Lawrence Keane, The incomprehensible murders in Boulder, Colo., should be an inflection point. It should be a moment for communities to come together and support law enforcement as the investigation unfolds. The victims and their families deserve answers. Boulder deserves answers. America deserves answers.
Instead, America is getting a rush to judgment. They’re getting vitriol over understanding. The worst part of it is nothing that is being lobbed at the American public is doing anything to improve public safety. America is being told that it is the fault of law-abiding citizens that a deranged individual would visit horrific violence in Boulder.
President Joe Biden addressed the nation in the wake of the murders, reminding the American public that he couldn’t speculate about what happened because even he didn’t have all the information. “Not until I have all the facts,” he said.
That pledge lasted as long as it took for him to say it. He unhesitatingly pivoted to demanding an outright ban on the most popular selling centerfire rifle in America, the modern sporting rifle.
“While we’re still waiting for more information regarding the shooter; his motive; the weapons he used — the guns, the magazines, the weapons, and the modifications that apparently have taken place to those weapons that are involved here — I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save the lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” President Biden said.
A moment of pause to allow true reflection and allow investigators to perform their duties was lost.
This is what is known. The suspect in the crime passed an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) review and purchased an AR-15 pistol just days before committing his horrendous crimes. His own family told media they believed he was mentally unstable, to the point they took the firearm from him for concerns of his mishandling it.
Police recovered a second firearm on the scene. The make, model and how the accused obtained it hasn’t been publicly disclosed. It was reported too that the suspect was known to the FBI because of a relationship he had with another individual being investigated.
We also know Colorado has nearly all the gun control laws that are often repeated. The state has universal background checks and all indications are the suspect legally purchased at least one firearm and passed this check. The state also has so-called “red flag” laws, which allow family members to request a court intervention to temporarily seize firearms if someone is enduring a mental health episode. The state has magazine capacity limits.
The president wasn’t the only one to rush to judgment. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) has been a perennial gun control advocate. However, his rhetoric shifted from blaming guns for the crimes committed by deranged individuals to blaming law-abiding gun owners.
In an interview with CNN’s “Out Front,” Sen. Blumenthal said it was the firearm that made the suspect commit his crimes, while at the same time repeating the false claim that these are military arms.
“In Boulder, that shooter is a deeply disturbed man who became a mass killer because he had an assault weapon that can kill people with the efficiency and speed meant for the battlefield,” he said.
He added, “We should not be putting aside Republicans. They bear responsibilities as well. That was the whole point of my exchange this morning with Senator Cruz because they’re the ones who are ducking that responsibility and become complicit in all these shootings.”
Not once did Sen. Blumenthal lay the responsibility for the horrific act with the individual who actually committed the crimes. In his estimation, it was an inanimate object that drove his unthinkable actions and “Republicans” who bear the responsibility.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) denounced the notion that law-abiding gun owners must surrender their rights because of the criminal actions of the limited few. He drew the comparison of not pulling sober drivers off the road because of drunk drivers. That drew condemnation from the talk show TV pundits.
“Okay, I’ll take that deal,” said Stephen Colbert of “The Late Show” after playing a clip of the senator’s quote. “Let’s regulate guns the way we regulate alcohol and cars. You got to be 21, got to pass a test to get a license, you got to have registration and insurance for your gun. If you move to a new state, you’ve got to do the whole damn thing over again, and you can’t go out loaded.”
Colbert was quick to dismiss that the Second Amendment is a right of all Americans. It is not a state-by-state regulated privilege.
“The View’s” Sunny Hostin outright blamed law-abiding gun owners for making her feel “like a hostage.”
“I feel like a hostage to the selfish people who insist on owning these types of weapons. That is not freedom in the country,” Hostin said. “You are not a patriot because you feel you have the right to own these types of weapons. You should be taking care of your fellow Americans.”
Hostin couldn’t be more wrong. Lawful firearm ownership is a right. The suspect in these crimes must be held accountable. Everything else is political pandering.