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Red Flag Laws: Caveat Emptor

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  • Red Flag Laws: Caveat Emptor

    It's September, and that means Congress soon will return, bringing with it the grandstanding, posturing, and pontificating on such matters as who is dangerous, who is at risk for being mass casualty shooters, and on the procurement, possession, and use of firearms by you, me, and the man behind the tree. Their eminences will accompany this noise with all kinds of claims that the actions and laws they will put forth will prevent such mass casualty shootings. This blather would just be frivolous tripe were it not so dangerous, and it brings to my mind an old Spanish saying: El caballo malo se vende lejos. It means "Sell a bad horse far away." So before we buy the horse -- law -- they'll be trying to sell -- pass -- let's be sure we pull back the lips and take a close look at its teeth and gums to be sure they're the teeth and gums of a good, young horse. And, by all means, let's take the horse for a little ride to make sure it isn't lame. One of those laws will be to: ...provide federal grants for states to implement red-flag laws.....[that have] become a top priority for gun-control advocates...[That] law would be the most significant action Congress has taken on guns in years....Advocates of red-flag laws say they have proved successful in preventing not only murder but suicide.

    Senator Lindsey Graham is a leader in putting together one of those pieces of worrisome legislation: [He]...plans to introduce a bill,,,[while] defend[ing] such statutes against the complaint that they suspend people's Second Amendment rights without due process. [However], his arguments were more than a little misleading. [He says] "There are plenty of judicial proceedings every day...where somebody is adjudged to be a danger to themselves and others and they're put into a mental health facility....That goes on all the time, so that process would apply to gun ownership….and this is just an extension of that concept." [But]...the standards for involuntary psychiatric treatment are notably stricter than the standards for taking away people's guns under red flag laws. Under [these laws]...the state has to show by clear and convincing evidence "a substantial likelihood" that a candidate for commitment, because of "mental illness," will "in the near future…inflict serious bodily harm on self or others, as evidenced by recent behavior causing, attempting, or threatening such harm." So, from the get-go, Red Flag Laws, as proposed, are offering weaker civil liberty protections than existing involuntary commitment laws. As an esteemed correspondent wryly or even sarcastically noted to me, "but then Mr. Graham is an attorney and the feint or the deceptive promise is unsurprising." The estimable freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw is equally effusive in assuring the watchful that our civil rights are not going to be threatened by the proposed new laws: "Making sure that due process could not be abused is at the heart of any conservative solution to the supposed red flag laws. In our version...I've laid out specific safeguards that would have to be [put] in place...," Crenshaw said, before listing examples such as the requirement of clear and convincing evidence, punishment for false accusations, right to attorney and cross-examination, and limited standing to accuse. He then offers a weaselly out for his effusiveness: "Here's the thing, I understand your fears about bad red flag laws. Red flag law is a general concept," he explained. "There could be good ones and there can be bad ones. You should be against the bad ones, as I am." The former Navy SEAL expressed the importance of joining the national gun rights debate so that Democrats will not control the narrative to ultimately enact gun control measures that violate Americans' due process rights. I demur. Messrs. Graham and Crenshaw might claim that their intent is to protect the civil rights for the accused under the Constitution's Bill of Rights, but their comforting, yet hollow, words in support of Red Flag Laws seem to me to be words designed to fool people. So, as someone might have said, I'm among the people that are not fooled this time by what they are trying to sell. My first concern is that judges are going to be issuing these rulings. Well, if a judge can do this, then it's concerning what he can do to me when I shout at the kids on my lawn: ...a court [decided]...that the state must provide a multi-thousand dollar gender reassignment surgery for a convicted sex offender....[who] was reportedly diagnosed with gender dysphoria.... The court ruled that the state’s refusal to provide surgery violated the Eighth Amendment. My second concern is that those judges decided that it was "cruel and unusual punishment" to deny surgical treatment for a personality disorder because "doctors" said it was a "medical" condition requiring such treatment. And just who are these "doctors"? Why, it would be the colleagues of those learned and lettered geniuses who have so Bowdlerized the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as to make farcical now. Now, I'm not about to declare that the multiplicity of conditions subtended under LBTQXYZ are disorders of the mind, but they were so considered in professional circles not too long ago. That is, Gender Dysphoria and homosexuality are no longer considered disorders, but various forms of "stress," such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are. Stress in and after combat has almost certainly been with us since the first hominid picked up a club aeons ago, but that stress probably did not lead to the clubs' wielders curling up in fetal positions on the floors of caves. "Shell Shock" and the "Thousand Yard Stare" were common among participants of the Word Wars but were not considered mentally-crippling illnesses in the sense that PTSD now is. And Shakespeare's Henry V spoke upon Saint Crispin's day only of he who would later "strip his sleeve and show his scars." So, "judges" will be leaning on "doctors" who lean on the DSM when they send for the guns of you and me and the guy down the street. Sorry, that's a pig in a poke, and I ain't buyin' it. Christopher Roach at American Greatness covers the entire matter of Red Flag laws, civil liberties, and the DSM extensively here: ...the notion that we can detect and prevent mental illness on the basis of psychiatric assessment is a comforting myth....mental illness is not a black and white thing. It exists on a continuum. Not everyone who has seen a therapist or who has taken an antidepressant is a danger to himself or to others....The human mind is infinitely complicated, and predicting anyone’s future actions is nearly impossible....Psychologists and psychiatrists tend to be overwhelmingly people of the Left. The Diagnostic and [DSM]changes every few years, removing old diagnoses...mostly because of political pressure from interest groups.... Very good discussions that previously appeared on these pages on the subject of disorders versus illnesses can be found here and here. In that regard, think about this situation described by a caller to Rush Limbaugh: I’m a 25-year, honorably discharged Special Forces vet, and folks like me are very concerned about the red flag laws. Because...about 20 of my 25 years being in active wars and...most of us have PTSD, TBI, anxiety, depression, and sleep issues. the military, if you have sleep talk to your team medic....[then you get sent] to the military hospital....And now mental health is...a red flag? folks like me, we’re very concerned about this because it’s a blanket policy, and we meet all the criteria. And then there's poor Fredo Cuomo: President Trump said Tuesday CNN’s Chris Cuomo would have tripped a red flag gun law after a video surfaced showing [Cuomo] getting into a verbal altercation with an unknown person who repeatedly referred to him as “Fredo.” The video...depicted [Cuomo] going into a profanity-laced tirade, saying only “xxxxxxers [my edit] from the right call me Fredo” and calling the word...“like the n-word for us.” “Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!” Mr. Trump tweeted. Allahpundit's half-joking take on this is that: [Trump is] "...playing eight-dimensional chess, deliberately sabotaging the push for a new red-flag bill to please his base by showing immediately how it would be abused by the government once it’s law." Look! There's only one way to prevent shootings, mass or other, and that ain't gonna happen. Let the toying around the edges continue, but total gun confiscation is out of the question. Shootings, unfortunately, will continue to be part of our life, and Red Flag laws will, in the end, probably be ineffectual and may even prove to be harmful. These laws could turn grey codgers like me to be considered potential mass-shooters for shouting, "Hey! You! Get off of my grass!" That's nonsense! It's like a child having to register forever as a sex-offender for sneaking up behind a young girl and pulling on her pigtails or pulling down, "pantsing," the jeans of a companion of whatever gender or gender orientation or gender identification. A few harsh words can become precursors of gun violence, and kids' play can turn into a criminal sex offense! Consider also that Trump, himself, could be reported as a dangerous threat to others under these laws were one to follow the logic of the horde of Trump haters. Look it up here and here! Jesus said "you have the poor always with you." Well, we'll always have angry, unlikable people among us, but only a fraction of one-percent of them will ever become truly dangerous, and these laws could turn one-hundred percent of them into potential mass shooters. And let us not forget this perfect example of what can go wrong: One of the most prominent cases of the use of a red flag law gone awry...occurred....[When] police officers who were removing firearms pursuant to a protective order fatally shot [a] 61-year-old [man] who answered his door with a gun in his hand. [The man] initially put the gun down but picked it up again and was shot in an ensuing struggle.... Like many readers, I had been sitting on the fence on the Red Flag Laws issue. I had worked as a mental health case manager for a time, and I was well-aware of the dangers inherent in laws such as Florida's so-called Baker Act. In many Baker Act cases, allegations by people, well-meaning or otherwise, did not result in exceptional scrutiny being made of those allegations before the authorities could descend on or be sicced on anyone reported by anyone to be a threat to oneself or others. However, proponents of the new ideas were assuring us that sufficient protections would be put in place that we should be assured that the new laws would not end up being abusive, and the arguments for the "kinder and gentler" new proposals seemed to be sensible. I should have realized earlier that those assurances were specious. Now, as a wary and informed buyer, my position has changed, and it has adamantly become that them there Red Flag Laws oughta be sold muy, muy lelos -- very, very far away -- and I encourage readers to adopt that same position. Read more: Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook
    I carry a firearm because a cop is too heavy and takes too many breaks.

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