Opinion

#NotOneMore

Throughout this past year, our campus and community have experienced a host of tragedies unlike anything ever seen in our immediate past. As part of the Nexus editorial staff, it has been my job to contribute to op-eds in the wake of each of these events, including in the days following February’s sexual assault and the riots that broke out during Deltopia. None of those were easy to write. But in the wake of last Friday’s tragic events, I was especially hesitant to write anything. Friends took to social media to express concerns that this should be a time of mourning, not a time during which political agendas should be furthered, or even discussed, a sentiment that I agreed with whole-heartedly. I still believe that first and foremost, we should be doing everything in our power to work together to heal and to honor those six victims, rather than dwelling on the “hows” and “whys.”

However, Richard Martinez’s impassioned speech at yesterday’s beautiful memorial service made it clear to all in attendance that one of the best ways to honor the memory of those we’ve lost is by taking steps to make sure that this never happens again. He emphasized that although many of us have different beliefs about what these steps should be, the cause that he has chosen to back personally is one that calls for stricter gun control regulations. He asked that we take to Twitter — or even to good old snail mail — to implore our government officials to introduce new legislation. By the time I got around to writing this, a few hours after the service had ended, the hashtag, “#notonemore” was being tweeted at an average rate of 2,500 times an hour.

Growing up in a staunchly anti-gun household, where no one hunts, and the only security my house has is an old-school wooden Louisville Slugger that my dad keeps under his bed, I’ve never understood the need for accessibility to semi-automatic weapons. Therefore, I realize that I’m jumping onboard the #notonemore train much more quickly and easily than some others in I.V. I also realize that this is a very nuanced case, one in which we could just as easily discuss the stigmatism of mental illness or the dangers of male privilege and misogyny. And I said before, I’m hesitant to discuss these things while I.V. is still in mourning — I’d never want to take away anything from the celebration of those six lives. But in order to do a service to Richard Martinez, and to his son’s memory, I would like to briefly look at the logistics of gun control reform.

In 2011, the rate of firearm-related homicides in the U.S. was 3.6 per 100,000 people. That number seems small, until you compare it with a country where semi-automatic firearms are banned; for example, in 2010, the rate of firearm-related homicides in the United Kingdom was .04 per 100,000 people. That’s about one percent of the U.S.’s rate. Furthermore, while overall violence in the U.S. has been steadily decreasing for the past 20 years, 2012 — the year that the Sandy Hook and Aurora movie theater shootings took place — saw the highest number of firearm-related homicides in recent U.S. history.

However, a complete ban on firearms does not seem to be feasible in the United States, or at least not any time in the near future; gun culture just seems to be too deeply, disgustingly engrained in the American fabric. However, Renee Binder, a professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco, recently proposed what she calls a “Gun Violence Restraining Order,” which would allow a judge to temporarily stop the purchase of a firearm if an individual’s family or acquaintances expressed concern. A similar law is in place in Canada, where family members or even neighbors can be interviewed to determine whether or not an individual should receive a gun license (and for the record, their rate in 2009 was .5 per 100,000 people, still vastly lower than the U.S.’s). And yesterday, California Assemblymembers Das Williams and Nancy Skinner have pledged to introduce a bill that will incorporate this measure.

Of course, this solution quickly crumbles under the question, what if the gun was bought in private? However, I believe that it’s a step in the right direction. We need to recognize that even though California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, that’s still not saying much. Furthermore, I think that we can all agree that no one individual should ever, ever, for any circumstances, have access to over 400 rounds of ammunition.
So I encourage you all to browse and share the #notonemore tag, not purely to further a political agenda, but rather to pay tribute to Mr. Martinez’s wishes and more importantly, to pay tribute to the memory of his son, Christopher, and to the memory of the five other Gauchos that we lost last weekend.
Allyson Campion thinks any progress is good progress.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, May 28, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.
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6 Comments

  1. raoul duke says:

    Dang…. I got confused, but I liked it.

  2. Howard Zochlinski says:

    Hope you have the guts to use at least part of this.

    On Friday, May 23, a self-obsessed and spoiled rich-kid killed six of his fellow students at UCSB. Since then there has been a firestorm of commentary, much of it seeking to find someone or some institution to blame, others, like the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs, seeking to pull a COA (Cover-Our-Assets) maneuver. The problem is, almost all these people are ignorant of how the system really works, or are covering themselves for their failures. Here’s my two-cents.

    When the police got the report of Rodger Elliot’s attempt to push girls off a ten-foot ledge, they had sufficient grounds for an arrest. There were multiple witnesses to his actions, which, besides the physical assault, included verbal threats to kill the girls. The police could have gotten a warrant for his arrest, put him on the no-buy list for guns and even take away the gun he had at the time.

    I know lawyers out there will point out that the crime was a misdemeanor and there are requirements for an arrest for a misdemeanor that does not take place in the presence of an officer, such as a warrant, The UC police have no problem getting warrants from friendly D.A.’s desperate to suck up to the Regents, and they could have easily arrested Rodger, find his gun and confiscate it. If that was UC Regents’ “policy.”

    Then there was the later incident where the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs came to his home due to concern over his videos, which included threats. Santa Barbara’s county sheriff, Bill Brown, now engaging in COA, stated that his deputies found Rodger “shy, timid and polite, well-spoken”, who played down any claim to his having mental problems. Of particular interest, the sheriff claims no one in his department had bothered to watch the threatening videos before going to see Rodgers about them, yet, according to Rodger’s ‘manifesto’, seven deputies showed up at his door. Why the small army then? Moreover, Rodger’s YouTube broadcast threats were sufficient to secure a search warrant and would justify confiscation of any weapons found there. The sheriff claims that all his deputies did was give Rodger advice and information on where to seek help and leave.

    So, why wasn’t any ‘enforcement’ done by law enforcement? The sheriff’s COA effort blames “inadequate mental healthcare.” Others blame our “gun culture”, “inadequate laws”, culture / civilization in general, movies and video games, the laws, and, in one really odd attack, Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow.

    That’s all nonsense – the responsibility lies with the Regents of the University of California and the thugs they hire as police. The Regents, to use a legal term, foster a “policy, practice or custom” of ignoring crimes against women unless there is so much publicity or pressure that they can’t hide what occurred. The UCPD is trained to believe their mission is not to protect the safety, health or welfare of the students, staff or faculty, but, rather, to protect the property and reputation of the Regents and the University. They will ignore crimes on campus unless someone with authority wants the person arrested for what the Regents see as crimes – for “whistle blowing” or threatening to do so (e.g. Prof. Bin Han, UC Davis), as retaliation for complaining about or suing the University for civil rights violations, for stealing the University’s property or money (e.g. Jennifer Beeman, former director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program, who kept track of Clery related data on the UC Davis campus), or there is a racial motive or a personal vendetta.

    How do I know all this? How can I dare make such an allegation? Experience:
    http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/howards-end/content?oid=6972
    I hate to discuss this and admit it as most people don’t know my history with UC, but I have been arrested five times (three times in 1972, once in 1992, once in 1993) by UC police, all the arrests being for false and malicious charges for reasons of racial animus (anti-Semitism), politics (anti-Vietnam War leftist), threats of whistleblowing and retaliation / vendetta.

    If you are like most Americans, you’ve seen at least some pro-police propaganda, a.k.a. television police procedurals such as a C.S.I. or Law & Order variant. In these, the police generally keep to the rules as people are led to believe they are always enforced: the police gather evidence, interview the suspect, seek witnesses, etc. and do all of that before they seek an arrest or search warrant. The original Law & Order even began with the pronouncement that the police “investigate”. Yet, with Rodgers the police merely interviewed him, ignored the preponderance of the evidence (the videos, the numerous witnesses, his roommates, etc.) and left, only to give the matter a Gallic shrug “What else can I do, Monsieur?” after their deliberate and knowing incompetence led to disaster. In other words, they did less than would be expected of your average television cop. I submit that they didn’t want to make an arrest as they saw no reason to upset UC’s applecart.

    In sharp contrast, here’s how my cases were handled:

    All of the five arrests except the first (burglary of a photolab – I had been processing photos of police brutality at the UCSB riots – see Islavista.org) were for misdemeanors. None involved more than two witnesses and in several cases the actual alleged crime was not even witnessed (e.g. – theft of a camera lens – no one saw the theft, and it was falsely alleged that I had been in the room alone for less than a minute ‘sometime’ before the lens had allegedly ‘disappeared’). There was no investigation of any of the alleged crimes, not even as to whether a crime I was accused of had even occurred (e.g. – the burglary – after my arrest they took inventory and found nothing had been stolen from the photolab) and several of what the police claimed were investigations were actually criminal actions by the UC police to support the allegation (e.g. – making evidence disappear if it was exonerating). The most important point: in every case the warrant was secured (sometimes by having the Assistant District Attorney lie on the affidavit for the warrant, something they get away with as they have “prosecutorial immunity”), and the arrest made before I was interviewed / interrogated – i.e. the police had no interest in what I had to say or any evidence I could produce, only in insuring that I had an arrest record to haunt me.

    Note that none of these five arrests resulted in a conviction and only two went to trial. Of those, one was thrown out half-way through the trial as the judge realized the only witness against me was lying; the other was straight out of television – the fifth and final arrest went to trial. A victim identified another person in the courtroom as the perpetrator. The person identified was someone whom the UC police had been telephoned about and had on their suspect list, but claimed they could not locate him or his work place. My attorney and I not only found this man, but discovered that the UC police had lied – officers had been to his research institute and spoken to his boss. My attorney had subpoenaed him despite objections by University authorities and the DA. Seems he brings a lot of research funding into the University and the UC police and administration, in arresting me, thought they could kill two birds with one stone – retaliate against me and provide a fallguy for this very valuable researcher.

    What was this crime that I was arrested as the fallguy for? Indecent exposure from a moving car, a crime against women. I’m from New York – I never learned to drive a car, never had an automobile license. The UC police hadn’t even checked that, causing the DA some embarrassment and the jury to have a good laugh.

    Why did I suffer all this? Because retired UCPD Officer John W. Jones, the arresting officer in the first four of my arrests, and who ran for congress in Yolo County in 2006, is nothing more than a violent racist, anti-Semitic thug. His own superiors, when they fired him over another racist incident that resulted in an Asian student being in a coma, called him a liar, a slacker and implied, if not stating outright, that he is a coward. But, due to the crimes he committed against me at UCSB in 1972, which I was willing to reveal in Court, the University made a full court press to silence me – slander, disqualification (expulsion without my Ph.D.), harassment, etc. before the false charges he manipulated Yolo County District Attorney Patricia Fong into lying about in order to secure a warrant were dropped.

    It took more than ten years before I had an honest due process hearing before the Academic Senate: http://dateline.ucdavis.edu/dl_detail.lasso?id=8165
    But, even after 92% of the voting faculty voted to reinstate me with full back benefits, the administration and the Regents refused. So I am unemployed and, on occasion, harassed. And I submit that this is typical of the kind of near-criminal or even criminal conduct the Regents, University administrators and police engage in when they feel their reputations are threatened. One faculty member called it “a scorched earth campaign”. And they get away with it as everyone who might prevent it is in their pocket: sheriffs and D.A.s run for office and need money for their election campaigns, so they give carte blanche to the most powerful business and largest employer in their county – the University of California.

    As to Jones, he is typical of the sort of officers the Regents hire: incompetent at best, a criminal at his worst. As to crimes against women on UC campuses – those have the lowest priority as “boys will be boys” and no one wants to embarrass the Regents with bad publicity on a campus. As to all of you who believe that the media effects culture and is a cause of rape, etc, consider that Jones himself, at a bachelor party he threw for a faculty member at UC Davis, showed the porn films “Behind the Green Door” and “Deep Throat”. How do I know this? Let’s just say I make a better detective than Jones. And a more honest one.

    So, in sum, you want to be safe on the UC campuses? Get honest police with their duty being to protect the students, staff and faculty and not the reputation of the Regents. Better still, change the California Constitution to eliminate the Regents altogether.

  3. raoul duke says:

    Remember that this clown’s parents knew he was a time bomb, and gladly paid what it took to keep him away from his siblings (probably the only good call they made) and turned him loose on the community of IV.

    Instead of putting him in th elooney bin, they housed him in IV.

    Thanks Paul and Chi Lin

  4. #NotOneMoreRidiculousIdioticOpinionPublishedByTheDailyNexus

  5. Michael Boyd says:

    The best solution for regulating gun ownership is local government. IV’s problem is it doesn’t have any local government. If IV/UCSB was a City government under City Ordinance hand gun ownership could be regulated. It would be more difficult, if not impossible for the County government to do this because of the rural nature of the County.

  6. D. Salvin says:

    We should re-visit the court decisions from the 1970′s that have made it impossible to institutionalize mentally dangerous and unstable people.

    Courts decided that unless one could prove that an individual was a danger to himself/herself or others, they could not be institutonalized.

    As a result, thousands of people were let out of institutions. You see them and people like them today: muttering on sidewalks, or yelling at no one. Many are drug abusers. Before 1970, they would have been institutionalized for everyone’s safety.

    So in 2001, a student named Atias, as the driver of a BMW in IV crashed into crowds of students, and then jumped out calling himself the Angel of Death. Of course, no one called for a ban on cars. That incident seems to have been quickly forgotten. In recent years, the incidents in other states were comitted by people that someone knew as mentally unstable. In NY mentally unstable people have pushed people off subway platforms into the path of approaching trains. Everyone knew they acted in an unstable manner. Yet few called for a ban on violent movies, video games, or subways.

    Eveyone says their hands are “tied” when it comes to dealing with unstable kids or dults, because of those court decisions. And those decisions ought to be revisited, with suitable safeguards, so that all of us are safer.

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