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The killing at the Midnight Movie Massacre in Aurora, Colorado could have been far worse—even if you discount the possibility that James Holmes could have used explosives to inflict even greater carnage on his targets. The gunman had equipped his AR-15 with a 100-round drum magazine. These magazines are notorious for jamming. And than God for that. And thank God Lead Valley Range owner Glenn Rotkovich rejected Holmes’ application for membership. If Holmes had been able to practice with his AR-15 and the mega-magazine, he might have discovered its weakness and practiced reloading smaller but more reliable magazines. Kudos to Rotkovich for his situational awareness and refusal to let greed triumph over safety.

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    • Hello, officer. I’d like to report a guy with a really strange “Leave a message at the beep” message….

      For various reasons, that kind of thing isn’t usually considered grounds for arrest.

      • Would have been better to not leave him a message or let him no he was not excepted. Instead, the range owner called him back heard the message for the second time and… called him back a third time. Sounds like the range owner is doing some damage control after the fact.

  1. Sometimes it all comes down to a hunch. The little voice in the back of your head that says “there’s something about this person that isn’t quite right,” and sends your instincts into overdrive. Since Mr. Rotkovich was in control of private property, he was able to deny a lunatic range access. Did Holmes take any of his frustrations out on the range that rejected him? Obvioulsly not. He armed up and went to a “gun free zone,” which is the same as a victim – rich environment.

    • Too bad most government employees have had that instinct beaten out of them.

      Witness the Fort Hood shooter, whose classmates made all kinds of complaints about his weirdness and radicalism, and yet his nominal “supervisors” were all Sgt. Schultz – didn’t want to do anything un-PC and harm their own chances of promotion.

  2. i’m curious. douchebag bought his weapons fairly recently and over a short space of time. had he actually fired the weapons at all before the event? apples and oranges i know, but a lot of street criminals get their names in the papers because their weapons were non functional or they didn’t have the skills to make them work properly.

  3. I am sorry, but the real heroes are those that died covering others with their bodies. This guy did nothing heroic, he turned down an application. Sorry, but true.

    • ‘This guy did nothing heroic, he turned down an application. Sorry, but true.”

      Nothing heroic at all. But fortunate this guy had a conscined which overroad the desire to make a buck vs. following his instinct.

    • Agreed, Not a hero. Someone who indirectly helped the situation from being worse? yes.

      The heroes ARE the ones who gave up their lives so others could live.

  4. Based on the interview with the range owner, Holmes didn’t appear to even try and follow-up on his application to go to the orientation so that then later he could shoot at the range. I didn’t get the sense that the owner said application denied in any voice mail to Holmes. Did Holmes decide to practice elsewhere or not at all with the 100 round magazine?

  5. This post sparks a question that has been gnawing at me all weekend:
    We know that this Joker was armed with an AR sporting a 100 round mag. The reports I have seen said it jammed with 60 rounds still available. He also had a 870 extended mag and a Glock 22. So, I total 40 rounds of .223, 7 rounds of buckshot, and 16 rounds of .40 cal .
    The simple math comes out to 1.1 victims per round. I understand any of the rounds above will over penetrate and that there was a target rich environment of crowds stacked against the doors trying to escape. But, I am having a hard time believing that a novice shooter could put that much lead on target wearing body armor, and a gas mask in the dark with mayhem all around.
    Your thoughts?

    • Random number generators can produce results that look like a man made pattern. Given the population density of a theater it seems very likely that even random shots would appear as if an experienced shooter was pulling the trigger.

    • Buckshot probably accounts for some of those multiple hits. Overpenetration with the rifle for a few more.

      • I am very sure it does. But even when you account for two hits per round of buckshot, you are still at 1 to 1.

        I work with a lot of novice shooters, and this doesn’t add up.

    • where do your numbers come from? i haven”t seen any reports that total the rounds he fired. are you just totalling the number of rounds that each type holds? the rifle may have jammed and he didn’t have the skill to clear but maybe he reloaded the other weapons.

      • This is true. I was working off the capacity of the guns in question. Although patching together the reports, it appears he first emptied the 870 and dropped it. He then mounted the AR, it jammed. He then went to the Glock, which he may have reloaded.

        Still, some spooky numbers for a novice shooter under the circumstance…

        • I’m not sure that there have been any accurate reports about how many of the injured parties were struck my gunfire, how many were injured by shrapnel, being trampled, tripping and breaking something etc. I also read that the shooter’s Glock held an extended magazine and not a 16-rounder, but who knows if that report was accurate. I believe the casualty figures, it’s unlikely that all the other “information” that we’ve received is factual.

        • AHHHH! Thanks Ralph! If a fair number of the injured were not direct fire (specifically crowd injuries), that would put these numbers in a much different light.

        • I thought I saw a photo of his weapons laying on the ground outside the exit door on TTAG or a link. And it showed the AR-15 with a 30 rd magazine still in it, unless I’m going batsh*t with all of the coverage!

    • I do not believe it was established that he used the 100 round mag. From the reports I read (I am sure there are many I did not read) that the 100 round mag was found on the scene. I do not believe anyone has established that it was actually used. I could be wrong, but I believe this is the qoute “Police Chief Dan Oates has said a 100-round drum magazine was recovered at the scene” In the theater? In the car? I believe the news media just ran with it, not sure we have any info that say it was used.

      • yes, i would agree if the targets had been mobile on the street. i wonder how many people were shot as they proned out between the seats seeking cover. again, i haven’t seen any reports that go into that much detail. i wonder how many of the shots were at or near contact range? sometimes skill isn’t as importaant as cold blooded determination.

    • Your thoughts?

      I’m surprised it was that low. Firing a rifle into a crowd standing shoulder-to-shoulder and stacked I-don’t-know how many deep? Ugly situation. REALLY ugly.

      It could have been much, much worse…. and probably would have been if the shooter realized how flaky C-mags are and used standard 30-rounders instead. He didn’t know, and he didn’t find out because of Glenn Rotkovich. What Glenn did might not be ‘heroic’, but it’s pretty likely that some people are alive because of him.

      I’d buy him a beer if I ever meet the guy.

    • When there are a lot of people jammed together, the bad guy can miss his target and still hit someone. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happened here.

    • Kindly stop calling the freak by his apparently preferred moniker. Society needs to stop encouraging animals like this, and not using the bizarre nicknames the prefer to their real names is a start.

  6. I think I have to agree with Ralph. We don’t know what is gun related and what isn’t. Of course you can charge him with attempted murder on everyone in the theater.
    While Glenn didn’t admit him to his range, it certainly isn’t hero status. The six year old girl who tried to cover a three year old who had already been shot is a hero in my book. Glenn did however use prudence in regard to application review which is a good thing.
    I do need to point out something though. Yes the murderer was deranged, and a sick individual. but up till that point he had, had no known run in’s with the law. Sure he was weird, but I have known many weird people in my life who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Should they be discriminated against?
    I am asking this for a simple reason. In no way to I condone, or otherwise rationalize what this person did. I have kids, and my first instinct is to tear this joker, no pun intended, apart slowly in the most grizzly way possible for what he did to those innocent people.
    Just because he is a little weird doesn’t mean he should be denied the rights that are afforded to all of us. If we start applying laws, gun control or otherwise out of fear and over reaction to one sick individuals actions then we might as well throw in the towel now. Just because someone has an unusual sense of humor or is a loner doesn’t mean they are a mass murderer. We are all human and different. given what we know about this persons back ground he was well educated and not a street thug type. I don’t think that any gun laws could have prevented this. If he couldn’t get a gun he would have built bombs for the theater. We know he had that knowledge based on what was pulled from his house.
    Up till this point he hadn’t broken any laws at all. He didn’t even leave a Facebook, or other social network trail that could have raised red flags. So he didn’t do anything wrong until that night.
    I think in this instance what was stated before a good offense is a good defense. If there had been CCW carriers in that theater think the damage could have been minimized. I wouldn’t say eliminated, but minimized for sure.

    • I would tend to agree man. From 2000 miles away, it seems like some pyschological intervention could have stopped this from happening. I may be wrong, never met the guy, never will. But I think this despicable event is more of an indictment of the mental health system in this country than the gun buying or law enforcement systems.

      • Quick, throw anyone you don’t agree with in a mental hospital or jail! Because 2.26 million people in jail and 4.9 million on probation/parole is not enough.

  7. And queue the lawsuits against gun shops that sold guns to the joker after this report.

    The range owner just gave lawyers more than enough for victims to sue the gun shops into oblivion.

    It won’t matter if the gun shops are acquitted. The cost of defense will likely break the owners.

    • This is nothing more than ex post connecting the dots — always easy when you have all the dots. James Holmes might have been creepy and not somebody you would want at your gun club but that doesn’t mean he was a mass murder in waiting. It only appears in retrospect that the reason for his creepyness was that he was going shoot up the theater. There are people who post here who I would not want associated with my gun club but I don’t believe that they are planning the next big event. If one of them turns out to be a spree shooter then it would easy for me to say “ah ha I knew it!” but I would just be kidding myself.

    • Well if the gun shops never needed to leave him a message on his home phone then how would they know what kind of person he is? To that end why would they care?

      I am certainly not one to defend the guy, but buying a gun does not require a life style polygraph test or some sort of personality assessment.

      I am sure the judges will be faced with these law suits, although I am not sure how many will bring one. Unless the shops can be proven to have done something illegal then there isn’t much for them to go on precedent wise.

      I am sure many of you have been in a gun shop and seen some guy who is a total A-Hole, but he isn’t a criminal, so he gets his gun just like anyone else.

      I could see a law suit against the theater for prohibiting CCW, but even then it would be a reach at best, since it is their right to have such a policy.

      It is a slippery slope, if you can sue the theater let’s say then you can sue the state government for anyone who was denied a CCW but wanted one and was in the theater, assuming it wasn’t for being a criminal. This falls into that whole just cause bit like we have here in CA. Not sure what it is like in CO.

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