Saturday, 25 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Florida Shooter Was Previously Law Abiding Citizen

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 15:04 By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet | Op-Ed

Like many  mass shooters in the US,  Pedro Vargas, the alleged Florida gunman who killed six before being killed himself, had no criminal history. That means he is the quintessential  law abiding citizen whose "rights" the NRA protects by defeating background checks, bans on high capacity magazines, retention of records by dealers beyond 24 hours and most importantly a firearms registry.

With no registry, even if records showed that Vargas had mental health issues--like recent mass shooters who threatened to kill--and even if states fowarded those records, who would know he had lethal weapons? Especially if they were acquired before he melted down?  No wonder, the gun lobby supports mental health reporting--it's a joke.

Vargas, if proven to be the gunman, is the third shooter in eight months to use fire as part of his lethal rampage. On Christmas Eve, William Spengler, a felon convicted of killing his own grandmother,  set a fire to entice firefighters  to his location  in Webster, N.Y. and shoot at them. He killed two fire fighters and his own sister.  Spengler bought his weapon at Gander Mountain, according to published reports,  picking out  an AK 15 which a straw buyer bought for him. In April, NRA lacky politicians voted against making such straw purchasing a felony, as well as gun trafficking. Thank you, NRA.

Just weeks later, Kurt Myers set his home ablaze and began a killing spree in Herkimer County, N.Y. Like Spengler and the alleged Florida killer Vargas,  Myers was a loner who acted strangely and whose apparent only motive for the murders seems to be being armed-while-angry. Myers shot six and killed four with an unregistered shot gun.

Of course, you can't predict or stop mentally ill people from  going on rampages. But, only in the US, with very few exceptions, can the violent mentally ill arm themselves  so easily. And only in the US do violent people with actual criminal records have gun rights groups working to keep them armed! Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer has defended the rights of apparent felons to conceal and carry guns, saying we can't deny them their arms just because we don't "like" them. What?

Meanwhile, gun rights activists have fought successfully to allow men to keep their guns even when they are under orders of protection--yes you read that correctly--even  though nearly half the women killed every year are murdered by intimate partners, most with a firearm. Thank you NRA.

The three recent arson/mass shooting incidents also show the fallacy of "good guy" armed citizens stopping bad guys, a la George Zimmerman. It took SWAT-like teams to stop these three shooters and even they had a hard time.

Are you DONE ASKING for sane laws? Use your boycott power.
 

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Martha Rosenberg

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. Her first book, "Born With a Junk Food Deficiency," has just been released by Prometheus books.


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Florida Shooter Was Previously Law Abiding Citizen

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 15:04 By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet | Op-Ed

Like many  mass shooters in the US,  Pedro Vargas, the alleged Florida gunman who killed six before being killed himself, had no criminal history. That means he is the quintessential  law abiding citizen whose "rights" the NRA protects by defeating background checks, bans on high capacity magazines, retention of records by dealers beyond 24 hours and most importantly a firearms registry.

With no registry, even if records showed that Vargas had mental health issues--like recent mass shooters who threatened to kill--and even if states fowarded those records, who would know he had lethal weapons? Especially if they were acquired before he melted down?  No wonder, the gun lobby supports mental health reporting--it's a joke.

Vargas, if proven to be the gunman, is the third shooter in eight months to use fire as part of his lethal rampage. On Christmas Eve, William Spengler, a felon convicted of killing his own grandmother,  set a fire to entice firefighters  to his location  in Webster, N.Y. and shoot at them. He killed two fire fighters and his own sister.  Spengler bought his weapon at Gander Mountain, according to published reports,  picking out  an AK 15 which a straw buyer bought for him. In April, NRA lacky politicians voted against making such straw purchasing a felony, as well as gun trafficking. Thank you, NRA.

Just weeks later, Kurt Myers set his home ablaze and began a killing spree in Herkimer County, N.Y. Like Spengler and the alleged Florida killer Vargas,  Myers was a loner who acted strangely and whose apparent only motive for the murders seems to be being armed-while-angry. Myers shot six and killed four with an unregistered shot gun.

Of course, you can't predict or stop mentally ill people from  going on rampages. But, only in the US, with very few exceptions, can the violent mentally ill arm themselves  so easily. And only in the US do violent people with actual criminal records have gun rights groups working to keep them armed! Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer has defended the rights of apparent felons to conceal and carry guns, saying we can't deny them their arms just because we don't "like" them. What?

Meanwhile, gun rights activists have fought successfully to allow men to keep their guns even when they are under orders of protection--yes you read that correctly--even  though nearly half the women killed every year are murdered by intimate partners, most with a firearm. Thank you NRA.

The three recent arson/mass shooting incidents also show the fallacy of "good guy" armed citizens stopping bad guys, a la George Zimmerman. It took SWAT-like teams to stop these three shooters and even they had a hard time.

Are you DONE ASKING for sane laws? Use your boycott power.
 

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Martha Rosenberg

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. Her first book, "Born With a Junk Food Deficiency," has just been released by Prometheus books.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus