What if there was a way to stop most mass shootings?
When there’s a mass shooting at a school or some place of business, the “do something crowd” calls for action – and that usually means taking away firearms from people who own them legally. But some new thinking about this problem has provided a way that might head off a large percentage of these types of shootings.
Start with the fact that most of the shooters tell us what they plan to do before they do it. They post on social media and they write manifestos.
A new bill that the Texas Legislature could pass would act upon that fact, and possibly save hundreds of lives. It’s totally logical, it’s not complex, and it doesn’t abridge anyone’s civil rights. It just takes a bit of watching and then doing something.
Random Samplings is a service of the Texas Public Policy Foundation at TexasPolicy.com.
I first learned about a new bill (SB2020) that the Texas Legislature has before it during a lunch meeting in downtown Austin.
My radio partner, Jim Cardle, and I sat down with former State Representative Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her husband Greg. Both have extensive backgrounds with mass shootings and the people who commit them.
Suzanna Hupp lost her parents to assassin George Hennard during the Luby’s Massacre in Killeen, Texas in 1991. Hennard shot 44 people and killed 24 of them, including Suzanna’s parents. She was not armed as she had removed her gun from her handbag and left it in the car to comply with gun laws.
Greg Hupp, Ph.D., is a well-known forensic and clinical neuropsychologist. He deals with capital cases, and consults large clients such a major cities and counties. Dr. Hupp’s ideas, fully in line with his wife’s insistence that no constitutional rights be violated, intrigued Mr. Cardle and me.
The new ideas are encapsulated in a bill, that if passed, could stop a lot of these shooters before they kill anyone.
Here’s how the bill is styled:
AN ACT relating to the creation of the criminal offense of mass terroristic threat and to the establishment of the task force on mass violence prevention.
Short of arming all teachers, this bill has the best chance of stopping would-be school shooters by creating a new law against threatening mass murder. In the most recent mass murder, at a private Christian school in Nashville, the shooter alerted a friend that she was about die and to watch for her on TV news. The friend reached out to authorities, but to no avail. This bill, if passed as submitted, would change all that.
Under the bill, the new law would be a felony of the third degree. It would establish a “Community Crisis Intervention Team” comprised of city and county law enforcement agencies and local or regional mental health authorities.
The bill, as authored, states:
“The Community Crisis Intervention Team shall be dispatched to calls involving threats of mass violence in accordance with established 911 dispatch protocols.”
That “shall” in the wording ought to eliminate the frustration people have with government when you try to report something, and no human responds. And here’s the teeth in the bill: If the team determined that the threat is credible, they can detain the individual for further evaluation.
Of course, there’s more to the bill, and even if it passes, it almost certainly would be changed. But the idea of taking a potential mass shooter’s advance warning seriously, and acting upon it immediately (as if responding to an active shooter) is worth a try. It might, and almost certainly would, stop a lot of the killings.
Under the bill, the new law would Under the bill, the new law would empower (and require) law enforcement and trained mental health professionals to “do something” that doesn’t take rights away from law abiding Texans. That “something” would be legal, logical, and likely effective.
The weakness in this idea is in those cases where an advance threat is not made. But we know from experience that most of these killers want the glory, and so posting on social media about what they intend to do seems irresistible.
This law, along with some armed and trained teachers, and a ban on “gun-free zone” signs that advertise a soft target, ought to make a big difference. It’s in the hand of the Texas Legislature, so we’ll see.
Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based author, broadcaster, and songwriter. Follow his podcast at https://www.PlanetLogic.us. Check out his author’s page at https://www.Amazon.com/author/lynnwoolley. Order books direct from Lynn at https://PlanetLogicPress.Square.Site. Email Lynn at email@example.com.
The final story in this book contains gun violence. You have been warned.
TEXT OF THE BILL AS SUBMITTED: