Did taxpayers finance the Aurora massacre?

Michael Harlin
Just how did the Aurora Monster get the money to buy his weapons, all the ammunition and accessories in just the last few months?

I'm a hunter.  I don't own any semiautomatic weapons, mainly because game wardens seriously frown on them.  An exception is a semiautomatic shotgun, so long as it can be proved it will only hold three shotgun shells.  Also, semiautomatic weapons take more time to clean than standard hunting weapons such as revolvers, pump shotguns, bolt action or lever action weapons.  I've shot semiautomatic weapons owned by friends.  They are interestingly fun as are grandchildren:  You can play with them and then turn them back to their parents for the high maintenance when they go home.

This last weekend, the Drudge Report had headlines that the Aurora Monster was receiving unemployment benefits and had a lab technician job.

Now in my State, unemployment benefits at the maximum are $450 per week or $1950 per month annualized.  Lab tech pay is not mentioned. He had to pay apartment rent, his car expenses, internet and certainly for food.  That could easily be $1,950 per month.  So, where did the Aurora Monster get the money for his weapons?  How much do these things cost anyway?

I went online for average prices based on the reports of the weapons and quantity of ammunition he had.  An AR-15 rifle ranges from $1,100 to $1,200.  Glock pistols in .40 caliber are about $500 each and he had two.  A Remington 870 tactical shogun in 12 gauge is about $650.  In weapons alone, the Aurora Monster paid around $3,000 for these weapons. [I'm assuming a slightly higher retail price as it was reported that he purchased the weapons from local Colorado gun stores.]

It was reported that he purchased ammunition online of 6,000 cartridges: 3,000 rounds of .233 for the AR-15 and Glock ammo in .40 caliber of 3,000 rounds as well.  He also purchased 300 of 12 gauge shotgun rounds.  In pricing the calibers at the lowest price I could find online, he spent over $2,000 in ammunition without the costs of shipping.  Remember, a box of ammunition weighs a lot more to ship than your average box of chocolates.  So now he's up to $5,000 or so in round numbers.  How did he afford this on his either unemployment benefits or lab tech wages?

The accessories are expensive too.  The helmet, bullet proof vest, leg, neck and groin guards, gas mask, weapon magazines and SWAT suit it was said he wore, price out from online sources at or about another $1,000, again using the lowest prices.  So now he's up to $6,000.

What about the cost of the chemicals, grenades and other paraphernalia found in his apartment on Saturday?  I have no idea of these costs as the police are still investigating.  But it is conceivable that overall his total cost could be about $7,000 to $7,500.  And all spent, according to the Aurora police so far, in the last two months or so. 

Even assuming the Aurora Monster's unemployment benefits or lab tech wages were approximately the same as in my state, he couldn't have had enough money to pay for these weapons, ammunition and other accessories in such a short time and cover his living expenses as well.

Enter the Associated Press and the New York Times with another clue.  Over the weekend, both reported that the Aurora Monster received a federal grant from the NIH [National Institutes of Health].  But neither told us how much money he received from the federal grant.  We know now.  It was reported on Tuesday that the Aurora Monster received $26,000 in stipends from.....our federal government! 

These revelations raise another question: where are the checks and balances on federal money granted to individuals?

Any business, whether a corporation or a small sole proprietorship, will reimburse an employee for business expenses incurred by the employee on behalf of that business.  And what does the accounting department want?  A receipt!  And the accounting department can be very surly if receipts are not produced, such as by not cutting a check to the employee for these "expenses."  Does our government not do the same?  Why not?  I would think that a receipt for 3,000 rounds of .233 ammunition or 3,000 rounds of .40 caliber handgun ammunition bought online might have caused someone to question the expenditure.  Perhaps alert management or the individual's faculty adviser in the graduate program?

It might be unfair to criticize Mr. Obama for the lack of controls on federal spending as in "getting ahead of the story." Then again, maybe not, if one reflects on Solyndra and other green energy companies filing bankruptcy after receiving federally guaranteed loans.  The President said just last week in a campaign speech that "the buck" stops with him.  Supposedly, it no longer just passes through 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  But it still does nonetheless.

So as it is often asked, "how is that 'hope and change' working out for you?"  Not so well in Aurora Colorado.  May God bless all of the souls, victims and their families.

Michael Harlin, a simple commoner and Attorney at Law.

Thomas Lifson adds: I once received a federal grant (A National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship) for summer graduate study at Stanford, and was quite surprised to receive the entire living stipend in a single check at the start of the term. One of my fellow students took off for Reno and lost his entire stipend. This was over 40 years ago. One wonders if financial controls have been improved in the interim.

Jay Radkte writes to us:

Having a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology I am quite aware on how graduate programs in the Bio-Medical sciences operate. While it has been a while since I was involved directly via NIH support in the program I can explain how they operate.

I would appreciate if you could post the following on AT.

It is more than likely the NIH grant that the shooter had was not awarded directly to him but was
awarded to either the University or department for graduate education. His "job" as a lab tech was
connected to his graduate education was what the stipend was awarded for. In most cases at public
universities the graduate students are responsible for their own tuition for graduate school. The NIH
factors that tuition into the total stipend amount awarded. So more than likely that $26,000 was
to cover both tuition and also living expenses from this work as a lab tech. I know from personal
experience though it was 14 years ago, after taxes and tuition your stipend doesn't cover much. If I
recall I was living off of roughly $950 a month. That had to cover: rent, car insurance, car payment and
food. So it doesn't go far. Now it's quite possible that he racked up credit card debit to buy all the guns
and ammo. But to come out and say that he was using Federal Grant money is a claim that until proven
is quite baseless. The last thing that needs to happen is that graduate students in the bio-medical
sciences lose any more funding. While in these programs you have no time to be working outside of the
lab. Most students spend 8+ hours a day and time on the weekends in the lab working on their thesis
research. When you figure that all of them have a 4 year degree the amount of money that they are
receiving is far less than they should be earning. This is one of the major reasons why many Americans
do not pursue graduate degrees in the biomedical sciences. Financially it doesn't pay off. You spend 4-5
years post BS earning small wage, just above the poverty line. Then you need to spend another 3-4 years
doing a post-doc that might double or triple your wage. Yet a public school teacher in Chicago graduated
with you when you got your BS is make a lot more money. How exactly he was able to file for unemployment after leaving the program is unclear. Though we are all aware about how rampant fraud is in the unemployment world these days.

Just how did the Aurora Monster get the money to buy his weapons, all the ammunition and accessories in just the last few months?

I'm a hunter.  I don't own any semiautomatic weapons, mainly because game wardens seriously frown on them.  An exception is a semiautomatic shotgun, so long as it can be proved it will only hold three shotgun shells.  Also, semiautomatic weapons take more time to clean than standard hunting weapons such as revolvers, pump shotguns, bolt action or lever action weapons.  I've shot semiautomatic weapons owned by friends.  They are interestingly fun as are grandchildren:  You can play with them and then turn them back to their parents for the high maintenance when they go home.

This last weekend, the Drudge Report had headlines that the Aurora Monster was receiving unemployment benefits and had a lab technician job.

Now in my State, unemployment benefits at the maximum are $450 per week or $1950 per month annualized.  Lab tech pay is not mentioned. He had to pay apartment rent, his car expenses, internet and certainly for food.  That could easily be $1,950 per month.  So, where did the Aurora Monster get the money for his weapons?  How much do these things cost anyway?

I went online for average prices based on the reports of the weapons and quantity of ammunition he had.  An AR-15 rifle ranges from $1,100 to $1,200.  Glock pistols in .40 caliber are about $500 each and he had two.  A Remington 870 tactical shogun in 12 gauge is about $650.  In weapons alone, the Aurora Monster paid around $3,000 for these weapons. [I'm assuming a slightly higher retail price as it was reported that he purchased the weapons from local Colorado gun stores.]

It was reported that he purchased ammunition online of 6,000 cartridges: 3,000 rounds of .233 for the AR-15 and Glock ammo in .40 caliber of 3,000 rounds as well.  He also purchased 300 of 12 gauge shotgun rounds.  In pricing the calibers at the lowest price I could find online, he spent over $2,000 in ammunition without the costs of shipping.  Remember, a box of ammunition weighs a lot more to ship than your average box of chocolates.  So now he's up to $5,000 or so in round numbers.  How did he afford this on his either unemployment benefits or lab tech wages?

The accessories are expensive too.  The helmet, bullet proof vest, leg, neck and groin guards, gas mask, weapon magazines and SWAT suit it was said he wore, price out from online sources at or about another $1,000, again using the lowest prices.  So now he's up to $6,000.

What about the cost of the chemicals, grenades and other paraphernalia found in his apartment on Saturday?  I have no idea of these costs as the police are still investigating.  But it is conceivable that overall his total cost could be about $7,000 to $7,500.  And all spent, according to the Aurora police so far, in the last two months or so. 

Even assuming the Aurora Monster's unemployment benefits or lab tech wages were approximately the same as in my state, he couldn't have had enough money to pay for these weapons, ammunition and other accessories in such a short time and cover his living expenses as well.

Enter the Associated Press and the New York Times with another clue.  Over the weekend, both reported that the Aurora Monster received a federal grant from the NIH [National Institutes of Health].  But neither told us how much money he received from the federal grant.  We know now.  It was reported on Tuesday that the Aurora Monster received $26,000 in stipends from.....our federal government! 

These revelations raise another question: where are the checks and balances on federal money granted to individuals?

Any business, whether a corporation or a small sole proprietorship, will reimburse an employee for business expenses incurred by the employee on behalf of that business.  And what does the accounting department want?  A receipt!  And the accounting department can be very surly if receipts are not produced, such as by not cutting a check to the employee for these "expenses."  Does our government not do the same?  Why not?  I would think that a receipt for 3,000 rounds of .233 ammunition or 3,000 rounds of .40 caliber handgun ammunition bought online might have caused someone to question the expenditure.  Perhaps alert management or the individual's faculty adviser in the graduate program?

It might be unfair to criticize Mr. Obama for the lack of controls on federal spending as in "getting ahead of the story." Then again, maybe not, if one reflects on Solyndra and other green energy companies filing bankruptcy after receiving federally guaranteed loans.  The President said just last week in a campaign speech that "the buck" stops with him.  Supposedly, it no longer just passes through 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  But it still does nonetheless.

So as it is often asked, "how is that 'hope and change' working out for you?"  Not so well in Aurora Colorado.  May God bless all of the souls, victims and their families.

Michael Harlin, a simple commoner and Attorney at Law.

Thomas Lifson adds: I once received a federal grant (A National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship) for summer graduate study at Stanford, and was quite surprised to receive the entire living stipend in a single check at the start of the term. One of my fellow students took off for Reno and lost his entire stipend. This was over 40 years ago. One wonders if financial controls have been improved in the interim.

Jay Radkte writes to us:

Having a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology I am quite aware on how graduate programs in the Bio-Medical sciences operate. While it has been a while since I was involved directly via NIH support in the program I can explain how they operate.

I would appreciate if you could post the following on AT.

It is more than likely the NIH grant that the shooter had was not awarded directly to him but was
awarded to either the University or department for graduate education. His "job" as a lab tech was
connected to his graduate education was what the stipend was awarded for. In most cases at public
universities the graduate students are responsible for their own tuition for graduate school. The NIH
factors that tuition into the total stipend amount awarded. So more than likely that $26,000 was
to cover both tuition and also living expenses from this work as a lab tech. I know from personal
experience though it was 14 years ago, after taxes and tuition your stipend doesn't cover much. If I
recall I was living off of roughly $950 a month. That had to cover: rent, car insurance, car payment and
food. So it doesn't go far. Now it's quite possible that he racked up credit card debit to buy all the guns
and ammo. But to come out and say that he was using Federal Grant money is a claim that until proven
is quite baseless. The last thing that needs to happen is that graduate students in the bio-medical
sciences lose any more funding. While in these programs you have no time to be working outside of the
lab. Most students spend 8+ hours a day and time on the weekends in the lab working on their thesis
research. When you figure that all of them have a 4 year degree the amount of money that they are
receiving is far less than they should be earning. This is one of the major reasons why many Americans
do not pursue graduate degrees in the biomedical sciences. Financially it doesn't pay off. You spend 4-5
years post BS earning small wage, just above the poverty line. Then you need to spend another 3-4 years
doing a post-doc that might double or triple your wage. Yet a public school teacher in Chicago graduated
with you when you got your BS is make a lot more money. How exactly he was able to file for unemployment after leaving the program is unclear. Though we are all aware about how rampant fraud is in the unemployment world these days.