Blame for the Michigan State Shooting Is Misplaced – The American Spectator

That President Joe Biden and Democrats would blame insufficient gun control for the tragic events last week at Michigan State University was as inevitable as the sun rising — but more on that later.

As has been widely reported, on the evening of Monday, Feb. 13, a gunman opened fire inside two buildings on the MSU campus, killing three students. Five other students were shot, each of whom remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

The shooter, a 43-year-old black male named Anthony McRae, lived at his father’s house in a residential neighborhood in Lansing, Michigan, not far from MSU’s campus in East Lansing.

McRae, who had two 9mm semiautomatic pistols and numerous rounds of ammunition on his person, turned one of the weapons on himself as police closed in.

As mentioned, McRae lived in a residential neighborhood, where he frequently fired guns from his father’s house into the backyard — which sits near other homes.

“Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.” That’s how a neighbor described the reverberations from the McRae residence when interviewed by Lansing reporter Ken Kolker last week. McRae “unloaded entire clips” in the yard, the neighbor said.

That quantifies as deranged and dangerous by any reasonable measure. Yet the police, called to the home by concerned neighbors, did nothing, apparently — something we’ll return to below.

In a statement issued the morning following the shooting, the White House called for “commonsense gun law reforms.”

It also noted that the MSU tragedy happened one day shy of the five-year anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. This “should cause every American to exclaim ‘enough’ and demand that Congress take action,” the statement read.

Translation: Any decent person horrified by the senseless slaughter of human life must join the crusade against guns.

To the followers of the political religion known as liberalism, “gun control” is as sacred as climate change alarmism, abortion on demand, and progressive catechisms on race, gender, and sex. (RELATED: For Progressives, There Are No Good Guys With Guns)

Like Democratic policy prescriptions in general, the party’s gun control obsessions won’t solve much.

The real problem is that society’s self-preservation capacities have been systemically weakened by bad laws, diminished accountability, political correctness, and the long-running disaster that is the deinstitutionalization of the severely mentally ill.

Perhaps first on the long list of preventable mass shootings in recent years is the Parkland High School massacre in 2018 — which the White House obnoxiously invokes in its statement.

Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people, avoided criminal charges and even school expulsion despite a shocking history of assaulting and terrorizing classmates — thanks to the school’s “restorative justice” approach, which was championed by the Obama–Biden administration. (See here and here.)

Liberalism, not the Second Amendment, enabled Cruz. And make no mistake, many of the “commonsense gun law reforms” demanded by Biden violate the right to self-defense — the core right embodied in the Second Amendment.

As the U.S. Supreme Court has observed in D.C. v. Heller and its progeny, that right extends to arms in common use by law-abiding Americans — like the AR-15–style rifles and 9mm handguns Joe Biden hopes to outlaw.

For her part, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who implemented disastrous school closures and then pocketed millions from the teachers union syndicate in a successful reelection campaign last year against an underfunded challenger, blamed lax gun control for last week’s MSU tragedy.

Ditto fellow Democrat and teachers union fav, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who, appearing with Whitmer, referenced the 2021 school shooting at Michigan’s Oxford High School.

“[P]lease don’t tell me you care about the safety of children if you’re not willing to have a conversation about keeping them safe in a place that should be a sanctuary,” said Slotkin, who was “filled with rage.”

That rage apparently does not extend to Oxford school officials. The homicidal maniac responsible for that shooting, student Ethan Crumbley, displayed frightening behavior leading up to it — like sketching a victim shot through with bullet holes and writing the words “The thoughts won’t stop, help me” the day of the shooting.

The drawing so alarmed his teacher that she took a photo of the note and immediately sent for counselors.

After talking with him, counselors allowed Ethan to go back into class — without calling police, without notifying the principal or the security officer, and without checking the backpack hiding the gun he then used to murder four students.

Crumbley should have been involuntarily committed and, if ever allowed to return to any school, regularly searched for weapons and checked on by local police at his home.

Alas, thanks to the deinstitutionalization movement championed by the Left, we no longer have mental hospitals.

Which brings us back to Anthony McRae, the MSU shooter. Much of the discussion surrounding McRae centers on his 2019 plea deal wherein the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office dropped a felony gun charge that would have prevented him from legally obtaining a weapon.

The office, at the time headed by soft-on-crime progressive Carol Siemon, deserves all of the criticism directed at it.

But the bigger issue is the absence of long-term options for severely mentally ill individuals like McRae. “He definitely was a paranoid schizophrenic,” said his uncle, Timothy McRae, who mentioned that his nephew “would disappear” whenever the family sought help for him.

There’s no space here to discuss the epic failure of the deinstitutionalization movement, other than to note that whatever abuses occurred in mental institutions, none justified their wholesale dismantling.

Without options for involuntary hospitalization, the police, like the Lansing cops who did nothing as McRae used his father’s property as a live-fire zone next to neighbors, had few realistic options.

Stronger involuntary commitment laws (which the ACLU and other left-wing activist groups oppose) would help. But many severely mentally ill individuals require commitment longer than the few days or weeks available in short-term community treatment facilities.

America would be better served if our elected officials focused on these issues, rather than scapegoating millions of law-abiding Americans.

Ken Sondik is an attorney in Zionsville, Indiana, and can be reached at [email protected].


An Argument for Good Guys With Guns

Gun Ownership Is Not the Cause of America’s Violence Problem

Read More: Blame for the Michigan State Shooting Is Misplaced – The American Spectator