Thursday, April 19, 2007

System Failure

There's an abundance of news (and speculation) all over the media about how this VTech shooting happened, what or who failed, and what can be done to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

As predicted, the anti-gun lobby and the hard left are coming out of the woodwork to ban guns again. This always happens when there's a shooting like this that gains huge media attention, and especially in a year where presidential candidates are popping up everywhere.

While I'm not a huge gun advocate (never owned one myself, not a big fan), I hesitate to jump to the conclusion that stricter gun laws would have stopped the VTech shooting from happening. I don't think that's where the system failed.

While it's still all very preliminary, it's coming out that the killer had a history of mental health issues and in 2005, he was sent to a mental health facility for evaluation. After that evaluation, the judge who ordered it ruled that Cho should visit a mental hospital to get help BUT ONLY ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS. If the judge had ruled that the visits were MANDATORY, Cho wouldn't have passed the background checks currently in place as a requirement to buy a firearm.

From this perspective, it appears to me that the current gun laws didn't fail us; the current judicial system (and specifically, a lenient judge) did.

We seem to suffer from that a lot in this country. There are far too many times when a criminal commits a horrific crime, and we subsequently find out he had done something else before but was let go by a liberal judge.

The speculation and debate over this will go on and on ad nauseum until some other horrific news blows it off the headlines. And unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that anything will change significantly.


Miss Forthright said...

I don't know enough about mental illness care in the US to comment. What's definitely true of the UK is that the system fails to support and hospitalise those who need care enough sometimes, hence occassional bad things happen like this, and then ALL mental patients are given a bad name.

M said...

I honestly don't know a lot about it here myself, but what you describe sounds about right. I don't think things are very different here.

Miss Forthright said...

Lookie here:

M said...

Lots of criticism on this coming out today. I'm seeing on the TV here that the other networks are pulling the video and will no longer show it...just still photos. And NBC won't pull it but says they will only show very limited clips of it going forward.

I do wonder how much of all that is the other networks upset that NBC got the 'scoop' and they didn't. That would be so like the ratings dogs to react that way.