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The Santa Monica College Mass Murder: How Did It Happen?

This was not, at its core, a gun problem.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

Bio

June 9, 2013 - 10:28 am
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A mass murder that ended at Santa Monica College: this hits close to home.  My wife attended Santa Monica College; I spent more than a little time there helping a friend run programs on their IBM 360/25 back in the 1970s.

According to news accounts, the killer used an “assault-style weapon.”  Unsurprisingly, the 24-year-old killer had a history of mental illness, a run-in with the police, and had been hospitalized at some point in the last few years (although it remains unclear if this was voluntary or involuntary).  As regular readers of my columns know, this is the heart of the mass murder problem, not just in America, but in Europe and Canada as well.

But how could this happen? California has had an assault weapons ban since 1989, progressively tightened over a decade.  This law has been on the books, and enforced, since the killer was bornThe only lawful way for a Californian to possess a high-capacity magazine is if he owned it before 2000 – when the killer was eleven years old. California passed a firearms-transfer background check requirement that took effect on January 1, 1991, which checks not only for felony and violent misdemeanor convictions and pending charges, but also for involuntary mental hospital commitments.  Even if you are only held for 72 hour observation and then determined to be not crazy enough for longer term treatment, you are ineligible to possess a firearm for five years.  The shooter was 24– unless he was hospitalized between 18 and 19, he could not have legally purchased any firearm.  You can’t drive across the border into Arizona or Nevada to legally buy a gun; federal law prohibits such transfers unless your state of residence allows such transfers — and California does not.

So we are again left with the question: how did the killer get this gun?  It would seem as though he broke a stack of laws, without much of a struggle.  It almost makes you wonder if California is barking up the wrong tree.  They pass all these laws, starting with attempts to deal with a mass murder involving a mentally ill person in 1989, and they do not work.  Short of house-to-house searches for guns, how are they going to be successful at enforcing these laws?  Perhaps most importantly, if someone is mentally ill and intends to murder people (a capital crime), what sort of penalty is going to actually deter such a person from breaking gun-control laws?

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Top Rated Comments   
I hate to destroy all the liberals ideas of peace, but maybe if you would bother to understand that gun free zones are called a soft target and are a target rich environment to a puke like him... He knew that the college was gun free so that is where he went, chances are nil to get shot by someone else with a gun... Stupid libs kill more people with their navel contemplating tie dyed horse hockey...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So when do they make Islam a mental illness? Just sayin...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Serious mental illness is indeed a problem. But we need to be very cautious and vigilant that the gun control freaks do not use it as a backdoor mechanism for gun control/confiscation. It is obvious that people with a severe mental condition should not have access to weapons. What I can foresee, with the deranged left in charge, is a policy where any visit to a healthcare professional which can be twisted into a "mental problem" will be deemed to be a disqualifier for gun ownership. For instance, a visit to a psychiatrist for any reason at all will strip away your right to own a weapon. I put nothing past these people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (84)
All Comments   (84)
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Does this mean we get to see Obama whoring out the families of these newest victims now? Maybe the Sandy Hook families can join them as part of a reunion tour. Obama is the Master Pimp!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Short of house-to-house searches for guns..."
What makes you think they don't want to do just this? Just don't expect them to stop at any leftie donor's houses.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"[A] gun registry is irrelevant. 3 pieces of data and about 2 posts is all it takes to predict with a high degree of certainty that you are a firearms owner."--Bagua18

How high a degree of certainty must a no-knock warrant meet?

Not everybody who values the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights who can count as high as 2 owns a gun. Libbos are always stuck at something less than 1, there's parts of the First Amendment they don't like - especially the churchy stuff.

Viva Second Amendment!

"Where I come from, gun control means a steady hand." US Senator Alan Simpson of Idaho (retired).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only people who have a hard time getting a gun in California are those who obey the law.

Or...you can get a FULL AUTO AK-47 from Nicaragua for $500 no background check, cash only.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Did you know all your posts are being indexed and data mined? Yes, some data farm somewhere has a record of your IP address and the comments you make on this very board. So a gun registry is irrelevant. 3 pieces of data and about 2 posts is all it takes to predict with a high degree of certainty that you are a firearms owner, whether you register or not. So keep railing about the "Libs" or whatever and get ready to give it up. BTW you can thank W and the Patriot Act for that...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In most forums, the lurker to commenter ratio is 100:1. This would seem to make it a low-benefit method.

Seize my guns and ban them and I'll become very interested in figuring out manufacturing. Ultimately, gun control is useless without creating serfs who are banned from making stuff. Guns are remarkably low tech.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
CA gun laws are not intended to reduce crime or murder. They are intended to apply pressure on CA conservatives and also reduce self reliance among CA citizens. It is part of a cultural and political war.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Long-term studies at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in D.C. showed criminal tendencies not resulting from mental illness. A person doing mass murder is a person with criminal tendencies who also happens to be mentally ill. Very few mentally ill have this combination. If the focus were on what to do about criminal tendencies detected at early age, it would impact the mentally normal and the mentally ill.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you Mr Cramer for reminding with proof how laws that control GUNS miss the point about addressing root causes - crazy PEOPLE.

cross-posted to The Truth About Guns (TTAG).
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/06/foghorn/santa-monica-gunman-painted-as-gun-nut/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
ou cannot define evil unless you have a benchmark to define it against. Evil in a Christian's definition is not the same as evil in an Islamic definition. Without a common set of moral beliefs, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil will be agrued without ever coming to any conclusion.

Can mental illness be quantified without this moral agreement? Probably not all of it IMHO. this is why we are at a standstill on these types of mass murders.

We MUST choose a moral standard before we can move forward on to fix this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
O-care will require that all medical records - for all 300+MM Americans - be digitized in a central repository. That repository will be one of the first places that are checked during required NICS background checks for the purchase/transfer of firearms. If you have EVER had a prescription for a drug that has been determined to be psychoactive, you will be denied, and in CA under its current policy of picking up the guns of people who have fallen afoul of restraining orders, etc., they will send someone out to collect whatever guns and ammo you have.
Big Brother will not only be watching, he's going to whup your butt too.
2008: "We're going to fundamentally transform this country".... from a Constitutional Republic, to a bigger version of North Korea with a killer Cult of Personality.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you're crazy, and you've decided to go out in a blaze of glory; I'd hate to be the guy who showed up at your front door to take your gun. Yes, most of the people whose guns are seized will simply be honest citizens; but enough of them will be mentally unstable, so as to make gun confiscation one of those high stress jobs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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