The NY Times over the weekend, ran this ominous article, detailing how fourteen mass shooters were able to get the weapons they used to commit their crimes.
The piece shows photos of the weapons used, a brief description of what happened and a timeline of events. The lead paragraph is somewhat misleading:
Criminal histories and documented mental health problems did not prevent at least eight of the gunmen in 14 recent mass shootings from obtaining their weapons, after federal background checks led to approval of the purchases of the guns used.
Of the 14, two involved people with “criminal histories.” Jaylen Fryberg used his father Raymond’s gun to kill 4 classmates at his high school in Washington. Raymond Fryberg had a permanent domestic violence order of protection against him and it should have disqualified him from legally purchasing a firearm, yet the order was never entered into the system.
In the case of Dylann Roof, he should have been barred because he admitted using drugs, but the FBI examiner who did his background check did not get the police report.
With respect to mental health, none of the people with problems were adjudicated by a court to fit the standard of somebody who should be denied a firearm.
What’s important to keep in mind in these tragic scenarios are the following:
- None of the ideas espoused by President Obama would have prevented any of these crimes. Even the new laws passed by Connecticut would not have prevented Adam Lanza from engaging in his awful crime.
- The President and his defenders behave as though they have a the magic solution or elixir that will cure all of these ills and the only thing stopping them from doing it is a GOP led Congress that “does not care” and an all powerful gun lobby, specifically the NRA, who prevents such “common sense” gun laws from being passed.
Charles W. Cooke of NRO had it right when he said everybody says we need to “do something” but they never say what it is. He said the very least people can do is tell us what their ideas are and only then, can there be a proper debate. It doesn’t mean people are going to agree on solutions. But at the very least, there is some engagement on an intellectual level.
President Obama took to the airwaves to angrily denounce that “nothing had been done” before we knew who the shooter was, what his motivation was and how he obtained his weapons. He allowed his knee to jerk and called upon supporters to “politicize” the issue before there were any facts available to the public. Once the dust settled, it became clear nothing Obama wants would have had any effect. That’s typically been the case.
As for all the “blame” that is often assigned to the NRA, my friend Laura made a good point the other day. She said, “You know who has never carried out a mass shooting? A member of the NRA.”