Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Human Factor

Another killing spree, this time in Orlando.  49 dead, scores wounded.  It was among the worst our nation has ever seen.  The predictable calls for gun control began almost instantly.

It boggles my mind that after a tragedy like this, the very first knee-jerk reaction is to demonize inanimate objects and call for further restrictions on the rights of Americans that had nothing to do with the attack.

This latest act of depravity happened in a gun-free zone, perpetrated by a man known to be unstable and angry. A man inspired by radical Islamic terrorism. A man who had been investigated by the FBI on more than one occasion.

Why isn't the focus on the man?  The human factor is glossed over, while guns and our gun rights are immediately thrust under the microscope once again.

The people that loudly claim that these tragedies wouldn't happen if only we could ban certain guns and make it harder for Americans to buy guns are the very same people holding the gate open as wide as possible for "refugees" we know nothing about from ISIS-infested Syria.  They're the same people working hard to ensure our border remains porous and immigration law remains unenforced so that anyone can waltz illegally across our border at any time and face no repercussions for doing so.

Ignoring or enabling the human factors while fighting to further restrict the individual rights enshrined in our nation's Constitution is completely irrational and wholly incompatible with logic and reason, especially in the context of our country's history, and bedrock principles of freedom, liberty, and the rule of law.

Now, that's not to say we don't have opportunities to do better with keeping guns out of the wrong hands.  We absolutely do.  But I haven't heard any proposals that will accomplish that without compromising due process.  More on that later.

The point is, logic and reason dictates that if you want to fix a problem, you address its root cause.  The root cause of murder isn't guns.  It's not certain kinds of guns, it's not how many rounds a gun's magazine can hold, and it's not one's ability to buy a gun.  And it sure isn't the NRA.

The root cause is people.  People do the killing.  People whose cultures, beliefs, upbringing or mental states prevent a harmonious relationship with civilized society.  People commit these acts, whether they use airplanes, fertilizer, guns, bombs, pressure cookers, cars or knives.  We need to focus on mitigating the human factors.

A basic and fundamental responsibility of our federal government is ensuring our borders are secured against illegal entry.  It needs to ensure that we thoroughly vet every single person that we allow into the country for even one day, and close the loop on visas, ensuring each and every visa holder leaves when they are supposed to and track them down if they don't.

We need to monitor what is being taught and preached in mosques, and we need to do better identifying those with potentially dangerous mental health issues and taking appropriate action to ensure they don't put themselves or others in danger.

We will never make meaningful progress toward solving the problem of mass killing and murder without a committed focus on the people and human factors involved.  Trying to address murder and killing by blaming guns is like trying to solve Hillary Clinton's criminally lackadaisical attitude toward classified information by blaming her keyboard.

Can we do better keeping guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them?  Yes. Solutions to this end, however, must be built around due process.  Giving unelected bureaucrats discretion to deny someone's Constitutional rights is not the way to do it.  If the government or anyone else believes someone should be prevented from buying firearms, a case should be brought in a court of law, the defendant should have a clear, expedient path to challenge the decision, and the ban should be lifted in a timely manner when an appeal is decided in the subject's favor.

Furthermore, the states and federal government need to collaborate and find a way for states to lawfully share information about people with potentially dangerous mental health conditions with the federal government.  A clinical diagnosis must be made before the patient in question can be banned from buying or owning guns.  Again, there should be a clear path to reverse this action if and when it's warranted.

These are people's rights we're talking about.  Our government's priority needs to be protecting our rights, not infringing upon them.  Anything less is anti-American.  It's "not who we are."