Saturday Morning: Nice Try Rick Scott

The FBI has admitted it made a major mistake mishandling a tip regarding the Parkland, FL assassin.  The reaction of Florida governor Rick Scott is to call for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray.  Neither of these elements is helpful.  No, FBI you don’t get to make an apology and walk quietly away.  The Bureau needs to conduct an internal review, and if some heads should roll then make the consequences fit the incompetence.  And no, Governor Scott you don’t get to rail about the FBI as a way to excuse the incompetence of an administration which has an A+ from the National Rifle Association for “more pro-gun” legislation than…whatever. [Time]

It seems no level of government and no agency was ready to deal with an “evil kid.” Local authorities were called to his address for various and sundry forms of abuse, violence, and assaults 39 times in a seven year period.  39 times.  The shooter was detained for mental health treatment at least once.  And still he could walk into a gun store and walk out with an assault style rifle, because “freedom.”

Most kids will tell you it’s easy to get suspended from school, getting expelled takes some real work. [FL statute] This shooter was expelled, but before he was expelled he’d been admonished for his anti-social behavior, and informed that he was not to appear at school with a back pack, the only item he was allowed to carry was a clear plastic bag.  Evidently that was insufficient, he was expelled.  And still he could walk into a gun store and walk out with an assault style rifle, because “freedom.”

Where were the mental health professionals in Florida while this young man was continuing his destructive pattern of anti-social behavior?  Still reeling from state budget cuts to mental health services, and trying to figure out how to make cuts such that no one program took the entire hit? [Orlando Sent]  So, while funding for ‘receiving centers’ where police could assign individuals for evaluation was cut, a young man could walk into a gun store and walk out with an assault style rifle, because “freedom.”

The young man issued racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-Islamic, violent rants on social media.  Did social media platforms flag his demented spiels?  He affiliated with a white supremacist group. (Last month a white supremacist was charged with domestic terrorism, but the public barely heard of it. [Salon])  The Countering Violent Terrorism program is still a part of the federal bureaucracy and White extremists are still listed, but expect budget cuts for grant programs to state and local governments to combat terrorism, and we can expect the administration to fold programs together in the name of greater efficiency. [Snopes]  Someone has to pay for those permanent tax cuts for corporations and the top 1%. So, still a young man could walk into a gun store and walk out with an assault style rifle, because “freedom.”

We’d probably be far better off if we’d tell Congressional representatives to forget giving corporations and billionaires a tax cut and start funding programs that adequately service the mental health needs of our citizens, adequately fund state and local anti-terrorism efforts, and require more information sources feeding into the background check database.  What we don’t need?  More concealed carry reciprocity laws. More lax restrictions on gun magazines. More lax statutes on who can get an assault style rifles.  More lax regulations on gun modifications to emulate automatic fire.  More people arguing that if an 18 year old can serve in the military he should be able to buy an assault style rifle.  How about if we said to an 18 year old — You want to shoot an M-16? Join the US Armed Forces, learn to operate your M-16 under adult supervision within a clear structure of command, learning when, where, and under what circumstances it’s appropriate to use your firearms?

Perhaps we should consider “red flag” laws which allow authorities to remove firearms from those who are a clear and immediate danger to themselves and to others. California, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, and Indiana allow such actions. [WaPo]

Perhaps we could start listening to the kids.

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