Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
And then as you continue to fume over what happened in Atlanta you’re reminded of the 1979 Grover Cleveland Elementary shooting in San Diego, CA, in which a woman killed two adults and wounded eight children and a police officer while firing from her home across the street. When arrested and questioned as to her motives, she more or less shrugged and said she “didn’t like Mondays,” that she’d committed the deed to “liven up the day.”
Which leads you to read more about the school shooting that occurred exactly ten years to-the-day after the 1979 school shooting that occurred at a DIFFERENT elementary school named after Grover Cleveland in Stockton, CA. The culprit in that case targeted Asian immigrants in particular, having previously expressed hatred towards Asians for taking jobs away from “native-born” Americans. He fired 106 rounds from an AK-47 in three minutes, killing five children and wounding 32 other people, most of whom were refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia.
The man responsible for the Stockton massacre had a long criminal history that included possession of an illegal firearm, being an accomplice to armed robbery, and reckless endangerment incurred when he was randomly shooting a semi-automatic weapon at trees in a national forest. While in prison, a psychiatric assessment concluded that he was a danger to himself and to others. Within a year after his release he was able to purchase a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun in two different states.
The woman responsible for the San Diego shootings was given the rifle she used by her father for Christmas 1988, despite having previously taken shots at the school’s windows with a BB gun. He also bought her a telescopic gun-sight and 500 rounds of ammunition.
In the months following Stockton, the state of California passed the Roberti-Roos law restricting the sale of semi-automatic weapons and the George H.W. Bush administration passed a federal ban solely on importation of assault weaponry (the AK-47 used at Stockton was of Chinese manufacture). The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was enacted by the Clinton administration in 1994, the same year that the NRA attempted to oust one of the authors of the California bill through a recall effort. The federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, and attempts by Democrats to renew it have been consistently stymied by Republican legislators or presidents.
In 1994 the Clinton administration also enacted the Violence Against Women Act. It was reauthorized several times, including a contentious and highly partisan battle in 2013, before it was allowed to expire during the 2018 government shutdown, briefly reauthorized and then allowed to expire again in 2019 by an apathetic Republican Senate and Republican president.
The man who committed the massacres in Atlanta purchased the firearm that same day in Holly Springs, then drove six hours back to commit a crime that he is essentially blaming on the Asian women he targeted for being objects of his desire and existing within an hour of where he lived.
Yesterday, VAWA was reauthorized in the House by a vote of 244-172. Only 29 Republicans joined the unanimous Democratic vote to renew. The bill faces more opposition in the Senate, where Republicans object to the VAWA’s new restrictions against domestic abusers or others convicted of violent crimes being allowed to purchase firearms.
Very little of this is new, but a lot of this is older than we are willing to recognize, connected in ways that should be evident, and nonetheless continuing beyond any reasonable motivation.