Speak MY Piece: Another Shooting, Similarities?

The sheriff of Davidson County TN said it all in the aftermath of the recent tragedy at the Waffle House, where four innocent patrons were gunned down by a stranger.

The suspect has been captured. . . but one of the first things that jumped out at me was the familiarity federal and local law enforcers had with the alleged killer, Travis Reinking.

In the aftermath, it was disclosed that suspect, Reinking, was arrested last year after he breached an outside fence around the White House. He claimed he wanted to merely speak to the president.

At that time, it was reported guns in Reinking’s possession were confiscated by authorities and four were handed over to the father. What happened this past weekend is stunning. The father returned the guns to him, including the AR-15 assault weapon he used at the Waffle House.

Nothing more has to be said other than quoting the Sheriff of Davidson County, TN who summed up what he thought about the latest horrific shooting spree – he simply said there are too many guns and too many mentally ill people in this country. An apparent reference to Reinking’s well known mental instability.

We have spent too much time talking about the NRA, guns in America, school shootouts and less time talking about mental illness, specifically violent, mentally ill individuals and their access to guns.

Regardless of your position on the Second Amendment issue or firearms in general there are other things that need to be done, beginning with enforcing existing gun laws, denying gun permits and gun accessibility to anyone with a history of serious mental health issues and do something about the semi-automatic weapons that have been the “gun of choice” in several school shootings.

It’s easy to blame the gun or take aim at the Second Amendment, but a handgun or rifle sitting on a bench is harmless. It’s an inanimate object and I feel silly writing the obvious. Instead, why don’t we all focus on the factors that lead up to death and destruction, namely serious mental illness and histories of violence and keep an unstable individual from owning or having easy access to weapons? One would think something can be done about gun violence without taking away anyone’s constitutional rights.

And it is safe to say law enforcement needs to be even more diligent about following up on evidence and warnings given to them about potentially dangerous individuals. It is noteworthy that in the Florida school shooting and in Tennessee both shooters were known to local law enforcement and the FBI in one case. Again the stories are becoming sadly familiar.   -PW