CriminalJustice Response to a Mass Shooting IncidentVickiR. DornbushLET4900, Section 301, Fall Semester 2017-18Dr.James McKeanDecember7, 2017 CriminalJustice Response to a Mass Shooting IncidentIntroductionto mass shootingsAmass shooting is a case where there are several victims resulting from afirearm-related violence.
It is often committed by organizations or individualswhether in non-public or public places. Today, many terrorists use a massshooting to accomplish their political goals. The responses of a mass shootingvary since it depends on factors such as the political climate the context, andthe number of casualties (Nakaya, 2015).
The media often covers such shootingsand such coverage creates a lot of impacts. Many people wonder if the mediacoverage of this issue motivates other incidences of the same kind. Naming thesuspects of such attacks have thus ceased to avoid making the individuals morenotorious. After such incidences, the survivors usually write about theirexperiences and most of them must deal with the posttraumatic stress disorder. Mentalillness, terrorism, and misanthropy are the main factors that bring the motivationbehind mass shootings. Only about 5% or less is caused due to the cases ofmental illness.
Mass shootings occur all over the world. It has occurred in Africa, and the main reasonbehind it is the terrorism issues. Asia and India also have cases of massattacks. The mass shooting in South Korea resulted from the stress of thesoldiers and the conflicts that arise from its violence and the detention thatoccurs in the society (Nakaya, 2015). Europe, Egypt, Canada, Israel and Russiaalso have a notable number of mass shootings. The US, on the other hand, isidentified as the country with more mass shootings than any other country.
TheUS is susceptible to the public shooting due to the high rates of the firearmsownership. Massshooting in the US and the Criminal Justice ResponsesMassshooting incidences have created a lot of attention in the educational arenas, publichealth and the federal law issues concerning law enforcement. The CongressionalResearch Service has identified that since 1983, there have been 78 massshootings in the United States. Examples are the incident in the movie theaterin 2012, incident in the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the incident atAurora (Congressional Research Service). The Congressional Research Service (CSR)estimated that almost 500lives have been lost in the US due to the massshootings. It estimates that since theUS attacked Afghanistan in 2001, the Al ‘Qaeda have killed fourteen people inthe US. Manymass shootings are happening in the US an example being an individual whoopened a firearm in a church congregation in Texan injuring and killingmultiple individuals. Whenever a mass shooting transpires in the United States,debates arises concerning gun control.
As mentioned above, the high rates of gunownership lead to the many cases of mass shootings. After mourning the deathsof many individuals following a mass shooting, things do not seem to change a bit.This is attributed to the unique gun ownership in the US. Their relationshipwith guns is different from that of other developed countries (Lopez, 2017). Thegun problem which is an issue in the US is unique. There is no other developedcountry that has gun-related issues as much as the US has. The death rates dueto guns are 16 times more than Germany, six times more than Canada and seventimes more than Sweden.Researchhas it that the higher the number of guns, the higher the number of deathscaused by guns.
Those who oppose the gun controls often think that the causesof mass shootings are mainly due to mental illness. A mental health expert,however, from Vanderbilt University claimed that those with psychologicalillness have high chances of being the preys rather than the attackers. Also,it is noted that many American support the measures to restrict he guns butthis does not often lead to the creation of the laws to restrict the guns (Fox,2016). A research by the Pew Research Center Survey that many individuals inthe United State promote the bans on the sales of the ammunition and theysupport the need of the federal government to control the sale of guns. Theyalso support the background checks and the weapons used for such assaults. Thequestions often arise on why these agreements do not result in laws. They justturn into political issues whereby the Americans tend to accept the abstractideas to own individual guns. This results at the end of the legislation thatwould introduce the measures of private sales and the background checks.
Thelobby of guns in the US is powerful despite being recent. The National RifleAssociation (NRA) is a powerful organization when it comes to guns. It wasinitially a sports organization instead of a political organization incontradiction to the control of guns. It also made some gun restrictions. The president of the organization in 1934,Karl Fredrick, claimed that he did not agree with the bearing of guns. Hethought that it needs to be constrained but this should be controlled by the license.Things, however, changed in 1977 when guns crime and rose and the governmentthus considered the increased control of guns. The NRA members became worriedthat more laws will be set up to control the guns (Lopez, 2017).
They thusinstalled in its leadership Harton Carter and thus altering the NRA into theorganization that lobbies for guns nowadays. NRA fears that the gun controls will end up havingall the private guns confiscated in the US. Some legal experts believe that by lobbyingfor guns, the NRA violates the second amendment to the US constitution.Everytime that bills arise to control the gun ownerships, the NRA rallies those whoown private guns to end the bills. The gun owners make up around 30% to 40% ofthe households in the US. This population is, however, active enough to makethe legislators that imposing laws on gun protection will make them have poorgrades and thus resulting at the end of their careers. The supporters of thegun control thus face huge challenges. Theyoften think that by having gun controls the gun violence will be eradicated inthe US (Brantford).
The proponents, on the other hand, think that the controlswill deny them the private right to own guns. At the state level, however, somelaws have been passed on the restriction of guns. Oregon and Washington passedlaws that enable background checks on the guns.
The weak federal laws in theissue are, nevertheless, a problem. Wethen continue to have concerns whether gun controls will solve this issue ofmass shootings. Background checks have proved to be fruitless in the eliminationof the onslaught. Many of the mass killers have no criminal records, and they donot always think of buying the weapons they use illegally (Hate Crimes). Theyoften believe that they are common citizens who just need some justice. Thepoliticians have tried to bring to law the control of guns without fruits. Whenthis mass shooting arises, however, Americans question their gun culture andcontrol. Thedeath toll associated with the Al ‘Qaeda result from the focus of the federalgovernment on counterterrorism and the homeland security.
Education, publichealth, and law enforcement are what the federal government deals with when itcomes to this issue. The shootings often occur in public settings, the realm ofeducation is what the policymakers are concerned about. The public and thepolicymakers are aware of how the police officers react to cases of massshootings. They attract a rapid response from the police which is followed byinvestigations, then prosecutions and sentencing.
The police are, however, notinvolved in the recovery options. The government may not get directly involvedin policy-making but can just make grants available. The Department of Homelandsecurity has the Security Grant Program. The Department of Justice also offersgrants. Theother way that the federal governments assists is by providing the manpower.
Thepolicymakers, however, doubt whether the government has enough resources todeal with the mass shootings. The government often asks for additional funds tooffer the education and training to deal with cases of mass shootings. Theeffectiveness of the existing laws on dealing with mass shootings is unclear(Hate Crimes). The community policing has thus focused on law enforcementpolicies instead of ending the crimes. The public health fields and the lawenforcement fields apply preventive approaches to this issue, but the fight isstill not clear. The policymakers might thus consider this two fields to comeup with their preventive schemes.
PersonalReflection Massshootings cost a lot of lives, and there is thus the need for preventivemeasures for the mass shootings cases. The mass shootings arise from the rightsto own guns. I think that the introduction of laws that govern gun control willhelp reduce the cases of mass shootings. The background checks are supposed tobe effective. The US citizens need to pass the laws on these checks.
The sentencesfor illegal gun possession should also be increased. This will reduce theillegal ownership of guns. The regulations will thus give the licenses to theindividuals who have the urgency and the needs to own guns. Not everyindividual will just be given the licenses to own the private guns. Ialso think that educating people and encouraging dialogue forums is a betterway that will reduce the incidences. Individuals can always seek justicethrough other means other than attacking innocent civilians.
The governmentshould thus be receptive to the complaints of its citizens and deal with theirissues appropriately. I believe that individuals would raise their issues in abetter manner if they are sure that their pleas will be dealt with. Additionally,I believe that the federal government needs to be directly involved with the policymakers so that the laws can be enforced. Some states have created the laws thatcontrol the ownership of guns. The absence of the federal laws, however, makethe laws at the state level useless since the citizens could always purchasethe guns outside their states. The Americans also need to vote on the laws ifat all they need a change in the prevalent cases of mass shootings. The federallaws are what will apply to the entire country, and thus law enforcement atthis stage will be beneficial to the country. The citizens need to putthemselves in the shoes of the families of the mass shooting victims and acceptthe need to enforce the laws.
They should also turn up in large numbers to votethe bills in. NRA members, on the other hand, needs to consider the safety ofeveryone before struggling to retain the rights to own guns. ReferencesBrantford, Ont: W. RossMacDonald School Resource Services Library.CongressionalResearch Service. Retrieved from: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43004.
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vox.com/2015/10/3/9444417/gun-violence-united-states-america Nakaya,A.C. (2015). Thinking Critically: Mass shootings. San Diego, CA.
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