Wednesday, January 16, 2013

23 Orders Of Confusion

OK, so today President Barry signed a bunch  of executive orders regarding gun violence. This was in response to the horror that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last month.  He (and a lot of other people) keep saying that if we can do something that will keep just one child safe, then we should do it.  I kind of find that statement to be a bit overreaching, but I understand the sentiment behind it.  So since this is in response to a school shooting, I'm going to go ahead and assume that these measures are an attempt to prevent future school shootings.  Fair enough?  OK, then let's look at these and see if they have any relevance at all to what went on at Sandy Hook or if they seem to be more of a feel good measure that will let people brush their hands together and say "That's that!"  Here we go: 

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.  (I'm sure that's a good idea, but it wouldn't have helped.  The shooter took guns from his mother's house.)

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.  (Again, a fine idea, but wouldn't have helped.)

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.  (It isn't clear to me what this means, but since there was not a background check involved when the shooter got his guns, this wouldn't have helped.)

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.  (I like the idea of people not slipping through the cracks.  But again, how would that have prevented Sandy Hook?)

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.  (This has absolutely no relevance to the Sandy Hook tragedy.)

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.  (Ooohh!  A published letter!  But he didn't buy his guns.  He got them from his mother's house.)

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.  (What is that going to cost me?!  This is just a feel good measure.  I have a hard time believing that if the shooter in Newtown just knew about safe and responsible gun ownership that it would have made a difference in his decision making process.)

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).  (Completely irrelevant to what this is in response to.) 

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.  (We don't do this already?!)

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.  (We don't do this already?!)

11. Nominate an ATF director.  (We don't have one of these already?!  With as much stuff as ATF is involved in, there's NO director?  Great.)

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.  (Sandy Hook had measures in place.  They had plans.  They even took precautions ahead of time.  But I guess it couldn't hurt.)

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.  (This sounds lovely, but it means nothing.  Prosecute gun crime?  Uh, I'm pretty sure we do.  And if we don't, then what the hell?!)

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.  (As if there is going to be A cause and A cure.  Why are we dragging the CDC into this?!)

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.  (This sounds like something that responsible gun owners would be interested in.  This does not sound like something irresponsible gun owners would be interested in.  You tell me which of those groups is going to be more likely to shoot up a school.)

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.  (I hate this.  It is none of my doctor's business whether or not I have a gun in my home.  I do not want health care providers collecting my personal information for the government.  My doctor can ask me all he wants, I will refuse to answer.  I suggest you do the same.)

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.  (As a former health care provider, I'm pretty sure that we're aware of that.  But go ahead and write your letter.  Still wouldn't have prevented Sandy Hook.)

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.  (Incentives like what?  I'm not necessarily against this.  It might help.  Hey!  We found one!) 

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.  (How did churches get lumped into this?  What does this even mean?)

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.  (Another letter?  Does President Barry need a pen pal or something?  What do the scope of mental health services have to do with this?  I agree that we need more mental health funding and availability, but I'm not sure how clarifying the limits does anything.  It certainly wouldn't have helped at Sandy Hook.)

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.  (I don't even know what this means.  I don't know that essential health benefits would have prevented the Sandy Hook shooter from doing what he did, however.)

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.  (Again, I don't even know what this means.  Finalize?  Are they in the works?  I don't think that they are.  Then again, I don't know what they are, so it's hard to say.  I will say that it wouldn't have helped the situation that instigated all of this.)

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretary Sebelius.  (Does he think that there isn't already a national dialogue about this?  It's all I've heard about for the last month.  I'm pretty sure we've got that one covered, but thanks.  Oh, and by the way, how would that have prevented anything?  Yeah, it wouldn't have.  That's what I thought.)

So where are we?  Exactly where we were before, only this time we have twenty three executive orders.  And one final note on this.  President Barry made his little speech and signed all of these in front of a bunch of token children.  Look, if you're going to stand up there and talk about shootings in elementary schools and talk about children getting slaughtered, please, for the love of God, do NOT have a bunch of children sitting there to listen to you talk about such horrors.  Is that really necessary?  I don't think that it is!  That was weak.  Please don't drag children into this so that you can look good or whatever.  They don't need to be freaked out by the thought that maybe their school is a dangerous place to go every day. 

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