Sunday, August 20, 2017

SHOOTINGS: SOME SUCCESS--FOILED ATTACK


The fact that a number of school shootings have be interrupted and stopped is overlooked. Here is an example of where an an alert citizen saw unusual activity and alerted police.

A mass school shooting in Wascea, Minnesota was foiled on April 24, 2014 when a woman called 911 to report a young man apparently breaking into a storage unit. The young man was John LaDue, an 11th grader who was planning to carry out one of the worst, if not the worst, school shootings in this nation’s history. Authorities found bomb-making equipment in the storage unit and in his school locker. The police also discovered LaDue’s bedroom was an arsenal, two guns near his bed and five in a safe in his closet.

LaDue planned to start by killing his parents and his sister and then carry out a school shooting patterned on Columbine. Indeed, in the year before his arrest, he had become fascinated with the suburban Colorado school shooting, going so far as to buy a black duster jacket so he could dress like Eric Harris. LaDue also studied the Boston Marathon bombing and the Newtown, Connecticut massacre.

LaDue considered Adam Lanza a coward for killing first graders, but Dylon Klebold and Eric Harris were his heroes. 


In September 2015, John LaDue pled guilty to a single felony count of illegal possession of an explosive. The press reported that five felony counts of possessing incendiary devices were dropped in a plea deal to avoid prison. The young man will have to undergo up to 10 years of court-ordered treatment at a secure treatment facility for autism spectrum disorder in Atlanta, Georgia. (To be continued)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ADDICTED TO HATE


The organizers of Saturday’s rally of bigots in Charlottesville are domestic terrorists plain and simple.

The terrible events in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017 laid bare a dark, paranoid segment of American society that is seething with white supremacists, racists, and neo-Nazis.

These neo-Nazi, slaveholder wannabes, claim to be patriots; nothing could be further from the truth. Their very existence is a threat to the rights of all of us as granted in the Constitution. They will stop at nothing to silence anyone who does not agree with their perverted sense of what they think this country should be. They exploit freedom of speech to agitate and instigate violence. The roots of the ideology of these morally despicable people lie in slavery and Nazi theories of Aryan superiority—roots that have cost the lives of millions of innocent people in the United States and Europe.

The Alt-right demonstrators and survivalists in Charlottesville and elsewhere are addicted to hate; they are motivated by hatred.

They claim to want to make America Great Again, but how is killing a 32-year old paralegal crossing the street making this country great? Two Virginia State Highway Patrolmen lost their lives monitoring the demonstrations. Two fine men, who were dedicated to preserving our freedoms and keeping us safe, lost their lives because of the nincompoops who brandish Hitler’s swastika flag and Confederate symbols. How are these heavily armed demonstrators consistent with the values of America’s founding fathers? They are diametrically opposed to all that is good and valued in this country.

Last November we elected a President who wanted to drain the swamp in Washington. But the exact opposite has happened. No swamp has been drained. Instead, the White House is contaminated with slime.

In part, the sludge pouring out of Washington is because of President Trump. He is a President who cannot distinguish between neo-Nazis, and people who protest them.


Why aren’t more public officials, especially Republican members of Congress, standing up to Trump? If they are scared, they should do it anyway. It is called “courageous vulnerability.” As it now stands, those who won’t stand up to Trump are lemmings following him over the abyss. This country needs all members of Congress to show courage NOW and stand up to our un-heroic, offensive, and vulgar President.

Monday, August 14, 2017

SHOOTERS SEND SIGNALS


Most mass shooters send signals of their intentions. Shooting rampages are rarely spur of the moment or impulse crimes. In most cases, there are signals of pending violence. The killers, or prospective killers, are intelligent and cunning. Their crimes are carefully planned and carried out.

The killers often write a manifesto decrying the evils of society, or detailing the injustices they imagine they have suffered. For many of these mass murders, their paranoia appears to know no bounds. Many want a moment of fame and glory, they are seeking to immortalize themselves through hideous crimes.

Researchers have found in a large number of school and mass murders there was the “Columbine effect.” Mother Jones reports it “analyzed 72 plots and attacks in 30 states where suspects and perpetrators claimed to have been inspired by Columbine. Law enforcement stopped 51 before anyone was harmed. Twenty-one plots evolved into attacks, with a total of 89 people killed, 126 injured, with nine of the perpetrators committing suicide.”

The magazine also reports “Individuals in 12 cases indicated their goal was to outdo the Columbine body count.”


CNN reported that in 2013, the FBI thwarted 148 mass shootings at high schools, up 33% from 2012. And even with the FBI’s success, the body count grows. (To be continued)    

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

SHOOTINGS: NO SILVER BULLET


There are no quick fixes to solving the epidemic of gun violence in this nation. There is no silver bullet.

It will take years, even decades, as well as a great deal of money and dedication to tackle the multiplicity of causes that feed the epidemic of school shootings.

Not Enforcing Laws

Some Second Amendment advocates say we don’t need new laws; we need to enforce the ones we have. There is some truth in their call for enforcing existing laws and regulations. That is a good place to begin, but it is only a small beginning. I would add that we not only need to strictly enforce existing laws, rules, and procedures, we need to hold people accountable for their actions and inactions.

People in authority need to understand that in dealing with threats of gun or other violence they must always err on the side of caution, otherwise they will pay a price. If that message can get across, we can make a dent in the number of school shootings. But to do this, someone, at some time, must be held accountable for his or her actions or inactions when they result in death or injury.


Time and time again, authorities have wasted valuable time, did not act, and lives were lost and people hurt. (To be continued)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

SHOOTINGS: AUSTRALIA, GREAT BRITAIN



Other nations have adopted effective measures to stop the public slaughters. Following a mass shooting in 1996 when 35 people were killed and 18 wounded, Australia adopted a series of measures that have had significant, positive results.

Canberra embarked on a widespread gun buy-back campaign and enacted strict gun laws.

The net result of Australia’s actions has led to a marked decline in suicides and murders with guns. Since 1996, Australia has had only one mass shooting.

According to the Library of Congress Law Library, “Great Britain has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the world.  The main law is from the late 1960s, but it was amended to restrict gun ownership further in the latter part of the twentieth century in response to massacres that involved lawfully licensed weapons.  Handguns are prohibited weapons and require special permission.  Firearms and shotguns require a certificate from the police for ownership, and a number of criteria must be met, including that the applicant has a good reason to possess the requested weapon. Self-defense or a simple wish to possess a weapon is not considered a good reason. The secure storage of weapons is also a factor when licenses are granted.”

Great Britain has a well-deserved reputation of having some of the tightest gun control laws in the world.  Again, the Library of Congress Law Library notes, “Only police officers, members of the armed forces, or individuals with written permission from the Home Secretary may lawfully own a handgun. This stringent legislation may, in part, account for Britain’s relatively low statistics for the use of firearms in crime—in 2008–2009 firearms were used in only 0.3% of all recorded crimes and were responsible for the deaths of thirty-nine people. …”

 “Firearms laws governing the country (Great Britain) have generally been enacted in a reactive manner in response to massacres and overwhelming public support that backed the introduction of prohibitions on firearms. The laws cover a number of weapons, including handguns, shotguns, imitation firearms, deactivated firearms, and air weapons…” 

With these strict gun laws, Great Britain remains a democracy where individual rights are guaranteed and protected. The absence of an armed citizenry has not led to a dictatorship.

The self-proclaimed greatest nation in the world does not sit still idly by while those who are threat to society use innocent people for target practice. The increase in mass shootings has shown that demanding action on the part of our elected officials to help stop these massacres is an imperative. (To be continued)