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Former Under Secretary of Homeland Security, Author of “Deadly Indifference”, National Security Blog Expert - The National Journal, Political Blogger - The Daily Caller, Radio Talk Show Host - "The Michael Brown Show", Founder & Chairman - Apoklayyis, Inc.

James Holmes & The Hysteria Surrounding The Aurora Theater Massacre.

My level of frustration with the discourse around the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre has just about reached the tipping point.

The irrationality of gun control advocates is out of control. They don’t know the difference between automatic, semi-automatic, or assault weapons.

They think that 6,000 rounds of ammunition is somehow a bizarre amount of ammunition to have on-hand. Rumors and misinformation about the shooter’s “body armor” abound everywhere.

This week I argued with someone who unequivocally believes Holmes outfitted himself in SWAT tactical gear. This person absolutely believed the shooter was wearing a bulletproof vest, body armor and the full regalia of equipment a SEAL team member or SWAT team law enforcement officer would wear.

Unfortunately, the person was uninformed about the differences between this equipment and equipment one might purchase at Gander Mountain or Cheaper Than Dirt or other supplier. Nonetheless, the meme remained the Aurora shooter was in full body armor and could never have been taken down by a conceal carry weapon held by someone else in the theater.

I finally understand now the misinformation. Seems Slate Magazine is perpetuating the myth. In an article by William Saletan, the urban legend is characterized this way:

What distinguished Holmes wasn’t his offense. It was his defense. At Columbine, Harris and Klebold did their damage in T-shirts and cargo pants. Cho and Loughner wore sweatshirts. Hasan was gunned down in his Army uniform.

Holmes’ outfit blew these jokers away. He wore a ballistic helmet, a ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector, a groin protector, and tactical gloves. He was so well equipped that if anyone in that theater had tried what the National Rifle Association recommends—drawing a firearm to stop the carnage—that person would have been dead meat. Holmes didn’t just kill a dozen people. He killed the NRA’s answer to gun violence.

Of course the misinformation handily supports the author’s misguided contention the shooter was so well protected that anyone in the theater trying to stop his murderous gunfire would have simply been repelled by the shooter’s full body armor.

What a crock.

And what an obvious ignorance of what would have happened to an inexperienced shooter, even in full body armor, had he been hit by the slug of a .357 in that darkened theater. The force of the slug would have brought him down, even temporarily, so that someone could have wrestled his weapons away from him (or gotten closer and finished the job with a shot to the head).

The problem with the myth about the shooter’s body armor is that it simply isn’t true. According to Robert David Graham the shooting is a classic example of bringing out the stupid in people who simply want to push an agenda:

Unusual events like the Colorado shooting bring out the stupid in people. A good example is this Schneier link to a horrible article on Slate that attempts to refute gun advocates by pointing out the shooter had body armor.

Except the shooter didn’t have any significant body armor. He had a combat vest whose purpose is to hold extra magazines. I can’t find a single source confirming that he was wearing metal plates that would’ve stopped a bullet.

What makes Mr. Graham’s argument more intriguing is that he debunks the myth not on behalf of gun advocates, but on behalf of those trying to improve the accuracy of Wikipedia:

I’m not trying to argue gun control in this post, I’m trying to promote Wikipedia. When unusual things happen, information is sketchy, so people twist the information to fit whatever they want. In our industry, this could be power blackouts, Chinese hackers, undersea cable cuts, and so on.

So, to those who continue to believe that Holmes was outfitted in body armor, quit relying on Wikipedia and Slate.

Your meme has failed.

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5 Responses to “James Holmes & The Hysteria Surrounding The Aurora Theater Massacre.”

  1. Michael,
    All of the early reports on Harris said he was wearing body armor all over his body and a ballistic helmet. Are you saying that these reports are untrue? What is your source?

    August 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm
    • I haven’t claimed that Harris was wearing body armor. Are you referring instead to Holmes? If so, the citation is in the article.

      August 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm
  2. Excellent article. Thank you

    August 4, 2012 at 3:40 am
  3. Michael,
    Wow! What a Freudian slip that was! Yes, I meant Holmes, and thank you for correcting me. You cite this article in Slate, which alleges exactly what every media outlet was saying in the days after the massacre: “He wore a ballistic helmet, a ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector, a groin protector, and tactical gloves.” Then I actually read the Graham article, and I now am somewhat educated on the subject,despite being ignorant about guns. Thanks to you and Mr. Graham, and no thanks to Slate and the other media outlets I read in the days immediately after the massacre. Which, I now realize, was your point in mentioning this in the first place!!

    August 4, 2012 at 9:41 am
  4. I have tried to write about this on my blog. I say “tried,” because Blogger didn’t cooperate when I tried incompetently to put in all the links and quotes, (I can see how conspiracy theories get started)! Anyway, I gave you credit for being the person who has tried to correct the misinformation. The misinformation comes from listening to and reading everything one can find in the media, and from not being knowledgeable about guns and gear.
    My post is here: http://bobagard.blogspot.com/2012/08/paying-close-attention-to-media-is-best.html

    August 4, 2012 at 10:34 am