I’m over a 1000 miles away and as far as I know don’t know anyone that was in the theater that was shot up last night. But still it’s very upsetting and my sympathy goes out to all those who were injured, killed, and/or had family and/or friends there. I’m just glad the murderer didn’t think past getting and using guns to do his evil deed.
The following is from putting on my “black hat” to do a threat assessment of our vulnerabilities to mass murders in public spaces.
It could have been much worse had the murderer chosen to use something other than guns as his weapon of choice. In a sense we could say that it’s a good thing guns are readily available because if had he used other tools the carnage could have included everyone in the theater.
There are indications the guy that shot up the theater in Colorado had mental health issues so we may never know and/or understand what the motivations might have been. Trying to make sense of the actions and/or thoughts of the mentally ill is a fools errand. But assuming the goal was maximum carnage there were better ways to accomplish this.
What follows is one way that someone could have killed more people in the same exact location. This is modeled on the plan used for the Happy Land Fire (87 dead) and by the Columbine murderers. The Columbine bombs failed so they made up an alternate plan on the spot when the first plan failed. The first plan was actually pretty good but really needed more people and they should have tested their explosive devices. Read the book Columbine for a much better understanding of what happened and the motivations. Had “Plan A” worked there could have been thousands dead.
If the murderer was able to get long guns into the theater then getting multiple backpacks into the theater should have been possible too. For example one could prevent the emergency exit from latching (duct tape for example) and then make multiple trips to the parking lot to retrieve a set of backpacks. Place the backpacks at each of the exits. The backpacks contain a timer, thermite, and propane tanks. Set the timers for simultaneous ignition of the thermite. The thermite (easily made from iron and aluminum) will melt a hole in the propane tank and ignite the propane. The theater patrons are trapped in a fiercely burning room. If the fire doesn’t get them the smoke inhalation and/or mass panic will.
Using easily available materials the murderer could have been a mile or ten away when the event happened and may have never been caught. When using a gun the odds of them getting caught are much greater and they are much more likely to be stopped before they run out of victims.
People that care about the victims should be glad we have guns in this country and encourage more sane and law abiding people to carry them almost wherever they go. It gives the crazy and the stupid an easy path to being caught and/or stopped before they can do the maximum damage.