Gun laws? Oh yeah we’ve got laws. Lots of gun laws. Gun laws that apply before, during and after purchase. Prohibitory and punitive. Local, state and federal. And other laws too. Laws against disturbing the peace. Laws against “making terroristic threats.” But as you know, laws are not infallible. In the aftermath of the Midnight Movie Massacre, the public wants to know: how could we have prevented this horrific act? What laws could have stopped it? What new laws could stop it—or make a similar attack less lethal—in the future? The plain truth: whether it’s an active shooter or a gang banger gone wild, the “failures” that lead to tragedy are numerous and serial. Systems designed to detect or prevent bloodshed fail, because people fail. To wit . . .
Rainey, an employee of Blue Ribbon Steak and Seafood, had just knocked on Roop’s door at 1815 SW 30th Terrace and gotten no response when Roop pulled into the driveway, driving a pickup, according to an arrest report released Thursday.
Explaining his actions to police after the shooting, Roop said he became “more than a little nervous” as Rainey walked down the driveway toward his truck and appeared to have something in his hand.
As Rainey drew within 4 feet, Roop grabbed his 9mm Glock from his pocket and fired once, striking Rainey in the shoulder, he told police. Rainey fell to the ground, screaming, ‘You shot me,’ in what Roop described as an “antagonistic” manner, according to the report.
Roop said he was still in fear and thought Rainey was reaching for something, so he shot Rainey once more in the back of the head, “for effect,” the report said. A company order brochure and cell phone were found near Rainey’s body.
Roop told detectives Rainey should have respected his three “No Trespassing” signs and explained he didn’t warn Rainey after pulling his weapon because, “I’m not going to give him the chance to do something to me; I was in fear.” He told police he believes he possesses 14 firearms.
The news-press.com article clearly tries to make a link between multiple gun ownership and bad craziness. You and I know that’s not necessarily true. James Holmes bought four guns. Ever. And only had one speeding ticket to his name.
In contrast, a former prosecutor described Kenneth Roop as a “time bomb.” Seven years previously, he was charged with brandishing for pointing a gun at an electric meter reader. Ray Sotomayor’s description has more than a touch of CYA to it: “It’s unfortunate we didn’t get him convicted.”
This is also unfortunate:
Donna Perillo, who lived two doors down from Roop for about a year, said he was known as “the nut job from the block” and had called police several times on neighborhood children playing in the street near his home.
Perillo said the children, between the ages of 4 and 8, would ride their bikes up and down the street.
“He kept saying if they step foot on my property, they’re trespassing,” she said.
Each time, officers came and talked to the man and told him the kids were allowed to play in the street, she said.
“The cops came several times and said the man’s not all there, so have them pick a different turn-around point (on their bikes),” she said.
Go along to get along, as the Brits would say. I’m not sure what should have been done in this case. Or if anything could have been done that wouldn’t have infringed Roop’s rights and, thus, imperiled the rights of people who aren’t paranoid cold-blooded killers.
But I do believe there are times and places where it is right and proper for the police, neighbors, religious leaders/members and/or mental health professional to intervene in citizens’ lives, with an eye to both the person’s and society’s safety. Sometimes it takes a village to stop a killer.
And, lest we forget, there are laws for that.