When ‘crazy’ becomes reality: why we need gun control

About a week ago, a body was found decomposing in a car in Pacific Palisades, a Los Angeles neighborhood.

The police investigating the man’s death uncovered over 1,200 firearms (estimated to be worth $5 million), 6.5 tons of ammunition and $230,000 in cash. The police also found 14 vehicles that the man had in storage, including one with underwater capabilities. The man, later identified as a 60-year-old man named Jeffrey Alan Lash, told neighbors that his name was Bob Smith and that he was an undercover government operative.

He told his fiancée and her personal assistant that he was a half-human-half-alien hybrid who was sent to Earth to work with the CIA and save the human race.

Stories like Lash’s strongly indicate a need for gun control.

There are so many things that concern me about his story. 1,200 different kinds of guns, for one, is a cache. That cannot be considered a self-defense precaution. Did he own all those guns so that he could carry a different one around each day to match his outfit?

Number two, if this man firmly believed he was part alien and had so many weapons, cash and cars, wouldn’t he be considered paranoid, unstable and a danger to society? He was not a known arms dealer and all of the weapons appeared to have been purchased legally. So how was this man allowed to possess so many guns if he was so clearly delusional?

Gun control laws are there to protect from building up an armory like his.

There have been many shootings over the past month: the Charleston shooting, the Chattanooga shooting, the Louisiana movie theater shooting…and these are just the ones that received heavy media coverage.

An infographic accompanying the article “Taking It Online” in the July 28 edition of the Los Angeles Times indicated that seven shootings had occurred within the South Los Angeles area alone over a period of just four days (July 23-27). Although most of these shootings appear to be results of gang violence, one does stand out– a shooting at 12:10 a.m. on July 27. The description: “A man was shot in what appeared to be a road rage incident.”

That reminded me of an episode of Criminal Minds, a show that I laud for its seemingly far-fetched yet well-executed crime scenarios. This specific episode involved a man with road rage who shot and killed other drivers on Southern California freeways as a way to exercise that rage. Someone was able to make that fictional scenario a reality early on Monday morning simply because he/she owned a gun and possessed enough anger to use it.

I understand that many Americans are devoted to the Second Amendment because they want to be able to defend themselves, but there are other safer methods of self defense. In most states, pepper spray and mace are available to people ages 18 and older, the same age that you can legally purchase a rifle in California. You can also learn self defense. Tasers, which are legal to carry in most states, temporarily immobilize the attacker, providing a window of time to run.

There should be stricter measures imposed upon the right to possess guns. Each individual wishing to purchase should go through a very intense program of background checks and evaluations by mental health experts. Each gun purchased should be registered, and the owner should carry a permit.

Simply issuing a background check isn’t enough because there are loopholes and flaws in the system. FBI Director James Comey recently told the Associated Press that Dylan Roof, who is responsible for the deaths of nine individuals in the recent Charleston shooting, should not have even been allowed to possess a gun.

However, due to an issue in the system, the background check did not have access to an earlier police report dating weeks before the shooting that had shown Roof admitting to the possession of illegal drugs.

We can’t keep using “mentally ill” as an excuse for people who commit murderous acts with firearms. James Holmes, who shot up a movie theater in Colorado, sought the council of three mental health professionals prior to the event. According to Colorado District Attorney George Brauchler, “He tried to murder a theater full of people to make himself feel better and because he thought it would increase his self-worth” and that court-ordered psychiatric exams had found Holmes to be perfectly sane, despite the defense’s claim that he was mentally ill. Holmes was ultimately found guilty of all charges and the death penalty is still a possibility.

We shouldn’t even give someone who is mentally ill a gun to begin with, just because they are of legal age.

Moral of the story: even if you don’t want to hear it, gun control is much needed in this country. Especially to protect us.

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