Last November, Oklahoma City police officers went to check on an elderly woman after relatives reported they hadn’t heard from her in a while.
At 77, Janet Hume was living with her adult son, Gerald, who the family said was schizophrenic. Since she typically kept in close contact with relatives, police decided to investigate.
They visited the Hume home on three occasions. Each time, her son refused to let them inside, insisting “everything was OK,” according to a police affidavit.
But it was far from it.
What police eventually discovered instead was a horrendous case that underscores how little the country’s current gun laws can do to stop a mentally ill person from buying a gun — even if, like Gerald Hume, they have a documented history of violence.
In addition to the handgun and three rifles, police also removed a Whirlpool freezer, a reciprocating saw and a serrated kitchen knife, according to the inventory, filed with the search warrant. They also seized a pair of blood-splattered safety glasses and a white plastic trash bag containing women’s clothing that was “cut up/stained,” the document said.
Authorities found parts of Janet Hume’s body inside the freezer, along with the body of a house cat, the district attorney told the Oklahoman newspaper.
Gerald Hume was described in the affidavit as a “known schizophrenic (who) hears voices, and requires treatment” and who has had “several mental health interventions with OCPD” and a history of violent behavior.
He didn’t steal his guns or borrow them. He bought them.
“He bought them like any normal person would — he got them at Walmart,” said Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson.
Hume bought the rifles at the Walmart in Moore, Oklahoma, on September 25. The next day he bought the Glock at Gun World in the nearby town of Dell City, according to Nelson. Both are federally licensed gun dealers that conduct background checks. The checks, in theory, are supposed to stop certain people — including the mentally ill with a history of violence — from buying them.
“Even after you have a brief conversation with (Gerald Hume), you can tell something is not right,” Nelson said. “Visibly, he even looks ‘off.’”
That hardly sounds fair!
Okay, it’s fair. But why would we possibly invest the federal government with our well-being when this sort of thing happens routinely in a bureaucracy? If it sounds like I’m arguing for more gun control, you have me wrong—if anything, we need less. And not because I’m a gun nut. I do not, and will not, own a gun.
But Mrs. Hume (and her cat) would have been better off if she had. She sure as heck wasn’t helped by all the rules and regulations on the books. Another 50 pages won’t bring her back—and wouldn’t have helped.
The most dangerous thing in the country is not a mentally deranged man living in his mom’s basement. It’s the government swearing they’ve got your back (with their fingers crossed behind theirs).
PS: The article finally gets around to reporting what we all should have suspected.
[T]he vast majority of states fail to pass on mental health records to the federal system. That means the mentally ill may still easily buy guns.
As of October 2011, 23 states and the District of Columbia had submitted fewer than 100 mental health care records. Seventeen submitted fewer than 10 records, and four states hadn’t reported a single record to the federal background check system, according to the federal investigation, conducted by the Government Accountability Office.
As of October 2012, Oklahoma had submitted only three mental health records to the NICS Index, according to the mayors’ group.
The gun control argument runs thusly: we don’t have the will to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally deranged, so we intend to take guns out of the hands of everyone. Including the moms (and the cats) of the mentally deranged.