Alleged Highland Park Shooter and Uvalde Shooter Display a Disturbing Pattern

It’s increasingly unsurprising. Young man shoots up a crowd or a school. Concerned politicians harrumph that Something Must Be Done. They pass laws restricting access to guns. They feel better. But nothing changes. Another shooting occurs. And again the Something Must Be Done crowd overlooks the answer or the clue, if not the solution, often right there in plain sight. Disturbed shooters sometimes telegraph in advance what they’re going to do. It’s often on social media. These guys are maybe bragging of their intentions or are putting out a cry for help. That happened in the Fourth of July Illinois shooting and in the recent Uvalde, Texas, school massacre. The 22-year-old whom authorities described as a “person of interest” regarding the killing of seven and wounding of 30 during Monday’s Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park had posted online images and songs depicting dark intentions, the UK’s Guardian said. Nobody reported the posts. Likewise, the 18-year-old  man who killed 19 in Uvalde before being himself killed by U.S. Border Patrol agents had made online threats of rape and kidnapping, The Texas Tribune reported. He had said he would shoot up his grandmother and an elementary school. No one paid attention to those who reported some of his posts and some young women and girls dismissed his statements as just normal online talk by young males. Normal talk? Have we fallen that far? As it is, if you make one out-of-line comment regarding COVID, the 2020 election or some other hot topic, social media algorithms will pounce on you, either scolding you with “fact checks” or banishing you. Threaten murder, rape and mayhem and your posts remain. Funny how social media passes over that stuff. When politicians go after guns, they especially go after the low-hanging fruit of the weapons of the law-abiding. And despite increasingly strict gun laws, the twisted young shooters somehow routinely manage to slip through and reach their murderous goals. What’s to be done? A change of focus might help. Instead of grabbing guns, perhaps more intervention needs to be practiced when individuals — especially young males — reflect ominous signs through their behavior or online postings. Reflecting a balance between individual rights and protection of society, individuals — young, old, male, female — putting out what reasonable people would consider to be tangible threats need to be confronted. In the past, people engaging in serious antisocial behavior could be incarcerated. While the mental hospitals of old had their problems, their elimination resulted in so many homeless now wandering our streets. Perhaps people reflecting mental problems that could lead to violence like mass shootings should also be restricted in order to provide possible treatment and protection of society. And such intervention requires protections of due process in order to avoid the heavy-handedness often seen in actions by child protective services, sexual harassment accusations and, coming soon, the Biden Administration’s new “red flag” laws. So instead of calling for “common-sense gun laws,” there needs to be common-sense action against individuals making threats. And instead of thinking of potential terrorists, maybe we should have another perspective regarding those often-mocked “see something, say something” Facebook ads. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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