Friday, December 14, 2012

Sandy Hook, Gun Control & Mental Illness (Update 5)

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it.

William S. Burroughs, quoted by Prof. Glen Reynolds, Gun-free zones provide false sense of security, USA Today, 14 Dec, 2012

The blood isn't dry yet in Connecticut and already the left is using this horrific slaughter to call for unilaterally disarming our nation under the rubric of gun control.

Had there been a person at Sandy Hook with a concealed carry permit, could this mass murder have been stopped, in whole or in part? As Bookworm Room points out, the police response to the tragedy was quick, but when seconds counted, they got there in minutes - in time to take stock of the carnage, not to stop it.

As Prof. Reynolds explained in his column linked above:

. . . One of the interesting characteristics of mass shootings is that they generally occur in places where firearms are banned: malls, schools, etc. That was the finding of a famous 1999 study by John Lott of the University of Maryland and William Landes of the University of Chicago, and it appears to have been borne out by experience since then as well.

In a way, this is no surprise. If there's someone present with a gun when a mass shooting begins, the shooter is likely to be shot himself. And, in fact, many mass shootings — from the high school shooting by Luke Woodham in Pearl, Miss., to the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo., where an armed volunteer shot the attacker — have been terminated when someone retrieved a gun from a car or elsewhere and confronted the shooter.

Policies making areas "gun free" provide a sense of safety to those who engage in magical thinking, but in practice, of course, killers aren't stopped by gun-free zones. As always, it's the honest people — the very ones you want to be armed — who tend to obey the law.

We don't need more gun control, we need laws that insure that responsible, law abiding people have access to guns both in and outside their home. Update: Interestingly enough, Michigan just passed a new law to expand concealed carry permits and to eliminate most so called "gun free zones," including at schools. And we need to see some of those institutions promulgating "gun free zones" sued for disarming the very people who could have stopped such senseless violence.

But that aside, it also appears, as is often the case in such mass murders, that the perpetrator may have been mentally ill. What this should ignite is not a “national conversation” on gun control, but a national conversation on our policies towards individuals with mental disorders when people around them have reason to suspect they might be or become violent. Right now, thanks to the past five decades of work by the ACLU and others, there is next to nothing that can be done to institutionalize such individuals and get them help. That is the string that ties together the last several high profile mass murders that come immediately to my mind – Giffords, the Colorado Cinema, and now, from early reports, Sandy Hook.

Update: Jeff Goldberg, writing at the Atlantic, makes the same points I make above, about why there was no one in the school with a weapon to stop the slaughter and a need to reexamine how we treat the dangerous mentally ill.

Update: Bookworm Room has put up a great post on responding to the many myths the left uses to justify their calls for gun control.

Update: Law Prof. Eugene Volokh posed a question for his readers that, in sum, asks what objection they would have, if any, to the teachers or staff in schools having concealed carry permits. The moaning and braying in the comments section from the left side of the aisle is a bit depressing actually. The negative comments almost uniformly show a distrust of private, law abiding citizens being armed while, at the same time, ignoring the elephant in the room, that such an individual might have been able to end the slaughter.

Update: From American Digest - Meanwhile, at Elementary School in Israel . . .

Related Posts:

- St. Louis Police Chief Calls for Arming School Personnel

- John Fund: Mass Murder, Gun Free Zones & Mental Health

- Luby Cafeteria Massacre, Testimony of Suzanna Hupp, Texas School District Authorizes Concealed Carry For Its Schools

1 comment:

Matthew W said...

Excellent point about there needing to only be one person legally carrying, and this may have been a lot less worse.