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View Diary: Alabama Schoolbus Hostage Crisis Drags into Day 3 (181 comments)

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  •  It was a misdemeanor menacing charge (6+ / 0-)

    They wouldn't have seized his weapons for that.

      •  They should have (31+ / 0-)

        In other states they do merely for making a threat.

         Prescott, of Crofton, Md., made the threats Wednesday in two menacing phone calls to the Pitney Bowes offices in southern Maryland.

        “I am a joker,” he reportedly declared. “I’m going to load my guns and blow everybody up.”

        Prescott’s violent remarks came after he was fired by the mailroom and software supply company and just days after last Friday’s shootings in Aurora, Colo.

        After his arrest, authorities recovered 25 weapons — including assault rifles and handguns — along with 40 boxes of ammunition stored in his home.

        Guess it's okay to shoot at someone in Alabama and keep your guns, but in other states, such actions are taken more seriously.  My feeling, is once you are arrested for any crime where you threaten to use guns or in fact discharge your weapons, those guns should be taken away until after your trial.

        "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

        by Steven D on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:39:32 AM PST

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        •  Depends on the state law (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          MD looks to have some fairly strict ones, so it may well have been his that guns were confiscated because he didn't have necessary permits, or they were disallowed types of weapons; not necessarily because he made threats.

          "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

          by Catte Nappe on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 01:38:02 PM PST

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      •  Read that article (34+ / 0-)

        He'd had a prior the misdemeanor charge was from 1995 in Florida.

        Man had a history of threatening people with his guns and yet somehow he was able to acquire them.  And somehow law enforcement in Alabama were prevented from taking his guns away despite a prior arrest involving the improper brandishing of a gun?

        I'm sorry, but in my view, if you are arrested for violating the law, and that violation involves the use and/or the threat to use a firearm, your weapons should be taken away until after you have been acquitted at trial.  

        "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

        by Steven D on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:48:55 AM PST

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        •  And What About His PTSD? That Should (6+ / 0-)

          have blocked weapons purchases from dealers at least.  

          •  Federal Law (9+ / 0-)

            Only prohibits purchase " ... if person has been adjudicated as a mentally defective or has been committed to any mental institution ...”

            What "adjudicated a a mentally defective" means is further defined by the ATF as including "a determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that you are a danger to yourself or to other or are incompetent to manage your own affairs..."

            So, a person diagnosed with PTSD by a doctor or who believes they suffer from PTSD is not necessarily banned from purchasing a gun.  You need some determination that you are a danger to yourself or others.  We don't have all the facts here.  Perhaps he was diagnosed with PTSD, but that alone is insufficient to bar him from purchasing guns.

            "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

            by Steven D on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 10:06:49 AM PST

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          •  I don't think a PTSD diagnosis is an absolute (9+ / 0-)

            predictor or aggressive behavior towards others.

            Seems to me that the fact that he'd threatened people with his guns and was already charged - they should have had enough to at least temporarily hold his weapons.  But maybe not in Alabama, who knows.

            •  I'm as anti-gun as anyone could be. (1+ / 0-)
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              Like, I don't think they should exist. But, it appears that this man needed to be treated at the VA. He's been suffering since Vietnam; that is, most of his life. It makes me sick how his illness is manifesting itself, but I don't think this is a case against guns. It's a case for better treatment for those who have served in combat and are suffering from that experience. It's just sad in so many ways.

              •  It's a case of easy access to guns (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HappyinNM, Steven D, ColoTim, joynow

                You are right that he should have gotten therapy from the VA, long ago, but once he started running afoul of the law over violence, his guns should have been taken.
                And if that's not how the law is written, well, then, that's a problem.

                If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

                by CwV on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:30:02 AM PST

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              •  I don't disagree that he probably needed (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HappyinNM, Smoh, Steven D, tommymet, zett

                treatment he wasn't getting, but my point was really that his mental health status was secondary after he was charged with firing on one of his neighbors and his family.  Meaning that, it would seem prudent to have at least temporarily taken his guns away while they sorted the whole thing out.  Now, that might not have stopped him from going somewhere to get another gun and killing the driver and kidnapping the child, but it might have helped prevent this situation.

                I have a close friend who is a PD and the worst stories about the system she tells almost always center around clients who have mental health issues and their unfortunate gun usage - she has a hard time getting them help because prosecutors want to put them in jail not into mental institutions and the way the law works most of these people end up going to jail for a time - getting NO help - and coming back out just as if not more screwed up than they were before.  

                One of her clients was shot and killed by police after the mother called them to help intervene because the kid was holding a gun to his head and threatening to kill himself.  So, the police arrived and just shot him dead on the spot and justified their actions because he was in illegal possession of a firearm. He was not threatening to kill anyone but himself.  Shaking head.

                •  but maybe they did (1+ / 0-)
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                  the problem with the fact that people have such easy access to weapons is that the police may very well have confiscated all of his registered weapons and he had an arsenal of unregistered or straw-purchased weapons in his underground bunker.

                  "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

                  by louisev on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:55:05 AM PST

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                •  That's a horrifying story. (1+ / 0-)
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                  It sounds like those police officers need some mental health attention. And I don't even want to think about how that mother feels.

                  I don't disagree that the PTSD guy should have had his guns taken. My point was that we're all so involved with the prevention of gun violence right now, the discussion naturally went in that direction. My thoughts, as a lifetime anti-war person, went to the pain of that man. Especially with the reported number of suicides amongst our troops, it hurts my heart that this man has been in pain for most of his life. The Vietnam war ended 40 years ago, and this man has never recovered.

                  And I'm very worried about that little boy.

                  •  Yes and this man who has killed the bud (1+ / 0-)
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                    driver and abducted that child was not going to get the treatment he needs in our current system.  Like the kid that I described, there are really only two options for people who are that troubled: jail or death.  We got basically nothing in place for interventional treatment.  The police who killed the kid aren't trained to do anything other than what they did in that situation.  They arrest or shoot.  Negotiating with a person who is mentally unstable isn't what they are trained to do.  The fact that the shot to kill is even pretty much the standard training policy in a lot of districts these days.

                    A few years back in DC a homeless delusional man was running around with a knife on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House outside of the fence - not inside - and the Park Police showed up and shot him dead.  That's all.  They just eliminated him for being crazy with a knife that wasn't even all that threatening.  But that was their training.

                    •  I understand the purpose for their training. (1+ / 0-)
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                      Kill before being killed. But in both of the cases you cited, wouldn't it have been better to shoot those people in the leg? Do they really have to shoot to kill?

                      •  They used to shoot people in the leg. (1+ / 0-)
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                        Apparently, that's fallen out of fashion.

                        The guy with the knife wasn't going to be able to kill anyone.  It wasn't clear whether or not he was even aware that anyone was around him - he was flailing around in his own world shouting, etc.  They probably could have disarmed him with a broom stick.  Anyway, he's dead and just another example of how screwed up the Park Police were (and may still be) in that era.  They were sort of notorious for being the most heavy-handed force in the District for a long time.

              •  Better treatment but what about forced treatment? (0+ / 0-)

                In this case or just in general if someone does not seek or want treatment, then whjat? The mental health part is a lot more complex than the gun part, just no rich lobbyists bullying congress on the subject.

                But if someone is paranoid and a bit delusional they often reject need for treatment or medicine,believing  the world is dangerous, not that the are sick.
                So whether we are talking VA or community mental  health (way underfunded) how is it people who say no get this better mental health care?

        •  I agree with you (10+ / 0-)

          He shouldn't have had access to firearms given his history.

          A passing thought of mine is that the trial on Wed could have been his trigger point. Authorities may not have removed his firearms, and access to future purchases yet, but the trial could have changed that.

          He felt his "way of life" was threatened and went off the deep end.

        •  So where were Senator Jeff Sessions (8+ / 0-)

          former colleagues in the Southern District AG's office who are so awesome at prosecuting gun crimes?

          That was his big peacock moment at the hearings yesterday.

      •  Ps. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, entrelac, Smoh

        Thanks for the link.

        "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

        by Steven D on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:49:45 AM PST

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