On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!


Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls on FBI Director Chris Wray to resign because the Bureau didn’t follow up on a tip in January about Nikolas Cruz. Mr. Wray has headed the Bureau for about a year. Governor Scott fails to identify the super power that the FBI has that would have allowed it to do more than make a referral to a local police agency.

Scott has been governor for 7 years, and Law Enforcement went to Nikolas Cruz’s home 39 times over that 7-year period. Scott had 7 years to do something about Cruz, but he failed.

School records shed new light on accused Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz

Only five states have laws allowing family members, guardians or police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from people who show warning signs of violence. Supporters of the measures, deemed “red flag laws” or gun violence restraining orders, say they can save lives by stopping some shootings and suicides.

The situation is simple, Cruz was arrested under Florida law and is being tried in a Florida court. Unfortunately the state of Florida doesn’t provide law enforcement the tools to deal with these situations. If you can’t get someone committed to a mental health facility, you can’t disarm shooters.


1 Badtux { 02.20.18 at 7:01 pm }

Cruz violated no Federal laws, so yes, only referral to local law enforcement could have been done by them. For that matter, he violated no State laws prior to actually shooting people. He was not crazy by any psychiatric definition of the word — just angry, which isn’t a DSM-5 psychiatric condition. He had not uttered the kind of specific threat or incitation to violence that would pass the Brandenburg Test as a criminal threat, saying “I’m going to be the best school shooter ever!” is not specific enough to pass the Brandenburg Test because it’s not targeted at any specific person or any specific place or time. And of course he could not be seized by the state and forcibly interned because a) Florida closed all its state mental hospitals long ago, and b) due process rights which say that a person can be involuntarily committed only if it can be *proven* that he is a danger to himself or others, which, realistically, means he’s already harmed himself or others based on a DSM-5 listed psychiatric condition.

2 Bryan { 02.20.18 at 8:31 pm }

Florida has a state hospital in Chattahoochee That is the designated facility for involuntary confinement, both criminal and civil. It requires a diagnosis and a court order to be sent there. If someone is subjected to involuntary confinement then there are tools available, but Cruz made no overt act until the shooting.

His friends, teachers, counselors, and local LEOs knew he was a time bomb, but the Department of Families and Children couldn’t get a diagnosis, and the cops had nothing to charge him with. The school expelled him, but he wasn’t charged with a crime. The tools don’t exist to do anything under Florida law. If he had been Muslim, he would have been ‘disappeared’.

3 Badtux { 02.22.18 at 1:36 am }

The tools don’t exist to do anything under *any* state’s laws, because of those pesky 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments to the Constitution which basically grant free speech and protects your right to your body until you do something that harms somebody. If the kid had said “I’m going to shoot up so-and-so high school at 9am tomorrow” he could have been arrested for a terroristic threat, but you have to mention a specific place and at least *suggest* a specific time for that to be true. Just saying “I’m going to be the best school shooter evah!” doesn’t count.

4 Bryan { 02.22.18 at 9:23 pm }

Five states already have ‘red flag laws’ that pass muster because they are temporary restraining orders and not permanent denial of rights.

5 Badtux { 02.23.18 at 12:41 am }

It’s unclear that these “red flag” laws will survive Constitutional scrutiny, other than under a context similar to the 72 hour mental health evaluation hold where there has to be actual evidence that the person is a threat to himself or others and a hearing in court in order to extend the hold beyond a short amount of time.

Furthermore, it’s unclear that it would have done any good in this case. Case workers and psychologists had examined Cruz and concluded he was doing a lot of talking but that’s all. Absent any evidence that he posed a specific threat to himself or others (and remember, generally disturbing speech is not a specific threat, “I am going to be the best school shooter ever” is not a specific threat, a specific threat has to name a specific person, place, or time), it’s unlikely that anything would have been done in any state, not even in California.

6 Bryan { 02.23.18 at 11:34 am }

They would fall under the same class as an order of protection/restraining order and are backed by a set judicial procedure. There is due process provided and they are temporary. Obviously you can’t know if they would have been effective in any particular incident. There is clear evidence that they appear to reduce suicides by giving outsiders a chance to intervene.

A mental health arrest for a 72-hour psych eval only requires a form and a pen. [Been there, done that.]

As you have pointed out, this isn’t about mental defect, it is about emotion – anger. There has been a huge spike in ‘-rage’ incidents. Trump has made the problem worse with his rhetoric.

7 Badtux { 02.23.18 at 5:34 pm }

Protection / restraining orders require a specific threat. That is, someone must be named specifically as the target of the threatening behavior. Just saying “I’m going to be the best school shooter evah!” isn’t enough, because it names no target. Thus a wife can get a restraining order against an ex who says “I’m gonna kill that b**ch”, but a woman can’t get a restraining order against someone she doesn’t know who appears on national TV and says that all women are b**ches and deserve to be raped. Unless there is evidence that the threat is a “true threat” that is targeted against a specific person or place or thing, it’s protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

8 Badtux { 02.23.18 at 5:35 pm }

Yeah, a 72 hour hold while the supposed threat is investigated would likely pass Constitutional muster. Beyond that… likely not.

9 Bryan { 02.23.18 at 11:21 pm }

Restraining orders are civil, not criminal, so the rules are different. Basically weapons are taken temporarily while a determination is being by judge. Someone has to claim a threat, but it doesn’t require the specificity required for an arrest. The weapons won’t be destroyed and can by returned by the judge.

It isn’t an ideal solution, but it provides an option to deal with situations for which there is no current solution. Hell, I might have tried civil forfeiture on the weapons, which is totally corrupt but might be legal.

10 Kryten42 { 02.24.18 at 7:20 am }

Several companies have announced they are cutting ties with the NRA, & not just advertising or sponsorship. these companies have cut NRA accounts they held.

Amazon, Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, National car rental and First National Bank of Omaha (they had an NRA sponsored Credit Card apparently & NRA accounts); and some others.

And amazingly, Symantec have suspended their NRA discount program & sponsorship ties (Though, given how much Symantec love money, it was probably partly to get more revenue from the NRA as they are locked into their products & it would cost a lot to change vendors.) Though, it only applies to the Symantec products for now, Subsidiaries like Norton still have a deal with the NRA. We have a group keeping track and have produced a mail list to keep the pressure on NRA affiliated companies. 🙂 Hit them where it hurt’s! Their bank accounts. 😆

11 Bryan { 02.24.18 at 8:58 pm }

The Florida Teachers want their retirement system to check to see if their pension fund has any stock in corporations that make guns, and to divest if the stock is found. The Students have sent out a call to avoid Florida for spring break if the legislature won’t pass gun restrictions. The kids are alright – go for the money, and vote out politicians who won’t listen. They have figured it out.

The NRA is going to become a societal outcast.

Yes, bloody conservatives make a fetish object of guns. They are tools, not totems.

12 Kryten42 { 02.25.18 at 11:42 am }

Yep! Agree with all of that.

And two biggies have pulled away from the NRA, along with others:

“Delta and United Airlines – two of the three largest US-based airlines – said they would no longer offer discounted fares to NRA members to attend annual meetings. Both airlines asked the NRA to remove any references to their companies from its website.”

Also: Chubb, Allied, North American Van Lines, Wyndham, Best Western hotel groups; and MetLife have pulled their discounted home and car insurance to NRA members.

Dana Loesh went full on apeshit & lost it! She actually attacked the companies boycotting the NRA! 🤣

NRA furious as two of world’s largest airlines join boycott

Marco Rubio’s meltdown is the moment kids outgunned the NRA

It’s been a great weekend in the USA mate!👍🏾

13 Bryan { 02.25.18 at 6:39 pm }

The NRA is taking a hit from the kids. There is no effective way of fighting back against articulate teenagers who have survived their first fire-fight. Those kids now accept that they are going to die, while most teenagers leave high school believing they are immortal. They have survived the worst and are going to do something about it.

None of the techniques that politicians use on adults work on kids. Kids know bullshit when they hear it and they want action not excuses. David Hogg’s father is retired FBI and David had to prepare for a debate on gun control. He didn’t know in advance whether he would be arguing for or against the question, so he had to cover both sides. That’s why he can cite numbers. I assume his Dad got him him some of the numbers that aren’t on the ‘Net.

14 Kryten42 { 02.26.18 at 7:18 am }

Seems things are hotting up for the Broward County Sheriff’s office!

Florida school shooting: Broward sheriff probes claim that more deputies did not immediately enter school

So, they only hire cowards now? Or what? Disgusting!

15 Kryten42 { 02.26.18 at 7:59 am }

I don’t know if you’ve seen this series of interviews of some of the Parkland surviving student’s turned activists on Ellen show (online)… If not, you really should! These kids seriously impressed the hell out of me! And that’s not easy to do (as you know). 😉 😆

Whatever is is wrong in Florida, you can be proud that at least one school has educated the student’s well! That’s obvious. 😀

These are future Politicians and/or leaders right here!

Parkland Student Activists Talk Gun Control

16 Bryan { 02.26.18 at 10:11 am }

I’m beginning to suspect that those deputies were trained in the paramount purpose of “officer safety” and were more concerned with defense than offense. It looks like they were “containing the situation” while waiting for a heavy weapons/SWAT/Tac unit to make the assault. The school resource deputy was a major problem because he was the one officer who definitely knew the layout inside the building.

The LEOs were outgunned and their soft body armor was not going to be effective against an AR-15, but kids were dying, so fuck it – you go in and do what you can. You go towards the sound of gun fire.

Aside: You Ellen link doesn’t work.

17 Kryten42 { 02.26.18 at 2:53 pm }

Hmm! Sorry about that… try again!

Parkland Student Activists Talk Gun Control

OK. That’s working. 🙂

The Natives ARE getting restless in the USA BTW. At least 2 Native American’s are running for Congress. First time ever apparently. Should be interesting! 😉 😀

Two women are vying to be the first Native American congresswomen

I hope they succeed!

18 Badtux { 02.26.18 at 4:21 pm }

Around 50% of LEO’s who run towards gunfire end up getting shot, so yeah, they’re right to be afraid that they might be shot, but dammit, that’s their job, to run towards gunfire and protect children and the general public. What a waste of space these deputies turned out to be.

19 Kryten42 { 02.26.18 at 4:41 pm }

Yeah, but that’s a serious lack of training issue! You don’t run straight at an armed assailant! Jeez! First rule is ALWAYS “Keep yourself safe first!” You’re no use to anyone dead. I used to train security/police personnel as a Project Griffin (anti-terrorism) Co-originator/Trainer. And PG is used in the US for over a decade now! But I’m guessing they stopped the training years ago otherwise those idiots would have known what to do other than piss their pants!

Typical! “Give em a badge & a gun! That’s all they need!” USA still thinks it’s the good ol’ “Wild West”! Watch too many Ronny Raygun & John Wayne reruns!👎🏾😡

20 Bryan { 02.26.18 at 9:20 pm }

That building looked like a central hall with classrooms on both sides and probably lined with lockers. You should probably be able to locate the stairwells from outside. The primary defensive positions would be in doorways behind lockers. All doors will open out, so you can’t use the door as a shield when you enter.

Fire high initially to distract without endangering anyone else and set yourself for a real shot. It’s not a great plan, but it’s a plan. If the hall is filled with panicked kids you have no shot.