Stanford Professor: YouTube Shooter's Weapon of Choice Lessened Chance of Deaths

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the assailant of the YouTube office shootings on Tuesday used a semi automatic handgun during the spree. The shooting at the YouTube Headquarters in San Bruno, California left the perpetrator dead and three people injured. Compared to other recent mass shootings like the Parkland and Vegas shootings, the shooting in San Bruno was marked by an usually low fatality rate. Staff writer Evan Sernoffsky reported in a column for the Chronicle that the shooter, identified as Nasim Aghdam, choosing a 9mm Smith & Wesson semiautomatic was a factor in the low number of casualties.

Stanford professor John Donohue noted that the strict regulations on firearms in California was a major factor in the lack of death in San Bruno. “The fact that she only had a handgun" Donohue stated, "and it was apparently restrained to the legal limit in California is all to the good.” California laws restrict high capacity magazines that carry over ten rounds. Donohue believes this factor made a big difference in the scale of the San Bruno attack compared to other shootings where high-capacity magazines, along with assault-style weapons such as the AR-15, are commonplace. Based on the state's restrictions, Aghdam, who purchased her handgun legally, would have had only ten rounds to use before needing to reload.

The use of a handgun instead of an AR-15 was also deemed a large factor in the variance of casualties in San Bruno compared to elsewhere. A 9mm bullet like what would have been used by Aghdam does not have the same damage as the 5.56 rounds used in an AR-15. Donahue noted, "There’s no question if you get shot by a handgun anywhere other than the most vital regions, you’re better off than getting shot with an AR-15." The professor explained that the smaller a bullet's caliber, the higher the chance of survival provided the wound is not the head or heart.

The shooting is believed to have been motivated by Aghdam's frustration with YouTube where the perpetrator maintained four channels that she believed the website was withholding revenue from. The only fatality in the shooting was Nasim Aghdam herself who committed suicide at the end of her spree. Two of the victims, both women, were released Tuesday night from San Francisco General Hospital while the third victim, a male, remains in serious condition.



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