Fri. Mar 1st, 2024
alert-–-maureen-callahan:-the-maine-mass-shooter-was-a-known-gun-nut-psycho-–-but-the-authorities-ignored-all-the-alarm-bells,-can’t-catch-him,-and-treat-the-press-conference-like-an-awards-show.-where-is-the-outrage?Alert – MAUREEN CALLAHAN: The Maine mass shooter was a known gun-nut psycho – but the authorities ignored all the alarm bells, can’t catch him, and treat the press conference like an awards show. Where IS the outrage?

‘A tragedy that goes without comprehension’ was what one public official called Wednesday night’s mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. 

A nation accustomed to senseless slaughter begs to differ.

It’s tragically reminiscent of The Onion’s famous 2014 headline, always applicable: ‘“No Way to Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.’

As of this writing, a manhunt is underway for the coward, who I have not named — because infamy is part of the thrill for such deviants – and who has been charged with shooting up a bowling alley full of children, before unleashing a fusillade of bullets at a bar four miles away.

At least 18 people are dead. Ten of those victims have yet to be identified — recalling the carnage of Uvalde, kids whose faces were obliterated beyond recognition.

Thirteen more are injured. Those who survive will live with this trauma forever.

As for the shooting suspect himself — well, in the months leading up to this, he was waving all the red flags.

As of this writing, a manhunt is underway for the coward, who I have not named – because infamy is part of the thrill for such deviants – and who has been charged with shooting up a bowling alley full of children, before unleashing a fusillade of bullets at a bar four miles away.

At least 18 people are dead. Ten of those victims have yet to be identified — recalling the carnage of Uvalde, kids whose faces were obliterated beyond recognition. Thirteen more are injured Those who survive will live with this trauma forever. As for the shooting suspect himself — well, in the months leading up to this, he was waving all the red flags. (Pictured: Body bags removed from Schemengee’s Bar, Thursday, following mass shooting).

He is a ‘highly trained’ Army reservist who, according to one fellow soldier, was one of the best riflemen in their unit — yet was committed to a mental hospital for two weeks this summer after he reported ‘hearing voices’.

His superiors called police in mid-July, concerned that he was acting erratically. He was taken to an Army hospital at West Point — where he was deployed to help train cadets – for evaluation; any findings are as yet unknown.

He recently threatened to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco, Maine. He patronized the bowling alley and bar targeted on Wednesday, and for months was telling family members he was sure people at both places were talking badly about him — that he was overhearing these non-existent conversations.

‘He truly believed he was hearing people say things,’ his sister-in-law Katie O’Neill told The Daily Beast. ‘He would get mad and claim that we didn’t believe him. We tried to listen and tell him that nobody was talking about him.’

So despite his family and friends telling the media that he is ‘a rational, understanding person’, as one fellow reservist told CNN — or ‘the most loving, hardworking, and kind person that I know’ as O’Neill claims — clearly, he was a known threat to public safety.

‘This is not who he is,’ O’Neill said.

This is EXACTLY who he is.

He allegedly planned, strategized, targeted and executed this mass murder, at two different locations, then successfully got away — potentially crossing state lines into Massachusetts — leaving parts of Maine under complete lockdown.

This shooting suspect, like so many others who are mentally disturbed, retained enough core competencies, enough cogency, to successfully maim and kill.

The White House, and the entire country, has lowered the flag. How about raising the bar for gun ownership?

How about finally addressing one of the greatest public health crises in America: The aggrieved white male — almost always the mass shooter profile — who takes out his failures, grievances and aggression on unwitting civilians and schoolchildren?

But here was Maine’s governor Janet Mills at the press conference Thursday morning, flanked by all manner of police and public officials waiting for their turn at the podium, as if this were an awards show — statements of thanks and thoughts and prayers! — rather than a sober acknowledgement of what this is: A complete failure of local, state and federal law enforcement, a mass murderer waiting in our midst now still on the run.

He recently threatened to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco, Maine. He patronized the bowling alley and bar targeted on Wednesday night, and for months was telling family members he was sure people at both places were talking badly about him — that he was overhearing these non-existent conversations.

But here was Maine’s governor Janet Mills at the press conference Thursday morning, flanked by all manner of police and public officials waiting for their turn at the podium, as if this were an awards show – statements of thanks and thoughts and prayers! — rather than a sober acknowledgement of what this is: A complete failure of local, state and federal law enforcement, a mass murderer waiting in our midst now still on the run.

Nope, Mills was moving right past this atrocity and looking to put it in the rearview.

‘This is a dark day for Maine,’ she said. ‘I know it’s hard to think about healing when our hearts are broken… We will heal together.’

Talk about tone-deaf. Where is the outrage? Where is the call at this moment, the world’s eyes upon you, to demand sensible gun reform?

How could Mills not take this moment to note that the AR-15 rifle, a modified version used by this savage, is the favored weapon of mass shooters all over America — precisely because it kills so many so fast, its bullets designed to tear the human body apart, liquify vital organs, split skulls and turn bones into dust?

Perhaps because Governor Mills is compromised. Perhaps because she ran in 2018 on gun control legislation that she promptly abandoned upon winning her election. Perhaps because she wouldn’t even back a proposed ‘red flag’ law that would have enabled judges to temporarily block a troubled individual’s access to guns. Instead, she compromised on a so-called ‘yellow flag’ alternative, which tells you all you need to know about the gun lobby in America.

Want to know what gun laws Maine does have on the books? Almost none.

There are no state-mandated background checks to buy a gun in Maine. No bans on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, or bump stocks. You don’t need a permit to own a gun, neither for concealed or open-carry. There is no 3-day waiting period to purchase one. And no requirement that the guns of domestic abusers must be confiscated.

‘I know that the people of Lewiston are enduring immeasurable pain,’ Mills said at the press conference — while giving herself credit for ‘working through the night’, as if that’s not the least she could do.

Of course, we know how the debate will unfold in the coming days: The gun lobby will blame the untreated mentally ill. Advocates for the mentally ill will call for stronger gun controls.

Can’t we all agree on the obvious — that deep reforms are needed on both sides?

‘This city did not deserve this terrible assault on its citizens, on its peace of mind, on its sense of security,’ Mills said Thursday.

Indeed, it did not. If only there was someone in a position of power, who campaigned to prevent this very eventuality, who could do something about that.

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