So today, I've picked two examples of mass shootings, and lay out the basic landscape over each:
1. The Webster Shooting (24 December 2012)....yeah, the day prior to Christmas.
In this case, firemen got a call around 5:30 AM to a house fire in West Webster, NY (way up in the north part of the state). As they pull up and get out, there's gunfire on them (the firemen). Two of the firemen end up dead.
Cop now arrive and take on the single gunman.....Bill Spengler, age 62. Bill is armed with a shotgun, a pistol (38) and a Bushmaster semiautomatic. When everything is done, the cops have killed Bill. Total wounded: 3. Total dead: Bill, and three others. It should be worth noting....the fourth person.....that was his older sister that he'd killed (several hours prior to the fire).
The fire? It was planned out.....as the firemen and cops arrived....he simply was going to kill more. He even wrote the letter and detailed his plan.
So here's this story on Bill. Back around 1980, Bill killed his 92-year old Grandmother, with a hammer. No one talks much over what got him hyped up and able to kill her, but the best that the DA could do....was 17 years in prison. Was Bill already a nutcase in 1980? Probably, but rather than mess around with that business....it was simpler to send to a state prison for seventeen years.
To fix this (at least by NY standards), they made up this new law that invoked 'first responder' provisions. So if you attacked any first responder at a fire or situation, that got you life in prison, and zero chance for parole. It didn't really fix much of anything when dealing with unhinged people or nutcases, but at least the politicians could say that they did their best.
Should they have dealt the guy just 17 years for the grandma killing? Probably not....but no one seems to think over that issue.
2. The Wedgewood Baptist Church shooting (Texas, 15 Sep 1999) occurred on a Wednesday with lessen prayer services going on.
Larry Gene Ashbrook walked into the church with a pipe-bomb, and two pistols (AMT Backup and a 9mm). When his encounter was done, he'd killed seven folks and himself....injuring seven others.
Roughly a decade prior to this (around age 37), his mother died and for some reason....that set Larry off into a decade mode-swings. Some were nice....some were violent.
In the year prior to the church-shooting, people who knew Larry....spoke of disillusions.....saying at one point that the CIA was out to get him. At some point, he suggested that he'd been assaulted by co-workers and the cops had tried to kill him. In his home later, after the death.....folks noted that holes had been made in the wall.....concrete dumped into the toilets, and something had been laid out to poison trees and plants in the yard.
Odds of paranoid schizophrenia? I'd say 100-percent chance. In the year prior to the church shooting....if the system had worked correctly, cops should have picked up the guy, had him evaluated, and put into a secure mental facility. But things simply don't work that way.
The odds that the death of his mother affected some chemical balance in his brain? Maybe. That's odd part about Larry's history....there's just nothing up to around age forty to say Larry was crazy. After the mother's death.....year by year, Larry was sinking into some mental abyss.
Did anything change much after this church killing? No. Some churches might have armed up a guy or two at the entry of the church, but politicians didn't see anything much to resolve Larry's accomplishment.
Oh, and this group attending the church on that Wednesday? This is the odd thing.....it was mostly teens and folks in their twenties.....a youth prayer meeting for that evening. Four of the dead were 14 to 17 years old.