The Horror In Newtown

The AP is reporting at least 27 dead, including 18 children, after a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The Hartford Courant has other early details:

Many of the shootings took place in a kindergarten classroom, sources said. One entire classroom is unaccounted for, sources said. A person believed to be a shooter is dead. Earlier reports of a second shooter are unconfirmed. Three people were brought to Danbury Hospital, but their condition is unknown. The emergency room is on lockdown. Police were still searching the school at 11 a.m., and police dogs had been brought in. Around noon, the triage area was broken down, stretchers were taken away and the SWAT team left the building. Shortly after 9:40 a.m., police reported that a shooter was in the main office of the school. A person in one room had “numerous gunshot wounds,” police said. Groups of students — some crying, some holding hands — were being escorted away from the school by their teachers. Some students were still in the school at 10:30 a.m., parents said.

Update from a reader:

I love the Dish, but people who don’t know anything about guns should avoid making obfuscating and inflammatory statements about them. The AR style rifle labled was a “.223 caliber rifle” is hardly the only kind of .223 caliber rifle. Here is a photo of another common .223 rifle:


And the guns at this link can be had in .223. It’s a completely common varmint/light-deer cartridge that is the civvie version of the round NATO adopted for their assault rifles. On this issue, clarity is important or else you’re going to have crappy, knee-jerk, uninformed policy decisions.


Although your update is technically accurate, and we do not know the precise weapon used in the shooting, the rifle pictured on your site and in the link provided are not semi-automatic. They are bolt-fired, which makes it pretty much impossible that the shooter could have used such a weapon given the number of victims.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the AR-15 is the weapon used. It is at the heart of our gun control debate, since the typical visit to your local gun range often involves firing a semi-automatic like the AR-15. They are easily accessible, and completely unnecessary for recreational hunting. Of course, we don’t know what kind of gun was used yet, but it’s a tad misleading to suggest that a bolt-fired weapon is an equally plausible alternative.

Just thought I’d clarify, since it seems to be about time that we start a serious discussion of just what type of guns are being bought every day in the United States.

Update from the first reader:

Actually, the rifle I sent in the picture IS semi-automatic. It’s a Ruger Mini-14, the same rifle used by Michael Lee Platt in the 1986 Miami FBI shootout the left seven agents dead or wounded and led to a complete overhaul of the FBI firearms policy. Hopefully the lesson is that we shouldn’t be drawing conclusions (or making policy) based on what a weapon looks like or how it’s perceived by the non-shooting public.