More information is being released about the mass killer who slaughtered six members of a Texas family as he attempted to hunt down and murder his ex-wife.
Look at all the missed opportunities to put the killer* behind bars, commit him to a psychiatric evaluation, and strip him of the ability to legally purchase a firearm:
A divorce decree issued in February shows [the killer] and [his wife] were married in California in 2002. They separated in 2013.
[The killer] had been jailed in 2008 on charges of assault and domestic violence in Logan, Utah. Those charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal, according to Logan authorities. Last year, [the killer] was served with a protective order from his ex-wife. It was dismissed after the couple filed for divorce, online court records show.
[The killer]‘s mother also had reported an argument with her son July 2 at her home in San Marcos, California, during which [the killer] physically restrained her when she tried to leave the house to call for help, the San Diego County sheriff’s office said Thursday. [The killer] left after a few hours, and his mother contacted 911, the statement says. She later obtained a restraining order against her son, according to the statement.
The murderer had been at the fringes of having his right to own a gun taken away in 2008, but the charges were plead down. Last year, it might have happened again when the protective order was filed against him, but that was also dismissed.
Just last week his own mother obtained a restraining order against her after he essentially took her hostage.
None of these instances was apparently enough to flag this guy for a psychiatric evaluation and a 72-hour hold to see if he was a threat to his ex-wife, even though the argument with his mother was apparently due to an attempt by the killer to hunt down his ex-wife starting over a week ago.
The court-appointed lawyer who has the thankless obligation of defending the killer is signaling the insanity defense that we all knew was coming.
[The killer's attorney, Doug] Durham, appointed by the court to represent [the killer], said his focus will be [the killer]‘s mental condition “and whether he was legally responsible at the time of his conduct.”
“I think the evidence is going to show … he is a troubled individual and he has a history of mental illness,” Durham said. “Unfortunately, the delivery of the health care has failed in this system.”
Thomas said that strategy was not surprising, “because there aren’t many explanations otherwise for him to grasp.” But she said the probable cause in the case showed a “determined effort involved, the planning, the conscious decisions.”
She said she would present evidence to a grand jury to seek a capital murder indictment and a decision on the death penalty would be made later by elected District Attorney Devon Anderson.
Like so many others, this mass killer had a history of apparent mental illness. Like the majority of those who end up committing murder in a domestic violence context, he had a prior history of documented violence.
This leads up to a current cultural and political battle being waged at both the state and national level. Presently, there are attempts by anti-gun Democrats to strip away the gun rights of those accused of domestic violence, and to strip away the gun rights of those who might be mentally ill or at least going through psychological distress. I understand their concerns, but I’m not naive enough to believe that their motives are pure.
After all, they’re trying to make the issue about firearms (not other possible means of destruction), I’d argue that they are not only missing the elephant in the room (the failure of the mental health system and the courts), but may be threatening the basic tenants of system that a citizen accused has a presumption of innocence under the law.
This presumption of innocence is the bedrock of our legal system. If we lose that, we’ve lost the core of our beliefs.
We need to do a better job of identifying and treating those with mental illness and tendencies towards violence without unduly and unfairly stripping citizens of their rights, and more importantly, avoid undermining the basis of our legal system entirely.
I don’t have an answer. I don’t know that any easy answer exists.
All I know for certain is that the reflexive tendency of the anti-gun left to target the Second Amendment as the solution for each and every problem is the wrong answer.
* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass killers.