Editor’s Notebook: “We Just Have to do Something!”

Feb 21, 2018
A group of law enforcement retirees on the range during qualification under the requirements of LEOSA. There are many of them -- and military retirees -- who could be willing to stand watches in America's schools. Has anyone asked them?

Since the latest criminal outrage, we’ve heard over and over about how something must be done: new laws, enhancing existing laws, creating new taxes, gun and magazine bans – the list goes on.

Those who are on defense point out the specifics of the present case – something no one wants to hear – even though those who grab onto incidents of criminal homicide as a means to restrict civil rights base their arguments on that present case.

A few points should be pondered.

To start with, the idiocy of "Nothing's been done" type statements -- around 20,000 new gun laws have been produced since the federal insanity of the 1968 Gun Control Act -- and you think more laws will prevent the lawless acts of a few?

Uh, no. Crime, according to an online dictionary, is “an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.”  An action deemed injurious goes to intention: that is, the Florida puke intended to do an act causing harm, to wit shoot people with a firearm.

Aside from the fact that murder is illegal, he did this in a federal “gun free school zone” (sic), which is contrary to the form of the statute and against the peace and dignity of the federal government. That is something that he’ll never be convicted of, likely never be charged with. It’s one of those many, many irrelevant statutes, laws that predictably are used to ensnare the forgetful more than to cage violent criminal actors.

We legislated against evil behaviors from the outset. Boy that sure showed them – or not.

Government can take your liberties but no one – not even government -- can make you safe. The death rate is 100%.

No one can stop mass murder – and, rare though it is, any increase is more due to militant Islamists and marginal idiots who seek to be the latest sensation on 24-hour news than it is the proliferation of rifles.

If it were just AR15s, one would expect this to be a daily occurrence. Thankfully, it isn’t – but if we keep letting the marginal types drive public policy (by this, I mean the murderers not the politicians . . . mostly), we’ll see this again and again.

So, the “solutions.”

School Security: yes, you can allow armed personnel in schools. I was tasked by our sheriff in 1998 to begin a program of School Resource Officers in our rural districts. Paid for by the districts, we selected and assigned one cop per district. I acquired slots in a training class from NASRO and sent the new SROs. I supervised them for 2 ½ years.

I think I have a grasp of the issue. Having one cop in a large high school makes that a problem of reach and “a cop on every corner” has never been a solution. Allowing other staff to be armed is a smart move, but it doesn’t prevent the incident – it only allows response and damage mitigation.

Raise age limit for gun purchases under Gun Control Act of 1968: Sure, as soon as you raise the recruitment age for military service at the same time. Let’s increase the age to vote, while we’re about it. And to procreate.

It wasn’t his age, people. He had lots of other issues. I shot smallbore competition in the basement of the high school across town from us, as did many others. I know youngsters I’d trust more with a firearm than some so-called ‘adults.’

Reporting the mentally ill to NICS: Done, if the government follows up. Even Lautenberg cases (domestic violence) weren’t reported by U.S. military assets (Air Force) to NICS. Still, it’s only those adjudicated or involuntarily committed – not just the “odd duck” -- and we’ve seen government try to add everyone diagnosed with PTSD, a clear overreach.

You’re still trusting government to do something and get it right; they don’t do micro answers and don’t use judgement. Government gives ‘one size fits all’ answers, this is the reason government is nearly always wrong.

Let’s go back to the Clinton Gun Ban: I know, the cool kids call it “assault weapon” (sic) ban, but the reality is that it was the Clinton Gun Ban. Let’s keep perspective.

There are states that have similar gun and magazine bans and they’re real garden spots in terms of crime and livability. The ban had no effect on the rate of violent crimes – a very small number of which are committed using rifles today, while opioids and traffic collisions cause huge numbers. Medical misadventure causes even more.

Gun bans and other infringements lack relevance. Columbine happened during the Clinton Gun ban.

A meme was sent around showing “how many died” from shootings since 1968. Funny the meme creator would pick that year, the year of the first significant federal infringement on the 2nd Amendment since 1934 – the Gun Control Act.

Before that, you ordered your gun from the Montgomery Ward or Sears catalogs, they mailed the gun to your house. No federally licensed dealers, no government forms, no ATF. No NICS – oh, the humanity. How did we survive those dark ages?

Enforce existing laws: A novel approach, especially in the present case, where there were over thirty law enforcement calls for service about the subject on “domestic disturbance” and “mental illness” grounds. I don’t know if he’d ever had the involuntary commitment for evaluation, had faced adjudication, or if he was convicted of domestic violence, making him a prohibited possessor under Lautenberg.

In any event, he was worth watching. This was dialed up when FBI was contacted at least twice and the idiot posted school shooting rants on the internet.

This was no “lone wolf;” like other violent criminal offenders, he was clearly a “known wolf.” Just couldn’t get anyone to address it.

Screaming at bureaucrats is largely a fruitless endeavor. Not sure why FBI fumbled, why local law didn't find it appropriate to take action -- but what can we do to fix that?

Since the Florida case, some young idiot acting out on the internet about shooting up a school got nabbed by local law not waiting on someone else to handle it. Good on them.

Meanwhile, an acquaintance rejects meeting prohibitionists halfway. "They have put thousands of gun laws on the books to make themselves feel better and limit us, always on the path to eradication. But it's never enough, and never will be enough. They have no interest in the truth or changing their ignorance, only their precious feelings and getting their way."

He’s right. We watch it again and again. When their many laws don’t work -- because people ignore them, the authorities plea-bargain them away or just because criminals do crime because that's what criminals do, we'll impotently and stupidly call for more infringements.

If I sound argumentative, it’s because I am. I've been fighting this battle since 1968 -- I was in high school then -- and from my first ballot in 1972. I have a bit of experience in all this. It was my voice -- and voices like mine -- that prevented further erosions of civil rights in the aftermath of calamities like this most recent one. We can demand more laws -- the insanity of "legislative productivity" -- but in the final analysis, if they're not serious about the laws they already have, I'm powerless to make them do their jobs.

- - Rich Grassi