Can you commit a mass shooting without a firearm? Well, I guess that depends on how you define “shooting.” Since you can shoot a bow and arrow, I’d say that sure, it’s certainly possible.
Up until recently, though, some would argue that you still couldn’t commit a mass shooting with archery equipment because it’s just too slow. These are people who think evil folks would need a semi-automatic firearm to do something like that.
Today, they’re probably thinking something very different.
A man armed with a bow and arrow killed five people and wounded two others in a series of attacks in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg on Wednesday, local police said.
The suspect was in custody, police added.
“The man used a bow and arrow … for some of the attacks,” police chief Oeyvind Aas told reporters. The police were investigating whether other weapons had also been used, he said.
“The man has been apprehended … from the information we now have, this person carried out these actions alone,” Aas added.
One of the wounded people was an off-duty police officer.
Newspaper VG showed images of an arrow that appeared to be stuck in the wall of a wood-paneled building
Five people are dead, and with one of the most ancient weapons known to man.
This is both awful and oddly fascinating, mostly because it’s rather bizarre in this day and age. Yet the old bow and arrow is a simple weapon that can be made with very basic tools. I’ve got a friend who actually makes bows with shards of flint, just to replicate how the Native Americans did it.
I don’t think you’re going to be able to stop people from having archery equipment, though at least one place wants to try.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a bow and arrow used, at least in part, for a crime like this, either. In 2019, an attack in Brazil took place where the attacker used both a revolver and archery equipment.
In Norway, authorities aren’t worried about what happened in Brazil two years ago. They’re worried about this, and they’re obviously looking at why the suspect would do such a thing.
A Danish man suspected of a bow-and-arrow attack on a small Norwegian town that killed five people and wounded two others is a Muslim convert who had previously been flagged as having being radicalized, police said Thursday.
The man is suspected of having shot at people in a number of locations in the town of Kongsberg on Wednesday evening. Several of the victims were in a supermarket, police said.
“There earlier had been worries of the man having been radicalized,” Police Chief Ole B. Saeverud told a news conference. He added that there were “complicated assessments related to the motive, and it will take time before this is clarified.” He didn’t elaborate on what was meant by being radicalized.
Officials believe that the man didn’t start killing people until police arrived on the scene.
“From what we know now, it is reasonably clear that some, probably everyone, was killed after the police were in contact with the perpetrator,” Saeverud said.
Speaking calmly and clearly after his arrest, the suspect told police, “I did this,” said Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen, the police attorney who is leading the investigation.
“He talked calmly and clearly described what he had done. He admitted killing the five people,” she told The Associated Press
If this was radical Islam at work, it stands to reason he would want not ambiguity about who did the killing. Terrorism doesn’t really work as intended if no one knows who is responsible.
Of course, terrorism has a long and storied history of not actually working, but still…
Regardless, this is one of those things that illustrates just how complex this kind of problem actually is. Norway has extensive gun laws. Firearms are heavily restricted there. Yet five people are dead in a mass murder that didn’t require a single firearm. How are you going to keep people from getting a weapon they can make on their own with rocks?
The simply answer is, you won’t.
If only the anti-Second Amendment types here in the United States would get this lesson and recognize that maybe the issue is in stopping the people, not a tool being used. Focus there and you might actually do some good.
Otherwise, you can make every gun disappear, but someone will just kill a pile of people with a bow and arrow.