Saturday, November 28, 2015

Colorado Gunman's Frightening Past

The man responsible for the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado has now been identified as 57 year old Robert L. Dear, Jr. Dear killed 3 people and injured 9 after he held dozens in hostage.

Dear lived in a cabin with no electricity and his neighbor explained that “If you talked to him, nothing was very cognitive -- topics all over the place." 

As a former resident of South Carolina, Dear had been accused by his wife of hitting her and shoving her out of a window. Another woman had reported being stalked by Dear; she had seen him hiding in bushes outside her home for months. Additionally, Dear has faced animal abuse charges after shooting his neighbor's dog. Another neighbor filed charges against Dear for threatening to harm him after Dear thought he pushed his motorcycle onto the ground. 

Even with all of those charges, because Dear was never identified with a mental health problem or felony, he was able to legally purchase the rifle which he used during the Planned Parenthood attack. 

What do you think, if anything, should be done to our current gun laws? Should people like Dear be able to legally purchase a gun?

Do you think people with charges, such as Dear's, be able to purchase a gun even if they have no official felony convictions?



Alex Binsacca said...

That is a difficult question to answer, because being able to purchase and bare firearms is one of bill rights.(The document that is meant to protect our rights as United State citizens.) The current status of the amendment is what the farmers had in mind when they first created the bill of rights. However, at the time they did not have to deal with how dangerous a single person could based on their state of mind. Nor did they have to deal with how advance and dangerous guns have become within the recent years. The only thing that I could think to change the amendment without making to much controversy, is to make it so then any person under suspicious activity (like Dear)have to take an evaluation to determine if they are reliable enough to carry a firearm and not be a danger to others. However, this little change could still anger quite a few people.

However, what congress could also do is make it so then people with any type of criminal charge not be able to purchase a firearm without consent of a legal official. Also, in regards to people with charges like Dear should be able to purchase a gun, depending on how severe the charge was. I think it should be more like any person who is not in a good state of mind not be able to purchase a gun. The reason being charges don't really matter to whether a person is dangerous or not. They could help determine if a person is a danger to others. To me though what really matters in the case on whether or not a certain person should be able to purchase a gun depends on their state of mind, and their intents.

Adjon Tahiraj said...

I believe that Dear was a sick man who should have never been allowed to purchase a gun; however, we cannot use the .0001% of the United States be used as an excuse to impede on the 2nd amendment right of the rest of the population. I definitely believe there should be stricter laws that prevent people with signs of mental illness from purchasing fire arms, but we cannot just ban guns in general, as this directly goes against what our founders wrote in the Constitution. In addition there are over 350 million fire arms in the united states at the moment. Doing what some extremist suggest, which is banning all guns and taking away all the guns that the people own would mean that the United States military would have to be used to go door to door and confiscate these guns. Also it logical that quite a few people would be upset if this were to happen which would most likely start a revolution.

Going back to the topic of Mr. Dear, if you look at all the major shooting we have seen in the united states, all the people that caused them can be classified as being "sick" in a sense. I believe that buying a gun should not be as easy as it is now, so people like the shooter would in no way shape or form, be able to purchase these firearms. Gun laws should only affect those people who, like Mr. Dear, are not "in their right mind" In conclusion, I believe that there is something that needs to be done about gun laws that can make sure people like Mr. Dear are not able to purchase firearms, no matter of their felony record, but these laws should not be able to prevent people that have no intentions to harm other people, from being able to protect themselves.

Meghan Hilbert said...

It's very difficult to determine what we could exactly do to fix an issue like this. Clearly, Dear was not even close to being truly capable of owning a weapon. It's obvious that he is mentally ill and needs proper diagnosis, however in some environments not everyone has accessibility or motivation to get help. I think the first step to having these problems dissolved is to make more public awareness to report any suspected signs of severe mental illness. If Dear abused his ex wife AND stalked someone AND had other signs of intense hostility and violence, it should have been communicated to authorities or some sort of position that understands how to deal with this issue. Although, even if it was known that Dear had mental illnesses, it is unconstitutional to discriminate someone from owning a weapon. There is very little the government can do to prevent mentally unstable people from not purchasing weapons, even if there is some tendency for severely mentally ill people to misuse weapons.
I believe that we should look away from the mentally ill, and focus on the availability to purchase an automatic weapon. What sort of actual purpose is there to sell these kind of easily destructive weapons to citizens? The government needs to re-evaluate the purpose of automatic guns. Is it worth it to sell those specific types of guns for some people's hunting hobby? IF that is the gun most hunters use?

Steven Lee said...

I personally don't think of the second amendment right is modernized as it should be now. When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution they never had to deal with the type of guns that we have now. I also find the argument that we need guns because "it's our constitutional right" to be a bit weak since alcohol and tabacco were once illegal under the Constitution. We reversed that decision because we understood that those Constitutional amendments were just bad ideas. The Constitution is one of the greatest documents ever written, however, it does not mean that it is the end all be all of what should be in our common sense. Looking at the statistics between the United States and Europe, the numbers clearly show that more of our people die from gun violence. Even within Europe, the numbers share the same story. Switzerland and Finland have looser gun laws than the rest of Europe and they also suffer the consequences by significantly higher gun death rates. Many people talk about how we should carry out how to restrict guns from being in the hands of wrong people and I have a suggestion. I would look at the Australian model and actually follow it. In the late 1990s, Australia had a school shooting where 35 people died. They set up a buy back program in which the government took the Australian people's guns and paid them as an exchange. They also proposed legislation that significantly tighten background checks, restrictions on certain weapons, and people had to give a valid reason to buy a gun which did not include "self defense". Since then, Australia has only had one shooting and the program has shown much promise. I would suggest that we have our own buy back program, close the gun show loop hole (almost 40% of guns are bought through this loophole), and have stronger restrictions on who can buy guns and self defense should not be a legitimate reason.

kristen said...

The process to purchase high powered guns in general needs to be made much more stringent. This has nothing to do with the right to bear arms. Many of the senseless attacks on schools, shopping malls and so on have nothing to do with the right to bear arms and have everything to do with the lack of regulations and enforcements of these regulations to prevent assault capable weapons in the hands of people who are not supposed to have them, probably not trained to use them properly, and have no need for them to begin with. Civilians do not ever need to build an arsenal worthy of war, wherever they are, in these day and age. I like Steven's reference to the success stories in Australia. The same can be said about many European countries. We don't observe the senseless mass shootings at the same frequency, nor the same veracity as in the USA. Our law makers need to find a way, grow a spine and defeat the gun loving industries and organizations like the NRA which hide under the Bill of Rights to protect not their rights, but their money making machinery. How many people have to die senselessly before we wake up?

Tara Young said...

I believe that there should be stronger restrictions against people who are allowed to buy guns. It was clear through Dear's multiple charges that he had a strong tendency towards violence. It seems almost obvious that he has mental issues and should not have been able to purchase a gun; however, the second amendment rights is also very important. By creating stronger gun laws, hopefully, it will stop people from causing more harm to innocent people, like those Dear shot, killed, and injured at the Planned Parenthood clinic, but at the same time not impede on citizens' constitutional rights. It is a very tough situation, but ideally, stronger gun restrictions will only prohibit the ability to purchase guns from people intending to do harm rather than people who wish to obtain a gun for self defense purposes.

Emily Shen said...

I've read mixed things about Dear — you see articles that claim the only things on his record were traffic incidents, but you also see articles that say he had a history of domestic violence and animal abuse. You see old neighbors pop up that quickly identify him as a "recluse" and question his mental stability, and then you also see an article where his ex-wife (someone who would supposedly jump at the opportunity to be vengeful?) is interviewed ( and she seems surprised, saying that these actions are uncharacteristic of the Dear she knew.

There may only be one true thing I have learned from reading about this event — it is that people are quick to jump on this event because it centers on such an emotionally charged, controversial topic, and they will spin it to their advantage.

I have a few questions. While I like the idea of a mental capacity test, or test that addresses a potential gun owner’s state of mind/intent, how could that be implemented in an objective, scientific way that someone couldn’t fake out of?

Also, what was the kind of gun he owned, and are there limitations placed on owning certain guns?