Monday, April 26, 2021

Could'a, Should'a, Would'a

      After mentioning it early on, I didn't belabor the recent mass shooting here in Indianapolis.   These horrible things dominate press coverage for a week or more and everyone with an opinion retreats to long-held positions, most of which don't make a lick of sense to people with different notions.  Meanwhile, the people directly affected are hurting and grieving; whatever else you might believe, it's poor taste to hold a debate at a funeral.

      One thing irks me.  Indiana has a "Red Flag" law and the murderer had tangled with police about a year earlier, when he bought a shotgun and began talking to his family about getting the police to shoot him.  At the time, the police took away his gun and he spent some time under mental health observation -- but the Marion County Prosecutor's office didn't pursue a "Red Flag" case against him.

      Prosecutor Ryan Mears has offered explanations that boil down to "it's too difficult."  They've got to file within 48 hours, then his office would have had two weeks to build a case showing the eventual killer was a danger.  And had they lost, the government would have been obliged to return the shotgun.

      As opposed to what actually happened.

      Mr. Mears complains about "loopholes" in the law.  It would seem that an even bigger loophole was in not making any effort to invoke it, since the worst-case outcome (person with ill intent gets gun) would have been only trivially different from the result of not trying: person with ill intent had to get a different gun.

      Various of The Usual Media Go-To Gun-Control Sources have, surprise, criticized Indiana's "Red Flag" law in familiar ways; but when no one involved even bothered to try using that law, it's a thin claim at best.

      Depriving a citizen of a Constitutionally-protected right is a grave thing.  Sometimes, it may be necessary, and the correct and Constitutional way to do so is by due process of law.  That doesn't happen all by itself; someone has to start the ball rolling.  That's a Prosecutor's job.  Ryan Mears didn't do it.

      Would it have worked?  Would the case have been successful?  We can't know.

      But we know the result of his inaction.

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