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Robin Smith / March 5, 2018

Guns and the System SNAFU

Failure abounded in Florida, but there may be a proposal that could actually help prevent violence.

Used in the military during World War II, an acronym emerged to sum up a situation that was error-filled yet accepted as normal. It’s had several iterations, a cleaner one of which we’ll use here: SNAFU — Situation Normal: All Fouled Up. That can be applied to before and after of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. The systems in place were supposedly operational and personnel allegedly trained, yet these folks unquestionably ignored red flags and abandoned protocol to produce the landmark failure surrounding the atrocity.

The horror that occurred on Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday ended in the loss of 17 lives at the hand of a troubled 19-year-old. It has mobilized many to activism (legitimate or exploited) and has stirred public debate on many issues that permitted this horrific crime — some that are nothing more than straw arguments to avoid addressing the root causes. But under all the opportunistic political theater demanding gun bans and dramatic controls of constitutional Liberty lies failure. The failure of systems already in place.

Patriot Post readers have certainly learned of the abysmal failure of existing systems in place that should’ve prevented this young man from having a gun or from being inside a school. And you know that more laws can’t stop the manifestation of evil in the hearts of those intent on doing harm to others — those whose minds are afflicted with mental illness and a distorted reality.

After a reported 45 calls to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, at least two specific interactions with the FBI and the fact that the troubled shooter, previously expelled from school, was also prohibited from carrying a backpack on campus, folks around the perpetrator had seen something and said something. Yet the authorities in place to implement systems of safety and enforcement failed to do anything. They failed to work within existing systems, rules, laws and regulations to stop crimes.

These system failures, however, are truly a SNAFU — chaos that has happened before and, sadly, will happen again, despite the hashtag herald of #NeverAgain.

In the Texas church shooting, where the NRA instructor with his own AR-15 and a good Samaritan stopped a man whose domestic violence and troubled record was not adequately captured by the Air Force updating his criminal record, a system failure occurred. Even one of the bombers In the Boston Marathon bombing had been brought to the attention of the FBI at least twice, yet they killed, maimed and terrorized with pressure cooker bombs.

So the public parade marches on to stop “gun violence.” In the last few weeks, one proposal seems logical and worthy of discussion. Understand, however, that even if a law is passed in various states, it will only be successful to the degree of enforcement and observance.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio responded to the public flogging he took at the CNN town hall meeting — which included him being equated to the actual shooter and lampooned as a prostituted puppet of the NRA — with several legislative fixes. The 2016 GOP presidential hopeful has announced his support of the “Stop School Violence Act” that creates school assessment and crisis intervention teams to work with law enforcement in identifying troubled students. Rubio also called for the expansion of background checks for gun purchases and incentives for states to fully report relevant information to boost the accuracy and usefulness of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which according to a November 2017 article has the NRA complaining of over seven million missing records to the FBI-run database.

Among the Rubio proposals, Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) are based on common sense and empower individuals closest to a potential threat to intervene rather than waiting on layers of systems that, based on recent activity, have failed.

GVROs are temporary court orders to remove guns or prevent purchases for individuals identified through evidence to be a threat, rather than limit the rights of a larger group. GVROs would require the petitioners to produce evidence that an individual was presenting as a potential threat (screen captures of social postings, writings of an individual or sworn testimony). The GVROs would permit due process in that the individual in question would be permitted a response to the evidence with the ability for an emergency hearing, should those circumstances dictate. It’s a high burden of proof before a local judge.

These temporary orders are already in practice in several states — Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Indiana and California — and 18 other states are considering them. Similar in nature to restraining orders and orders of protection issued in the cases of domestic violence, the GVROs would be a local, individually applied tool that would involve only parties suspected of being capable of harm to oneself or others, in contrast to sweeping gun bans.

Caution, as with the other temporary court orders, must be exercised. A court order is effective, whether involving a removal of guns or an enforcement of a distance or other specified relief from an adverse party, if the named respondent follows the rules and observes the terms of the restraining order. While these orders can and have been effective, they can also create a false sense of security from individuals who, by their very nature, do not obey laws nor have the capacity to honor established rules.

SNAFU will continue until and unless the authentic causes of violence are addressed, whether guns are involved or not. Those on the Left reject individual responsibility and Liberty and demand protections as wards of the state, regardless, that include gun control and the elimination of many facets underpinning the Second Amendment. Those on the Right know that fatherless homes, the casual and regular use of psychoactive substances that cause and mimic mental illness, the devaluing of life along with the glorification of violence in media and the plague of a valueless society that embraces politically correct approaches to law enforcement, mental illness and society writ large are key contributing factors to not only violence but so many of our societal ills.

Situation Normal: All Fouled Up truly captures the failure of current systems due to the incompetence and timidity of those put in place to employ current law, regulations and standards. Demand leaders who lead versus those who agitate, pontificate and stagnate the necessary debate, legislation and governance to be a functioning, decent society.

The NRA has now endorsed GVROs.

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