secondary explosive charges! If they take away our propane trucks; we will fight them with conventional weapons! If they ban the sale of weapons; we will smuggle in AK-47s from the Balkans and the Middle East!
They cannot prevent us, the European conservatives from eventually seizing political and military power. We will succeed even if we have to create our very own improvised guns.
You’ll recall that Anders killed 77 and injured 319 in shooting and bombing attacks in Oslo and Utøya, Norway, in 2011. The island of Utøya was a gun-free zone. It wasn’t until the police finally arrived on the scene, and he was confronted with armed resistance, that Anders surrendered.
If that’s not a wake-up call I don’t know what is. As it’s been said time and time again, gun control is good for one thing and one thing only: disarming the law-abiding. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. If we continue down a path that accepts gun control as a solution to violence we will only become less free and more imperiled. I don’t know how to say it any clearer than that.