Minority Report, This Isn’t

In our recent debate over both the constitutionality and effectiveness of red flag laws, there have been a lot of comparisons to the movie Minority Report. In case you’re unfamiliar, Minority Report is a science fiction film set in a future world where technology exists which allows for the prediction and prevention of crime…thus the comparison to red flag laws.

It has been a while since I last saw the movie and it’s on Amazon Prime right now, so I decided a re-watch was in order. But in the first few minutes, the movie itself smashes any comparisons to our red flag laws, current or proposed.

Faced with a case of potential murder and the countdown clock ticking, the protagonist works frantically to decode exactly where and when the crime will occur. As the tension builds, and the team races the clock to pinpoint the exact location of the pre-crime, they assemble and deploy a tactical team to swoop in and grab the not-yet-a-criminal.

Only seconds remain as they narrow it down to two adjacent houses, but refuse to move in until they know exactly which house is the correct pre-scene of the pre-crime. They could just as easily have taken down both houses, rather than risk selecting the wrong one…but they did not. Watch the scene in question here:

This is a key difference in the imaginary world of Minority Report, and the reality which is red flag laws. Even with the advanced (yet fallible) technology of the future, the movie cops wouldn’t simply grab up anybody who might be a threat…they waited until they were sure. They wouldn’t risk arresting an innocent person, even in the name of preventing a murder.

Unfortunately, that was fiction. Our red flag laws enjoy neither the technology nor the restraint of Minority Report…but they are real. Who would have thought a dystopian sci-fi flick would offer a rosier picture than present-day America?

Contact your legislators now to demand they oppose red flag laws.

Originally posted at deltabravocharlie.com

That’s Crazy Talk

I was recently listening to a talk given by my friend Cheryl Todd of Gun Freedom Radio on the topic of “red flag laws,” and she said something that caught my ear. She was explaining the difficulty that trained psychology and psychiatry professionals have in predicting violent behavior, and said “we suck at it.”

Minority Report is fiction, you know.

She’s absolutely right. It does not take much research to discover that it is in fact extremely difficult to predict violent behavior in even those clinically diagnosed…by professionals…as mentally ill. It is also a widely recognized fact that mental illness does not automatically mean someone is dangerous.

So why would we get in such a big hurry to take guns from people suspected of being dangerous, as assessed by the untrained non-professional…when the professionals admit that they “suck at it,” and that the vast majority of legitimately mentally ill people are not dangerous?

And why, if the mental health of the person is in question, do “red flag laws” confiscate the gun(s) but not the person? If the person is suspected of being dangerous, why should they not be immediately confined for assessment by mental health professionals? If their mental health were really that important to us, wouldn’t we want to see that they receive immediate care? And if the safety of those around them were truly the priority, how effective is it to just confiscate the guns we know about, while leaving the supposed dangerous person free to a gun we missed, obtain a replacement gun, or substitute another weapon to commit violence? After all, you could even leave the guns right where they are if you simply take the dangerous person away from them and into treatment.

Seems like there’s an awful lot of holes in that red flag.

You just know what she’s going to do if she gets out…

It is because it actually has nothing to do with mental health or violence prevention, and everything to do with removing as many guns as possible from the hands of free, law-abiding citizens. There are already plenty of laws on the books to prohibit criminals, addicts, and those who have been legally designated as mentally ill from possessing guns. But “red flag laws” are nothing more than an attempt to throw the largest possible net over as many gun owners as possible, without the due process guaranteed by the Constitution.

And that’s crazy talk.

Originally posted at deltabravocharlie.com on July 31, 2019.