Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora and Other Things

Another terrible shooting.  This NY Times article on the terrorist (yes, he is) indicates he was taking precautions:
Mr. Holmes had apparently planned the attack for some time. In addition to the gas mask, he wore body armor and a helmet and was dressed completely in black. His gear included a throat protector, a groin protector, a bulletproof vest and leggings, and tactical gloves.
Seems the reality of conceal carry might have been a consideration unless the body armor was just part of a Batman fantasy.  But it sounds like he didn't want to get cut down before finishing his insane performance.  Could someone with a small handgun have taken him out?  It sounds improbable.  That's not an argument against conceal carry, btw.  

Reports say he was also studying neuroscience. To most of us that's equivalent to rocket science. Hard to believe someone that smart gets to a graduate level as a nutcase, but I'll leave the psychology to the psychologists.  A lot of these shootings seem to be committed by antisocial nerds so a science career path sounds more likely than say a public relations major.  No doubt his knowledge would have been attractive to a variety of Islamic terrorists, but we've been told he acted alone.

And based on early reports I tend to believe the lone wolf theory right now.  That said, it's amazing how our intelligence and law enforcement pros can so quickly conclude that status without even checking his computer.  Are the eyes in the sky that good or are they just throwing out the 'be calm, all is well' line to stop any panic?


 Meanwhile chaos reigns in Syria. This was interesting:
Paula DeSutter, who served as assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance, and implementation between 2002 and 2009 and is now retired, said biological weapons could be a bigger a concern. A 2011 State Department report on the compliance of countries with arms control and nonproliferation agreements said it "remained unclear" whether Syria would use biological weapons as a military option or whether Syria had violated the Biological Weapons Convention.
DeSutter also said she would want the U.S. and international community to secure any remaining nuclear-related equipment from the al-Kibar reactor destroyed in 2007 by Israeli jets. Also unclear is what, if anything, Iraq transferred to Syria before the 2003 U.S. invasion. “That is the wild card,” said DeSutter.
Whether or not sensitive weapons technology was moved to Syria is a hotly disputed question in the intelligence community. James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.
Emphasis added because the idea of this question being seriously argued--much less hotly disputed--anywhere in the Obama government these days sounds fairly unbelievable.   Wonder what would happen if it was determined that Iraqi WMDs were hidden in Syria?  How would that be spun?  Would Obama say we were better off with Iraq and Syria still having dictators with WMDs or would they say that we are less safe because now AQ can get a hold of them, putting Saddam and Assad in safekeeper roles?  Hmm.   

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