Tuesday, July 05, 2022

If Laws Aren't Going To Work To Stop Crimo, Maybe They're Not Going To Work At All

Robert Crimo III was a total loon.

What on Earth was this maniac doing with a gun?

Highland Park is in Illinois, where they have some of the most stringent gun laws in the country and adjacent to Chicago where they have even more stringent gun laws. What I can't understand is how the laws are supposed to work if they couldn't stop Crimo from getting his hands on a gun.

Even assuming he did, aren't there mechanisms for reporting a dangerous nut to law enforcement? I'm guessing that even if he had been reported, there wasn't a way to justify keeping him under control.

There seems to be a serious disconnect between the intentions and conceptual uses of gun control laws and their reality when it comes to crazy people bent on mass murder. Just from a first order analysis of recent mass killings, it sure looks like the laws are an inferior way to prevent, stop or minimize them.

Whatever it is we're doing, it's not working. 

Update: Crimo was able to get the gun because his dad cosigned for him.

The man accused of shooting dozens of people at a parade in Illinois on Independence Day was able to purchase the firearms used in the attack because his father co-signed his Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which gun owners must have in that state.

The revelation comes after local law enforcement officials revealed earlier in the day that the suspect had already been on law enforcement’s radar due to a pair of incidents that happened back in 2019, including the suspect attempting suicide followed by an alleged threat to “kill everyone” several months later.

He may have been "on their radar," but the mind boggles thinking about just what he'd have to do to cause them to take action before he went bananas with his gun.

What are the usable mechanisms by which this loon would be taken off the street? Until that's laid out in plain language and used by the cops, all the laws in the world won't matter.

And then there's the question, do we want the cops to be able to take people off the street on a suspicion? Given how we've done away with stop-and-frisk, the answer would seem to be, "No."


tim eisele said...

"do we want the cops to be able to take people off the street on a suspicion?"

Not without a clear plan for what happens to people after you take them off the street. It sounds like that was the problem here. The police knew about him, and had him in their hands at times, but then didn't know what to do with him afterwards.

Going by the reports, his parents might very well be nearly as mentally ill as he is, so any plan that hinged on his parents cooperating wasn't going to help.

And just allowing the police to incarcerate people on suspicion is a really dangerous thing. We don't really want to give the government the power to "disappear" people who haven't committed any crimes, but may be inconvenient to the government to leave loose, do we?

K T Cat said...

Tim, I agree with you on all points. I'll throw another thought-seed back at you.

AR-15s have been around since the 1970s or earlier. Whatever we're doing now, we're doing it wrong if we don't want mass shootings.

In your view, what is it that we're doing wrong?

tim eisele said...

I think the big problem is that it isn't just one problem. It is at least three or four different things that have all come together:

1. Mental health care in the US is expensive, can be hard to find, and as far as I can see almost always requires the consent of the mentally ill person. The very people who need it most are the ones least likely to be able to afford it, and many of the most dangerous mental illnesses makes them actively resist getting it. This is a hard one, because mental health services provided by the government are way too tempting of a target for the government to abuse, but I think there needs to be something, at least on a basic level so that the mentally ill have somewhere to go/be sent to get help.

2. Gun laws end up spotty and riddled with loopholes, because the legislators pick one side or the other and go for "all or nothing". Which means they spend all their time sabotaging the laws rather than making them reasonable. Like this most recent case, where the law *was* actually stopping him from getting guns, until his father took advantage of a loophole to get him guns anyway.

3. There really are guns that only exist for shooting other people with. Regarding the AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles, yes, they have been around for a while. But when I was a kid, they were expensive, not really sold in most sporting goods stores, and rarely seen. The only semi-automatic rifles I ever saw in the 70s were .22s (like the one my brother had), and they tended to be cheap, finicky things that jammed constantly. The preferred firearms for hunting (which was why pretty much everyone I knew had them) were .22s and shotguns for small game, and bolt-action or lever-action rifles for deer. There really isn't a niche for something like the AR-15, which is too high-powered for small game, but not big enough or accurate enough for the "one-shot kill" that you need for deer (because if you don't drop a deer with the first shot, it will be gone before you have time to line up for a second shot). They are also less accurate, more likely to jam, and tedious to clean. The hunters I know who have fired semi-automatic rifles the size of the AR-15 agree that all they are really suited for, is shooting at groups of medium-sized, slow-moving targets at fairly short range, with the intent of killing or wounding as many as possible as quickly as possible. So, basically feral pigs, and groups of humans.

Which means that people buying them are getting them because they've been hoodwinked into thinking they are "wicked" or "sexy" or "necessary for self-defense". But honestly, if medium-caliber semi-automatic rifles stopped being manufactured right now, no one would really miss being able to buy them. And the ones that already exist would be much more confined to the hands of collectors and responsible gun owners rather than being something some lunatic could just go out and buy. And as far as self-defense, a shotgun or pistol is way handier and more useful, without also being that effective for mowing down crowds of people.

4. The news media and entertainment industry really are fanning the flames. The entertainment industry is basically pushing the whole idea of, "yes, you really can solve your problems by shooting your way out of them, or at least go out in a blaze of glory!" And at the same time, the news media is announcing "Hey, are you suicidal? And do you want to be famous? Well, do we have a deal for you!" I don't know how to get them to knock it off, though, because they are making money hand-over-fist this way.

Ohioan@Heart said...

“ [W]hat is it that we're doing wrong?”

Many years ago the courts decided that you could not place someone into custody unless they are ‘a danger to themselves or others’. The way that has become interpreted is way way off. For example, anyone that lives on the street and is addicted to drugs is (my opinion) clearly a danger to themselves (possible overdose and other long term health problems) and others (potential health issues for the community and robbery). But we can’t arrest them and place them into a drug rehab program. This makes no sense. Also, anyone who is as obviously disturbed as that man is should be classified as a danger to themselves and others. But the authorities could not put him into custody for treatment. Again, this makes no sense.

This has been going on for years and years. But we keep doing this and somehow people think we will get different results.

K T Cat said...

The guns have been around for a long time. The mass shootings are something new. So is losing 100,000 people a year to drug overdoses. So is a birth rate under 2. So is ...

Laws aren't the issue. Once civilization breaks down, they can't be enforced at scale with anything short of a police state.

IlĂ­on said...

As Breitbart used to say, "Politics [i.e. laws and law enforcement] is downstream of culture". As one of my on-line friends would say, "Sure, but culture is downstream of 'cult' (i.e. religion)." As Douglas Wilson says, "There is *always* a god of the system;" that is, there is no such thing as a government, nor a society, which is neutral with respect to religions/metaphysical committments.