Posted by Charity on August 26th, 2006

The early buzz has started about the need for gun control, as the region is reeling from the shootings in Essex. I know this is an emotional time and perhaps not the best time to expect logic and reason from people, but I too am emotional and need to rant.

I am not going to focus on the inanimate object used in this incident. The gun did not terrorize a community and end two lives. Like them or not, we have a constitutional right to bear arms. There is a good reason for this.

If you shouldn’t get mad at the gun, then where should you focus your out-of-control emotionalism?

How about at our messed up “justice” system? The shooter in this incident had a record of making threats against a former girl friend in Springfield, Massachusetts. She obtained a restraining order. He violated it three times and never showed up to court. The case is “pending.”

Pending? Pending?!? There is something you can be pissed off about. What the heck was this guy doing on the streets? How does this happen? Why does the law enforcement community not take domestic violence seriously? (Don’t even try to tell me they do, or I will so go off on you. – Hey, I can be emotional, too.)

There’s another thing that can and should be done to prevent this from happening. When a teacher or other school staff member has a crazy ex-boyfriend, whom she just described to the police as “flipping out” for the past two days, keep her away from the school and post a marked police car out front.

I am not trying to attack the victim here. Her mother is dead and I am sure she is in a really bad place right now mentally/emotionally. I truly feel for her. More than you know.

This is about policy – the policy of a government agency that expects us to place our children in their care. They have a high burden of responsibility to keep them safe. Can you imagine if this had happened next week when school was in session? They should have a policy that requires staff to report any kind of domestic situation so they can take precautions. They should require the staff to be reminded of this policy yearly, at least.

Once I worked at a place where a woman was having a domestic problem and they instituted a new lock system and gave us all key cards. This company took the safety of its employees seriously. Why should we expect anything less from the schools?

All schools should require that teachers/staff alert the principle of any domestic situations. The staff member should then be required to take some leave time and there should be police stationed at the school, just in case.

There is no gun control law that would have prevented this. A person with Williams’ criminal past can easily obtain a gun on the street. As it stands, the laws already in existence made it illegal for this man to have a gun. It is illegal for a person with a relief from abuse order (restraining order) against them to have a gun. It is also illegal for a person with certain criminal convictions to own a gun. My guess is that selling drugs in a school zone and car jacking fall into that category.

So, if you are angry, upset, grief stricken, fearful, or experiencing any other intense emotions in the wake of this incident (in other words, if you are human), do not focus your anger on guns. It would be far more productive to focus your emotions on changing the systemic failures in our government agencies of law enforcement, criminal justice, and the schools.

5 Responses to “The Aftermath”

  1. I told ya!

  2. This is a response to your last comment on my Dean post- I can’t comment at BP right now. There’s something screwed up with my website….

    Oh Charity, I hope you don’t think I was trying to make you look one way or another. I wasn’t, I swear. You must realize I consider you one of my best friends in the blogosphere. I just noticed you had blogged about Essex so I figured you had guns on your mind. I wasn’t trying to give you any ‘flak.’

    I think there are probably ways to enforce existing gun laws better. I think waiting periods, background checks and an end to selling at gun show would be a start.

    I’m not exactly sure how to interpret the Second Amendment. Obviously private folks can’t own nukes, so a line is drawn somewhere. Maybe we should draw the line at a more literal interpretation. All the Amendment says is the right to “keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Which may just mean the government isn’t allowed to cut our arms off.

  3. Charity, I am SOOOO sorry I haven’t stopped by earlier!
    Thank you for visiting CFN, I love your place and am going to come back often – especially in light of your stand for our Second Amendment rights.
    “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. A republic is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote!”

  4. Charity,

    You are correct that there are laws preventing someone with a relief from abuse order from owning or possessing a weapon. It is important to note though that the enforcement of this law is limited by the lack of federal resources to enforce it.

    Given that this law is a federal law, cases are referred to the federal prosecutor who can only respond to a limited amount of cases.

    If there were a state law on the books, local and state police could enforce this reasonable limit on gun ownership. More victims would be safe and more batterers would be held accountable.

  5. You all know my feelings on guns. Get rid of them, use the materials for manhole covers, or paperweights. Guns are just plain evil….