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Today in, "A sane governor would veto guns in schools"

by: Eric B.

Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:02:34 AM EST

Those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook already know this, but over the weekend I had my life threatened by one of our local nutters. He's a loner, who subscribes to a strange arrangement of religious beliefs and is occasionally given over to wild and often harsh language when he's drinking, and he posts this on Facebook. Friday night, he declared it his intention to go to one of local bars on News Years Eve and do something that would have the rest of us remembering his name. I advised him to wear pants and contacted the police*. The next day, his Facebook page was filled with angry tirades threatening violence against the police and me in particular for ratting him out. Once again, I took screenshots and sent them to the police. Today, I'm told, they're going to sort out what to do about the guy. I suggested that he needed help more than time in jail, and the cop told me that merely threatening to commit massacre isn't a crime so I guess everyone's on the same page.

Were we here in Mt. Pleasant fortunate to avoid joining the list of other all-American towns where horrible tragedy has occured? We will never know, unless this guy snaps in the future and escalates his anger into action. Then, we'll know that we failed. Otherwise, there's no way to know because the tragedy was avoided rather than mitigated.

I'm talking about mental health versus letting people "defend themselves" by carrying guns into bars and schools. People wouldn't feel the need to defend themselves if we had a better mental health system, that caught things early and treated them properly. That, of course, starts with taking mental health seriously (today we remember that it was about a year ago that Sen. Rick Jones asked a Tea Party activist if she was on her "head meds" again, and note that Jones thinks we ought to let people carry guns pratically anywhere).

The twin to that is making it more difficult for people with mental illness to have access to guns. I don't know if the guy who threatened me has the firearms to actually pull off what he was hinting that he planned to do. I'd like to think not, but our gun laws are so, so loose now that it's difficult to imagine any madman worthy of the title not being able to obtain what he needs to carry out his plans.

I'd like to make it a prerequisite from here on out for any reporter covering this issue to, in addition to getting "both sides," talk to someone who either trains people to be in combat or who has survived it. Like here. As I've said, one side is making claims that can be checked out with people who've experienced similar situations. They'd be able to provide insights as to whether someone who isn't trained specifically for a firefight is likely to make a useful contribution in one.

We get back to what happened here locally over the weekend. What are the odds that someone enjoying New Years Eve in a bar would have the wherewithal to pull out a pistol and calmly and coolly shoot an armed madman? Personally, I like my odds with early intervention. Guns don't belong in bars, schools, churches, or auditoriums.

The flip side of that is that we need a much better mental health system. Ours is a cruel joke, and I've heard from a couple of people since I posted this that they have no faith that it will give this guy the treatment it sounds like he needs. That all started with Engler tossing the mentally out of state hospitals and into the street. The guy who did that for Engler now works for benevolent overlord Rick Michigan. Why? Because these people are obsessed not with outcomes but with money. They're accountants, and mental illness can't be quantified.

*--I also talked him out of thinking about doing it.

Eric B. :: Today in, "A sane governor would veto guns in schools"
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and the cop told me that merely threatening to commit massacre isn't a crime so I guess everyone's on the same page.

Actually, it is a crime called "making terrorists threats."  It's Section 750.543m of the Michigan Penal Code, and is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in imprisonment, a fine of no more than $20,000 or both.  So, this comes down to how police choose to enforce it.

This man is lucky that you are so understanding, particularly given the circumstances on Friday.  Be safe.

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