Skip to comments.The History of the 'Assault Weapon' Hoax. Part 1: The Crime that Started it All
Posted on 03/09/2018 7:39:40 AM PST by Paal Gulli
A 1989 shooting at a Cal. schoolyard began the national "assault weapon" issue. It was a consequence of law enforcement failure.
David B. Kopel|Mar. 2, 2018 6:40 pm
The "assault weapon" controversy first became a national issue in January 1989, when a career criminal murdered five children at school playground in Stockton, California. The failures of law enforcement before and during that crimeand the media and political failures thereafterwere similar to those related to the recent murders in Parkland, Florida. These failures are part of the reason why school shootings, and other mass attacks, persist in the United States today.
This article is the first in a series detailing the "assault weapon" hoax from 1989 to the present.
The Stockton perpetrator, had whose name I won't repeat, had a difficult start in life. His parents split when he was two years old, after the father threated to shoot the mother. Like the vast majority of mass shooters, he grew up without a responsible and consistent man in his life. The mother threw him out of the house for good at age 13, after he hit her in the face.
The danger signs started early. Before he turned 18, he had been arrested 10 times. When he was 14, a mental health evaluation concluded: "if his acting out is not contained now, he will develop into a highly deceptive sociopathic character and be practically untreatable."
As an adult, he continued to accumulate multiple arrests, none of which led to more than a few weeks in prison. Among his prior crimes included being an accomplice to the armed robbery of a gas station, as well as receipt of stolen property, and possession of illegal weapons. He even vandalized his mother's car when she refused to give him money to buy drugs. Always, he slipped through the cracks of the system. His felony arrests turned into misdemeanors and he wound up back on the street.
When he was 20, doctors determined that he was mildly retarded, and had a personality disorder caused by his longstanding alcohol and drug abuse. This entitled him to Social Security Disability benefits.
He bought several handguns over the years, all in compliance with California's 15 day waiting period.
In April 1987, he was arrested while drunk and firing a pistol in Eldorado National Forest, near Lake Tahoe. He told a sheriff's deputy that he had a duty to "overthrow the suppressor." Resisting arrest, he assaulted a law enforcement officer and kicked out the back window of the police cruiser. In his possession was a book about Aryan Nations, a racist and anti-Jewish organization.
After that arrest, he twice attempted suicide in jail, and so mental health evaluations were conducted. He revealed that he thought about committing a mass murder with a gun or a bomb. One evaluation found him to be "a risk, albeit ambiguous, to harm himself. He does however appear to be a greater risk to others. That is, he would probably hurt someone else before he hurt himself." A separate evaluation called him "extremely dangerous." The mental health report concluded that he was "a danger to himself and others." Although he had been charged with five misdemeanors for the Eldorado events, all but one of them were dropped, and he served 45 days in jail.
On January 17, 1989, he attacked the playground at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, which had attended for several years as a child. By 1989, the school was predominantly Southeast Asian children. He hated Asian immigrants, apparently blaming them for his own difficulties in holding gainful employment. He hated a lot of people. On his rifle and jacket he had written "Hezbollah," "PLO," "Libya," and "death to the Great Satin" [sic].
The criminal brought two guns. One was a 9mm pistol, with which he later committed suicide. He did the killing with a semiautomatic rifle, an AKM-56S. (135 Cong. Rec. S1870, Feb. 28, 1989.)
In a period of about two to five minutes (reports vary), he fired around 105 shots. He hit 37 people, including one adult; five children were killed. The police arrived five minutes after he had begun shooting. By that point, he had killed himself.
The Stockton murderer could have been stopped before he started if the government had enforced existing criminal laws or had used existing laws to commit and provide mental health treatment for a plainly disturbed and imminently dangerous individual. The same has been true for many subsequent mass killers. In an article for the Howard Law Journal, Clayton Cramer and I detail other notorious homicides, including mass shootings, that could have been prevented if existing laws had been used to commit and treat people who were well-known to be severely and dangerously mentally ill.
A decade after Stockton, the law enforcement system failed again at Columbine High School. The year before Columbine, in the spring of 1998, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office had prepared an affidavit to ask for a search warrant for the home of one of the criminals. The affidavit was based on his published death threats on the Internet, and on the discoveryin a park a mile and half from his homeof bombs like the ones that he bragged about making. The fact of the never-executed search was unknown to the public until two years after Columbine, when Sixty Minutes II uncovered the affidavit by using Colorado's Open Record Act. Why the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office dropped the matter remains a mystery. The Office admitted in court that it had shredded many of its Columbine documents.
The pattern set by Stockton was repeated at Parkland High School, but even worse. There too, the criminal openly identified himself as an incipient mass murderer. The Stockton criminal's various felonies at least had led to arrests and misdemeanor convictions, but the Parkland criminal's open-and-shut feloniessuch as explicit violent threats against the schoolnever even resulted in an arrest.
Part of the problem was apparently that the Broward Sheriff, and the school administration, were diligently implementing the Obama administration's demand to shut down the "school to prison pipeline" by not arresting students. This was a reasonable policy for students who committed crimes such as truancy or possession of alcohol on school grounds. But it was not reasonable for the Parkland criminal's assault and death threats. The criminal should have been put in a pipeline from school to prison. Instead, the Broward Sheriff and the school ended up running a school to graveyard pipeline.
At Stockton, police did not confront the active shooter because they were still in transit to the scene. At Parklandas at Columbinethe law enforcement officers were already on-scene and did not enter the building to attempt to stop the on-going murders.
The next article in the series will examine the rifle the Stockton criminal used, and the misinformation that was spread about it. Future articles, will examine more of the past and present media inaccuracy about so-called "assault weapons," the many libels against law-abiding gun owners, and media coverage that has the effect of inciting copycats. And of course the 1989 and 2018 stories of presidents who imagined that they could find political advantage by breaking their campaign promises and betraying the people who elected them.
Excellent start ... will the author introduce the MK Ultra aspects that may be a part of the story in individual mass murders?
SHAME ON THOSE AR 15S
FOR WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PARKSIDE SCHOOL
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT POLICIES FAILURES THEY
MUST BE HIDDEN
The inability to counter this perverted (they call progressive) agenda created by the democratic party ( in name only) has its goose stepping adherents in the media left make it up as guns and the NRA garbage through their swill mills. When it should be contested by GOP state and federal legislators who should be demanding investigative hearings exposing policy failures
DONT MENTION THIS
Besides examining the conduct and arrangements of the Broward county sheriff’s dept performance failures. A dramatic reduction in disciplinary incidents at Parkside were reported after the selection of Obamas Chicago friend as school superintendent occurred which was publicly acclaimed.And that school district was receiving large grant money from Obamas Attorney General because of those results. That many critics claimed encouraged criminal activity. Which should require Trump Administration US Attorney General beside find out why when the FBI knew that Cruz should not be able to purchase weapons did. And review these grant programs instituted by the previous Obama administration.
Sources for the formulation of this report come from postings from newspaper and television stations placed in the news aggregation web site Free Republic by volunteers during the period of Feb 14th to the 25th
The original sources are linked in these postings
We can go back further than that. James Oliver Huberty killed 21 people at a San Ysidro, California McDonalds. Huberty had made a call to a mental health crisis line the day before, only to never have his call returned. Mental Health is the issue in all of these mass shootings, not the tool used. The Columbine killers are an interesting case though, there didn’t seem to be any overt mental health issues with Harris and Klebold.
“The Columbine killers are an interesting case though, there didnt seem to be any overt mental health issues with Harris and Klebold.”
But they were acknowledged weirdos, whose anti-social behavior was well-known. And evidently they had parents who were related to the Ostrich family for failing to see that there sons were not normal.
If you will remember back, after the San Ysidro killings, California drew up an assault weapons ban that included tube magazine lever action rifles. There was such an outcry the tube magazine ban was removed and the bill shelved.
When I heard that I said.. “Watch out! There is going to be a mass killing in California! The bill is already prepared and waiting!”
Then the perp was released from a mental institution for the seventh time, allowed to buy a pistol in California passing all waiting periods, and a rifle in Oregon.
Then he shot up the Stockton school and the anti-gun bill was pulled out and passed so fast before any opposition could be mounted against it.
I am not one to see “setup conspiracies” but this is too blatant to pass up.
Now, there's a name I've not heard in a long, long, time... (old usenet days)
Excellent post. Thanks.
And failed, or was "saved" by the staff?
The article only alludes to, but fails to mention directly, the one serious failure in our justice sysyem: the amount of flexibility given to prosecutors to plea bargain.
Further, the author blames law enforcement, implying that cops are the bad guys,when he should be blaming the prosecutors and judges.
When are we going to wake up and realize that streamlining the court dockets is not good for justice?
“The History of the ‘Assault Weapon’ Hoax”
The same people who brought us the global warming hoax.
In the Parkland case it was the cops. Nothing made it to the courts.
I partially concede on this one. The deal wasn't made between the "cops" on the beat, but between the leadership and the school administration. I'd bet that if you asked the cops on the beat, they would not agree with the deal their bosses made.
A really horrible mass murder was perpetrated in 1966 at the University of Texas at Austin by Charles Whitman. He managed to kill 14 people and hospitalize another 31. He did not use an automatic or semi-automatic weapon, but rather a bolt action Remington 6mm rifle with a 3 round magazine. He also had several other weapons with him, but the damage was mostly done with his Remington 700.
Thus, the effectiveness of mass casualties does not depend on having an AR15 or AK47.
Maybe so. Well, except Scot Peterson.
Please ping me should you post subsequent parts of Mr. Kopel’s article. Thank you.
I’m reminded of another story that was in the news when we lived in CA and that was a motorist who mowed down a bunch of preschool kids playing outside. Does anyone else remember that? I don’t recall any details but it sure made the news!! Or how about the guy who ran amok at a Farmer’s Market somewhere in L. A. County and mowed people down? Or even by Santa Monica Community College a few years back when a guy did the same thing with an automobile? I guess we don’t have any automobiles on the road anymore! Took care of that problem, didn’t it?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.