This time it was an aerobics class, a room with up to 40 women in it. Three are dead, as is the gunman, and more are wounded, so the death toll may rise. The site and choice of targets are suggestive, but it is far too soon to speculate meaningfully about the man's motive, except that he had an obvious compulsion to take out as many women as he could before the time came, apparently, to end his own life. Yet another brave American lived out his fatal fantasy of gunplay, and yet more will contribute their usual asinine post-mortems to the effect that someone armed could have defended herself and the other women. I'm sure, though, that on some level the gunman thought he was acting in self-defense, too -- maybe even when he shot himself.
Our free states were certainly more secure by virtue of this guy having a gun, weren't they?
Update: the killer has been identified as the alleged author of a web diary that reveals nine months of contemplation and planning for the attack, including a visit to the fitness center earlier this year that ended when he "chickened out." The diary seems to expose the shooter as an extreme social misfit who blamed women in general for his inability to connect with any of them. Guns presumably gave him the power to punish women for denying him his due. It occurs to me that that a presumed right to punish may be inextricably linked with the right to self-defense most gun enthusiasts claim, that it might not suffice for many of them simply to escape an attacker unless they can also punish the enemy for the affront on one's personal space. This may just be another way of saying that the gun owner provisionally appoints himself judge, jury and executioner under the self-designated emergency conditions of self-defense. What worries people about widespread gun ownership is the constant threat that someone will decide for reasons of his own that others have wronged him and have to be punished. Guns themselves can never be purely defensive instruments, so self-defense may not justify gun ownership as obviously as gun owners claim. Incidents like last night's amoklauf are the opposite side of the same coin.