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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 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.

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  1. This. A thousand times, this.

    Every time there is a spree killing, the killer turns out to have left a trail of crazy in his or her wake. Without instituting a draconian system of oversight, we need to get better at spotting crazy before crazy becomes homicidal.

    • The question is, how do we do that without infringing on rights? Is the opinion of a neighbor enough to warrant a home visit from a mental health professional? There aren’t enough psychologists in the world to cover all the calls that would come in. Psych evals for gun ownership? That would impose additional costs and prohibition on gun ownership and they are subjective, and I bet there are a lot of psychs that would say you’re crazy just for wanting a gun in the first place.

      I think that we just need to accept that bad things happen occasionally, and that will never change. Crazy will always be crazy

      • Take it from someone who’s worked both sides of the justice system: a long history of legitimate neighbor complaints and police calls to a certain house is a pretty reliable indicator of crazy, or drunk, or criminal scumbag.

        • A person’s history is always a reliable indicator in retrospect. But who decides what counts as ‘long’ when it comes to drawing the line? 2 incidents? 10 incidents?

        • This happened in my city.

          Apparently in the past the man had pulled a gun on a meter reader.

      • When someone is rejected from applying for military service because of erratic behavior, when someone is feared by their family, when someone is reported to college administration by faculty and students who fear for their safety … why should we just give them a pass?

        I agree that we need to be highly protective of individual freedoms, but also need to get better at recognizing when an individual is becoming a danger to themselves and others.

        And to be clear – I am not talking about forced institutionalization. I am talking about providing better mental health options to those affected and their families. Give families the tools they need to care for loved ones that suffer from severe mental illnesses. Give them the tools they need.

        In my home town a mentally unstable young man killed his parents and his brother with a sword. They tried to get him help, but the system is far too protective of the patient, and his family paid the ultimate price.

        • Need more Sword Control.

          No more “assault swords”. Basically fencing foils are all a legitimate sword owner should need, anything else is evil.

        • recognizing when an individual is becoming a danger to themselves and others.
          It sounds like your a danger to others with your compulsory services program.

        • Given that involuntary commitment is the only option (without considering genuinly inhumane options like summary exececution) that would do the job in the case of most crazy people- why not talk about it?

          As for cases “when someone is reported to college administration by faculty and students who fear for their safety”.. well.. this is a site that talks about guns right? Gun rights advocacy at many universities would be a pretty good way to get on a ‘persons who need to be trailed around by loony government mental health workers without being given any chance to prove themselves to be utterly sane and rational’ list.

      • “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” Thomas Jefferson

    • Even crazy people have rights — in particular, the right to due process of law. There was a time when intervention was the norm. Complaints being lodged, suspected looney-tunes might be detained for questioning. If they were exhibiting psychotic behavior, they were further detained and afforded a due process hearing with their chosen or court-appointed representation. If they were as batshit crazy like friends, family and neighbors suspected, some form of treatment was required. It was a cumbersome process and not always effective, but it was better than no process at all which is where many atates and cities are today. It was also expensive, but less expensive than murders and suicides.

      It’s easier to give suspected crazies their due process rights after they do something really horrific to themselves or others, but the societal cost is very high. Admittedly, it seems unlikely that any process would have derailed Holmes’ killing plans, but still, it would be helpful to place a greater emphasis on treating people with severe psychological issues before sh!t happens, rather than waiting until the worst occurs.

      • I have no interest in intervention. What we need is mental healthcare and awareness that matches the best of our healthcare system.

        Imagine is we put as much effort into mental health as we do in cancer awareness, education, research, and treatment.

      • but less expensive than murders and suicides.

        The only “expense” to suicides is lost tax revenues to politicians.

        • No, we’re also looking losing potentially productive members of society. There’s no reason to be so casually dismissive.

        • That’s not an “expense”. That’s using the same logic as the MPAA to claim that downloading something you had no intention of paying for is costing them money.

          Very few people are so talented / brilliant that losing them would make the world a worse place for society – in general, people are a dime a dozen and it’s very easy to replace someone.

  2. Every state has some form of law to deal with people whom they believe have mental issues.

    The issue, even in CT is this:

    “Neither state law nor regulations (1) specify procedures police must follow when apprehending people with mental disabilities or (2) require police departments to establish procedures or train officers how to respond appropriately in such circumstances. ”

    In CT, they have a CIT program in most of major cities (Crises Intervention Team) modeled after a program that originated in the Memphis, Tennessee, Police Department. Typically, officers initially receive 40 hours of CIT training in how to handle the immediate crisis involving a person with special needs, including mental disabilities, as well as to facilitate the delivery of treatment and other services to such a person.

    A CIT Trained officer in conjunction with a social worker can after interviewing the person can have emergency detention and commitment of mentally ill persons. That person is then taken to a private or public facility and must remain their for 15 days where a doctor must evaluate the patient. After evaluation by psychiatrists, that person may be released, or via Probate court and legal representation, be compelled to stay for up to another 120 days. The examination of such person checks to see if there is an organic (disease) or other condition that requires that person to be treated in a mental facility. The person must be in danger of harming himself or someone else.

    At this point, in CT, if they owned any firearms, they would be taken away.

    In general, mental illness is not handled well anyplace and often under funded. The way we treat mental patiences in many cases is to throw them in jail. And estimated 25% of the prison population is of mentally ill persons who could otherwise be treated with medication or some other mental facility. Many conditions can be treated with long term care and medication in out patient environment.

    Doing this is a) expensive [The Democrates took away all the funding back in 84] b) takes time and medical infrastructure — both things politicians have no clue how to deal with so they rather just blame the guns and make believe to the sheepish public they did something.

  3. Well in this instance yeah I kinda agree.
    But we also see instances where in the past he had pulled guns on others, a meter reader ggezz.. His behavior seemed off as most people put it. In this instance yeah he was off. Some sales guy gets shot. I understand defending yourself, but just saying you were in fear, from a cell phone? It wasn’t a dark alley was it? I wasn’t bad weather, and it certainly didn’t sound like the victim was making verbal or physical threats against this guy. The fact he has more than one gun, really isn’t the point. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Some folks might have on gun and be nuts, and some folks might have hundreds and be perfectly sane. I think what they might have been trying to do is paint a picture of the man as a crazy frightened from the world who bought a large amount of firearms in the process.
    Honestly if they convict this guy I hope it is on the fact he shot someone, I am assuming in daylight, in his driveway. I am assuming the person shot was not a gang banger, this was not a high risk vehicle stop, and the victim was not a known drug dealer or criminal.
    People have the right to defend themselves but I think the Coup de grace to the back of the head kinda throws this well beyond just a DGU.

  4. O.K., so the state failed to convict him on the brandishing charge–a conviction that would have taken away his right to own a firearm legally, I presume–but somehow, it’s the fault of gun rights people for what happened? It’s just cute how we’re supposed to be perfect, but no one else has to be.

  5. What ever happened to the conservative anti-psychology movement. Shrinks are just as evil and crazy as any shooter.

    • And they are more destructive since there are so many willing victims ready to believe their lies. How many lives were ruined by lobotomies performed without consent in the early 20th century? Why do I have to point this out to you people?

  6. Who cares if he pulled a gun on a meter reader? If I saw someone snooping around the side of my house, i’d a come out brandishing a firearm. And how is holding a gun in your own hand, on your property illegal?

    • If you saw a guy wearing an orange vest that says “power company” on it, you would come out with a menacing voice and a gun? Possibly even pointed at the poor guy? I hope they convict you too.

      • Cause you know it is really hard to go to home depot, buy a safety vest, some adhesive sign letters, and a clip board. Not all of them wear vests either.

        Oh noes, someone had a gun pointed at them. Police point guns at people who aren’t a threat on a daily basis.

    • yeah, but would you just shoot the person without warning. and put another in his head while he was down? it seems to me he shot the guy for walking towards him.

      • I was referring to this part of the article

        Seven years previously, he was charged with brandishing for pointing a gun at an electric meter reader.

  7. Damn…how tragic and what a paranoid, psycho scumbag. These are the guy’s we can’t ever account for with additional gun legislation, and are the guy’s/acts that threaten the rights for the rest of us. Glad this POS is off the streets and I feel bad for the killed guy’s family. Damn again.

  8. Sounds to me like he didn’t make much of an effort to exhaust every option available to him before executing Roop after he was down.
    In the back of the head, indicating he was face down.
    Sounds to me like this guy might be more comfy in a jail cell with a husky cellmate than a serene little development safe enough for kids to be playing in the street.

    • FL has the death penalty, which sounds appropriate for this whackadoo coward.

  9. Several years back, a local teenager, I believe he was 18 or so, killed his parents, cut them up, burned them, and tossed the remains in the river. He was convicted and deemed insane. He was shuffled around the state for about 15 years and now lives in a halfway house less than an hour from my home. He was released because of funding cutbacks at the “boobie-hatch.” Can’t remember if he used a gun but it doesn’t matter, he still did the crime but just some of the time.

    The police can’t be with you at all times to protect you, but Bill Ruger can.

  10. All righty! We pass a law against, no wait we did that. OK I’ve got it, a bill is proposed in congress that would limit, nope that was already done. OK OK HERE IT IS! What we do is get the city to pass an ordinance against being, oh hell tried that and the ACLU got it repealed.

  11. The AP has an article “Alleged Shooter Was Surrounded by Brain Experts”. They report that brilliant academics teaching James Holmes and about three dozen other Grad Students in Neuroscience failed to see any warning signs, or if they did, the University of Colorado isn’t talking about it.
    True, the article says only “some [of the faculty] neuroscientists are experts in mental illnesses and aberrant behavior”. However, just this May, Holmes made a presentation in a class called “Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders”. It certainly seems likely that such “experts in mental illness and aberrant behavior” were working closely with Holmes in this course, in an excellent position to observe his behavior. The faculty either failed to observe any danger signs, or failed to do anything effective about it.
    Contrast the tragically inept “expert” neuroscientists at the University with Glenn Rotkovitch, the owner of a private range to which Holmes applied for membership. When he called Holmes, he heard a “bizarre” recording Holmes had on his answer machine. That was enough for Glenn to reject Holmes as a member, and alert others that he might show up at the range.

    Too bad Mr. Rotkovitch was not a member of the Colorado University Faculty. With academic credentials on that level, he might have been able to do a lot more.

    • Cause you know, the most important qualification for becoming a member of the neuroscience faculty is your bias against voice mail greetings.

  12. longpurple; you just described Maj Nadal Hasan and the blind eye given to him by those who new better.

    I don’t know; when did life became cheap and legally disposable // when the cry for so call freedom from Believing was the fad // when “God is dead, God is dead, God is dead became the rallying motto // one thing was forgotten, the end of that “freedom call” and I paraphrase; when the idea that God is dead takes hold the 20th Century will be the bloodiest century in the history of mankind.

    Might be over simplistic in my part but I remember growing up at a time when people respected each other and accepted that an absolute moral code guided us thru life. Things like your word was good enough// the front door was never locked // every one in the street new everyone and kept an eye out for the kids, yours and eveyones else.

    You could believe anything you wanted and worship if you wanted or headed for the beach on Sunday, this was your business. It was respected and given space. That was your life.

    As long as that code was respected there was a balance, well the intelligensia says that there is no absolutes, and a tree, a bird, a fish, a whale, turtle eggs have more value than human life. Intelligencia says that there is no absolutes, man is free to make his own morality, and decide what is right and what is wrong. Man is the god of his life and the maker of his own destiny.

    But the same ones that claim this are the ones howlering the loudest about the failure of man to live in this fantasy of their creation.

    Just thinking

    • Yes —- much the same situation with Holmes as was the case with Major Hasan. They were both in daily contact with “experts” in mental illness; Holmes by the faculty members who were reported to work very closely with the Grad Students in his Ph. D. program, and Hasan had colleagues with Psychiatry credentials equal to or better than his own.
      I’m wondering how these “experts” failed to observe the respective cases of dangerous mental imbalance they should have recognized. Did they fail to see the problem? Was there a cover-up at their level or above?
      It seems very strange that a man who owned a private range, with no M. D. or Ph. D. reported, apparently made a more accurate judgment of the mental state of Holmes by simply listening to his recorded greeting than these highly qualified “experts” arrived at over an extended period of close contact.

      • you are right LongPurple; but only after the fact// the cover up and the CYA’s go into effect after the blood of innocents is flowing. But what adds insult to injury is the fact that the one that is ready to sign the UN ban is the same fellow who classified Hasan’s murders as “Work related violence”. A new type of work related violence I most add; one were the killer is shouting “our god is the greatest” while he kills// funny thing is, this is the same shouting you hear from our enemies accross the globe as they do their jihad thin-gee. Barry Soetero is ready to sign and Clinton made military bases, gun free zones. We don’t seem to get much good from the folks coming from the planet Stupider.

      • Check this out// can anyone say: consppppppppppp

        Psychiatrist Called Threat Team About Aurora Shooting Suspect James Holmes
        August 2, 2012 1:21:12 AM CDT · by dennisw · 12 replies
        abcnews ^ | Aug. 1, 2012 | mark greenblatt
        James Holmes came to the attention of the threat assessment committee at the University of Colorado but no further action was taken because he left the school more than a month before the attack that killed 12 and injured 58, sources told ABC News. ABC News has learned that Dr. Lynne Fenton, the psychiatrist who was treating Holmes, 24, at the school, was also a key member of the university’s threat assessment team. The group of experts were responsible for protecting the school from potentially violent students. KMGH-TV, ABC News’ affiliate in Denver, reported exclusively that, according to sources, by…

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