August 20, 2018 – Vestal, NY – The following is the full transcript of a speech, made by M V Consulting Inc and Liberty First Foundation NY Chapter president Michael “Vass” Vasquez to the members of the Americans for Restoring the Constitution (AFRTC) and the general public at the Vestal Public Library. The speech is an in-depth review of Red Flag legislation in New York State and across the nation. Due to the length of the details and data, compiled from over 50 sources and growing in an on-going investigation, the speech is being split into 8 parts. Due to time constraints, the actual live presentation truncated portions of the original documentation, without alteration of the data, details, or context.
Any news media organization that wishes to receive this presentation in its original form or reprint these articles, including all public sources, in order to address this growing trend of legislation and inform the public of all aspects of this legislation, is given full rights to do so. To receive a copy of the original form, please contact us.
Amended (due to time constraints) speech at Vestal Public Library:
Q & A with audience after the presentation:
Perhaps one of the least discussed or understood Amendment is the Fifth. It contains the Due Process Clause – the linchpin of our legal system. In addition the Fourteenth Amendment further fills any gap that can be construed in Due Process. The realization of this was far more eloquently stated, by Justice Henry Friendly in 1970 in the article “Some Kind of Hearing“, as he established guidelines for Due Process:
1. An unbiased tribunal.
2. Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it.
3. Opportunity to present reasons why the proposed action should not be taken.
4. The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
5. The right to know opposing evidence.
6. The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.
7. A decision based exclusively on the evidence presented.
8. Opportunity to be represented by counsel.
9. Requirement that the tribunal prepares a record of the evidence presented.
10. Requirement that the tribunal prepares written findings of fact and reasons for its decision.
Now I have said all of this to ensure that we can fully, broadly, and clearly understand Red Flag legislation without reliance on emotions, political influences, or a failure of familiarity with the original core of our nation and laws. Because it is these reasons, and utter vaguarity that is the foundation of Red Flag legislation.
To have a complete understanding of these legislations we must understand the environment that created them. Mass shootings. An issue that most would think started somewhere in the 1980’s if not more recently. Indeed many would think that the very well publicized Columbine shootings were the start of mass shootings, and its subset of School Mass Shootings. But, with some disagreement, many would say that in September 1949, Howard Unruh was the first – killing 13 people, wounding an additional 3, in 20 minutes without warning in Camden, NJ.
Since that time, there have been far too many more incidents. It’s hard to quantify how many mass shootings have occurred, and therefore if they are increasing, decreasing, or are constant. The problem is that there is no definition of mass shooting. Some quantify it as 3 or more killed in one incident, some say 4 or even more. There are those that include or exclude the shooter themselves, and recently there are those that count those that are wounded, whether killed or not. Then there are the further separations of killing sprees, serial killers, and gang violence.
Given such vagueness, it’s not surprising that there is no accepted accuracy. But perhaps one of the best answers can be found in the empirical studies done by Professor James Allan Fox. A criminologist at Northeastern University, he has done some of the most cited studies on the subject of mass shootings and the subset of school shootings.
It may be shocking for some that in 2014, Professor Fox’s research – based on mass shootings involving 4 victims or more and not including the shooter – showed that on average there has been no increase in mass shootings over decades of research. On average there are about 20 events with 100 victims each year – or roughly 5 victims for each mass shooting event.
But there are even more facts and conclusions that can be derived from his 2014 study. Like his debunking of the spontaneity of mass shootings, stating
“To the contrary, mass killers typically plan their assaults for days, weeks, or months. These preparations include where, when, and who to kill, as well as with what weapons they will strike. These assailants are deliberate, determined to kill, with little regard for what obstacles are placed in their path.”
But of most relevance to the subject of Red Flag legislation are his comments on identifying potential killers and the after-the-fact emphasis on mental illness.
“The warning sign can even come in the form of overt or veiled threats articulated by the soon-to-become mass murderer—a process that has been termed “leakage”. If anything, these indicators are yellow flags that only turn red once the blood has spilled and are identified in the after-math of tragedy with crystal-clear hindsight…
In addition, aggressive attempts to single out potential troublemakers before they make trouble can potentially do more harm than good by stigmatizing, marginalizing, and traumatizing already troubled individuals. If they already feel mistreated, then focused interventions, even if benevolent, can easily be misinterpreted as further evidence of persecution, thereby encouraging a violent outburst rather than discouraging it…
In the aftermath of high-profile mass shootings, political leaders often rally to address the needs of the mentally ill. Unfortunately, this timing tends to stigmatize the vast majority of people who suffer from mental illness as if they too are mass murderers in waiting. However, no clear relationship between psychiatric diagnosis and mass murder has been established.”
To put things into greater clarity, the subset of school shootings, cited by many politicians as being a reason for pushing Red Flag legislation, is also far less fearful than modern 24/7 news cycles would like the general public to believe. In fact, according to a study between 1992 and 2015, done by Professor Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel,
“There are around 55 million school children in the United States, and on average over the past 25 years, about 10 students per year were killed by gunfire at school”
Some may find this to be shocking news. If one were to go by just the 24/7 news cycle it would seem that schools shootings are nearly as common as shootings in Chicago. But the major difference is the fact that unlike in the 1990’s, the ease of instantaneous information delivery and the emphasis of cable news, memes, and other social media extends the length of any event in the social consciousness. This extended existence at a time when virtually any other news story receives between 28 seconds and 2 minutes of coverage, often replaced in reporting within 24 hours, increases the magnitude and emotional impact of these generally isolated incidents.
To give it perspective, 4788 children and young adults between the ages of 1 – 24 died due to firearms in 2016 according to the CDC. In each age category, firearms were never a leading cause of death, ranking highest for those 15-24 as the 3rd largest cause of death. In that same year, unintentional injuries – not involving firearms – was the number 1 cause of death from ages 1-24, killing 16,890.
For the year 2016 there were a total of 15 incidents where a firearm was fired on school grounds. This resulted in 9 deaths and 26 injuries. None of these incidents qualify as a school mass shooting per Professor Fox. Only 5 incidents resulted in casualties of 4 individuals each and none had more than 4 casualties. This includes the relatively well publicized UCLA shooting and the Madison High School shooting in Ohio.
What you probably recall better from that year is the fact that organizations like Everytown Research claimed, and were quoted by media, some 52 incidents with firearms occurred in 2016. The key is the phrasing, “incidents of gunfire” is the exact wording used by Everytown. That includes accidental discharges and other gunshots without injuries. It includes individuals injured in unknown circumstances on school grounds (like at football stadiums). It includes individuals of all age groups, not just students.