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Home > Reviews > Rampage Nation

Rampage Nation

Author Louis Klarevas

ISBN No 978-1633880665

Review date 19/05/2019

No of pages 340

Publisher Prometheus Books

Publisher URL

Year of publication 05/10/2017


Our Review


£ 18.60

How did you react to the recent news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, writes Mark Rowe.

Did it shock, or leave you fatigued; despite the dozens dead and hundreds injured, you had heard it before, and will do again, from the United States? Just as the debate between reformers and the pro-gun lobby standing on their rights does not change. An insightful American book on this topic is Rampage Nation, by Louis Klarevas. It begins with the author telling how, on holiday on a Greek island, he witnessed a shooter; and (when the shooter returned to the village square hours later for a second go) helped to pacify him. That sets the tone for the book. Klarevas is blunt; ‘mass shootings are just as much a threat to the American public as are terrorist attacks’. The author, though an academic, isn’t just sounding off morally; he has been through it (and describes the experience, vividly).

For the US

You could argue that gun ownership is an issue only for the US, not Britain. In the US, their guardforces at universities for instance look like police and their police (thanks to second-hand kit from the Iraq War) look like an army. Imagine the London Bridge terror attack of June, if the terrorists had carried not knives but semi-automatic rifles. As the book came out last year, it does not cover the most recent shootings as in Orlando. Briefly, he argues that new laws, policies, to control guns would make a difference; as having guns tips the mentally unstable into going on killing sprees. As in his own Greek case, and Las Vegas and so many others, the rampages are not lunatic but lengthy and planned. Klarevas gets down to practicalities; his Greek gunman ‘only’ had a shotgun; if he’d had a higher-powered weapon, Klarevas and others probably would have been shot dead. Or as a chapter heading puts it, ‘Guns kill, some more than others’.

The US is the ‘rampage nation’, Americans are (as Klarevas was once) ‘sitting ducks’, thanks to what the author terms a ‘three-pronged calculus of unstable perpetrators, vulnerable targets, lethal weapons’. The problem, he argues is growing, and - where this book speaks most directly to private security people - emotionally disturbed people allowed to own guns are able to carry those weapons, in the case of Las Vegas into a hotel. Klarevas writes powerfully of the split-second decisions that victims take.