Editorial: Armed psychotics
In Las Vegas, a bizarre couple who hated government armed themselves heavily with various guns and ammunition. Jerad and Amanda Miller walked into a pizza shop and killed two defenseless police officers eating lunch. They took the officers’ guns, then covered their bodies with swastika signs, “revolution” notes and the Tea Party’s favorite flag showing a snake declaring “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Afterward, they went to a Wal-Mart and ordered shoppers out. One shopper with a concealed pistol tried to confront them, but the wife shot him dead. Police surrounded the store, and a gunbattle ended with the husband killed and wife committing suicide.
In gun-polluted America, almost any vengeful person can become armed to kill — and do so. Decent people and families have little defense.
Across the Maine border in New Brunswick, Canada, a disturbed young man ranted on social media sites, accusing the government of confiscating guns. Justin Bourque posted photos of himself with weapons, plus a poster declaring “Free Men Do Not Ask Permission to Bear Arms.”
Then he paraded around his neighborhood with guns, which caused residents to call the Royal Mounted Police — which apparently was what Bourque wanted. He ambushed arriving Mounties, killing three and wounding two. Then he fled, causing a manhunt that ended when he surrendered.
News reports called him a “pseudo-commando.” The killer’s parents said they had sought mental treatment for their son, to no avail.
In Washington state, Aaron Ybarra was a disturbed young man who had been arrested in 2010 and 2012 under what police called a “mental health hold.” Ybarra kept a private journal in which he admired mass-murderers. One morning, he wrote: “I just want people to die, and I’m going to die with them.”
He took a shotgun to Seattle Pacific University, where he killed a teen-age student and wounded two others, before his weapon malfunctioned and he was subdued by a pepper-spraying student guard.
On Tuesday, a student took a rifle to a large Oregon high school, where he killed a 14-year-old classmate, wounded a teacher and evidently killed himself.
All these headline-grabbing horrors within a week spotlight the dilemma of deranged people with guns. What can be done to protect society from the menace? Nothing, apparently.
The gun lobby always says that everyone should carry a pistol to shoot back at killers. But that solution didn’t work in Las Vegas, where the armed shopper was gunned down.
President Obama observed that America has no more psychotics than other nations do — but it has far more mass shootings, about one per week, because of easy access to guns.
“The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people,” he said. “It’s not the only country that has psychosis, and yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than anyplace else.”
Politicians do nothing to take guns away from dangerous people, because they fear the powerful right-to-bear arms lobby. Therefore, endless gun massacres continue to fill the news, day after day after day.