Now that the shooter at Santa Monica College has been identified we can observe, with Clayton Cramer, that his problem was more about our failure to deal with mental illness than a need for stricter gun control.
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).
In a state where the gun control laws are very strict indeed, Zawahri would not have been able to acquire guns and ammunition legally.
In Cramer’s words:
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?
Cramer draws the correct conclusion:
What happened at Santa Monica College was not, at its core, a gun problem. The root cause is most likely mental illness. We have lots of tragedies happening on a daily basis in the U.S., and if they don’t involve guns, they get very little attention. Consider this recent news account from Albuquerque, New Mexico: a man named Montano “stabbed, severely beat and kidnapped his mother and another person, and then threw his mother off a bridge into the Rio Grande in broad daylight.” Why? Montano told police that the people he attacked were clones; his real family was living underground. In August of 2012, Montano was arrested after a disturbance in which he pushed his mother to the ground, and told her, “You have demons in you.”
We have a serious problem in this country with psychosis. This is not new; what is new is that we no longer make a serious effort to protect not only the society, but those suffering from these severe mental illnesses, by providing the treatment that they desperately need. Rather than confront this problem, the mainstream media keep screeching about gun control – ignoring not only that gun-control laws can’t do anything about the innumerable tragedies that do not involve guns, but very restrictive gun-control laws, such as California’s, do not seem to work.