Murder Is Already Illegal

Bill Neinast

What is all this folderol about preventing school massacres?  There is such an obvious, simple answer.  Just pass a law to make them illegal.

A simple law  to make it a punishable crime for any person to kill another should do the job.  Let’s call the crime murder.

What?  A crime called murder has been on the books since at least Cain’s killing of his brother Abel as recorded in the Old Testament.  Why then is the number of murders steadily increasing in this country?

These facetious comments and questions are simply to illustrate the futility, no, not the futility, but the stupidity, of solving the problem of school violence by enacting more laws.

There are already laws that prohibit what happened in Florida.  Prohibiting weapons in gun free zones like schools and limits on gun possession by individuals with mental problems are two that come to mind immediately.  If either had been enforced, 17 Floridians would still be alive.

How will adding a bevy of new laws prevent a recurrence?

Many of the new laws under consideration concern more restrictions on gun ownership.  Why don’t the lawmakers considering more laws on the subject revisit Dan Bongino’s comment on the Tucker Carlson Tonight Show Friday night.  

Bongino simply stated the obvious when he said, “Gun laws are the only laws that affect the law abiding and don’t affect criminals one bit.”

The validity of that observation was proved six years ago.  That is when 20-year-old Adam Lanza used weapons stolen from his mother to kill 26 students and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut.  

The law abiding mother had complied with the applicable restrictions on gun ownership.  Her son, the criminal who obviously had no concern for the laws prohibiting murder, merely thumbed his nose at the less serious (as related to punishment) laws and restrictions on weapons possession.

So what other law on gun control could have possibly prevented that tragedy?  What new law can guarantee there will not be a repeat?

This constant pouring of the table in front of TV cameras to demand more restrictions on gun ownership do nothing but give the the agitators a sense of “doing something” to protect students and others. 

Historically, there has always been a supply of firearms in American homes.  Initially, they were there for bringing wild game and fowl to the table.  Then a self-protection element was added.

My Dad was not a hunter, but he owned two pistols.  One was kept in his store.  The other was in our home.  Both were there  for “Just in case,” and he did use one of them at least once to order an unruly customer out of the store.

My Grandfather, however, lived just a block away.  He was another influence.  He was a hunter with guns in the house, and he taught me how to shoot and hunt.

Then, my parents’  gift for my graduation from high school was a Browning automatic shotgun, and my gun cabinet has grown steadily.  Today, there are gun cabinets of equal or larger size in each of our children’s homes as well as those of some of the grandkids.

This tidbit of personal history is to illustrate the practical impossibility of getting or keeping weapons out of the community.  So let’s quit sniping at the NRA and concentrate on the thing that really matters.

That “thing” is the identification, monitoring, and controlling of individuals with mental problems that could lead to violence.

Now that is a problem with no apparent answers, at least to me.  It is way beyond my knowledge of human nature.

So here’s the perspective.

More restrictions on who may own what weapons can be dreamed up by the dozen overnight.  No matter how many dozens are printed in the law books, murders will continue just as they have since Cain and Abel.

So flip that coin and study the other side.  How can dangerous individuals be identified, monitored, and controlled without trampling the rights and freedom of citizens?

Will a mere allegation by a fearful, agitated observer justify immediate arrest and detention?  How long can one be detained under those circumstance?  Do relatives have legal requirements to report, monitor, and control?  If so, how are those requirements to be enforced?

This is just a tiny list of all the very difficult questions or problems that will have to be answered to prevent a recurrence of Parkland, Florida. 

Anyone who comes up with workable or practical answers to those and many similar questions deserves the largest monument in the nation’s capitol.


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