Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Politics of Tragedy

Posted by Adam Graham on May 21, 2007

In the comments of Red State Rebels, Tara Rowe writes:

The killer used an AK-47 which if I’m not mistaken was banned by the Brady Bill until Congress sat back and watched the bill expire last year.

Actually, you are quite mistaken. Yes, the killer used an AK47 along with a Spring M1-A. But these were never banned under the Brady Law. These were banned under the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, not last year.

However, blaming the weaponry for what happened misses the point. It was the person not the weapon whose responsible. If anyone can be blamed other than the killer, it seems valid to evaluate the failure of mental health officials to deal with this individual properly:

According to Duke, Hamilton in 2005 had been arrested for domestic violence against a woman he was having an extramarital affair with, and sentenced to two years probation. He was not to possess firearms during that time, but had purchased the rifles before that charge was filed, Duke said.

On Feb. 16, Hamilton attempted suicide by overdosing on anti-anxiety medication, and was evaluated twice for involuntary mental health commitment, Duke said.

Hamilton told one of the evaluators that if he were really to commit suicide, he would do it through a mass shooting or bombing in which others would die, Duke said. Then he told the evaluator he was not serious, Duke said.

Hamilton was judged not to need involuntary commitment, and was released, Duke said.

Hamilton was in court May 15 for violating the conditions of his probation on the domestic violence charge by halting his mental health counseling, Duke said. The case was continued until June 15.

It’s always a tough call, but it seems the man should have been committed. Unfrotunately, a tragic misjudgment was made and that not the instrument of this madness is to blame.

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