“It seems that to be satisfied, I’d have to arrange my life and the world to conform totally to my liking—and then have them stay that way,” Buddhist author and former U.C. Davis law professor Toni Bernhard wrote in a Psychology Today article, channeling Rolling Stone Mick Jagger’s “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” theme.
That seems an appropriate theme for many in the gun ban camp following a stabbing, shooting and car-ramming spree in the Santa Barbara university community of Isla Vista. The seven dead included the evil, self-terminating perpetrator, characterized by those with an agenda as the “gunman.”
That it took armed law enforcement to end the attacks, causing the killer to flee, crash his BMW into a tree and put his own gun to his head, recalls another story about why that was the case. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, who gained office with the active support of gun owners after getting an “A” rating and NRA endorsement, then proceeded to reduce the number of concealed carry permits, rescinding those coming up for renewal. Comparing the eligible adult population with the number of permits Brown has allowed to remain active, public areas he oversees are essentially “gun-free zones” as far as law-abiding citizens are concerned.
Add to this Brown’s department was forewarned by the killer’s mother that she was concerned about her son, who, per The Los Angeles Times, “had been seeing therapists since he was a kid and had been prescribed psychotropic drugs.” It turns out the sheriff’s office had given the media bad information when they claimed they were unaware of the “disturbing videos” the killer had posted online, and they were forced to admit they dropped the ball. Investigators not only neglected to view those videos before dismissing the mother’s concerns, they also evidently neglected to determine that the killer had legally bought three handguns in compliance with California law, meaning he’d been through background checks, three separate waiting periods due to the state’s one gun a month law and, importantly, as far as the investigators were concerned, registration.
Inconveniently for those who profit from blaming tools for evil, he did not use demonized items portrayed as “assault weapons” or “high-capacity clips.” In a state rated tops for gun laws by the Brady Campaign, there is nothing much else to do, short of a total ban, which, of course, is what angry citizen disarmament zealots with self-control issues called for, unmindful of a coordinated effort to hide the end game and work toward it in increments. That makes it problematic for those characterizing further restrictions as “common-sense gun laws” and “a good first step.”
That goal, forgotten by many, was stated with candor in a 1976 New Yorker interview by Nelson “Pete” Shields, founder of what would become the Brady Campaign. “The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition—except for the military, police, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors-totally illegal,” he admitted, revealing they intended to work up to it in bite-sized chunks.
Instead, many anti-gunners went full bore, with the father of one of the victims blaming “craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA,” while those Joe Biden refers to as “legitimate news media” happily took advantage of his unimaginable grief to spread that meme. That poor man’s sentiment, while at least somewhat understandable, albeit irrationally misdirected, was picked up and promulgated by no shortage of monopoly of violence fanatics.
Ban ’Em All
“You say gun control doesn’t work? Fine. Let’s ban guns altogether,” an opinion piece for The Los Angeles Times advocated, unintentionally exposing the “No one wants to take your guns” talking point lie used incessantly to dismiss as paranoid anyone who points out that is exactly what the antis want. Accompanying such demands were innumerable insults equating gun owners with inadequately-endowed primitives, murderers, and haters, who sin against the collective with their “selfish” insistence on placing personal and family protection above demands to get rid of guns.
Offering an edict that would get things back on the incremental-gains track in California is a proposal for a “gun violence restraining order,” introduced and backed by long-time doctrinaire gun-grabbing politicians. Curiously, it ignores the state already has a “5150” involuntary psychiatric hold law the sheriff’s department, among its other decisions, chose not to invoke. It also runs counter to the concept of requiring due process before depriving citizens of rights.
“The proposed law would create a system where family members, friends and intimate partners could call police to intervene with troubled loved ones,” CNN reports.
“Law enforcement would be able to investigate threats and ask a judge to issue an order prohibiting firearms purchases and possession.” And how much “evidence” would be required if the reporting “family members, friends and intimate partners” happened to have motivations and axes of their own to grind against the person they turn in? It’s not like accusations from the disgruntled, the jilted and those with something to gain are unheard of. And just how close do the “friends” and intimate “partners” need to be to qualify?
On the national level, Pennsylvania Republican Congressman (and clinical psychologist) Tim Murphy has introduced a mental health bill that, per CQ Roll Call, “would encourage states to set a new standard for committing people—the need for treatment, not that they present an imminent danger. It would also make it easier for family members to take action.” His bill has broad support at this writing, with 50 Republicans and 36 Democrats on board.
A question gun owners ought to be asking, particularly of supposed “pro-gun” Republicans and any gun advocacy groups that may be floating the idea of “mental health reforms” as a scrap that can be thrown to circling jackals, thinking doing so will satisfy insatiable hunger and unquenchable thirst: Will they flesh out the process by which a person can have their rights restored, and will that process be affordable and equitably applied to all? Have they assurances all mental health professionals will put personal politics aside to certify such persons are now trustworthy enough for gun ownership again? And will their risk management policies and malpractice insurance carriers be OK with that?
For their part, anti-gun groups are keeping things more general, offering platitudes designed to manipulate the ignorant and the emotional. Never ones to let a grieving survivors go to waste, the Brady Campaign has seized on a statement made by the father of the victim mentioned above and turned it into the “Not One More” campaign, possibly the stupidest, most misdirecting and absolving of the real cause slogan since “Whip inflation now.”
Between that and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti conducting a “gun buyback” in response to Isla Vista, nothing comes to mind so much as “Epitaphs of the War: A Dead Statesman,” a poetic indictment by Rudyard Kipling. “I could not dig: I dared not rob: Therefore I lied to please the mob,” he wrote.
Inciters bent on prohibition are doing their utmost to whip that mob into a “gun control” frenzy, as they always do following the utter failure of their “controls” to stop anyone but those inclined to obey them. It’s up to gun owners to counter with a commitment that we will not be scapegoated, and remind them of a line from another Jagger song.
“You can’t always get what you want.”
By David Codrea