I want to explain again that this incident was tragic. The shooter apparently was delusional and probably needed mental help. WDBJ had issues with the Flanagan when he worked for them. He was one of the types of employees that give employers and fellow employees headaches with HR complaints due to narcissistic behavior. Even when WDBJ terminated his employment, he had to be escorted out of the building by law enforcement and the room had to be cleared so that there would be no confrontation with the employees while he cleared his desk. He had issues and his employment with WDBJ didn’t help at all.
Many people have been making this into a gun issue. The government will never be able to predict if people will mentally snap (or not). Penalizing people because it *might* happen is stupid. Penalizing a whole population because a small percentage lose their minds is stupid. Adding additional laws when the current ones don’t stop such tragic events is stupid. Each mass murder or active shooter incident needs to be analyzed scientifically (not emotionally), as each shooter/killer has different motives and none of them represent the population that legally carries. Case in point, when Flanagan was being escorted off of WDBJ property by LEOs, and if he’d obtained a concealed carry license, they would almost certainly have been in a much higher state of alert after seeing how belligerent he was.
So far, we know the following:
- He obtained the weapon via legal means — a bought a gun after passing a background check and the check didn’t flag him as someone that shouldn’t own a gun. He didn’t obtain the gun via any anti-2A declared loopholes. This isn’t really the norm for a bad guy.
- He had a narcissism issue (which Laurence Hammack highlights here).
- He claimed he killed the victims because they made racist statements and because of the recent Charleston, SC church killings.
The first bullet showng above is an exceptional finding, as Virginia anti-2A groups and even the VA governor himself stated that they were going to use this killing as a means to further restrict gun ownership. In a land of millions of gun owners, there’s no exception to someone wigging out? More people drown in pools than people who commit mass murder in a given year. More people die by car accidents than when getting shot by a firearm. Just as many people swim or drive on a daily basis and many more die because of it, yet there’s no uproar over driving or swimming. But in the end, Flanagan didn’t use any loopholes to get his gun. He didn’t steal it. He didn’t buy it at a gun show or via private means. He bought it from the state- and federally-regulated method: via FFL. He had no felonies or any history of domestic violence, so his background check came back clean. The system worked as designed. Did he have mental issues? Almost certainly, but he hadn’t yet committed any crimes.
The latter two bullets listed above were personal issues that no one can control, although I fully believe that WDBJ had a responsibility to report or file a complain against Flanagan’s past aggression…that may have given the background check a chance to work, and may have prevented him from being able to purchase a gun. Then again, if a background check prevented his purchase, he may have just used another tool as a murder weapon.
A guy was shot by LEOs in NYC this year because he was attempting to hit people in the head with a hammer while walking down a busy street. They saw him and confronted him, he tried to kill an officer, and he was shot dead. People die by aggressive acts all the time, but guns only get the scrutiny. Some people use tools other than guns. Some have run people over, purposely. Some have poisoned their victims. Some used airplanes (WTC and Pentagon attacks). Some used chemically-made explosives using non-banned ingredients (McVeigh). None of those tools have faced scrutiny and made to be regulated or illegal. They’re tools that were abused by deranged people.
Maybe we need to start focusing on our apparent problem with mentally unstable people? Make obtaining help a more available option, or notify people that when they see overly aggressive people to report them to law enforcement so that there’s a record of the issue.
I firmly believe that to remove from citizens the option of protecting themselves via firearms is a dangerous means of trying to keep bad people from causing harm. If you’ve a wolf problem, is removing the guard dogs the solution? What do you think happens when the guard dogs are removed?
You want to beat the criminal? Make laws that stop the criminal and not the good guys. Another thing: if you want to catch a criminal, you’ve to think like them…the intelligence community has a saying: “know your enemy”. If you know them, you can exploit their weaknesses,or predict their next move(s), or at very least not play into their strengths. Removing guns from average citizens plays into their strengths, because less guns for the good guys means more power for the bad guys.
Apparently, it was found that there were 2000+ instances where background checks stopped people from buying guns last year. 2,661 examples, to be exact. The actual comment:
About 405,000 checks were made last year, and 2,661 attempted purchases were denied, according to the Virginia State Police, which runs the program.
That’s 2000+ examples of the checks working properly, yet you don’t see the anti-2A people focusing on that. 2000+ examples of background checks working…in a single year. That’s very significant, in my opinion. What we need to do is focus on the laws that work and ensure they keep working (or enhance them to work even better, if possible) and kill bad laws that only hurt legal gun owners.