America has been experimenting with gun control in one form or another for well over 150 years. The laws were originally put in place to disarm blacks and other disfavored minorities. We’ve since progressed through the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, the Clinton assault weapons ban of 1994 along with myriad state and local laws regulating magazine capacity, firearm storage, the features of rifles, yadda, yadda, yadda.
They’ve all been miserable failures…assuming the goal, as stated by their supporters, was to do something about “gun violence.” These laws have had little if any measurable effect on anything other than making the lives of law-abiding citizens more difficult, dangerous and legally perilous.
Meanwhile, the number of firearms owned by Americans climbed steadily, both in spite of and frequently because of attempts to reign them in.
While societal levels of violent crime sank to historically low levels from about 1992 to 2019, the number of civilian-owned guns in America doubled. Gosh, it’s almost as if guns don’t really cause “gun violence.” Maybe there are actually other social, political, and economic factors at play that result in the levels and types of criminal activity rising and falling.
Just a thought.
Anyway, America’s also been experimenting in other areas over the last five to ten years again with, shall we say, less than promising results. The “progressive” notion that policing and the criminal justice system are inherently unfair and in some cases racist has been pushed by the left in America for generations. But the notion really began to take hold in the last decade or so and then accelerated after George Floyd was killed in the summer of 2020.
That’s when, building on the then-raging Covid hysteria, “progressive” prosecutors published lists of crimes they would no longer prosecute. Urban police departments’ budgets were slashed, cutting the number of cops on the streets and increasing response times. Prisons were opened, turning loose convicted criminals, many of them jailed for violent felonies. Bail laws were “reformed” allowing suspects who’d been arrested walk, sometimes the same day, without posting so much as a dollar of bail, even those arrested for violent crimes.
The resulting effect on the nation’s crime rate was as predictable as were the responses to them. Blue city and blue state politicians typically took one of two tacks when asked about rising crime. They either gaslighted, claiming nothing had really changed and that these were only transitory post-pandemic blips that would resolve themselves, or they doubled down, proclaiming that this is the price we must pay for social equity and fairness…that a just society demands making allowances for those who have been oppressed and held down for far too long.
Our friends in the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex certainly took advantage of the opportunity. They looked at skyrocketing crime rates combined with law-abiding citizens’ rational response — buying guns to protect themselves — and blamed it all on…of course!…too many guns.
The above is perfectly encapsulated in what took place at a Dallas hospital yesterday. Thirty-year-old Nestor Hernandez shot and killed two employees of Methodist Dallas Medical Center before being shot and wounded himself by a hospital security guard.
As the Associated Press reports . . .
Hernandez faces capital murder charges. At the time of the shooting he was on parole for aggravated robbery and was wearing an active ankle monitor, police said.
OK, but kera.com dug up more detail about Hernandez’s priors than the AP bothered to do . . .
“Hernandez is currently on parole for aggravated robbery and had an active ankle monitor,” according to a Dallas police statement.
Dallas police said Hernandez was arrested for capital murder after the shootings on Saturday.
Dallas Country records show that Hernandez has been convicted on multiple felonies since 2011. Those include convictions for robbery, aggravated robbery, burglary of a habitation, and possession of a controlled substance.
Hernandez got an 8-year sentence for aggravated robbery in 2015, records show.
According to the indictment, a man and a female accomplice punched a woman “from behind in the back of the head.” The man later was identified as Hernandez.
The victim “then felt the male suspect’s hands around her throat and he said, ‘Don’t scream or I’ll kill you!'”
The victim was forced inside her apartment pulled down to the ground by her hair and then struck again. She was tied up and the two suspects ransacked her apartment.
The suspects left with about $3,000 in cash from a school fundraiser and her cellphone, and they took her car.
The indictment states that the victim had a nose fracture and “an orbital wall blow out fracture to her left eye” and also had suffered cuts to her hands when she struggled to defend herself with a knife in her apartment.
Court records appear to show that after Hernandez agreed to a plea bargain, “enhancements” related to his prior criminal history that could have led to a stiffer sentence may not have been applied.
The indictment mentions Hernandez’ conviction for robbery in 2012 and noted that he had been committed to the Texas Youth Commission as a juvenile for “delinquent conduct constituting the felony offense of assault of a public servant.”
Records show the robbery conviction in 2012 had been reduced from an aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon charge in a plea agreement.
In other words, a violent convicted felon was walking the streets of Dallas and managed to get his hands on a firearm — that’s illegal, by the way — that he then used to murder two people in a hospital (also illegal). At least he was wearing an ankle monitor, though, so there’s that.
What we have here are a number of social experiments converging to produce a needless tragedy. We have gun control laws that keep law-abiding people disarmed while failing miserably — as they always have — to keep guns out of the hands of violent predators, even those on parole and under ostensibly active monitoring.
We also have a product of “criminal justice reform” — a violent multiple recidivist — who was allowed to walk free despite a decade-long history of victimizing others. Now two people are dead as a result.
Ask just about any politician in the city of Dallas today about what happened and what you’re likely to hear in response is a rant about America’s GUN PROBLEM. Some will even cloud the issue by bringing up Texas’s permitless carry law, as if that has anything at all to do with a felon in possession of a (probably stolen) firearm.
The last thing any of them will want to talk about, though, are the failed social policies that enabled Nestor Hernandez to be on the streets and in that hospital yesterday rather than behind bars. But don’t expect anyone in the media to press them on the question.
And so it goes.