Sunday, January 8, 2017
I have the answers, but you won't like them
So this time it was a mentally disturbed individual with a legally possessed gun who shot up an airport terminal in Ft Lauderdale, FL, killing 5 people. And again, some are asking, "How did this happen, and how are we going to fix it?"
If we lived in an authoritarian society where there are visible police everywhere as well as many more unseen secret police, and a small army of informers to keep an eye on their neighbors, yeah, we might could have prevented this. Guns and gun ownership would be outlawed, and the mentally ill would simply be locked away. There would be no "due process". You would just be picked up one day off the street, and in short order find yourself in a gulag. End of problem.
But we live in a free society where people have rights. There are millions of guns in the hands of our citizens right now, and the Supreme Court has validated the 2nd Amendment concept that guarantees Americans the right to own them. The guns aren't going away, and even if a future, more liberal Supreme Court changes their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, there will be millions of people who will always say our Founding Fathers said it, SCOTUS be damned!
So to answer the original questions: How did this happen? An obviously mentally disturbed person did not get the help he needed, and he got hold of a gun. How are we going to fix it? We need to spend the money necessary to get the mentally disturbed the medical/psychological help they need, and we need to invest in a government-wide computer system that allows names of the mentally disturbed, wanted criminals, felons, those with restraining orders against them, etc, to be added (or subtracted) instantly.
They won't be able to legally buy a firearm, they will be singled out for searches, both of their body and their checked baggage, if they fly, or perhaps not even be allowed to fly at all. The same goes if they travel by train or bus. It certainly won't stop every madman, but it will go a long way. Right now this type system apparently doesn't exist at all, or if it does, is not kept current and properly utilized.
So, Mr/Ms Taxpayer/Citizen....your choices are to give up your liberties, spend the fortune it would cost to implement a better reporting system, or accept the fact that these things are simply going to happen. I'm pretty confident we won't choose the first or second options, so we may just have to accept the realities of living in the 21st Century.