Mary Jo and I grieve for the families in Oregon. We are very saddened by this senseless and horrific violence. As laid out in the Declaration of Independence, the first function of government is to secure the rights of its citizens, natural rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" that come from God. A direct quote from the Declaration of Independence, "...and to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
WTF? How did the Declaration of Independence get involved?
When shootings like these have happened, politicians like Governor Cuomo call for stricter "gun control," most recently even threatening to shut down the government until that happens.
Cuomo is wrong, at least on the shutting down the government part. I'll give him that one.
However, their "gun control" approach to reducing violence is utterly flawed and has not made us safer. Indeed, the areas with the strictest gun control policies are rife with the highest incidences of gun violence.
Absolutely wrong! Apparently I can't say that enough, though.
Law abiding citizens, the target of gun control legislation, already follow the law.
Fundamentally there are two types of threats to safe and secure - irrational actors (those with psychosis and severe mental illness) and rational actors (those with criminal intent).
Having a criminal intent is rational.
And to be clear, my wife and I care deeply about the safety of our children, our communities, and our fellow citizens.
Why would you feel a need to tell us that? We don't suspect you of being irrational. Yet.
(C)onsequent to the exposes of the late 1970s that revealed serious abuse in our mental institutions, our country closed most of our hospitals for those with psychosis and other very severe mental health diseases. That response was understandable, but our government did not replace that with any significant new approach to assist and deal with those desperately need mental health treatment.
Who was in the presidency during the 80's again?
I have helped author and support H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, that significantly overhauls federal policy to support those who need mental health treatment for severe mental health diseases, including psychosis.
Because the NRA won't allow him to actually address the problem of guns.
(please note, here we are not talking about veterans or others with depression or anxiety, that's a whole different category that absolutely requires mental health treatment and support, just different kinds of support. Generally speaking, these individuals are NOT a threat to community "safe and secure" that the severely mentally ill may pose without treatment).
Going back to WTF? on that one.
The second way we strengthen deterrence is to support the 2nd Amendment and recognize the reality we are in. Even Pope Francis, whose central message of love, service to others, and leadership by example, had security in the US armed with guns to protect him.
No, really. He actually wrote this. It's Wingnuttery Supreme. But lest you think he's calling the Pope Frank a hypocrite:
That didn't mean for a moment that Pope Francis was hypocritical or inconsistent - his dedication to the transformation of society through the power of love is unquestioned, but we live in the real world where there are irrational and rational actors who pose a risk to safe and secure and society needs to act accordingly. The Pope's security operation was successful and Pope Francis' message of love and service to others was communicated, effectively in my view.
I may have been unfair. The ultimate in wingnuttery would have been if he had pointed out the pope's position on climate change and his use of cars and airplanes to get around.
Tragically, in Oregon, a state with "strict" gun control laws (including universal background checks and "gun-free" zones) we witnessed this latest devastating attack. We simply must recognize that policies such as "gun-free zones" have failed us.