I have waited until now to comment on the tragedy in Connecticut for several reasons. First, I wanted some facts to come out. The “facts” that came out Friday and Saturday were all wrong. With the 24 hour news cycle, and the up-to-the-second breathless news reporting the media feels they have to provide makes sure of that.
Second, I wanted to see who would stoop to the knee-jerk reaction of “let’s ban the guns,” a modified Godwin’s Law.
What happened is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. Make no mistake about that. It should never have happened. It should have been stopped long before the first bullet was fired. But, how do we do that?
Take a step back with me and look at this objectively. A young man, who as of this moment has some sort of a mental illness. Was he adequately treated for his illness? Was he monitored by professionals? That information may or may not come out in the future. We may never know.
It is a fact that someone like this does not wake up one day and go on such a rampage. There was a long train of events that preceded this and it was a sequential progression. There was a reason and purpose behind his actions. I promise you, no matter how hard you try, you will never fully “make sense” of his reasons. Unless you have personally experienced a mental illness, you will never comprehend it. I can try to explain, but it will still not make sense. In my dark past, I used to have “psychotic breaks” where I would lose at least some touch with reality. That’s what the shrinks say. Experiencing it, the best way I can describe is was that everything came into perfect clarity. You could see connections between things that no one else saw. Everything made perfect sense. And you knew you had to act on it. That’s what I remember from my psychotic breaks.
And he acted on it. With the tools he had on hand. And tragedy ensued.
Before you get all uptight about him using using firearms, There are two instances that I can recall where a man with mental health problems attacked a class of Kindergarteners… with a knife. One was in Japan, where there are virtually no private firearms. So, you use the tools that you have on hand. Banning guns only leads to knife and other hand weapons being used.
Next, the mental health system is currently focused on solving any immediate crisis, rather than the prevention and maintenance that would forestall the crisis situations. But maintenance and control of symptoms, and the effort to control and move beyond the effects of the illness loses out every time to the urgency of the crisis situations.
The adage of unintended consequences is also contributes to situations like this. All these mass shootings have one common denominator: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Nickel Mines, PA., and so on. They are all “gun free zones.” Large groups of people, who have been intentionally disarmed, all in the name of “safety.” Perfect targets, because they can’t fight back.
And in just about all of the mass shootings I can think of, the shooter generally took their own lives, once armed opposition appeared on scene.
So, what are the solutions? More guns, less guns, lock up the mentally ill, or something else?
I think the most important factor is mental health services. If a person exhibits mental health symptoms, treating that before it becomes a crisis might stop at least some of these before they get to the point of violence. The shooter of Gabbie Giffords had a long history of uncontrolled mental illness, and his family begged time and again to get help for him. It never came until he ended in prison.
Abolishment of the “gun free zone” would be of great help. Eliminate the killing fields. Enable law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. The police can’t be everywhere, nor do they have an obligation to protect the citizenry. Don’t believe me? Check out South v Maryland (US Supreme Court, 1856) and go from there.
And before you start talking about the abolishment of the Second Amendment, the RKBA is not about hunting. It’s about the citizenry having the ability to overthrow an oppressive government. Citizens are armed. Subjects are disarmed.
The bottom line: You can’t prevent everything. There is only so much you can do to thwart evil people. You can only be prepared to adequately deal with such a situation when it does happen.