The easiest way to write a dumb law is to pass a bill uninformed by certifiable data.
Following the massacre of school students at Sandy Hook Elementary school, U .S. Senator Chris Murphy, newly sworn into the Congress, issued his first media release of the New Year in the course of which he vowed to fight “to strengthen Connecticut’s economy” and “grow jobs in science, technology, manufacturing, and defense.”
And with a nod in the direction of bloodstained Newtown, the junior U.S. Senator from Connecticut pledged “to be a leading voice in the national conversation to end the kind of gun violence that shattered precious young lives and devastated a community in Newtown, Connecticut just three weeks ago.”
On the same day young children who survived the massacre in Sandy Hook attended their first day of school in Monroe, a Hartford paper disclosed that an authoritative report on the mass shooting in Sandy Hook will not be forthcoming anytime soon.
That report – to be issued under the combined aegis of Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, Newtown police, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Connecticut State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – would contain the authoritative data on the basis of which legislators might be able to write laws that could, in Mr. Murphy’s words, “end the kind of gun violence that shattered precious young lives and devastated a community in Newtown, Connecticut just three weeks ago.”
The number of investigatory fingerprints on the upcoming report necessarily will slow the issuance of definitive data. The horror of Sandy Hook is in danger of turning into a sort of Rorschach blot in which every interpretation offers a benefit to the political interpreter. Both Mr. Sedensky and State police authorities have refused to set a date for the finalization of the multi-agency report. Connecticut’s General Assembly has about six months to write preventative legislation. There are some legislators in the General Assembly who think, reasonably enough, that effective legislations should await a final report.
“First the verdict,” says the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” -- “then the trial.” The General Assembly ought not to be an Alice in Wonderland topsy-turvy world in which the foundational data upon which rational legislation must rest follows legislation produced by lawmakers with one foot firmly planted in the clouds.
We should try to retain a sense of modesty and be willing to entertain the thought that no rational or even effective piece of legislation can be extruded from such a senseless multiple murder.
Two Democratic state legislators, Sen. Beth Bye of West Hartford and Rep. Bob Godfrey of Danbury, have a bill in the hopper that would place a tax on bullets. No doubt such a tax would generate yet more revenue in a state hooked on spending that seems incapable of producing a balanced budget, but the tax is impractical and possibly unconstitutional. The additional tax money might or might not be used to pay off state debt, but why should anyone suppose that taxing the lawful purchase of bullets in Connecticut would assist in preventing future mass murders in a state in which enlightened legislators, arguing that capital punishment had little deterrent value, recently abolished a death penalty following a horrific mass murder in Cheshire?
A newspaper in NewYork, driven by the slaughter in Sandy Hook, rushed to publish the names and addresses of legal firearm owners, rather as if they had been child molesters, and the newspaper also published a map showing areas in which gun ownership is heavy or light – a boon, one might reasonably think, to criminals in New York contemplating house robberies. The destruction of privately held firearms in both England and Australia has led to alarming increases in home robberies and assaults, especially among older folk deprived of an effective deterrent.
Before legislators pass any pointless and silly bills seeking to prevent the unpreventable, they should, at the very least, await the multi-agency report on the Sandy Hook Crime and a further study promised by Governor Dannel Malloy.
Any comprehensive report should carefully investigate a possible connection between lawfully prescribed behavior modification medicine and such crimes as occurred in Sandy Hook. There is solid research showing a causal connection between psychiatric medications and mass murders. At least one story about Adam Lanza indicated that he was on medication.
The great German critic Karl Kraus use to say that psychiatry “was the disease it purported to cure,” an exaggeration one may permit to social critics. But the connection between psychotropic drugs and crime detailed by David Kupeliann in a convincing piece in World Net Daily is more than coincidental.
At the very least, the General Assembly should wait upon certifiable facts captured, one hopes, in the promised studies, before it leaps into the void in an effort to show various constituencies that legislatively “something must be done.” Connecticut’s General Assembly not only should think before it leaps; as befits the state’s version of the U.S. Congress, which some have called the greatest deliberative body on earth, it should deliberate openly on matters of pressing importance before it passes pointless legislation.