Monday, January 10, 2011

How The Arizona Mass Shooting Could Have Been Prevented

As our nation bravely attempts to recover from the shocking revelation of the mass shooting in Arizona, I am sickened and disgusted by news reports that an anti-gun organization - The Brady Campaign To End Gun Violence (TBCTEGV) - has already published and disseminated a fundraising letter to financially capitalize on what President Obama has called a 'national tragedy.'

In its press release issued yesterday, TBCTEGV did in fact manage to acknowledge the apparent troubling behavioral issues of the shooter involved in the Arizona assault - Jared Lee Loughner - but reached the wrong conclusion.

To begin, Loughner managed not to be accepted for enlistment into our nation's US Army, while our country is waging two wars - Afghanistan and Iraq. Our military needs men. If the military doesn't want a person, that is a huge emblazoned flag that something is amiss.

Further, Loughner was on the local Sheriff's radar for some time for apparent bizarre behavior that has not yet been disclosed during his enrollment at a local school, where his fellow students have characterized his behavior as bizarre. It was not rare for Loughner to frequently utter sudden nonsensical outbursts during his instructor's lecture.

However, the most damaging revelation about Loughner was his scrapes with the law that were apparently brushed over by the local judicial system in Arizona. On two separate occassions, Loughner's alleged bizarre conduct, which landed him into a courtroom, was glossed over and he was allowed to enter diversion programs, which would preserve his semblance on normalcy on paper.

It is at this point where "the system" failed Mr. Loughner, his 19 victims, the residents of Arizona, and our country. Had Loughner not been coddled and been properly evaluated especially with known information from local law enforcement, we may not have been subjected to the carnage that was unleashed a few days ago in a venue ironically named "Safeway." Maybe Loughner would have received needed psychiatriac treatment he apparently needs and/or would have been confined to a mental facility.

Predictably, TBCTEGV is true to their "mission of not letting a good tragedy go to waste," has issued a call for more gun laws. Their group is assigning the blame for the mass shooting to an inanimate object - a handgun - instead of the disturbed individual.

Never mind that there are already 20,000 gun laws already on the books that mentally disturbed people and hardened criminals already ignore. If we need a scapegoat, I'll offer up the judge and the local Sheriff for their failure to deal with Mr. Loughner before he shot 19 people, 6 of which have already died.

The irony of the mass shooting is that among all of the other people present at scene, none had a firearm. Arizona allows sane law-abiding citizens to open carry and conceal carry firearms without a license. Had just one person been armed, the outcome could have been different. Instead, the shooter was subdued by onlookers after he had emptied his handgun into his victims.

Handguns can save lives, especially those imperiled by hardened career criminals and the mentally depraved who all too often are not properly handled and addressed by our legal system. Creating more laws will only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families.

This shooting has a lesson for us all: an outburst of violence can occur anywhere. So, be armed, be ready, and be safe.

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