What you NEVER hear about after mass shootings

With the left, and the media, but I repeat myself, it is ONLY about guns, and nothing else. If anyone mentions mental illness or anti-depressants, or lax sentencing for violent felons, they are ridiculed, because GUN CONTROL! But, in fact, these things DO matter,and they matter a great deal. Consider some issues that are almost always ignored.

The number of mass shooters who were on anti-depressants

But since mass shootings are perpetrated by an extremely tiny minority of gun owners, many of whom don’t even own their guns legally, perhaps it’s naïve to think that gun ownership is itself the sole or even primary cause of mass shootings. Countries such as Norway, France, and Switzerland—all of which have stricter gun laws and lower per-capita gun ownership than the United States—have far higher per-capita rates of mass shootings.

When searching for other reasons for mass shootings, people blame things such as one-parent households, video games, loss of religious faith, or simply the vague sense that the nation is falling apart.

Although only 8.6% of American males are on antidepressants at any given time, they seem much better represented as a percentage of mass shooters. Here are 39 mass shooters who were either on antidepressants at the time of their rampage, had abruptly quit taking their medication when they went on their spree, or had been prescribed antidepressants at some point in the past. None of this is to imply that antidepressants make certain people go on mass shootings—just as few people with guns go on shooting sprees, so do few people on antidepressants. But it is an area that is definitely worth researching.

39! Hard to believe this is not a factor

Here is another area where we fall short, so many of these shooters have shown violent tendencies, and many have lengthy violent convictions, yet, they are no longer incarcerated, or they were not dealt with properly to begin with. Consider the evil bastard that show up the high school in Parkland

The Parkland killer was, as we later learned, a seriously messed up person. He was violent and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office was pretty much on a first-name basis with the monster-in-making from all the calls they’d responded to.

He was not a good person. We know that quite well. He is the reason we’re talking about red flag laws. After all, we looked back at his life and wondered how anyone could miss what was brewing right under their noses.

Meadow Pollack was one of those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that Valentine’s Day. Her father, Andrew, couldn’t believe what happened. As he delved deeper, though, he found something fascinating and awful all at once. He found that the killer should never have been at that school in the first place.

After the deadly Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., national media focused largely on a handful of student activists, leaving it to victims’ parents to unravel why the slaughter happened. Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was one of the 17 killed, conducted his own investigation to uncover the roots of what he calls the most avoidable mass murder in American history. He and Max Eden are co-authors of “Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies that Created the Parkland Shooter and Endanger America’s Students.” This adapted excerpt, based on never-before-released educational records of the shooter, [name redacted], shows the Broward County school district knew full well about his obsession with guns and murder — and then let him practice shooting at school. 

When staff at Westglades Middle School heard that [the killer] had committed the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, some couldn’t believe it. The fact that he was a mass murderer wasn’t what surprised them, but rather the fact that he had attended that school.

“How is that possible?” one Westglades educator recalled thinking. “We did our jobs. It took forever, but we got him [to the specialized school] where he needed to go. We couldn’t believe they ever let him into [Douglas].”

What Pollock reportedly found was that the killer had a long, twisted history that should have precluded him from attending normal schools. He was a seriously disturbed individual who needed profound psychological help.

Yet there he was, at a regular school that generally lacked the resources to deal with someone with the killer’s violent outburst and bizarre proclivities.

Further, there was the decision to allow the killer–someone who had reportedly thrown a chair across a classroom in middle school–to become part of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), this despite a psychiatrist familiar with the killer arguing, “interested in [J]ROTC? — not advised … Discussed the safety of others/himself.”

So what happened?

But the next month, every member of [the killer’s] “Child Study Team” recommended that he be mainstreamed for two class periods a day at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year: for one class to be determined and JROTC.

[He] couldn’t possibly have made himself any clearer. Broward schools staff knew exactly who and what he was. Yet they not only allowed him to enroll in Marjory Stoneman Douglas, they literally gave him an air gun, shaped like an AR-15, and let him practice shooting.

This may sound astonishing. But it was all according to policy. The official review of [his] educational history registered no objections to anything you just read.

How about those who lie on their background check info? How many are arrested?

Submitting false information on a background check is a felony under federal law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. But as many as 160,000 people are denied a gun purchase each year because they failed a check. Few are ever apprehended, much less prosecuted. Available federal and state data suggest that the percentage of arrests as a proportion of denied sales is extremely low — likely in the single digits.

Pennsylvania is one of eight states where lawmakers and police have sought to boost arrests and prosecutions by passing laws and implementing so-called “lie and try” policies requiring local law enforcement agencies to be notified whenever someone fails a background check. The goal is to give police a tool they can use to arrest dangerous individuals before they can secure a gun and possibly harm someone.

There is also the missing data that needs to be caught by the background check

The FBI’s background-check system is missing millions of records of criminal convictions, mental illness diagnoses and other flags that would keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands, a gap that contributed to the shooting deaths of 26 people in a Texas church this week.

Experts who study the data say government agencies responsible for maintaining such records have long failed to forward them into federal databases used for gun background checks – systemic breakdowns that have lingered for decades as officials decided they were too costly and time-consuming to fix.

As the shooting at a Texas church on Sunday showed, what the FBI doesn’t know can get people killed. In that case, the gunman had been convicted at a court-martial of charges stemming from a domestic violence case. Officials say the Air Force never notified the FBI of his conviction, so when he purchased weapons at a retail store, he cleared the background check.

The FBI said it doesn’t know the scope of the problem, but the National Rifle Association says about 7 million records are absent from the system, based on a 2013 report by the nonprofit National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. That report determined that “at least 25% of felony convictions . . . are not available” to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System maintained by the FBI.

Experts who study the data say that estimate can be misleading, because felons often have multiple convictions, so if one is missed, others may still alert authorities to individuals who cannot legally buy a gun.

What of those who lie on the application and by the weapon for someone else, who they know is a prohibited buyer? How seriously are these criminals dealt with?

This week in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County Circuit Court is hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by two police officers, both of them shot in the head by a young man named Julius Burton back in 2009. The officers are suing the former owners of the defunct gun shop that sold the pistol Burton used to a straw purchaser, Jacob Collins. Burton was at the time too young to legally purchase a handgun.

Like many other jurisdictions, Wisconsin doesn’t really take straw purchases of firearms very seriously. At the time of Collins’s crime, the offense was only a misdemeanor. (Subsequent legislation has upgraded straw purchasing to a low-level felony.) The crime was, and is, seldom prosecuted, and, before the Burton-Collins incident, offenders would “typically get probation or less than a year in prison because of their clean records and the notion they have not committed a violent crime, according to a review of five years of federal court records,” as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2010.

Wisconsin isn’t alone in its nonchalance. California normally treats straw purchases as misdemeanors or minor infractions. Even as the people of Baltimore suffer horrific levels of violence, Maryland classifies the crime as a misdemeanor, too. Straw buying is a felony in progressive Connecticut, albeit one in the second-least-serious order of felonies. It is classified as a serious crime in Illinois (Class 2 felony), but police rarely (meaning “almost never”) go after the nephews and girlfriends with clean records who provide Chicago’s diverse and sundry gangsters with their weapons. In Delaware, it’s a Class F felony, like forging a check. In Oregon, it’s a misdemeanor.

It must also be remembered how many shootings have taken place in “gun-free” zones, and how many have happened in California, a state with very strict gun laws. Laws do not prevent evil people from doing evil things. They never have, and never will. The best we can do is to be as vigilant, and prepared as possible. Predicting who may be a threat is hard, especially in our current climate of hypersensitivity. Of course actual threats must be taken seriously, and dealt with. The fact is, and many do not want to accept this is that we cannot legislate evil deeds away. We will not help ourselves by banning this gun, or that gun, or passing laws that only the law-abiding will obey.

Again, evil exists, it always has and always will. The best we can hope for is to make convicting, and locking away violent felons a real priority, and by prosecuting those who break federal gun laws. And yes, looking seriously at the use, or misuse of anti-depressants. I have personally seen what these can do, and how they can change a person’s behavior. 

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