The 141-page manifesto of the Santa Barbara spree killer shows that he spent more than a year planning his attack, and that part of his planning involved choosing a time and place where he felt the odds were lowest that he would encounter armed resistance quickly. He calculated his odds, conducted surveillance, did pre-mission planning, and intentionally sought out a gun free zone.

Rodger spent over a year and a half meticulously planning his attack.

His 141-page “manifesto” makes it clear that he feared someone with a gun could stop him before he was able to kill a lot of people.

Consider his discussion about where he thought the best place to attack people was:

Another option was Deltopia, a day in which many young people pour in from all over the state to have a spring break party on Del Playa Street. I figured this would be the perfect day to attack Isla Vista, but after watching Youtube videos of previous Deltopia parties, I saw that there were way too many cops walking around on such an event. It would be impossible to kill enough of my enemies before being dispatched by those damnable cops.”

Many gun-control advocates have long dismissed the notion that guns can deter these killers.  In April, UCLA Professor Adam Winkler noted: “many shooters don’t really care whether it is a gun-free zone or not, they are just there to kill people and they expect to die in their event . . . so I don’t think that mass shooters are to be as responsive . . . as a careful calculating rational person might be.”

Indeed, Rodger did expect to die. His manifesto explained in detail how he was going to commit suicide after he had killed others.  But he was equally clear that it was important to him to kill as many people as possible before that.

To paraphrase a saying that I suspect many of us have heard over the years, mass shooters may be crazy (79% of the recent ones through 2013, anyway), but they aren’t stupid.

Most mass shooters and spree killers intent on ending up dead, but they intend to take out as many innocent people as possible before they are killed in a shootout, or commit suicide.

They seem to choose areas with a high concentration of people in a small area with low security, hoping to take out what one (Roger) felt was “enough” to justify the crime. We suspect—but thanks to his evidence destruction, we’ll never know for sure—that Adam Lanza chose Sandy Hook for a similar reason, as he was obsessed with mass killings and obtaining a “high score.”

What we do know is that citizens with concealed weapons or ready access to weapons have stopped 18 mass killings or attempted mass killings according to GunWatch.

We know that the research of  Purdue University’s Homeland Security Institute suggests that guns in schools saves lives.

Those mentally ill (insane, but not crazy) individuals that want to kill many in mass killings and spree killings continue to attack soft targets where the possibility of armed resistance is low.

This is not by accident, and we should harden soft targets accordingly, even if it pains citizen control cultists to hear once more that the best thing to stop a bad guy intent on mass homicide is a good guy with a gun.