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Las Vegas shooter targeted KLAS fuel tanks

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Even though chances of an explosion due to gunfire were minimal, its still frightening to think about what could have happened, given the close vicinity of the airport. One bullet even penetrated the kerosine tank:

 

 

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It is unclear if he actually shot at the fuel storage tanks or if the tank was hit by stray bullets.  Shooting the tanks would not blow them up.  Jet fuel is not nitroglycerin, it is more like kerosene.  Also, as I understand it, those tanks feature a self-sealing lining, so unless a really big hole is made, they are not going to leak to any great extent.

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Would have been more dangerous if he targeted a landing or approaching plane.  Then we could have an even more horrendous catastrophe.  

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Whatever the intent, the tragedy that happened on the same night I was in intensive care is just astounding.  Because I was in a hospital the reactions were immediate when it happened and the place lit up like Christmas, even though I was in Phoenix, which dispatched caregivers to Vegas almost immediately.  Because I was surrounded by first responders, police officers, and caregivers, they just sat in stunned silence as things unfolded.  I was in and out of it at that time, I did not perceive what had fully happened until the morning when they took me out of ICU.  Then on TV, all there was was information about the shooting.  All of us in the hospital felt like a big ton of bricks had hit us, knowing people were so hurt not far from where I live.

John

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3 hours ago, stans said:

It is unclear if he actually shot at the fuel storage tanks or if the tank was hit by stray bullets.  Shooting the tanks would not blow them up.  Jet fuel is not nitroglycerin, it is more like kerosene.  Also, as I understand it, those tanks feature a self-sealing lining, so unless a really big hole is made, they are not going to leak to any great extent.

I always thought the Hollywood idea of shooting fuel to make it explode had be mythbusted on that TV show??  

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19 hours ago, tooting said:

I always thought the Hollywood idea of shooting fuel to make it explode had be mythbusted on that TV show??  

A good popular myth never dies...

DJ

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He did try to acquire tracer ammunition. Only reason he didn't was because the vendor was out of stock. Regular ammunition is very unlikely to ignite fuel, but tracer ammunition is fairly good at it. Incendiary is best, but I doubt he would have been able to legally acquire that.

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2 minutes ago, Oracle427 said:

He did try to acquire tracer ammunition. Only reason he didn't was because the vendor was out of stock. Regular ammunition is very unlikely to ignite fuel, but tracer ammunition is fairly good at it. Incendiary is best, but I doubt he would have been able to legally acquire that.

Liquid kerosene, which is the main component of Jet-A, is not easy to ignite. It has to be in the form of a fine mist. 

Many years ago, the fire department at our local airport held a training exercise. They had accumulated a couple of hundred gallons of contaminated jet fuel. The plan was to pour the fuel into a metal trough and light it, so the firefighters could have the experience of putting out a real fuel fire with the foam generators on the fire trucks. It took them almost an hour to get it lit. Tossing a lit road flare into the trough did nothing, as did several other attempts to use an open flame.

They finally succeeded by floating a painter's drop cloth on top of the fuel, leaving one end sticking out to act as a wick. The fuel-soaked cloth was easy to set ablaze (like the wick in a kerosene lamp), and it had enough surface area to get the whole load burning. 

I'm not sure that even a tracer round could have ignited the tank contents.

Now a tank of Avgas would have been an entirely different matter...

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I know that this will obviously annoy a lot of the US members of Avsim but - as a UK Citizen - can I ask a simple question?

Your Second Amendment (with which I have no quarrel), states;

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

That is fine by me.

So ... the right to have a firearm to protect or defend yourself (or your family), is there, in the Law, and so be it.

Ergo: You can buy a handgun at the Corner Store without too much I.D. ..... and that is probably within the spirit of the Original declaration?

I get that as well ....

So you buy a handgun. End of ....

 

What I don't understand is the ability of the general USA public to be able to purchase Battlefield Weaponry?

 

How many people would he have been able to kill with a hand gun?

 

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An AR-15 with a bump stock is not battlefield weaponry. From the room he was in, you're right, he wouldn't have been able to kill very many with a handgun at that range. Not to say he may have got "lucky" (I use the word in the context of the shooter here!).

 

EDIT - no assault rifles here - Daily Fail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4944234/Two-23-rifles-inside-Stephen-Paddock-s-room.html

Anyway - whilst Vegas is despicably tragic, put it into context with the number of murders in Chicago (Illinois doesn't have the strictest gun laws in the States, but I believe they're stricter than Nevada) last month. 61 Yet because it's over 1 month you don't see anything in the media about it, nor the 530 dead so far this year.

https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2017-chicago-murders/timeline?mon=9

 

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Mark, an AR15 semi-automatic is still an "assault weapon", and there is no legitimate reason why any civilian should own one. No one goes hunting with one that's for sure. Add on a currently legal bump stock or any one of a half-dozen other "legal" devices and irrespective of the official nomenclature, it is effectively a fully automatic weapon...

...and still something no civilian should own.

Nota bene: For the record, I am a firm supporter of the 2nd Amendment within rational limits. IMHO, it is sheer idiocy to sell any firearms to the mentally unbalanced, just as it is ridiculous to allow assault weapons to be sold.

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A lot of countries allow a fairly open market and trade in hunting rifles, etc. They just have limits on things beyond that, and it works quite well that way. In New Zealand we have probably as many hunting rifles when you compare our 4.4 million population to say the state of Kentucky that also has a similar population, both places people like to hunt and that is fine. Where the rules differ would be automatics, semi-automatics, hand guns etc. Those are restricted items.

Our gun culture is so different that it is against the law for anyone to point a gun at anyone ever, if you ever point a gun at a person for any reason (including in self defense) you are breaking the law. This allows a different culture in that our police don't carry guns, they have access to them if needed but I have yet to see a cop with a gun in New Zealand. Walk around our airports and you won't see guys with guns but when we land at KLAX it is a bit of a shock. 

In the USA the Second Amendment was at a time of muskets, all these years later no one knows where to draw the line and lobbyists certainly have figured out ways to push the limits in what has become a billion dollar industry. I have no problem with the hunters but surely things have gone too far a long time ago

 

Also interesting debate on if a bullet could have blown one of those tanks at KLAS, a quick look on Google Maps you can see the distance from where he was, I as well don't believe even a tracer would have set one of those tanks off. I did like that Mythbusters episode as well. :cool:

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I think it is important to note that this is not a matter of gun control.  It is a societal problem, and one that requires scrutiny of environmental concerns.  People need to understand that fully automatic (select-fire) rifles were extremely cheap prior to the FOPA ruling in 1986.  This effectively made the sale or manufacture of select-fire weapons as new to civilians a felony.  Only the circulating select-fire weapons on the street could be sold via a process of registry regulated by the ATF and therefore was a transfer sale through the government.  Those weapons are upwards of 15,000 dollars or more, depending on the model.  Middle-class America has become priced out of the machine gun game.

However, prior to 1986, M16s and other combat rifles were readily sold for as little as 500 USD.  Now, it's a little funny that legally owned machine gun were not used in crimes before or after 1986.  Only one case of a law enforcement officer (or retired - don't recall) had been documented as using a legally owned select-fire weapon.  Any machine gun used in crimes in the US have been illegally owned or modified since the beginning of time.  But again, doesn't anyone find this a little odd that so many battle rifles were in circulation in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, yet only in the last 20 years have we seen an increase in mass shootings. Is it the desensitization of  the internet, the realism of battle-style games, and violence in movies?  I think there is much more at play than people want to admit.  To blame guns when guns have been around for ages is ridiculous.  Yes, we have had some mass shootings in the years prior to 1990, but this is a whole different level of violence.  And you can't say that what is available now is much different.  Like I said, fully automatic M16s in any flavor were around since the late 60s.  No different than we see here.

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This thread has become very political.  I predict a lock in the very near future.

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Only because politics goes hand in hand with explaining different countries' gun cultures or lack of. Interesting discussions though.

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2 hours ago, stans said:

This thread has become very political.  I predict a lock in the very near future.

There will be no need to lock it so long as people remain civil and discuss things rationally. 

 Bit of sensationalist reporting there I suspect. As others have noted, it's actually really very hard to ignite quite a lot of fuel types unless it is in a fuel/air mix, I think most people are aware of that even though Hollywood insist on having any car which goes over a cliff in a movie explode like it has a case of napalm and a box of wired up fuses sat on the back seats lol. More on this below...

So I think it's probably more likely that the shooter in Las Vegas was not aiming at the fuel tanks at McCarran, more likely aiming at a number of people at the concert who fled in that direction, some of whom actually got onto the airport property resulting in its temporary closure at the time of the incident. A ricochet or stray round could have easily found its way there in that circumstance, as seems likely to me. Especially when using 'bump firing' to give a semi-automatic weapon a high cyclic rate, which it will do, but that is hardly the most accurate of ways to shoot a weapon, not that someone shooting into a crowd is likely to be bothered about that, nor where any stray rounds are going to end up, and that includes the airport fuel tank.

Most AR-15 type rifles would probably be firing .223 Remington or NATO 5.56x45 mm, which are rounds with an effective range of about 500 yards, although 'effective' in this case refers to how you could realistically use it in terms of reasonable accuracy, ability to hit what you aim at, ability to penetrate a soldiers steel helmet, cavitation upon impact to cause disabling wounds etc, as opposed to how far the round could actually go, which is quite considerably further than 500 yards, i.e. all the way to that airport fuel tank.

As far as the arguments about gun control go, the facts are it is legal to buy such stuff in the US in most places, because of the way the Constitution is set up, and that's the way it is. It's been that way for such a long time that it has become a large part not only of the Nation's culture and identity, but more critically, part of its economy, and that's really the issue relating to gun control and the apparent lack of a desire to do anything about it. It's not a desire to do nothing about it, it's an awareness that doing something about it in a very major way would seriously affect a load of businesses. So instead they limited magazine capacity, limited the availability of fully automatic weaponry (not that you couldn't convert a semi-automatic into a fully automatic fairly easily with many weapons, as most people who know about guns are well aware).

But that's not the only issue, nor even the real problem. It's often seen as a trite argument to say 'well, you could kill someone with a brick, do you want us to ban bricks?', now of course what you can't do is kill 60 people and injure another 500 from 600 yards away with a brick, so weaponry certainly does facilitate the ability to do more damage. But as trite as that argument can be, it does nevertheless highlight that the problem is not only the weaponry, since we all have easy access to a brick, but we don't all go around attacking people with them; it is the intent of people to use such weaponry, and that is something which has clearly changed in recent years. Because thirty years ago there were not the large amount of mass shootings and similar horrific things which we see today, certainly there were some, but not anywhere near as many as in present times. There is some argument to say that because of the internet and improved TV coverage, cameras everywhere and such, that some of this is simply that it is more easy to report such things, so we see more of them in that sense, but that only explains some of it, there are quite clearly more such events than there used to be.

There are loads of studies which supposedly prove that TV and computer games with violence in them do not contribute to people wanting to do that kind of thing, but again, that is often because there is money in making films and computer games, so there is plenty of motive for companies to not want such things banned or censored. It is quite clearly the case that people have become desensitised to violence through constant exposure to such things, even when we saw the horrific footage of the twin towers falling down in 2001, it was not as shocking as it perhaps might have been because we'd all been used to seeing all kinds of buildings be destroyed in CGI and practical effect movies such as Independence Day which was in cinemas five years before that horrible attack in New York.

So it's a problem, and like the atom bomb, we can't uninvent it, much as we'd like to, any more than we can uninvent action movies and violent computer games. There is no easy overnight solution, if there was, we'd have done it. Limiting the availability of guns in the UK, where I am, has really only put the guns into the hands of criminals, the law abiding citizens who handed theirs over years ago (including me) were not the ones who were doing the bad stuff. I still have some guns, quite a lot of them in fact, all legal I might add and they are severely limited in what types they are, but I absolutely could kill someone with one or two of the weapons I have if there was any desire in me to do so, but if anyone thinks I'd ever go and harm even a fly with one of them, they'd be mistaken, I only ever shoot at paper and tin targets. And even if that were not the case, there is a big pile of bricks in my back garden.

And as we've seen in recent months, you don't need a gun to kill a large group of people, all you need is a van and a crowd to aim it at. But more than anything, you need the motive and the desire to do so. We are never going to be able to stop such things entirely, but where we need to be, is in a place where that desire is a rarity, so it is this which we need to tackle, not the fact that you can buy guns, or bricks.

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Alan's last paragraph makes a whole lot of sense whether a person is anti-firearms or pro-firearms. In fact his whole post makes a whole lot of reasoned, sensible argument.

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I hope some legislator won't make military flight sims like Falcon 4.0 or DCS illegal because he's convinced that "violent games" like those will make me a potential killer. As they say, be careful what you wish for, it might just come true.

 

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On 10/7/2017 at 6:17 AM, Oracle427 said:

He did try to acquire tracer ammunition. Only reason he didn't was because the vendor was out of stock. Regular ammunition is very unlikely to ignite fuel, but tracer ammunition is fairly good at it. Incendiary is best, but I doubt he would have been able to legally acquire that.

I have personal knowledge about tracers rounds (7.62/12.5 ) hitting aircraft fuel cells and the fuel cells did not explode.   With self-sealing fuel cells they don't even leak.   :smile:

blaustern

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I really hate guns, they shouldn't even exist. Carrying guns to defend yourself and family? Seriously, we wouldn't need to do this if guns didn't exist. There are other ways of self defense without deadly weapons. Other countries such as Japan or Korea don't have to deal with these kind of problems we face here in America, They don't allow guns at all. America doesn't feel safe at all compared to certain countries that I've traveled to and that's a shame. For a country that's so highly looked upon and well developed, we have these stupid gun problems. Really wish there was a way to make guns non existent here. One thing I can't stand is going to a store or restaurant to see some guy carry a gun in his holster. I mean seriously? What's the point? To show off how tough you are? Or a boss carry his gun to the office everyday at work. Just seems extremely pointless to me.

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1 hour ago, captain420 said:

I really hate guns, they shouldn't even exist. Carrying guns to defend yourself and family? Seriously, we wouldn't need to do this if guns didn't exist. There are other ways of self defense without deadly weapons. Other countries such as Japan or Korea don't have to deal with these kind of problems we face here in America, They don't allow guns at all. America doesn't feel safe at all compared to certain countries that I've traveled to and that's a shame. For a country that's so highly looked upon and well developed, we have these stupid gun problems. Really wish there was a way to make guns non existent here. One thing I can't stand is going to a store or restaurant to see some guy carry a gun in his holster. I mean seriously? What's the point? To show off how tough you are? Or a boss carry his gun to the office everyday at work. Just seems extremely pointless to me.

Well in all fairness, people own guns for all sorts of reasons. Some people just like to collect with no intention of shooting them, some use them for hunting or sport shooting, some for target practice, and of course some for self defense. My next door neighbor is a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and she carries for self defense. I can't blame her as she's young and very attractive and could possibly be a target for some wacko who could to try to abduct her.

The problem is that the US is so loaded with guns that even if the 2nd amendment was reversed and people were forced to turn in their guns, all the legal owners would be left unprotected as criminals would still be armed. The ship has sailed as far as that idea is concerned but frankly as someone who lives in the US, I am not concerned when I leave the house every day that I am going to get shot at. 

As Alan said, even without guns, if someone is bent on killing lots of people at one time there are many other ways to do it besides shooting people.

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5 hours ago, captain420 said:

One thing I can't stand is going to a store or restaurant to see some guy carry a gun in his holster. I mean seriously? What's the point? To show off how tough you are? Or a boss carry his gun to the office everyday at work. Just seems extremely pointless to me.

I think it is probably more often the case that people carry pistols for self protection, and if it makes them feel safer then fair enough, although I don't doubt that some do so to look tough. The latter of the two probably dream of the day when someone does do something which will warrant them getting their pistol out.

But such a circumstance is likely to be fraught with dangerous possibilities. Real life is not like a Hollywood action movie and the good guys do not always win. The chances are they'd probably not be able to do much about stuff, for one thing, if I was some dodgy robber about to hold up a 7-11 and saw someone in there who was carrying, I'd either wait until they left, or go to another store to rob that one instead, or possibly just shoot them to eliminate the threat, so carrying a gun could in that case actually make you less safe and would in those circumstance not only fail at preventing a crime, but could also lead to a more serious one.

Then there is the notion that you could go all 'John Wayne' and save people if you were carrying and something bad went down with a mass shooting, but really, how likely is this? Has it even ever happened? If it has, I doubt very often although I'd be interested to hear any statistics on it. Most of the nut jobs who tool themselves up with an AR-15 and go up a clock tower to start sniping people will have probably thought about the possibility of a have a go hero trying to stop them, and thus be wearing body armour and be barricaded in somewhere (this is almost always the case), so you're not even going to be able to get near them unless you are similarly equipped, so unless whilst carrying your pistol about in your daily routine, you are also wearing combat gear and a respirator, you are not gonna be having a fair fight. You're not going to have a hope in hell of hitting someone up some clock tower with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with about ten rounds in it when you are 200 feet away from said nutter who is returning fully automatic fire at you with a rifle that is effective out to 500 feet and which probably has a scope on it too.

There were some people who claimed that in the Cinema shooting in Aurora Colorado at a midnight showing of The Dark Night Rises in 2012, if some people in the cinema had been carrying guns themselves, they could have stopped it, but really, how likely is that? The shooter in this case was James Eagan Holmes. He was wearing tactical military gear, and before commencing firing, he threw tear gas into the crowds to disable them, then opened up on them with gunfire in a darkened auditorium. In addition to the two tear gas grenades he threw, he was armed with: A Smith and Wesson M&P15 (essentially this is an AR-15 semi automatic rifle which typically would hold 30 rounds); a Remington 870 Express tactical shotgun (this is a pump action weapon which can hold up to ten rounds), and a Glock 22 pistol (this too is semi-automatic and usually carries about ten rounds, but can have larger magazines). Not only this, he had also wired up his home with explosives, since he knew it was possible he might die during his assault (he didn't) in the hope that police would go to his home and also be killed, however, most law enforcement agencies know this is now a likely scenrio and so they sent suitable personnel there who defused the bombs. The chances are, anyone who was in that cinema during the shooting who was armed, would have been blinded by the tear gas, and even if they were not, if they started shooting in a packed darkened cinema with panicked people running for their lives clambering over seats and such, it would be far more likely they'd hit an innocent person than the perpetrator of the attack, or what if they saw another person permitted to carry get their gun out, how would they know what that person was up to? It's just as likely that two 'good guys' would start shooting at one another in such a confused circumstance, since how would they know the other person wasn't an accomplice?

So yeah, the law says people can carry guns on their person with a suitable permit, but the utility of doing that for anything other than perhaps a zombie apocalypse is questionable at best.

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Carrying weapons of any kind leads to mistakes causing injury or death - self defence it is not.

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All this talk of the right to keep guns for self defense, sport, etc. is but a red herring. The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to be a check on the federal government.  To allow the people a means to revolt against this government should it become necessary.

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