Following the devastating shooting yesterday in Parkland, Florida, we wanted to re-run Reed Richardson’s thoughtful deep dive into the history of the AR-15 (Prime access), the weapon that was allegedly used to kill 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and wound 14 more. Richardson details the gun’s origins in the early days of the Vietnam War, and traces its history as it becomes a favorite among American gun enthusiasts — and perpetrators of mass shootings. He writes:
The story of the AR-15 is a quintessentially American one. Which is to say it combines the classic elements of war, cheap salesmanship, second chances, bureaucratic incompetence, and a time-honored tradition of trying to squeeze every last dollar out of a deal. From such compromised origins grows a long, checkered history, one where this weapon has often exacted a lethal toll far beyond its makers’ expectations. It’s a deadly dichotomy that began in the jungles of Vietnam and continues to plague Americans here at home to this day.