As the murder trial of accused mass killer James E. Holmes continues today in Colorado, court proceedings against the 16-year-old who faces charges for firing a couple of shots at North Thurston High School Monday has begun, and coverage of both cases lacks a single mention of the common thread they share: Gun control law failures.
Holmes, facing a possible death penalty if he is convicted of multiple murders, is a text book example of the futility of gun control to prevent such crimes. He passed multiple background checks. The crime scene, a theater in Aurora, was a so-called “gun-free zone.”
Meanwhile, down in Thurston County, the teen who capped off two rounds from a .357 Magnum reportedly stolen from home, may face charges that, according to the Daily Olympian, include firearm theft, possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful discharge of a firearm. Those are all gun control laws, passed with the full support of social do-gooders who now are unusually quiet about the inability of their pet statutes to prevent the crimes they intimated would be prevented.
In the future, it might be wise for any constituency to consider the words of Holmes trial court Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., who, according to the Boston Herald, “warned jurors as the trial opened not to let sympathy and emotion influence their judgment.” Alas, as history has proven time and again, people are gulled into supporting pushes for more gun control by slick campaigns that exploit sympathy and emotion.
Gun prohibitionists repeat such terms as “common sense gun laws” to promote their agenda, such as Initiative 594 in Washington and SB 941 in neighboring Oregon. The so-called “universal background check” schemes would not have prevented the North Thurston incident, or last fall’s tragedy at Marysville Pilchuck High School. In both cases, the suspected shooters brought guns from home illegally, certainly without a background check.
Yesterday, wealthy Seattle elitist Nick Hanauer circulated an e-mail announcement for his new effort, which he calls Civic Ventures. In his opening paragraph, one finds exactly the kind of thing Judge Samour warned about: “Like you,” Hanauer wrote, “I will never forget the shock and horror of that day in December of 2012 when I found out about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Out of those feelings of anger and sadness came resolve. Like you, I said enough is enough. Like you, I stood up and got to work.”
And then he said this: “I’ve assembled a small team of troublemakers to interact with politics in a new way—to think and dream and write about political possibilities.” Troublemakers? If a Second Amendment advocate like Bellevue’s Alan Gottlieb said something like that, he just might be pilloried in an editorial.
Hanauer’s announcement further stated, “Civic Ventures is founded on the belief that local actions drive national conversations. We’re interested in examining, creating, and promoting big, bold ideas.” Perhaps somebody watched too many episodes of “Mad Men” on AMC, or suffers a bit of nostalgia for those days of gasp-for-air commercials for “new and improved” products.
Speaking of “gasping” comments, more than one news agency reported that the North Thurston shooting suspect allegedly brought the magnum revolver to school “fully loaded with hollow-point bullets.” KIRO radio repeatedly mentioned this during news updates this morning, as if it would have made any difference – at close range in a school corridor – if the rounds had been soft-points, or even mythical “cop killer” bullets.
The teen suspect is reportedly on probation after an incident in November at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, according to KCPQ/Fox 13 news. He recently started classes at North Thurston.
In Colorado, the Centennial courtroom could be busy for weeks as the Holmes trial unfolds. At some point, prosecutors will likely detail how the suspect purchased firearms at retail, with the mandatory background checks.
Interestingly, those who supported I-594 now insist they never said the measure would prevent violent crime, but that’s a bit disingenuous. They certainly intimated as much with such messages as “Declare your independence from gun violence” (e-mail appeal, July 4, 2013) or “We need to plan a massive campaign to ensure that every voter understands that to reduce gun violence, they need to vote Yes on 594.”
Hanauer’s Civic Ventures announcement contained this passage about I-594: “This is a tremendous accomplishment that has likely already saved lives,” with no supporting evidence. In fairness, it is equally hard to quantify how many lives have been saved because some citizen was armed at a given moment.
Every time a shot is fired in a school, or in a gun-free zone, by someone who stole a firearm or bought one at retail and passed a background check, that’s a gun law failure. When a criminal or street thug uses a gun that was stolen or otherwise illegally obtained – all without bothering with background checks – that’s a gun law failure. Law-abiding firearms owners should not be penalized for the failure of these laws.
MEANWHILE, in Baltimore today, the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles will play a baseball game today in an empty stadium, due to the rioting and continued unrest in that city this week. Like law-abiding gun owners, thousands of baseball fans are being penalized for the wrong-doing of thugs and looters.
Perhaps that’s how the rest of America can learn the dirty little secret about gun control laws. Holding a game in an empty stadium is about as fruitless as subjecting law-abiding citizens to bureaucratic red tape. However, it does illustrate that the wrong people are usually the ones who suffer.
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