There’s an old saying that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. There’s a response that says if you ration guns, only rational people will have guns.
Bumper sticker slogans aside, the family murders in Spring, Texas, show that business as usual won’t do. We can’t have a society where a guy with a restraining order and a lengthy criminal record including violence against others gets a gun.
Ronald Lee Haskell, the alleged killer, apparently dressed like a FedEx worker and ambushed the family of his estranged wife’s sister. According to the testimony of a 15 year old girl, the only survivor (she suffered a skull fracture and is in critical condition at the time of this writing), he tied up and shot everyone in the family in the back of the head.
If the daughter hadn’t survived, more relatives would have been sure butchered until he offed his wife in an all-too-familiar tale of estranged spouses being gunned down.
Haskell was “man enough” to shoot two tied up adults and four kids in the back of the head, but not enough of a tough guy to even stand in court during a procedural hearing.
I’m sure there are some who would say that the Spring, Texas, family should have armed themselves. But the man had forced his way in with a gun at the head of one of the daughters. In Hollywood, nobody misses hitting the bad guy with a hostage, but when it’s a father or mother with a daughter and a gun pressed to her temple, it’s not so easy.
We need to figure out how he purchased the gun. If he did it legally, we need to know how someone with his record was able to do so. If he did so illegally, we need to figure out how that’s happening as well.
Republicans have been criticizing Obama for not focusing enough on mental health. But the President’s post-Sandy Hook shooting proposal called for just that, while a Georgia gun group (not the NRA) nearly made it harder to deny a gun to those with mental health issues. They are sure to bring that gun bill back up soon.
Comments on Yahoo have mostly focused on all the grisly ways Haskell should be executed. I agree with that sentiment, but even if you slather the guy with honey and lead an ant trail to him, it won’t bring back a single precious life that he snuffed out. The death penalty also doesn’t seem to be deterring these rage-filled individuals. And there’s this Constitution thing about cruel and unusual punishment that would have to be overturned.
There is hope that Republicans and Democrats can come together on this. In the wake of the UC Santa Barbara shooting, House GOP and Democratic Party members passed a bill (HR 4660) 260-145 calling for funding so states can deny weapons sales to those with mental health issues (House Amendment 704). The Senate is considering the bill (SB 2437).
The NRA is not taking a position on the bill. Only the group Gun Owners of America is opposing a bill, even though it is designed to block sales to “fugitives, those convicted of a felony, those adjudicated as having mental health issues, or has a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner” (like Haskell had against him, according to Fox News).
If you want to do something about it, call your Senator (you can find him or her here at www.politics1.com, along with an email address) and tell him or her you want that House Bill known as the Thompson Amendment (HR 4660) passed (voting for SB 2437 will do). Otherwise, expect more Texas tragedies like this one, in your town.
Feel free to share your opinions with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.