We cannot prevent evil by passing more laws
You published an editorial from The Wall Street Journal, titled, “Flagging Future Killers,” which rightly bypasses gun control, since no gun ever pulled its own trigger. Beyond that, the dangerous folly of gun control is self-evident from the statistically demonstrable fact, that gun violence is at its worst precisely where law abiding citizens are effectually disarmed by stringent gun control laws. “Gun-Free Zones” have, time and again, proved to be inviting targets for mass shootings.
However, “red flag” laws are equally evil because they invite vengeance fueled false accusations and a lack of due process in which one is presumed potentially guilty until or unless he can clear himself. Moreover, if recent history is any guide, it illustrates that friends and former family members are more reluctant than not to report dangerous behavior in advance of an attack, even though they readily attest to such dire concerns after the fact.
In my view, there is a scientific and non-political strategy for stopping a good number of these mass shooters before they strike and this involves focused and targeted behavioral profiling, to wit:
1. There are a mere handful of guns of choice, most often used by these mass killers.
2. These shooters usually have no previous criminal history, allowing them to purchase weapons legally within days or weeks of their lethal attack.
3. They nearly always signal their grudges and hatreds long ahead of time, through twisted screeds and would be “justifications” on social media.
Those three commonalities being known, here is a legal suggestion which will neither feed the Left’s insatiable thirst for gun confiscation nor trigger the Right’s justified paranoia about losing our Second Amendment rights.
We know the primary guns of choice. And we know that nearly all of mass shooters purchase said weapons shortly before their planned attack.
Therefore, as an integral part of the background check process on purchases of precisely these specific types of firearms and of large capacity ammunition maazines, a careful examination of any and all postings on social media by would be buyers should be mandated. That accomplishes what red flag laws attempt to effect, far more accurately and without the instrusions of bias or petty personal revenge. It also safeguards due process, by establishing legitimate non-heresay grounds for probable cause.
Unhappily, laws are effective solely upon those who are willing to abide by them — they cannot constrain the lawless. Once the path to legally-purchased firearms is legislatively blocked, then those intent on causing violent death have other options: illegally-obtained firearms on the street criminal black market; machete-knives; bombs and explosives; driving vehicles into crowds; etc. Bottom line we cannot prevent the perpetration of evil by passing more laws. The problem, here, began at least a century ago, when our nation largely turned its back on the teaching and inculation of virtue and therefrom lost its soul.
HARRISON PIERCE REED III