Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor claimed “the real culprit” in mass shootings is not a gun but either criminals or the mentally ill. But later, he said that the most recent mass shootings were spontaneous “and I don’t know how you detect that.”
Appearing on the Cavuto Live show yesterday, Cavuto said he thought there is “room for common ground” in anti-gun legislation but he quickly pivoted to saying, “the real culprit is not a gun, the real culprit is either criminals or people who either long-term or temporarily are dealing with depression or some type of mental illness.”
Host Neil Cavuto said that the assailant in the recent Tulsa massacre got his gun legally. “Does something slip up in the background checks we do have?” Cavuto asked.
O’Connor said the alleged shooter, “would’ve passed that background check.” As if that’s proof that background checks are useless. He went on to say, “the majority of the elected leaders” in Oklahoma “don’t believe that the guns are the problem, and support the Second Amendment.”
“I think that most Oklahomans are probably thinking that we should increase our safety measures in schools and hospitals and medical care facilities like we do courthouses,” O’Connor continued. “Oklahoma already bans in courthouses and jails and bars and schools, colleges. So, there are measures we can [take] right now, Neil, for public safety, but we do need to look at mental health.”
O’Connor described the Tulsa shooting by saying that the shooter “got a surgery, he was not satisfied with the pain management, apparently, and just had an apparent response. Think of the millions of people who have had surgery who have not been happy with the pain response but have made it through it and haven’t gotten a gun and gone and shot a couple of doctors and some PAs and a receptionist.”
“That is a very unique situation to put it mildly,” Cavuto replied. He added, “Where they seem to be finding agreement, General, is on this notion of a waiting period if you have doubts or concerns.”
O’Connor seemed more concerned that somebody might be denied a gun than someone getting a gun who shouldn’t: “It makes sense to delay if you have some indication that this is going to be used in a crime or that the person who’s applying is dealing with some type of mental situation. But how would you have known this?” he asked. “It’s drawing the line that is going to be very difficult. It almost seems like we would get to the point where somebody’s going to say if we’re afraid of somebody or if we’re alarmed at somebody or if somebody disagrees with us, then they’re on the watch list.”
Then the guy who thinks mental health is the biggest culprit all but announced that focusing on that will do nothing to stop a mass shooting: “If you look at the present or recent shooters, it seems like their situations arose spontaneously and situationally and I don’t know how you detect that,” O’Connor said.
Of course, O’Connor “would absolutely” be arming teachers “and I’d be doing it right now,” he said.
O’Connor did not show the same caution about putting people away as he did for keeping guns away: “We need to train people to detect mental illness or depression. We need to have easier ways to get people into treatment and care quickly. Mental health has been the stepchild of physical health forever,” he said.
That's not to say that mental health is not something that should be addressed. But Connor's own words
This is part of the Republican and Fox News pattern of blaming everything except guns for mass shootings.
1) why have building codes to impose safety norms for stability, electrical wiring and other aspects?
2) why have laws to stop people (including underaged kids) from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
3) why make pharmaceutical companies respect the rules or regulations designed to protect their customers from harm?
4) why have laws, rules or regulations at all?
For me, the issue is not so much the guns, themselves, as the EASE WITH WHICH irresponsible people can get their hands on them. Diversion of focus towards mental health tells the world that the USA has a lot more mentally ill people: why on earth would that be the image gun-lovers want to send to the rest of the world?
We have got to keep beating that drum in order to keep that fact front and centre. It won’t change the minds of everybody but it may cause the less criminally insane to think before they repeat the NRA mantra.
Even the BBC, to their shame, repeated that old saw about the risk that heavymedia coverage of mass shootings can become a “trigger” for copy-cat shootings. The media has been cowed into toning down their coverage since Sandy Hook and all that has done is facilitate inaction and more mass shootings. Ignoring the issue is not the answer.
scooter: your comment brought to mind the situation of Winston Smith’s neighbour in Orwell’s novel “1984”: although denounced (totally unfairly) by his daughter and faced with jail, he still felt obliged to praise her.
In a loony bin (not politically correct, I know), the staff are expected to do everything in their power to prevent the dangerous crazies from hurting others and themselves. Why can’t the GOP get on board with that sort of approach? Oh wait … $$$$$$$$$