A leading gun control advocacy group said Wednesday that it hopes a foiled plot by an Ohio bartender who authorities say threatened to murder Speaker John A. Boehner is a “wake-up call” for congressional Republicans to approve legislation tightening gun-purchase background checks.There's just one little inconvenient truth:
The bartender, Michael R. Hoyt, told authorities that he was Jesus and that Mr. Boehner was the devil and that he blamed the congressman for getting fired from his job before he had a chance to put something in his drink, according to an affidavit.Got that? A nutjob threatened to poison the Speaker of the House, so that means we need background checks. Of course. Obviously those evil guns poisoned that poor man's mind and made him threaten Boehner.
Now, there is something there, in that the man did own at least two firearms and obviously was not right in the head. But you know what? That's not a gun thing. That's a mental health thing. A background check isn't going to stop someone that's bugnuts crazy but not getting help - and since this troubled man's mother already took away his rifle (after he blasted a hole in the floor), it seems like he needs help.
Look, I get it. It is kinda scary that someone so unhinged is just out there, walking among us. This dude needs help, and I really do hope that he gets it now that he's brought attention to himself. Background checks, however, aren't going to fix this. Unless he's been involuntarily committed, he'll pass a background check. We need to take a long, serious look at mental health in this country and see about making some serious fixes.
Except that doesn't fit in a soundbite. And it's hard. And it involves making actual decisions - i.e. is this guy really bug nuts crazy or just a little weird; is this something that requires a straitjacket and lithium squirted down the throat with a turkey baster or perhaps just a counselor and some muscle relaxants? Hard questions, ones we have been studiously avoiding for many decades now.
But yeah, magic thinking, implement background checks and this all goes away. Riiiiight.
That is all.
Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)