It’s been over 18 months since the Newtown school shootings, which are an ill wind that has blown some Democrat PR dollies like Shannon Watts some good, but produced political winds that have been a disaster for all concerned. Gun owners have lost in many places, but anti-gun politicians have lost in many more, and they fear a reckoning coming in the fall.
Here are a few things that are still percolating into the news from this aging crime. Much of the news comes from the Hartford Courant, which is interested in the case both because it happened inside their circulation area, and because they expected it would help them promote their gun control agenda, which it has done, locally.
Item: June 23: The FBI put the habeus grabass on a sick puppy from Venezuela. Immediately after the shootings, Wilfrido A. Cardenas Hoffman, 30, of El Hatillo, Venezuela, made 96 random calls to Newtown numbers, claiming to be the dead shooter Adam Lanza, and making threats. He used an internet phone system to try to hide his identity, but was tripped up by the FBI’s warrantless access to NSA surveillance. Even after he was identified and indicted in 2013, he might have stayed free forever, except that he ran into the difficulty anyone has getting from one place to another in Latin America: you always have to change planes in Miami. Lanza escaped justice, but the legal system now has Cardenas as whipping boy. Assuming he did it, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Item: June 23: A commission set up and staffed by anti-gun governor Dannel Malloy is said to be focusing, in secret, on legislative recommendations about “guns, school safety, and mental health” — in that order. Connecticut already had strict laws, including a state version of the 1994 Federal semi-auto ban. The shooter did not obtain his guns lawfully, but by murdering a legal owner, his mother. We’d like to see the law that will deter someone who wants a gun that badly. Most of the story talks about the mental health issues, without ever facing the real, difficult question: how do you separate the sheep (harmless mentally ill) from the goats (potentially violent ones)? No physican has a reliable protocol, or would be willing to stake his license on one of his predictions. It’s a fuzzy, inexact science at this point. About the most practical thing we can do is spend on basic research and hope they find something. Since that, unlike Dannel Malloy’s Two Minutes Hate directed at the Emannuel Goldstein of the NRA, does not promise instant gratification, the politicians will not do it.
Lisa Long, the lady who, back in February 2014, wrote the moving essay I am Adam Lanza’s Mother about her own struggles with her son’s mental illness, describes progress since then: she finally, after 10 or 11 years of illness, has a diagnosis (bipolar disorder), not that that offers any immediate hope for her kid. She thinks that the “national conversation” ought to be about mental illness, and we think she’s on to something. Long:
We cannot ensure that tragic events like Newtown do not happen again. The world isn’t safe. But one thing we can do is provide better and earlier diagnosis of mental illness for children.
In time, we may have the right hammer to hit this nail. Until then, people like Mrs Long and her mentally ill son will suffer. The world isn’t safe, and it also isn’t fair.
Item: June 26: The Newtown massacre may have been a disaster for family members, but it’s been a bonanza for state bureaucrats and various “non-profit” empire builders who are elbowing one another at a Federal trough that’s been sluiced with over $7 million — so far. State Office of Victim’s [sic] Services Executive Director Linda Cimino describes the surviving kids of Newtown as, naturally, helpless and ruined victims. Indeed, to hear her tell it, they’re abused, emotionally disturbed, hypervigilant and underachieving drug users. And the answer, of course, is to give her money. A “non-profit” called the Resiliency Center of Newtown, hastily set up to stake a claim to a hunk of the “free” Federal lucre, wants a half-million to provide good jobs at way-better-than-good wages to its Executive Director and his, her or its retinue. The Newtown-Sandy Hook Foundation has already blown through over $12M in private donations, of which only $7.7M went to the victims (surviving and dead) and their families, and the other near-half seems to have been raked off by the insiders, in addition to a large cut taken by the grossly inefficient United Way for its insiders. The Foundation has earmarked a lot of the money to perpetuate itself for at least 15 years, and it’s getting $173k from the Feds — for its Executive Director and his or her office space. You can’t expect selfless non-profiteers to toil away for mere middle-class wages like the common 99%, can you? On the other hand, Newtown Youth and Family Services has seen the demand for mental health outpatient services increase markedly, and that requires them to hire more people — administrative people. And get them a building. The town itself will get $3.1M from the feds, which will go for a lot of new, hungry mouths to feed, like a $165k Community Outreach Leader, and Project Manager and Child Recovery Leaders also drawing over $100k each. One (legitimately) traumatized student is attending a private special needs school at a cost of about $300k a year including transportation and a minder.
Hey, it’s all free money from the Federal Government, only 40% borrowed for those kids to pay back in reduced income and opportunities for their entire life. Funny how “for the children” always seems to actually manifest itself as “for the second sons of the Political Class”.
Item: June 30: While the .gov money seems to be going predominantly to make rich “facilitators” and “coordinators” richer, the Courant reports that more than a quarter of the $28M raised by private charities went to the families, so far, but that half remains to be distributed, raising the possibility that more than half of the amount will go to the people for whom donors intended the money, rather than typically sticky-fingered non-profit managers.
Of course, the same story also mentions a Nashville charity where runners raised $70k for Newtown — and organizers apparently kept on running with it. There were some bright points of light, though: for example, a Newtown couple, Rob and Debra Accomando, raised $1.6M and paid out every penny of it to victims’ families. One for-profit organization apparently raised $29k and distributed it to the Parks and Rec department of the town for engraved benches dedicated to the 26 victims.
The Courant remains an extremely anti-gun newspaper, and its news pages campaign for the re-election of antigun Governor Dannell Malloy. On July 14th they called for further restriction of Connecticut’s highly restrictive gun permit regime, because a connected criminal got a permit, which he then used to fire up the crowd at a night club (one that features gangster rap music).