Proposed rules unlikely to prevent similar incidents.
Despite the fact that when half-Asian Elliot Rodger went on his murder spree, he knifed three of his victims to death, the response of progressives has been primarily focused on two topics: “White Male Privilege” and “Gun Control”.
Legislation to outlaw either being white or male cannot be proposed…yet. However, one of the most progressively activist of all of California’s elected representatives offers a new set of gun control rules: The “Pause for Safety Act”.
Fascinating, I think, that “gun” does not appear in the title of Senator Barbara Boxer’s latest masterpiece. Her proposed rules would do the following:
• One, it would help ensure that families and others can go to court and seek a gun violence prevention order to temporarily stop someone close to them who poses a danger to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm.
• Two, it would help ensure that families and others can also seek a gun violence prevention warrant that would allow law enforcement to take temporary possession of firearms that have already been purchased if a court determines that the individual poses a threat to themselves or others.
• Three, it would help ensure that law enforcement makes full use of all existing gun registries when assessing a tip, warning or request from a concerned family member or other close associate.
So, how would this legislation have prevented Rodger from gaining access to knives? And, by the logic that produced this chestnut, perhaps we should regulate the distribution of hot coffee?:
July 2011: Rodger splashes coffee and tea on two couples during a jealous rage in separate incidents in July of his first summer in Isla Vista, according to his writing. He became “livid with envious hatred” at the sight of a young couple “kissing passionately” at a Starbucks, he wrote.
In addition to guns and knives, the report linked above also indicates that Rodger used his vehicle as a weapon:
He fired his guns through the driver’s side window parallel to the sidewalk as he drove his vehicle down the wrong side of the road, the sheriff said. He shot at a woman before a sheriff’s deputy fired at him. His car struck and injured a bicyclist before Rodger shot four pedestrians, the sheriff said.
Maybe we should tack on a car violence prevention warrant?
Even if the court grants a family’s request to deny a relative the right to purchase or have possession of a weapon, when do madmen follow rules? With enough money and motivation, a person intent on obtaining a gun will eventually find a way to procure one.
Let’s look at the local police force’s assessment of Rodger, which is related to the third item on Boxer’s wish list and occurred shortly before the rampage.
At approximately 10:17 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, the Santa Barbara County Emergency Communications Center received a call from a mental health staff member assigned to answer the Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Toll Free Access Line. The staff member requested deputies check the welfare of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who lived at an apartment in the 6500 block of Seville Road in Isla Vista. The staff member said she had been contacted by a person who identified himself as a friend of Elliot Rodger. Based on information from the caller and Elliot Rodger’s mother, the staff member on the Mental Health hot line requested a welfare check on Elliot Rodger.
….When Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Rodger’s address, they contacted him outside of his residence. Deputies found Rodger to be shy, timid and polite. When questioned by the deputies about reported disturbing videos he had posted on-line, Rodger told them he was having trouble fitting in socially in Isla Vista and the videos were merely a way of expressing himself. Based upon the information available to them at the time, Sheriff’s deputies concluded that Rodger was not an immediate threat to himself or others, and that they did not have cause to place him on an involuntary mental health hold, or to enter or search his residence. Therefore, they did not view the videos or conduct a weapons check on Rodger.
Perhaps instead of using “gun registries”, rules to permit a 72-hour mental evaluation hold for a family member would be a better solution, if agreed to by a court? Whereas someone like Rodger could keep it together for a 30-minute friendly interview with authorities, it would be more of a challenge to fake sanity during an intense 3 days with a court-designated psychiatrist while the professional also evaluated the entire content of a patient’s social medial collection.
In the wake of the slaughter of the 20 children and 6 staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School at the hands of another mentally ill individual, over 1500 state gun bills were proposed. For example, one California bill that passed in this flurry of activity required psychotherapists whose patients threaten violence to report the threats. As Rodger’s case shows, simple reporting (by the parents in this instance) did not prevent the young man from killing.
None of those new rules helped prevent the UCSB slayings. And it is unlikely Boxer’s new proposals, offered with earnest sincerity and good intentions, will prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.