At the moment, gun control matters more

Of course the gun nuts, their lobby, and the elected officials who have traded their souls for the money trot out the platitude that mass shootings demonstrate the need for better mental health care, not gun control.

On Saturday morning, a young man with a background full of warning signs walked into the public library in Winchester, Massachusetts, armed with a large knife, and fatally stabbed a young woman who was reading at a table. Bystanders, including a 77-year-old man, rushed to help and were able to keep the man at bay until the police arrived. One is dead, another injured.

It’s awful. But it’s not another 17 dead bodies. Jeffrey Yao lived in Massachusetts where it’s a lot harder to get a gun and there is much less “rah rah, we love guns” in the culture. When the madness seized him, he had only a knife.

Certainly we need a better system for dealing with mentally ill people who behave like Jeffrey Yao and Nikolas Cruz. Perhaps we could ask the psych experts instead of the police and courts to work on a system that protects the public and the individual. That will be a hard task. Gun control is not a hard task. Get it done.

Author: Lowry Heussler

Lowry Heussler is a lawyer from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Having participated in the RBC as a guest-blogger, she made it official in 2012. Her most important contribution to the field of public policy to date was her 1994 instruction to Mark Kleiman, "Read Ann Landers every day. You need to learn about real people." Her essay on the 2009 arrest of Henry Louis Gates went viral and brought about one of her proudest moments, being described as "just another twit along the lines of Sharpton, Jackson, Gates, etc." (Small Dead Animals Blog). Currently serving as General Counsel to BOTEC Analysis Corp., she has been a public housing lawyer, a prosecutor for the Board of Registration in Medicine, a large-firm associate and a small-firm partner. She serves as a board member for NEADS, Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, a charity that trains service dogs to increase independence for people with disabilities.

4 thoughts on “At the moment, gun control matters more”

  1. Sorry, but gun control IS a hard task in the U.S.. The constitutional rights of individuals to buy, own, and use guns for their own personal use has never been so strong in the entire history of the Republic as it is right now. And gun control is an issue with severe blowback potential with 60 million gun owners who vote and, potentially, on a single issue - to counter over-zealous gun control advocates.

    This is a tough issue with two sides to the story, and getting all righteous and damn the torpedoes about it could do real and lasting damage to progressive causes.

  2. What I see in the current movement is something that's not about the rights baloney, but rather an approach similar to the one that worked with smoking: making mass-murder-style guns no longer cool. Most obviously along these lines: the calls for big companies to cut their marketing ties with the NRA, the attempt to make NRA (is it too much at this point to say "NRA/Russian oligarch"?) campaign money toxic to politicians by painting them as venal cowards for taking it. Guns are a social phenomenon in the US, and social tools will be a large part of any control efforts.

    Of course, as with smoking, there will no doubt be a significant population of dead-enders; the question for me is how much we can skew things in the direction of harm reduction.

    1. You mean, like, a free market, voluntary movement? Wow, everyone knows those don't work. We need effective prohibition measures, as has worked so well with things like drugs and prostitution and gambling.
      But seriously, you are right.

  3. Don't ignore the damage that one Shogun-era ninja with a pocketful of shuriken could do in a kindergarten playground. Or what a tribe of Amazon pygmies with blowguns and curare-tipped darts could do to a Negro parish. It's not the nukes, it's the ayatollahs and Kim Jong Uns.

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