Red Flag Approach

Bill Neinast

This is an admission against interest.  I was wrong.  I made a mistake.

The discussion here last week was about this week being dominated by cries of impeach, impeach; investigate, investigate.  Now it seems that there may be a little subdued discussion of those topics, but the driving force will be, “Something has to be done.  We have to destroy the NRA and stop this killing.”

The Only sensible political voice heard on the subject so far is Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.  

Scott’s observation was that the hysteria will be to do something to prevent future gun related tragedies. We will do something without regard to whether it will have any effect.  Then move on and say, “We did something.”

He noted that there are already laws on the books to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.  Just like the laws criminalizing murder, though, they are ignored or bypassed by the sick individuals intent for unknown reasons to massacre innocent individuals.

Although not mentioned by Scott, it should be noted that the weapons used in the horrible Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticutt, were stolen.  

The weapons used by the Muslim couple to kill 14 and wound 17 in San Bernardino, California, were bought for them by a friend.

The 28 worshippers who died in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, were killed with legally purchases rifles.  The records used to verify the assassin’s gun purchased had not been updated to include his less than honorable discharge from the service.

So what kind of law can be dreamed up to prevent further tragedies?  Even if there is such a law, how can it be enforced to prevent evading the law.  If there is such a remedy, why is it not being used to prevent ignoring the law against murder, or rape, or assault?

Why not calm down and face the problem head on with cool reasoning.  

The problem is that there are too many lethal weapons of all types in the country.  There is no way all of those weapons could be confiscated or taken out of circulation.  

Most law abiding citizens would surrender theirs if ordered to do so, but others, including some contemplating massacres, would hide theirs. 

Assume, though, that  all assault rifles are removed from American civilians.  What would happen to all the high powered hunting rifles and shotguns that can hold multiple rounds?  

Remember, in this regard, the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the history of the United States. That was the Route 91 Harvest Music Gestival on the Las Vegas Strip two years ago where 58 people were killed and 422 were injured with gun shots. Adding the injuries suffered during the ensuing panic brought the injury total to 851.

This carnage was carried out by one man with an arsenal of 22 rifles and a pistol.  Presumably, all the weapons had been legally acquired.

All of the deaths recounted here occurred when a multitude of law and rules on gun ownership and purchase are in place.  Is it rational to think that just one more law will make a difference?

Why not look for the real culprit?  Among the possible  suspects are nationwide, instant TV coverage, violent video games, the disappearance of discipline from homes and schools, and, in the opinion of some, the modern notion of keeping boys from being boys.  

There can be no more games of cops and robbers with toy weapons where you are as likely to be “killed” as your “enemy.”  No more dodge ball where you can work off some of your inborn aggressive behavior

Today, it is so much easier to sit in an air conditioned room and manipulate a gun-like controller to wipe out men and women in front of you on a screen.  You can rack up a real body count in a short while without any noticeable pain, blood, or backlash on you.

So, is that a catalyst for some disturbed minds to try to act the game in real life?

So here’s the perspective.

This sounds like a broken record.  Well it is.  The record is put on the turntable every time there is a mass shooting.  The needle, however, cannot get out of that broken groove.

The same refrain is played over and over:  “We have to do something.  Let’s crucify the NRA and enact another law to do something.”

The best way to get the needle out of that groove may be to divert all the hot air to constantly encourage everyone to report suspicious actions, Tweets, and statements.  

This is the red flag approach.  Week before last, reports of such concerns resulted in nipping four possible massacres in the bud.

Let’s spend our energy on that approach.



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