The sight of Florida Senator Marco Rubio collapsing like a sodden cardboard box in the face of a verbal assault by a Parkland shooting survivor was a sad one, indeed. But it was also far from surprising. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their families attended a CNN town hall meeting Wednesday night with the sole intention of putting the screws to the GOP.
It’s the same old song the Left has been singing for ages. It’s enough to make you feel like you’re living in the movie Groundhog Day as we wake up to yet another push for gun control in the wake of the latest national tragedy.
When the father of a fallen victim called Sen. Rubio “pathetically weak,” he wasn’t kidding; no two words better describe the acquiescence of Republicans in response to students saying that they will not return to school until stricter gun laws are passed.
Among the legislation that’s gaining bipartisan support is the kind of “red flag” law that’s already been enacted in blue states like California and Oregon. The law thumbs its nose at the Constitution by giving courts the power to take people’s guns away if they’re deemed a threat.
Rubio and Republican Gov. Rick Scott have pledged that they will do what they can to pass legislation that will deny the mentally ill access to guns, but neither politician clarified how an individual’s mental state would be assessed.
The liberal media will tell you that such legislation is sensible because it would take firearms away from people with a history of domestic violence or emotional derangement, but all their jibber jabber just distracts from the bigger issue.
Mass murder is not something committed only by those with a diagnosis. Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock not only had no mental health problems but he had no criminal record or history of addiction either. On the contrary, he was a prosperous businessman with millions in the bank.
Other recent examples of mass shootings demonstrate the need for existing laws to be enforced rather than new ones to be created. Last year, the Air Force’s failure to send Texas shooter Devin Kelley’s criminal record to the FBI resulted in a devastating church shooting in Sutherland Springs.
If there’s one thing that Republicans and Democrats can agree on it’s the need to keep weapons out of the hands of the criminally insane, but no amount of acts or ordinances will effectively do that. As we’ve seen, the overwhelming number of guns used in the commission of crimes are so-called “hot guns,” those obtained illegally.
As MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough has said in the past, “Three percent of murders and crimes are committed with guns from people who actually (legally) purchased those guns.”
Many people look at the popularity of online gun stores as a sign of laws being lax. Although it is true that individuals can order guns on the Internet with some sites even offering a gun giveaway, this does not point to anyone flouting state gun rules. Reputable gun vendors are always in compliance with the law.
The real conundrum is not that guns are handed out willy nilly without regulation, it’s the lack of accountability by law enforcement agencies. The FBI were the first to drop the ball in the case of Florida gunman Nikolas Cruz, failing miserably to act on a tip regarding Cruz’s online comments about his intention of becoming a “professional school shooter.”
The FBI doesn’t have enough staff members dedicated to responding to background check requests nor does it seem to be able to keep track of anything. The bureau’s background check system is missing millions of records of mental illness and criminal convictions.
But it’s not just a Federal faux-pas we’re dealing with; the Broward County Sheriff’s Department had been called on Cruz several times due to his erratic behavior, behavior that had been noted by Stoneman Douglas High School administrators.
There was nary a student or faculty member who hadn’t been privy to Cruz’s violent outbursts or his incessant bragging about killing animals or “jokes” about picking off his schoolmates. One needn’t have a red flag law enacted to see that the red flags were waving in this case.
Action should have been taken to prevent this tragedy, but school administrators did not take such action. Instead, Cruz was handled like so many troubled youth are handled in our country. He was weakly penalized and his issues were not properly addressed.
Cruz had been repeatedly expelled from Stoneman Douglas High prior to the shooting and he had been told that he could no longer carry a bookbag on campus. The latter fact suggests that he had already brought dangerous items to school which begs the question: Why didn’t the school kick this punk out once and for all?
It’s a question that will go unanswered by those who should be held accountable for their role in the attack, but it demonstrates just what can be done to curb mass shootings in the US.
Should we establish stricter gun laws that give courts the right to strip people of their registered firearms? Nope. Should the House and Senate approve bills that would make it illegal to have a featureless AR-15 or one with high capacity magazines? No, sir.
What we should do is demand that schools maintain stricter security. This would make it harder for school shooters to shoot up schools. It’s something that has already proven effective in parts of the country. Bergenfield County Police regularly patrol Washington School in New Jersey and other municipalities in the state are meeting to discuss increased security measures.
A new policy at East Brunswick High School has already added armed police officers to the security forces on campus. Kentucky is making moves to introduce guns to their state’s schools. Worried school officials in the Houston area of Texas wasted no time in heightening security after the Parkland shooting made the news.
Requests by parents in Nutley, NJ and elsewhere illustrate the desire for more guns, not less guns. True Americans know that you’ve gotta fight fire with fire.