We’ve seen all of this play out before. An individual who police had previously investigated after reports of disturbing behavior goes on to commit a horrible crime. Before the bodies cold, the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex and gun-hating politicians claim the problem is — of course — the guns and the crime is just the latest evidence that we need more laws that further restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
We’ve seen so-called “known wolf” shooters before. People who had come to the attention of police or other authorities. Last year, it was the piece of human detritus who shot up a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs. The shooter there had made a bomb threat and was charged with felony kidnapping, but still wasn’t behind bars.
The most current chapter in this never-ending story is that of Robert Card, the Lewiston, Maine spree killer. He’d been committed in an Army hospital over the summer due to disturbing behavior and threats he’d made to shoot up his National Guard base.
Now, as CNN reports, the Maine National Guard were worried enough about Card’s behavior in September that they alerted local law enforcement.
The Maine National Guard asked local police to check on the reservist who killed 18 people after a soldier became concerned he would “snap and commit a mass shooting,” according to information shared with CNN.
Officers from the Sagadahoc County and Kennebec County Sheriff’s Offices responded and tried to contact Robert Card on September 16, less than six weeks before Wednesday’s massacres in a bowling alley and a bar, documents say, according to a law enforcement source.
More . . .
An Army spokesperson told CNN Card’s unit had requested a health and welfare check from the sheriff’s office.
“In September, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s office responded to a health and welfare check requested by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Card’s unit out of an abundance of caution after the unit became concerned for his safety,” Lt. Col. Ruth Castro said. “The Army takes all allegations seriously. Due to an ongoing Army investigation, we cannot go into any further details.”
But police didn’t talk to him.
When the Sagadahoc and Kennebec officers were deployed to his home on September 16, they did not make contact with the shooter but soon learned of his mental health problems and his guns, the law enforcement source told CNN.
The reservist would not answer the door to officers, the source said, so officers started to make calls to those who knew him.
The unit commander told one officer that the man no longer had any Guard weapons and arrangements had been made with his brother who had retrieved his personal firearms.
The commander also reportedly told the officer that he thought it best to let the man have time to himself.
The following day, the Sagadahoc officer spoke with the shooter’s brother, who warned him that the man would likely be armed if he did answer the door.
“I was later contacted by [the brother,] he told me that between him and his father they would work to ensure that [the man] does not have access to any firearms. They have a way to secure his weapons,” the source quoted from a welfare check report.
That obviously didn’t happen.
Maine has something called a yellow flag law that requires police to have an individual examined by a medical professional before they can petition a court to confiscate his firearms. If these media reports are accurate, they apparently made no attempt to do that.
A File 6 missing person’s report appears to have been generated by the Sagadahoc sergeant who tried to check on the man, the source told CNN, but it is unclear if there was any action in regard to the shooter’s access to weapons. The source said the case appeared to have been closed on October 1, 24 days before the massacres.
Meanwhile, the anti-gun furies were going full-bore against gun rights long before the bodies cooled and continue still. The fact that nothing was done about a man who had made numerous threats and alarmed the Army enough to ask for a wellness check was, of course, totally disregarded.
Brady president Kris Brown looked at what happened in Maine and decided that the real culprit here is…Ruger.
For those of you who still wear a mask when you’re driving alone in your car, Ruger makes legal products that they sell through highly regulated channels to individuals who have passed a federal background check. So despite Brown’s desperate attempt to use the Maine murders to advance her cause and justify her salary, it isn’t really clear why she thinks Ruger needs to be “held accountable” for anything.
Authorities report that the Maine killer bought his guns legally. And when he answered questions truthfully about his mental health history, a local dealer refused to sell him a suppressor.
Nearly three months before Wednesday’s shootings, Card tried to buy a firearm silencer from Coastal Defense Firearms in Auburn, Maine, but the owner of the store, Rick LaChapelle, refused to let Card complete the purchase after he disclosed on a form that he had mental health issues, The New York Times reported.
In other words, whatever you think about our current system of firearm regulation, when the laws that are currently on the books now are applied, they tend to work.
That, however, isn’t the case. And when those balls are dropped, they have resulted in a a lot of dead bodies. There have been a number of instances of significant, high profile systemic failures that led directly to some of the most notorious shootings in America. Charleston, Sutherland Springs, and Colorado Springs come immediately to mind. The Virginia Tech killer also freaked people out enough to raise alarms and these aren’t the only ones.
In other words, we have thousands of gun control laws already on the books. Enacting more won’t change the fact that bureaucracies are big, dumb, plodding and cumbersome. So are a lot of the people who work under them. The only thing additional laws will do is disarm more law-abiding people and make future crazed killers’ jobs easier.
It’s hard to conceive of someone who had raised more (ahem) red flags than Robert Card did. And yet nothing was done to either prosecute him for the arguably terroristic threats he’d made or to use laws already on the books to relieve him of his guns until he could get the mental health care he so clearly needed.
None of that, of course, will prevent the Kris Browns, Shannon Watts and Chris Murphys of the world from overlooking all of the failures in the system they’ve helped to build that allowed the Lewiston shooting to happen. And they they shamelessly use it — as have many others — to justify their constant efforts to limit Americans’ gun rights.