It’s no mystery that CNN is a big fan of red flag laws. They’ve run a number of stories suggesting these things work exactly as advertised and aren’t really an issue.
However, there’s always more to the story than what we’re from them.
Take, for example, this story CNN reported out of New Mexico, all about an awful situation that I can’t even imagine being in. Yet they take this and make it about red flag laws.
Vanessa Salgado’s nightmare began on what should have been a regular evening in the spring of last year, while she was waiting for her boyfriend to bring back tacos from a fast-food restaurant.
Before he arrived at her house in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Salgado’s 16-year-old daughter, Alexia Rael, came home and, with her out-of-town older sister on the phone, dropped a bombshell accusation: The boyfriend – a 52-year-old bank manager – had molested them both for years. Stunned, Salgado kicked Bradley Wallin, her partner of a dozen years, out of the house that night.
Weeks later, on Mother’s Day, Wallin took out his revenge, gunning down Rael and her 16-year-old cousin with his 9 mm outside a party-supply store where the two teens went to buy Vanessa a card and balloons. Wallin then shot himself.
The double murder-suicide, some officials say, was a tragic missed opportunity to employ the state’s red flag law, which enables authorities to swiftly and temporarily remove guns from the hands of people who pose a danger, and prevents them from purchasing new ones.
Except, was it?
There’s no mention that Wallin had issued threats of any kind.
While the accusations made were horrific, there’s no evidence he expressed any desire to carry out something like this. He was apparently an awful person, but one kind of awful doesn’t necessarily follow that the person is homicidal.
So exactly why would this have been an opportunity for a red flag law?
While it’s mentioned later that Salgado called the police, there’s no mention of pending charges. There’s no mention of a restraining order. Nothing at all in that regard, so absent an actual threat, how was anyone supposed to know that Wallin would do something like this?
The article then goes on to argue that New Mexico’s red flag law isn’t used enough, but there’s a problem with that argument as well. For example, how do you know when it’s used the right amount?
So far, the primary defense we hear that red flag laws work is when a bunch of such orders are issued. The problem has always been that we don’t know how many of those were valid cases and how many were someone overreacting.
The flip side is that proponents of these laws will use every tragedy as a justification for these laws, and the dolts at CNN aren’t interested in doing any actual journalism.
There’s no evidence the reporter asked the questions about Wallin’s mental state or any threats. There’s not a hint of anything other than pushing gun control propaganda.
Look, I have concerns about red flag laws. I liked the concept at first–taking guns from potential mass killers when they were showing signs they were that troubled–but the problem has always been in the execution, particularly since these laws leave these supposedly dangerous people walking around on the streets, able to find other ways to hurt someone.
CNN used an absolutely heartbreaking story, but they’re clearly hoping that heartbreak will keep people from asking the question about just how in the hell would a red flag law help when there’s nothing there to suggest it actually would.
Especially when what we have–all we have–is a comment like this:
“It infuriates – me the fact that they didn’t lead me to the correct path,” said Salgado, 45, who works as a finance manager at an auto dealership. “He’s not in his right mind if he’s molesting people. He shouldn’t have possession of those guns.”
Now, she’s right, he’s not in his right mind if he’s doing things like that. But those accusations aren’t what triggers a red flag order and it never has, which is probably why the deputies never mentioned it.
It’s tragic in hindsight, but that’s just how it is.