Thursday, November 09, 2017
Last Sunday terror was unleashed in a small country church in Texas. There is so much that can be said:
Trump says this was a massive failure of mental health, it was. The gunman had been treated - and escaped. He had threatened to hurt others in the past and treated in a mental hospital and walked away, and as a society we didn't assure that he received help. He was angry and violent. We knew this, and as a society we failed to assure that he received help that might have helped.
The gunman had been convicted of domestic violence and battery. Convictions that should have resulted in him being unable to purchase guns through a licensed gun dealer. The military failed to forward information about his conviction to the database. Someone failed to do their job.
The failure is not surprising. We still don't consider domestic violence as a serious crime. In this case, escalating domestic violence is likely what led to this tragedy. The gunman's estranged wife and mother in law frequently attended the church he attacked. Domestic violence is a serious crime.
Trump said, extreme vetting of gun buyers wouldn't have prevented this tragedy. Arguably, he is right, the gunman could have bought guns from a private seller, or used guns owned by a family member or friend, but simply complying with the laws that exist, would have prevented the gunman from buying the guns through retailers, as he did. It would have made it harder, maybe hard enough for him to not do what he did.
Society failed, we knew this person was angry and violent, we didn't assure that he received help, we didn't following existing laws that would have made it more difficult for him to buy guns. As a result, 26 people are dead, another 20 are injured. The survivors will never be the same, the community will never be the same, the country will never be the same.
It is well past time that as a society we accept that some people should not have access to guns. We need to help persons in need of mental health treatment, get access to it.
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