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lancellot


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RE: Just saying... again!
Scarbrems, I do understand the mental health aspect of crime, and I get why some look at things like Red Flag laws as a solution. I don't like them, because I'm not sure if they are Constitutional. I don't like the idea of restricting a person's constitutional rights without Due Process or in the case of Red Flag laws, putting the cart before the horse.

Do I see the potential benefit in Red Flag laws? Yes, I do. But I also see the potential for abuse and injustice.

Also, mental health is a tricky topic, and in some cases a subjective one. All, mental Health issues are not the same. Plus, a person who is simply evil, bad, or immoral can be and may often be more dangerous than a person with mental health issues.

We can restrict the rights of one but not the other. This can leave the person with mental Health issues defenseless. It's very complicated.



Bananafish308

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RE: Just saying... again!
Message edited:

Sometimes it isn't "very complicated", as in the case of the Lewiston massacre, but more on that in a moment. Even when it is "very complicated", welcome to the real world. Many things in life are "very complicated", especially when it comes to law enforcement, legislation, and legal matters. I don't know of any law that is perfect. You can point to almost any law and identify its flaws. There are almost always going to be some people who feel it is unfair, and very often that is the case.  But we don't just ignore such a dire situation and refuse to take any action, do we?


It is a constant balancing act; weighing the detriments of a various law versus the benefits. Weighing whether the benefits are of such a magnitude (such as saving lives) that it outweighs maybe a very low risk of infringing on a right that doesn't directly deny one of life, liberty, and property (except a weapon designed to kill).


In this case, it is beyond simple. Mr. Card (the alleged murderer) literally announced his intentions to a friend only a month before. In mid-September, he announced to a friend that he had guns and was "going to shoot up the drill center at Saco and other places."


This was just the culmination of a series of very concerning incidents and threats in the months leading up to the massacre. Back in July, at West Point, he accused "several other soldiers" of calling him a pedophile, shoved one, and made veiled threats that he would "take care" of things. Numerous people, including multiple family members and his Army Reserve Unit, expressed serious concerns about his mental health to law enforcement, including concerns that he was dangerous to himself and others. Card's own brother told the sheriff's department that he and his father would try to take Card's guns away from him.


This is as clear-cut as it gets. There is no way this person should have been allowed to keep his guns after all this. A red flag law might very well have saved 18 lives. Of course, any red flag law should respect due process so it doesn't infringe on one's constitutional rights. It's pretty simple to have a process whereby any gun seizure requires a court order by a judge, similar to the process used to issue warrants. Law officers would petition the judge and present him/her with a report. The judge would examine all the evidence and eyewitness statements and render a decision.


Even worse than keeping his guns, Card actually legally purchased guns AFTER all this and not too long before the shootings. Now THAT is what I call insane. Part of the process with a red flag law should be that the Federal background check database also red flags the person. This would have prevented him from purchasing more guns.


The combined actions of seizing his guns and preventing him from purchasing more guns might very well have saved 18 lives.


While I believe this process clearly does not violate one's constitutional rights, I take the concerns over constitutional rights with a grain of salt. If we were a society / legal system that was diligent about these rights, I would take it more seriously, but we aren't. Our legal system constantly tramples all over the rights of the people, especially those who are poor and don't have access to first-rate legal representation. Just a few examples:


We constantly incarcerate people who can't afford bail BEFORE trial, sometimes for months, or even years. If this doesn't violate due process, what does?


What about illegal immigrants who are immediately deported without due process? And yes, they are entitled to the same Constitutional protections as citizens the moment they step foot on U.S. soil. If you don't believe this is true, I suggest you look it up before challenging me on it.


What about when innocent people get incarcerated for years, sometimes on flimsy or even fabricated evidence, while evidence that would exonerate them is deliberately suppressed?


What about when immoral prosecutors exploit indigent defendants and illegally coerce them into pleading guilty to crimes they didn't commit?


Is it an infringement of due process and one's Constitutional rights when SWAT teams get search warrants sometimes on very questionable grounds and storm someone's home searching for drugs (sometimes mistakenly), and sometimes with guns blazing and sometimes killing one or more occupants? 


My point is, if we as a society collectively accept these common tactics as part of law enforcement, when the purpose is not to directly save lives, then we can certainly accept red flag laws that can actually save lives.


So, Lancelot, if you have the same Constitutional (due process) concerns about these tactics that I described, then I understand and appreciate your concerns, although I still think the greater concern is to prevent these mass killings. The implementation of red flag laws need not be permanent. At any time, a judge should be able to rescind it if further mitigating evidence comes to light. Temporarily taking guns away from a mentally ill person is a small price to pay for possibly preventing one of these massacres.


Now, if you aren't concerned about the Constitutional implications of the scenarios I detailed above, then I suggest you apply the same mentality to red-flag laws with the benefit of understanding that they may very well save lives.




2021 Script Writer of the Year
lancellot


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RE: Just saying... again!
Thank you for that very long detailed and pointed response to me saying almost the same thing.

I never said there should not BE Red Flag Laws. I never said we should get rid of them. I never said I did not understand why they exist. I didn't even said I was against them or they never worked. I never said they did not have benefits. NEVER!!!!

I stated I don't like them. I understand them, and as you yourself stated in a long way. They do contain the potential of abuse and may infringe on Constitution rights and due process. It's a balancing act. It's complicated.

I never said, "Because it's complicated Don't Do it." I neve said all that stuff you heaped on me. NEVER.

Please, try not to automatically be against me when you see my name. Take a moment, we may actually agree. I do get tired of that.

CD Richards

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RE: Just saying... again!
To reiterate the totally unreasonable hardline approach I've stated before:

If the general population is not permitted to carry firearms, there is no need for "red-flag" laws. To me, this seems blindingly obvious.

I'm glad to see Bill contributing again. I admire his great sense and ability to argue a point clearly and fairly, the same goes for Emma. However, as sensible as Bill's opposition to carte-blanche gun ownership is, it's still not as strong as I'd like.

I believe that the US is the only country represented by forum contributors that permits almost anyone to own a gun. It is also the only country which unconditionally accepts personal protection as a justification for firearm ownership -- at least in many states. These two factors ensure it is also the worst off by far in terms of the number of its citizens slaughtered for no reason.

I find it hard to fathom how meekly even gun opponents in the US accept the NRA line that the constitution entitles everyone to own devices designed for no purpose other than to kill.

The second amendment speaks of the right for a well-ordered militia to bear arms. Whatever that term may mean, clearly, a nation which kills many times more of its own citizens than any comparable nation is not one. So it doesn't apply. Furthermore, nowhere does it specify the type of weapon permitted. It could mean guns, it could also mean baseball bats or rocks. One thing is for certain - at the time the laws were written it didn't mean weapons that could take dozens of innocent lives in the blink of an eye. Would those who wrote the constitution have approved of the entire population being permitted to carry Glocks and AR15s? I very much doubt it. So the laws need to be interpreted using common sense - something never employed by gun advocates.

Back to the subject of countries that don't bury their citizens by the tens of thousands annually. Which of them has satisfactory gun laws? In my opinion, none of them. But they are all better off than the free-for-all some here espouse.



Scarbrems


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RE: Just saying... again!
Message edited:

I don't think specific 'red flag' laws are the answer. It would have to be predicated on diagnoses which not everyone has, and there's too many variables, such as sudden onset psychosis. My response was really simply to address the argument that mental health is the problem, not guns. I pointed out that, in a population where it is considered that mental health issues are increasing and not being dealt with, widespread easy access to guns IS a problem. Reducing access to guns IN GENERAL makes a whole lot more sense than fiddling about with laws for some groups and not others. Regardless of whether this is doable in the states or not, whether people want it or not is besides the point I was making, which was that mental health issues and guns are not good bedfellows. My knowledge of US law and constitution or lack of it doesn't change that very simple fact. What changes could or could not be made is not up to me, as Lancelot says. I just wanted to explain why to me, it's not entirely logical to take the view that rising mental health issues which need to be addressed negates the need to also look at the weaponry available to the general public. Someone being dumb enough to light a match in a firework factory doesn't mean we should stop selling matches or fireworks. But if it happens a lot, despite the clear and obvious consequences, I would like to think, whilst we looked at dealing with the reasons an increased amount of people are doing it, we might also be looking at making sure it's harder for people in general to get in the factory to do it, rather than simply saying, 'oh, we just need to address the mental health issues, it's fine to leave the doors to the factory unlocked because it isn't the fault of the factory or the matches'.  If animcreasing number of people are lighting matches in fireworks factories, it also doesn't seem it would be terribly logical to cite the number of responsible people who don't do this as a reason not to secure the factory against people who do.




Bananafish308

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RE: Just saying... again!
Message edited:

Red flag laws aren't meant to be the answer. They should be just one of a number of gun safety laws that, in conjunction, would save lives. I have listed these other possible laws so many times in this forum that it gets quite tiresome. It always seems like we're back to square one when a new discussion begins.


I only mentioned red flag laws because, in this particular case, it might very well have saved 18 lives. I think the procedure I outlined would go a long way toward addressing concerns. It's not so much about the actual clinical mental illness, and I think the decision shouldn't necessarily be about an actual mental health diagnosis. More importantly, it should be about whether the person is a danger to himself/herself and/or others. Again, as I said earlier, there would have to be clear and convincing evidence of this (as in this case), and a judge would have to rule on it. If the person has shown clear indications of being dangerous to themselves and others (especially making actual threats), does it really matter what the mental health diagnosis is? They shouldn't have guns regardless of whether or not they are "mentally ill."


Is it a perfect process? Absolutely, not. We have so few options, though, since we are a society held hostage by a g government literally in collusion with the gun lobby, and a small minority of gun fanatics. Many like myself are sick and tired of the carnage and feel trying something that is admittedly imperfect is better than continuing to do nothing.


To reiterate, as I'm sure you've seen, many times in these forums I have presented a comprehensive approach (beyond just red flag laws) to gun safety that would have an impact on reducing gun deaths. One need just look at states like New York and Massachusetts which have implemented many of these suggestions, and as a result have much lower gun death rates than states with more permissive gun laws like Maine.


I am rushing this, as I need to get back to work, so please excuse any lapses in clarity.




Bananafish308

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RE: Just saying... again!
One further clarification, because I might not have been clear enough on this. The red flag law I envision, would not take guns away from a person simply for being diagnosed with a mental illness. There would have to also be convincing evidence that they are a danger to themselves and others.


Bananafish308

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RE: Just saying... again!
Message edited:

Emma, now that I had a chance to reread your post more carefully (I was rushing to get back to work earlier), I realize that you and I are in complete agreement about using mental health as an excuse for the gun carnage in this country. My feeling is that it is often just a convenient excuse to deflect attention from the real culprit, which is easy access to guns, as you said.


While mental illness seems to have been a factor in this current shooting, it is clear that a large percentage of shootings are a result of exactly what you said, too easy access to guns. Repeated studies show that households with guns result in MORE gun deaths, not less. A recent study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, one of the most extensive one done to date, shows that homicides at home were three times more common for those living with a gun owner than those in gun-free households


Further, people living with gun owners were seven times more likely to be shot by their spouse or intimate partner. So, yes, mental illness is not the problem, easy access to guns is the problem. As Craig and other have pointed out, other countries have similar levels of mental illness without similar levels of gun violence.


The same goes for states like New York and Massachusetts. I am sure they have similar levels of mental illness to states with much higher gun death rates. The difference? Reasonable, sane (pun inteneded) gun control.




Bananafish308

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RE: Just saying... again!
Hey Craig,

Good to see you. I've been meaning to respond to your post. Thanks for the kind words.

I understand when you say that my opposition to carte-blanche gun ownership is not as strong as you'd like. I have to admit I'm guilty of adhering to the old adage of: "fighting the fights you can win, rather than fighting the fights that need fighting." The majority (and in some instances vast majority) of Americans support a number of the gun control initiatives that myself and others support. It is with that in mind that I take my somewhat nuanced approach and support the following initiatives on the Federal level:

Universal background checks including for ammunition and including possible waiting periods to do more detailed background checks if the situation warrants

A ban on semi-automatic rifles (or at least limiting gun magazine capacities)

A red flag law along the lines of what I previously discussed

A ban on concealed carry and open carry in public (or at least strict licensing requirements)

Mandatory requirements for safe storage of guns

Mandatory requirements for training in the safe handling of guns

Possibly requiring gun owners to acquire insurance (we force car owners and home owners to get insurance, so why not gun owners, also)

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a starting point. It clearly falls far short of a total gun ban, and yet many would consider a ban on both concealed and open carry quite radical, and a violation of the Second Amendment. I'm sure you, Emma and many other sensible people will find these to be quite reasonable suggestions, but I guarantee you some right here on this forum are losing their minds over these suggestions. Let's see what kind of flack I take for it.

Ideally, I would love nothing more than to have a country without guns. As you know, though, that is not going to happen in America at this point. By advocating for that, I feel all it does is play right into the lie constantly propagated by the NRA and the gun fanatics in Congress and the general public, that Democrats are coming for their guns.

However, I do hold out hope for the future. Many of the young folks in America don't share the gun obsession common among many in the older generations.

Scarbrems


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RE: Just saying... again!
Banana, it was late when I read your post so I didn't respond, but I thought you might have misread.
I do sympathise with the idea of having to look at what might be possible. Your nation has a different relationship to guns than mine.

And I think that's what's hard for us 'outsiders' to grasp (well, this particular outsider, anyway). There's a love affair there that goes beyond a mere tool for defence.

Over the years, in this forum and beyond, I have heard all the 'rational' reasons. Criminals will still have guns, we need to be able to defend ourselves if the government goes bad, etc. But the excuses tell a different story. The variants of 'guns don't kill people, people do'. Mental health is the latest in a long line of 'it's not guns'. It's almost like the defence of an abusive lover. It's not him, it's me.

I have heard it said that it's a symbol of freedom for America, and it might have been, once. It isn't now. And it might be the case that everybody's always had guns and there weren't always these shootings'. Well, there are now. If, as you say, Banana, more of the younger generation feel differently, change might happen. Those born into this world, further away from the rose-tinted past and more concerned with the realities of the present may break off the relationship. This is the generation that had to go to school with a bullet-proof backpack, after all.

   
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