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People Died in Red Bluff, California and There are No Easy Solutions

November 16, 2017

A man willing to murder also ignored other laws. We already have 23 thousand firearms regulations, and that didn’t stop this murder. Since stopping criminals is hard and passing laws is easy, I expect the California politicians to call for more laws to encumber honest and sane citizens. These new laws, and the media opportunities they generate for politicians, won’t stop the next murder either. The new laws will allow the politicians to appear relevant. The real problem is complex, and frankly, the problem is beyond the sound-byte politicians in Sacramento.

So here are the facts we know about the recent murders in Red Bluff, California. The murderer had long term mental health problems. He attacked his neighbors. He was then forbidden to own firearms.  That didn’t stop him from murdering his wife by shooting her with a gun. He violated a protective order filed by a neighbor, murdered his neighbors, and then went on a shooting spree that killed and injured many more. I notice a pattern. Laws don’t stop the mentally ill from being violent. Gun laws don’t stop violent people from killing others. Time and again, California politicians said they would solve the problem of violence by disarming honest people. In the Red Bluff murders, we see the latest victims of that flawed approach. It is easy to place blame, and hard to solve real problems.

Rancho Tehama is a sparsely populated rural community near Red Bluff, California. The murderer believed that all his neighbors were out to get him. The murderer grew marijuana, but thought his neighbors were dangerous druggies making methamphetamine. That is more evidence that mental illness and paranoia are a difficult problem.

The neighbors heard automatic gunfire coming from the murderer’s house at all hours of the day and night.  They called the sheriff’s office many times. Responding deputies could not tell if the man was at home, and he would not come to the door when deputies knocked. That pretty much ended the legal recourse.

In an encounter earlier this year, the murderer cut a neighbor with a knife. It is unclear how the encounter began, but the murderer took the knife from the neighbor and then cut her with it. The murderer was charged. The neighbors took out a restraining order. The murderer was barred from owning firearms or contacting his neighbors. The murderer’s guns were confiscated. In theory, that solved everyone’s problems. Obviously not.

Obviously, the murderer got more guns. Firearms are easy to get. The politicians who say they will protect us are very good at regulating legal gun owners. Disarming the honest people may work in theory, but in practice it doesn’t reduce violence. In many cities, an illegal gun is cheaper and faster to buy than a legal one. In theory, the murders in Red Bluff couldn’t happen. The practice speaks for itself. Gun prohibition is as effective as drug prohibition. In this case, preliminary reports say the murderer simply built his own guns.

California closed many of its mental institutions. That threw the problem of dealing with the mentally ill back on local communities. That works some of the time. Very few people with mental health problems are violent. Those who seek treatment are less violent than the untreated. When the mentally ill are violent, it is often out of fear and frustration from living in a world that makes no sense to them. I have sympathy for everyone involved.

The people for whom I have no sympathy are the California politicians who think another law will solve this sort of problem. Mental health treatment is expensive. Pen and ink are cheap, and every problem calls for more laws when all you can afford are pen and ink.


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Alan permalink
    November 17, 2017 12:21 am

    As has long been obvious to all that recognize that 2 + 2 = 4 today as has always been the case, Gun Control ala the opium dreams of California politicos is the product of a dream world that will only fail. When one wonders, will the West Coast Politicos, aka Left Coast Politicos wake up to fact as opposed to fancy.


  2. Rich...... permalink
    November 17, 2017 10:01 am

    when applying “mental health problems” please define them…because you are throwing a blanket over the country!

    DSM expansion – the perfect weapon. Didn’t one of the 2 “Doctors” who wrote the DSM 5 blow the whistle that they were unethically pressured and threatened by the feds to “expand” the criteria and definition of “mental illness”. Nobody wants to talk about that though. Why would there be pressure put on the them to “expand” those illnesses to include virtually everyone unless it was to turn it into a pseudo-scientific political weapon? They knew what they were doing.


  3. Rich...... permalink
    November 17, 2017 10:02 am

    There are over 370 “mental disorders” listed in the latest version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) The list includes “Tobacco Addiction Disorder” among other equally mundane and ridiculous so-called “mental illnesses.”

    If the DSM is the standard by which politicians wishes to remove our rights to own guns, then I’d guess 90% of the American people could probably be classified with a mental disorder of one kind or another.



  4. November 17, 2017 11:14 am

    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.



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