Sunday, January 9, 2011



After much internal debate over my post, and taking it down and putting it back up several times during the day today, I remain convinced that some sort of reporting system for mentally ill folks is drastically necessary to ensure prohibiting "known" mental patients from a gun purchase.

There would be, of course, an appeal process whereby at no cost to the applicant, the alleged mental patient could appeal his or her "NO BUY"
status as to firearms and ammunition. There would have to be some sort of mental exam process designed to vet out the faulty listings. Having worked with mental patients in various criminal justice areas for over three decades now, many of the petitioners would likely fail upon submission of their written request for review, based on the pervasiveness of their mental illness and their inability to control same.

One commentor, Bob S., took great issue with the diminuation of constitutional rights as I suggest. And I'll say, to a point, he's right. But I disagree when he says, and I'm paraphrasing here, that incidents like the attempted assassination of this Congresswoman are a cost of freedom.

I can't agree with that one.

As a gun owner, I urge others to revisit their position on this matter. The problem is, there is no reporting system for getting mental patients into the gun screening system unless that person has convictions, unadjudicated cases like deferred adjudications or was found guilty by reason of insanity. Otherwise, hundreds of thousands of mental cases are flying under the radar and the only protection we have against them buying guns is their self-report on the BATF form you fill out when you buy a gun.

Either gun owners step to the forefront of this movement or very soon, I predict, we'll have another anti-assault weapon law on the books.

The world is a very different place than it was when our founders (all white males, by the way) created this country and the documents we base our government and indeed, our freedoms on. I'm a white male too, but I realize that the constitution had to change for the very important social changes regarding non-whites and womwn over the years. That's why the Constitution is a "living" document.

Back then, every sidearm was a single shot weapon, and even for an extremely skilled reloader, it took a while to get those subsequent shots off after the first one.

Here, I don't see how anyone could argue that if this killer had been limited to 5 or 6 shots in a revolver or 10 in a semi-auto that the death/injury toll would have been less. Common sense will tell you that. Of course, he could have walked in with a body bomb, and taken out the whole building. I guess that's why bomb components are hard to get.

And that's my point. If we as law abiding gun owners want to lose the right to defend ourselves with so called assault weapons, we better be at the forefront of recognizing that there is a problem and us having the solutions. Otherwise, the anti-gun folks are gonna solve it for us, and I have a feeling that solution will be an absolute ban on these weapons, perhaps far more pervasive than the Clinton Ban from the 1990's.

Comment is closed on this topic. I think Bob S. expressed his viewpoints and undoubtedly those of many others quite well, and since I argue for a living, I choose not to do it on this thread.

The frenzy to lay blame began as soon as the news of this terrible tragedy hit the airwaves. The Sheriff of Pima County blamed the incident on the vitriolic nature of U.S. Politics, particularly the last two years.

WRONG, Sheriff.

Some laid blame on Sarah Palin, who according to some media accounts had some sort of language in her campaign literature "targeting" Congresswoman Gifford for political defeat, with rumors of some kind of picture that had the Congresswoman's picture on it with a crosshair of a scope superimposed.


Some will blame the Glock Model 19, and the extended magazine(s) that the shooter had, according to media accounts. Yes, it is true, a knife or sword would likely have inflicted far less damage, had the killer not had access to a Glock, but at the same time, had the killer just driven a car through crowd or building, he could have accomplished his same purpose. I won't make any other suggestions about how the killer could have accomplished his purpose without a gun, but we all know there are many ways this horror could have happened without a gun.


Some will blame his family for not keeping him under control. There hasn't been much media frenzy information come forth about his family, but from what has come out today about him being ejected from a "career-student" path at his local junior college this past October was some kind of harbinger of doom for the future. Likely, his family did everything they could to get him mental health help. And we all know that whether the family sought help from private insurance of the parents or from the government, there are woeful few resources available for middle and lower class folks who have mentally ill family members.

Those of us who have been in law enforcement, or the practice of law or medicine, or the many related occupations like nurse, social worker and so on, already know that many of those who do get some relief from their mental disease via medications, well, the patients don't like the meds. For many reasons. Many of the meds have serious side effects. Many meds work sporadically, as such is the nature of mental illness and meds today. Sometimes, the patient begins feeling better and stops taking their meds for whatever reason, and then relapses. The general term for this behavior is that the patient is in "non-compliance {with meds}".

Injections of these meds only work so long, and of course, when someone has delusions and active psychotic thoughts going on, it's not likely they'll remember to take their meds every 8, 12 or 24 hours. Unless there is a caretaker in the home who actively pursues keeping the patient in compliance, chances are folks like this lapse into non-compliance. And besides, many times with serious mental disorders, the type of which that would lead a person to kill for the reasons ascribed to this madman, well, many times even when taken as directed, it doesn't have the desired result.


They'll blame his marijuana smoking as well, when any street cop will tell you that potheads usually are the least violent of drug using offenders. If anything, it keeps the "lid on their id" and reduces the likelihood violence will occur. Yeah, the pothead might shoplift some munchies from the corner store but not likely to hijack the store with a gun. That's for the crackheads, the xanax heads, the meth heads and the alki's, whose drugs of choice make them more aggressive.

Perhaps access to the California variety of prescription pot, the really potent kind you hear about in the news that just basically renders the user a couch potato, might have kept this guy at home, on the couch, making youtube videos instead of buying a gun.

Yeah, there will be those on the right and far right that blame the pot smoking.


The Brady bunch and the Clinton folks who supported taking or took many of our second amendment rights away during the 90's will be once again hollering from the tallest tree about assault weapons and high capacity pistols and magazines.

The news reports say he legally bought the weapon last fall, sometime around when he was having his issues with expulsion from the junior college he attended for 5 years. Interestingly, there's no report in the media of him having ever worked a job, so I'd be curious where he got the cash to get a Glock, some ammo and extended magazines.

But the liberal left will blame the Glock and the extended magazines for this horror.


So who is at fault? Well, we are. All of us. We don't have a mental health system in this country that reports individuals like this to some sort of clearinghouse, to be interfaced with the ATF and FBI and whoever else controls the sale of firearms in various states. Had the Junior College Police Department in this case had some place where his name as a prospective mental patient could have been reported, with no liability to them for doing so, then perhaps he could have been prohibited from buying this pistol new from a lawful dealer.

It's a constitutional infringement to be sure, but there could be a remedy to "clear one's name" from this clearinghouse via the courts. Obviously, this process would be rife for abuse for reporting otherwise sane folks as insane to cause them troubles, but such as in this case, apparent plentiful information existed to keep this guy on a list from buying guns.

It's not a solution but a start. What we really need are, hand in hand with community medical treatment centers to take the stress off of ER rooms, is substantial in-patient and out-patient government mental health treatment facilities. Living facilities. We've got scores of mental patients out there in the homeless ranks, and very few are like this killer, meaning violent and homicidal. Most of the mental patients out there are victims.

But until we take mental health care seriously in this nation, there will always be a dispossessed loner like this who "slips through the cracks" to one day emerge as an assassin, when if some kind of community based mental health care system existed, with the ability for law enforcement to report folks with serious delusions to track folks like this.

Again, prayers to the victims of this horrible attack and their families and friends. The hearts of a nation are with you.


  1. I have always wondered if we are not partly to blame by the type of notoriety we give these losers. Their full names are used, almost reverently, with their respective media designation of "Oklahoma City Bomber" or "Fort Hood Shooter." Call them what they really are, murderous lowlife losers!

    Now we have this loser's full name plastered worldwide followed by "assassin" or "shooter." He is now the latest celebrity, a "Billy the Kid."

    In six months, everyone on the street will remember this loser's name but nobody will remember the name of the murdered nine year old girl.

  2. We don't have a mental health system in this country that reports individuals like this to some sort of clearinghouse, to be interfaced with the ATF and FBI and whoever else controls the sale of firearms in various states

    So you are basically saying you want the FBI or the ATF to decide who is mentally ill enough and then remove their constitutionally protected rights, is right?

    No due process, no actual wrong doing, no commitment to a mental health facility -- just people not liking someone?

    Ripe for abuse is the understatement of the year.

    Oh, wait that goes to your statement "It's a constitutional infringement to be sure, but there could be a remedy to "clear one's name" from this clearinghouse via the courts.

    You are saying that Junior College Law Enforcement -- no matter how well trained or not -- have sufficient experience and knowledge to deprive people of their rights.

    I hope you are acting out of the best motives but that still scares me.

    Who gets to decide who goes on the list? You? Me?

    What is the criteria? Delusions? If a person is suffering from delusions enough to alarm you, shouldn't they be committed immediately to a facility?

    How about 'alternative life styles' - surely those people are crazy right? Look at polygamy, marriage is hard enough but anyone willing to take on 2 spouses has to be nuts, eh?

    I think we need to do something about the mentally ill -- but letting the FBI or the ATF decide who gets to exercise their rights isn't it.

  3. I am saying, Bob, that there is no reporting system, that I know of, in this country for allegedly mentally ill persons who have been either detained or made threats against someone else. The police, be they junior college or local or state or feds, as well as mental health practitioners and hospitals, would be the reportees.

    Not a disgruntled neighbor or friend.

    Yes, it would be rife for abuse. But the alternative is more of these murders or back to the Clinton Gun Ban (or worse, remember, we have Judge Kagen on the Supremes now, and she was a lawyer for Clinton who helped design the Clinton Gun Ban legislation).

    BTW, in Texas, you must be deemed to be a danger to yourself or others to warrant a 72 hr mental health commitment, and it can be renewed for 72 hours upon examination and affidavit by 2 psychiatrists. Usually, whatever meds they are giving those committed kick in after 3 or 4 days, and they are discharged. Cured, so to speak.

    And no, Bob, I have nothing against alternative lifestyle folks. But as much as a strong 2nd Amendment supporter as I am, I'm a realist. Either the NRA and our lobby does something to help prevent KNOWN mental patients from getting weapons, or the government is gonna do something. I think it's as simple as that.

    This is all notwithstanding the fact that our government needs to create facilities for mentally ill folks to work. And if I had my way, they'd be living in group homes worked by all of the government welfare recepients.

  4. FM,

    I get what you are saying but I don't get the need for a 'reporting system'

    Exactly what would be reported "Citizen X alarmed us with his views on Climate Change"

    Or "Lady Y was ranting about the squirrels who keep stealing her lingerie from the clothes line".

    What would be done with the resulting database?

    3 Strikes and you are out?

    If someone makes a threat, that is a criminal matter, right?
    What difference does it make about their mental status...either it is a crime or it isn't.

    Either someone is safe to be on the streets or they aren't.

    I think one of the greatest injustices to society and the mentally ill was pushing them out of long term care facilities.

    But building another database isn't the answer.

    And as for as the alternative being more of these murders -- that is always going to be a probability.

    Liberty is dangerous. People have free will. The criminal in this case and most cases knew and understood right from wrong - they chose to act anyways.

  5. I get you too, Bob. Yes, it's onerous and a deprivation of constitutional rights. I don't know where you live, but in Texas, to be committed, you have to be a danger to yourself or others, an immediate danger. Delusions or saying I feel like hurting myself or others is not enough w/o immediate danger. And then, as I said, it's 72 hours and usually they are out.

    As a police officer way back when, I was frustrated when violent and delusional folks who were committed were back out on the street before I got back from my days off.

    My plan is not without problems, and frankly, likely no one will consider it. Nonetheless, I fear the rights will be taken from all instead of a few unless some pro-2nd amendment folks take an active part in working towards some sort of way to prevent access to firearms and ammo by known mental patients.

    Right now, we base our system of keeping mental patients from buying guns on the self report of the mental patients. Surely you agree that's not working...

  6. I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one, Bob.

  7. FM,

    I have no problem agreeing to disagreeing but I'm wondering if you see the horror of your proposed system the same as most people will.

    You've been an LEO; so I'm sure you have a favorable opinion of them. I've known several and I'll completely agree that most of them are good honest folks trying to do their job and help society.

    I'll even grant your proposal has good intentions.

    But the slippery slope argument and the potential for abuse far outweighs the benefits in my opinion.

    It saddens me to see Pro-2nd Amendment folks willing to give up our other rights in response to a person's decision to commit wrong.

    I don't know why my other comment wasn't approved but it's your blog but isn't that what we are talking about here?

    He was rational enough to plan the attack.
    He was rational enough to purchase products -- including lying about drug use on the 4473.
    He was rational enough that he was not committed by the state or his family.

    We have a process in place to commit those who are a danger, an immediate danger to society.

    I grieve for the families of the dead and injured. I wish this hadn't happened but we can not legislate our way to a perfect, near perfect or safe society.

    It simply isn't possible without removing all traces of free will.

    Would you call for the same system if he had strangled one person, stabbed two people, ran down 3 people?

    Allowing the law enforcement officials to implement their own version of a No Fly list is not the way to stop violence, wouldn't you agree?

    If we accept your proposal has merit, where does it end?
    Who gets to decide who is sane enough?

  8. Good points all, Bob, and I actually agree with a few of them.

    Comments are closed on this Bob and El Fisho comment thread.

  9. There will always be an unbalanced lunatic that gets through. We have become soft and accomodating, and allow all sorts of nonsense and tomfoolery that our forefathers would scoff at. Where are the damned instituations where people where placed for their own safety and that of others? Where is the swift and terrible punishment for crimes against good, decent citizens? Alltogether to much namby, pambying in our greta Nation. A long rope and a short drop would solve quite a few of our prolems methinks!

    Best Regards,
    Albert A Rasch
    Albert Rasch In Afghanistan™