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This 'Awesome Dude' Lost His Gun Rights by Saying Stupid Stuff on Reddit

A Florida case highlights the due process issues raised by gun violence restraining orders.

Carline Jean/TNS/NewscomCarline Jean/TNS/NewscomBecause he said three stupid, deliberately offensive things about mass shootings on Reddit, Chris Velasquez became an early target of a new Florida law authorizing "risk protection orders" (RPOs) that bar people from buying or possessing guns. Last month, based on a police affidavit that falsely portrayed Velasquez as a ticking time bomb who had threatened to attack schools, a judge issued a temporary RPO against him. Yesterday, after taking a closer look at the evidence, the same judge declined to extend the RPO for a year.

That reversal shows how easily laws like Florida's can be abused and how much discretion they give judges to suspend people's Second Amendment rights. The case should give pause to conservatives (such as National Review's David French) who see so-called gun violence restraining orders as an appealing alternative to broader restrictions on firearms.

Velasquez, a 21-year-old student at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando who went by the Reddit handle TheRealUCFChris, attracted police attention with three comments he posted in February. In a thread titled "You guys are too weak to be a school shooter," he replied, "Maybe for now but not forever." Later he posted the comment "RIP Paddock my hero" in a thread about the autopsy of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock and wrote "Cruz is a hero!" in reference to Nicholas Cruz, the perpetrator of the February 14 attack on a high school in Parkland, Florida. Several Reddit users contacted the UCF Police Department, which is how Velasquez ended up sitting down for an interview with Officer Jeffrey Panter on March 5.

Asked to explain his comments, Velasquez recalled that he was "in a pretty angry place" but said he was just "trolling" and "wanted to see how fast Reddit would act or if they would act at all against a comment like that." (Reddit did in fact suspend Velasquez because of his comments.) "I regret making those comments 100 percent," Velasquez told Panter. "I'm not a violent person....I would never, ever, act out in violence against anybody in a mass shooting or anything of the sort."

Panter refused to accept Velasquez's explanation or his assurances, and over the course of the interview he pressured, cajoled, and manipulated him into agreeing with statements that made it seem like Velasquez genuinely admired Paddock and Cruz, that he identified with Cruz because both of them had been bullied as kids, and that he had repeatedly fantasized about returning to his former middle school or high school in Orlando and shooting it up. These exchanges give you a sense of Panter's method:

Panter: At that particular time, at that instant, you were kind of thinking like...it would make me feel better if I went and did something like that. And it's OK if you did. It's just thoughts, right? It's OK. Nothing wrong with that, right? You didn't do it, right?

Velasquez: Of course.

***

Panter: Why do you think the thoughts were in your mind that you were thinking about doing a mass shooting or being a school shooter?

Velasquez: I thought about the rush that must go through the shooter's head as they're, you know, rampaging through the school, knowing that they, no matter what happens then, they will be remembered. People will know their name for at least maybe two to three weeks of media coverage. And I thought to myself, you know, I'm too much of a coward to ever do anything like that. But I wanted to make myself look like a badass on Reddit, so...that's why I typed the "not forever."

***

Panter: Call of Duty...is something [where] you can virtually imagine yourself going through and right, shooting people, killing people.

Velasquez: Mm hm.

Panter: Which is kind of where your mindset was at least for that moment when you wrote this comment, correct?

Velasquez: Mm hm.

***

Panter: With Nicholas Cruz you can kind of see yourself in him, correct?

Velasquez: A little bit. Yeah. I mean, I don't know anything about his story, but from maybe the bullying aspect, sure.

***

Panter: When you think about stuff like that, what are the means that you would carry something out if you were to do it?

Velasquez: Probably automatic rifle, I guess. I never really thought about it too much, what I would do. But that's just the first thing that pops into my head.

***

Panter: What would it take for you to go and grab that gun and go to your old school or go to the high school and get some payback? I mean, what would it take for you to get to that point?

Velasquez: Maybe something bad happens to me, something terrible. Maybe being attacked on the street or something or maybe one day I get a girlfriend and the relationship goes bad. I don't know if I can see that happening, but yeah, just something pretty—I don't think I'm going to be sent over the edge very easily. But maybe getting fired from a high-paying job?

When you read the transcript of the interview, you do not get the impression that Velasquez has ever seriously contemplated committing a crime of this sort, let alone made any plans or taken any steps in that direction. He calls the Parkland massacre "a senseless tragedy" and notes that a mass shooter may get his "15 minutes of fame" but will "eventually be remembered as a piece of crap." He says he has fired a gun, his father's revolver, just once in his life and was indifferent to the experience.

"He's never owned a weapon, never tried to buy one," says Kendra Parris, Velasquez's lawyer. "He didn't have any intent or plans. He's got no history of violence, no interactions with law enforcement before. He didn't have any disciplinary issues in school. He's really kind of this quiet, shy, mellow kid." Panter apparently agreed. "You're an awesome dude," he tells Velasquez toward the end of the interview. "You're a nice guy."

Panter nevertheless forced Velasquez to undergo a psychiatric assessment, as authorized by the Florida Mental Health Act (a.k.a. the Baker Act) when police have "reason to believe" someone has a mental illness that makes him dangerous to himself or others. The psychiatrist concluded that Velasquez did not meet the criteria for involuntary treatment, which would have required showing by "clear and convincing evidence" that, because of mental illness, there was a "substantial likelihood" that he would "inflict serious bodily harm" on himself or others "in the near future," based on "recent behavior causing, attempting, or threatening such harm."

The criteria for an RPO, laid out in legislation enacted in response to the Parkland massacre, are considerably looser. A "law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency" can obtain a temporary order, lasting up to two weeks, by saying there is "reasonable cause to believe" the target "poses a significant danger of causing personal injury" to himself or others "in the near future" if he is allowed to possess firearms. At this stage, the "respondent" has no opportunity to respond, and the claims about him receive no real scrutiny.

Because Velasquez's former middle school and high school, the imaginary targets of his hypothetical attack, are located in Orlando, the UCF cops referred the case to that city's police department. In a March 16 application for a temporary RPO, Orlando police Sgt. Matthew Ochiuzzo twisted Velasquez's online comments and his interview with Panter into a portrait of a deeply troubled man who was just one disappointment away from committing mass murder.

On the list of 15 possible grounds for issuing an RPO, Ochiuzzo checked five, including "there is evidence that the respondent is seriously mentally ill," "respondent has committed a recent act or threat of violence," and "the respondent has used or threatened to use any weapons against him or herself or others." None of that was true.

Ochiuzzo's affidavit included several more-specific misrepresentations.

"The respondent disclosed that he has had thoughts and urges to commit a mass shooting since his sophomore year of high school in 2014," Ochiouzzo wrote. Velasquez never said that. To the contrary, when Panter asked about his state of mind in high school, he said, "I didn't have any thoughts of school shooting."

"The respondent stated that he would use an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle to commit those mass shootings," Ochiuzzo wrote. Velasquez never mentioned such a weapon.

"The respondent indicated that he wanted to commit the mass shootings so that he could feel the 'andrenaline rush' from the shooting," Ochiuzzo wrote. To the contrary, Velasquez repeatedly said he would never commit such a crime.

Based on an affidavit that was highly misleading and in some respects blatantly inaccurate, Circuit Judge Bob LeBlanc issued a temporary RPO on March 16, ordering Velasquez to surrender all firearms in his possession and refrain from acquiring any new ones. Velasquez never owned any guns, and at this point his father had already voluntarily surrendered his revolver to the UCF police, who had searched Velasquez's phones, laptop, backpack, car, and bedroom, all with consent and all without discovering any evidence of homicidal intent.

Yesterday, a month after his interview with Panter, Velasquez finally got a hearing. (It was originally set for March 29 but was rescheduled because LeBlanc was ill.) Parris says LeBlanc realized that the threat described by Ochiuzzo was never more than theoretical. "The judge asked, 'Did he actually make any threats, or was this all in response to hypothetical questions?'" she says. "And of course, it was all in response to hypothetical questions. Fortunately, the judge noted that this essentially amounted to thought policing and declined to issue the order." In his order denying the RPO petition, LeBlanc said the city "did not meet its burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent poses a 'significant danger.'"

Although that decision may look like a victory for due process, Parris notes that LeBlanc could have reached a different conclusion, since the RPO law says judges "may consider any relevant evidence." The law gives 15 examples but says the list is not exhaustive. "The 'clear and convincing evidence' standard is meaningless, because the criteria are open-ended," Parris says. "The court literally can look at anything. It's not constrained by the 15 criteria." Furthermore, the RPO law leaves undefined crucial terms such as "significant danger" and "serious mental illness." Parris argues that the law is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because it gives courts "unfettered discretion" and "no real guidance."

Although Velasquez's Second Amendment rights have been restored, he has been barred from campus pending the outcome of another psychiatric evaluation, and he is carrying the burden of the publicity attracted by the case. "My client was tried, convicted, and crucified by the media before we could set the record straight," Parris says. In the wake of the Parkland massacre, she says, "Everybody is extraordinarily hypersensitive and emotional, and there was no room or time for nuance and context, evaluating the facts. Many of the media reports repeated some of the false allegations that were made in the petition. He's not even feeling safe walking outside right now. He might eventually need to change his name."

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  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Too many busybodies to trust this sort of restraining order.

  • Alcibiades||

    OT
    That didn't last long:

    https://twitter.com/mlcalderone

    Maybe Reason could offer him a slot...

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Pro life but #NeverTrump. If he has the right views on immigration (i.e. enforcing the law is fascist and racist for the US but OK for other countries) they may let him in as the gimp under the porch.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I don't want him here. He could have the same immigration views as my favorite writer Shikha Dalmia, but being anti-abortion should disqualify him from writing for a libertarian magazine.

    I believe he's transphobic as well.

  • John||

    It would just give you more material to troll about. And since you are illiterate, it is not like it matters what reason actually publishes. You are not going to understand it anyway.

  • Zeb||

    Just stop it. Your tired shtick is played out.

  • Rhywun||

    I still laffed at the 2nd paragraph.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Kevin Williamson's transphobia is no laughing matter. If you have a strong stomach, see this: Laverne Cox Is Not a Woman

    Disgusting, bigoted, science-denying stuff.

  • StackOfCoins||

    What a fantastic article.

  • Galt101||

    I fail to see anything disgusting, bigoted or science-denying in the article. Anywhere.

    Can you point out to us what in particular was problematic?

    I found the article well written and well thought out. And agreed with most of it. And I consider myself to be non-disgusting, non-bigoted, and very scientific in my thinking.

    Cheers.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    My "shtick" consists of commenting on Reason and agreeing with Reason writers Shikha Dalmia on immigration, ENB on abortion, and Scott Shackford on transgender issues. Truly bizarre behavior, I admit. No sincere person would visit an opinion website based on general agreement with its more prolific contributors.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Shikha on immigration, ENB on abortion, and The Shack on transgender issues are the classic libertarian positions on those issues.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    That's exactly my point. I post on a libertarian website that I agree with the libertarian position..... and the regulars in the comment section accuse me of trolling.

    Anyone who thinks I'm a troll is effectively saying "Shikha Dalmia's immigration columns are so indefensible that anyone claiming to agree with them must be joking."

  • Just Say'n||

    Except defending government largess to abortion providers is not really a defensible position on libertarian grounds. Nor is complaining about a NC law that allows businesses to determine their own pee pee policy, while shrugging at a Charlotte law mandating pee pee policy at all in line with the concept of "getting government out of the bedroom and boardroom".

  • MSimon||

    I'm across phobic.

  • John||

    If you honestly think all women who have an abortion should be hanged, you are a fucking moron. It really has nothing to do with his being pro life. It is about the fact that Williamson is an idiot who has a long list of views that can best be described as hateful and bizarre.

  • Tony||

    If abortion is baby murder, then does it not require the same penalty as... baby murder?

  • John||

    Do we automatically hang every person guilty of murder or the death of someone else? Not last I looked.You are a hateful moron Tony. Stop polluting the conversation with your stupidity. You are so fucking stupid you can't even understand when someone makes a point you should agree with.

  • Tony||

    Well I'm against the death penalty. But whatever we do to first-degree murderers we must do to women who get abortions and doctors who perform them, no? Because if it's not actually baby murder then aren't pro-lifers full of enough shit to fertilize Mars?

  • John||

    You think that because you are dumb as a post and don't know understand the issue or how anyone who disagrees with you actually thinks. Your problem is not just that you are stupid and don't know much. It is also that you are so hateful and bitter that you are incapable of understanding any position other than your own, and you usually don't understand that either. So it becomes a feedback loop where your idiotic understanding of the opposing position makes your position even dumber than it already was which in turn causes you to have an even worse understanding of the opposing position.

  • John||

    The result of all that is that you come on here and add nothing to the conversation and do nothing but shit on all of the threads and make having an intelligent discussion about these issues that much more difficult.

  • Tony||

    So I'm misunderstanding something when I say pro-lifers think abortion is equivalent to killing a baby?

    I'm here to be educated John.

  • John||

    Sure they think that. But not all murders are created equal and not all crimes deserve the same punishment. You think you are making a clever point here but in fact you are just showing how stupid you are.

  • Tony||

    So killing a baby with serious forethought is not among the worst types of murder?

  • John||

    Not necessarily. It all depends on the circumstances. It also depends on society's need for justice and need to balance other interests. And of course, it depends upon the amount of mitigating circumstances.

    Tony, you are a simple minded idiot whom I pray to God never gets on a jury. Just go away. You don't understand how this works. Go fuck yourself. You have no clue how crime and punishment work and are too stupid, hateful, and ignorant to want to learn.

  • Tony||

    I get all that crap, but if it's baby murder, does the mother not deserve at least some prison time? I mean... baby murder.

  • sarcasmic||

    You think you are making a clever point here but in fact you are just showing how stupid you are.

    Like when he says "Government runs on taxes, and taxation is theft. That means all your limits on what government does mean nothing because you support theft. So there's no difference between court and welfare. There's no difference between force and plunder. Because it all starts with taxes! I'm so smart!"

  • Tony||

    One of these days you'll figure out that, indeed, the premises behind your worldview are self-contradictory. Or not. Probably not.

  • sarcasmic||

    No Tony. It's the same as what John was saying. There are certain things that you are just too stupid to understand, and for some reason you think that makes you clever.

  • Tony||

    It's not stupidity that makes me fail to understand how taxes can be impermissible qua taxes if they pay for one government program but permissible to pay for another. Or why baby murderers shouldn't be punished as such. It's an inherent flaw in the logic of those positions.

  • Just Say'n||

    Most of the pro-life movement is financed and staffed by the Catholic Church. The Church advocates against abortion and the death penalty, generally speaking. You might be surprised to know that the Catholic nun from "Dead Man Walking", that was a darling of the Left during the 90's, was also an anti-abortion activist. You'd be surprised by how much more intellectually consistent the bulk of the pro-life movement actually is

  • Tony||

    But they do want to make abortion illegal. How illegal? A fine for murdering an innocent baby?

  • Lester224||

    The bulk of the *truly* pro-life movement you mean. There are some well-meaning Catholic nuns who are anti-abortion and are consistent. But there is a much larger portion of the "pro-life" movement who are just "pro-birth". They love the death penalty and don't give a rat's ass for the children of others once they get outside the womb.

  • Just Say'n||

    Well sure, but if we want to play that game then how can a pro-choice person oppose the death penalty? Because they don't see a baby in utero as human.

    How can a pro-life person support the death penalty? Because they oppose killing innocent life without due process.

    It's not like either of these camps are inconsistent in their positions, it's just that you don't like their positions

  • Tony||

    Forget the death penalty. Whatever penalty is appropriate for first-degree murder should be appropriate for abortion, otherwise abortion isn't actually the same as murder.

  • NYC2AZ||

  • Bubba Jones||

    That's funny. I find his writing to be more thoughtful and consistently libertarian than most of what is posted here. Probably because he actually spends time in the US outside of DC.

  • John||

    I wonder if National Review will take him back or seize the opportunity to rid themselves of him and begin to mend fences with the huge chunk of their readership he alienated.

  • Alcibiades||

    I gotta say I always read KD's essays, think he's a talented and interesting writer.

  • Rhywun||

    I've read a few pieces and found them variously spot-on, insufferably elitist, and spiteful. Sometimes all at once.

  • Just Say'n||

    Or maybe they could just bring back Judge Napolitano

  • Zeb||

    Yes. We need more articles that consist entirely of questions.

    But seriously, he was a good contributor to add a viewpoint that differs a bit from the "typical" Reason positions on some issues.

  • Just Say'n||

    Maybe the Judge was right? Maybe he was wrong? Or maybe the constant propaganda pushed by a media establishment indebted to the welfare/warfare state has convinced you that the only man speaking the truth is hyperbolic? Or maybe this is just a meaningless tangent?

    Bring back the Judge?

  • Just Say'n||

    He's so damn easy to caricature

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Is he easy to caricature? What does that mean for his larger point? Are we not all, in some aspect of how we present ourselves, open to parody?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Do we also need more comments that consist entirely of questions? Am I wrong in thinking that would be totally obnoxious?

  • Just Say'n||

    Why do you find questions to be obnoxious? Why do they have to be obnoxious? Maybe the fact that in the Empire of Lies to ask an honest question is in itself obnoxious? Maybe if our government would tell the truth there wouldn't be so many questions?

    What is a question, after all, but an attempt to shine light on the truth?

    Thank you for watching Freedom Watch?

  • ||

    But seriously, he was a good contributor to add a viewpoint that differs a bit from the "typical" Reason positions on some issues.

    The Judge also brought a bit more acumen/credentialism/gravitas. Not to say that all Reason writers lack gravitas or maturity, but Nap would both bring a different viewpoint and (likely) avoid embarrassing himself on Twitter.

  • Just Say'n||

    If they can find space to publish Chapman, they can publish the Judge. Just get rid of Chapman. The man is hot garbage

  • Bubba Jones||

    Much of the criticism involved a 2014 tweet that suggested women who had abortions "should face capital punishment, namely hanging."

    This seems like something they should have considered before hiring him.

  • BYODB||


    That reversal shows how easily laws like Florida's can be abused and how much discretion they give judges to suspend people's Second Amendment rights.


    We should really look into something similar that curtails people's fifth amendment rights. I mean, obviously if someone invokes it than they must have something to hide ergo why should they get a pass?


    /sarc

  • John||

    Anyone who endorses these things is either a moron who doesn't understand how judges think and courts work (see e.g. David French) or a liar looking for a Trojan Horse to massively restrict gun rights. No judge is ever going to want to be the judge who refused to take the guns away from someone only to see them do something horrible. At the same time, taking someone's gun rights does not cost them any money or put them in jail or cause them to lose their job or anything that judges would view as being that dramatic. Only the most committed and brave judge would ever refuse to sign one of these things.

    Beyond that, if laws, and that is all a judicial order is, could keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people or prevent them from doing harm, the gun controllers would have a point and gun control laws would work. Well, they don't have a point and gun control laws never work. This gun control law is no different.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    The fact that this came via an online post, instead of from people who knew him as a person, tells you all you know about this being used to take away 1A and 2A rights - the govt won't silence you; you just risk having a restraining order if you say the wrong thing.

  • John||

    That is a good point. Once the government gets into the business of taking people's rights for being "dangerous" as opposed to actually doing something criminal, it is inevitable that it will end up being used to violate people's 1st Amendment Rights. What makes someone "dangerous" beyond saying something a judge doesn't like?

  • BYODB||

    They'll justify it as they aren't being punished for speech, they're being punished for 'threats' which is a typical constitutional dodge these days it seems.

  • John||

    Yes. Saying something like "men don't belong showering in the women's gym even if they have castrated themselves" will be classified as a "threat" to the transgendered. It will become the all purpose weapon to suppress speech.

  • KendraParris||

    That was, in a sense, one of our arguments. The law is overbroad. "Threats of violence" is one of the 15 enumerated (but open-ended) criteria that can allow a judge to grant a RPO, and it was one of the criteria under which the City of Orlando petitioned. But 1.) credible threats are already a second degree felony in Florida, subjecting someone to a gun restriction and 2.) none of the comments was actually a threat as defined by the Florida statutes or by federal case law (see Virginia v Black, US v Elonis for the line of cases defining "true threat" in the federal context).

    The City of Orlando wanted to obtain an RPO for non-threat that sort of sounded "threat-like." That's an as-applied constitutional violation. And the law's overbroad because either the "threats of violence" criteria is superfluous and unnecessary, or it's intended to encompass constitutionally-protected speech. Unconstitutional prior restraint and facially overbroad.

    The city's attorney actually stated during the hearing that, "This law doesn't require that something bad actually happen first, it's meant to stop something bad from ever happening." Now if that line isn't ripped straight from minority report, I don't know what is.

  • tpaine||

    Kendra, am I crazy to wnat to have a drink with you?

  • Bubba Jones||

    The affidavit was based primarily on the interview with a cop.

    And ultimately overturned.

    Honestly, this looks like the system worked, and the Sgt should be disciplined.

  • epsilon given||

    The system worked, but just barely, and considering that this is the first time it was used, and it already looks like abuse, and it's *very* easy to see all sorts of ways where this can go wrong, it's not at all clear that it's wrong to be critical of the system.

    Indeed, as someone mentioned, due to the media attention, the poor kid's reputation has taken a hit that may be difficult to recover from. Do we really want to say "the system worked, let's move on", given this particular instance is likely *typical* of how the law is going to be used?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Along with that idea of how judges think, . . .

    No doubt, the law is there for people who sometimes aren't thinking straight--and it should also protect the rights of stupid people.

    That being said, when this guy went online and pretended to be a potential school shooter (to see what would happen), it might not have been unreasonable for someone (like a judge) to suspect that he might be a potential school shooter.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    In reference to a person losing their job over one of these ROs, wouldn't an employer be inclined to be "safe rather than sorry" and sack the person, rather than risk the liability? Would the employer likely know about the RO? (I'm happy to say I've never had one put on me, so I don't know how they work.)

    (Not that this invalidates your point about the judge at all; I agree that the vast majority of judges will take the "safe" route and just sign off on the RO)

  • John||

    I think losing your job over one of these things is a very good possibility.

  • KendraParris||

    The legislature in Florida, which cribbed this law almost word-for-word from the Washington State referendum passed in 2016, didn't see fit to put in place any confidentiality provisions. It's out there for all to see, even if the petitioner (law enforcement) puts the respondent's mental health at issue. But then, they passed this garbage in a little over two weeks, so they weren't terribly concerned with getting it right (or even making sure it was compatible with existing Florida law, which it is not).

    And yes, your employer is just going to go ahead and fire you. There is no reason for them not to in an at-will state. The repercussions of these RPOs are dire and go well beyond being unable to purchase a firearm.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    But then, they passed this garbage in a little over two weeks, so they weren't terribly concerned with getting it right (or even making sure it was compatible with existing Florida law, which it is not).

    That's what happens when people demand that the government "DO SOMETHING!" You get garbage laws like this.

  • ||

    "safe rather than sorry" and sack the person

    How does it work with felons and voting? Employers can't force you to vote or not vote, so presumably firing someone on their inability to vote is illegal. Considering the RPO is enforced to literally (let the government) make you safer, it would seem like, unless the employer has some material interest such as having issued you a gun or requiring a sidearm as part of employment, the termination would fail any sort of test of reasoning. At the very least, it should get interesting when a person of a protected class is essentially deemed 'intrinsically unable to be made safe by the US gov't' by their employer.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I'm thinking that the typical order will have as its basis that the person being "restrained" is a violent person, possibly mental as well. In my state an employee can be fired at will, and I just can't see an employer taking the chance of keeping someone a judge considered "dangerous" for fear of ruinous lawsuits.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If it saves one life, tossing our constitutional rights into the woodchipper is worth it.

  • John||

    And if taking someone's ability to defend themselves gets them killed, well that is just the price we pay for civilization, just one of those things.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    And civilization is just the word for the rights we take away from people together.

  • DajjaI||

    pending the outcome of another psychiatric evaluation

    That's what creates these mass shooters. We've put the fox in charge of the hen house. Having said that, this kid is looking for trouble. #admittedly

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Psychiatry as it integrates itself more and more with the state and the police, has become a dangerous attack on our rights. Psychiatry is maybe the most inherently "We're here to help, even if it kills everything about your" field. More attention should be given to mental illness, what it means, the industry around it, and the reality of those living actually with mental illness.

    Because the amount of disinformation out there is astonishing. And the media puts on a fake smile and talks about destigmitzation, but they will turn on and crucify people with mental illness if it is in anyway convenient to their narrative.

  • KendraParris||

    This is an excellent comment. I do mental health defense, so I get first-hand experience with this nonsense every day. The psychiatrist testifying to take away an individual's right of liberty is a black box. He hasn't done any blood work or brain scans to determine that a person's "mentally ill" enough to be locked up, and there is no good or evidentiary way to call out a psychiatrist who's spouting bullshit. Everything he's saying is subjective and unverifiable, but the courts tend to take a psychiatrist's word as gospel.

    I had one recently in which the psychiatrist testified that my client was "superficially animated" in the unit. I asked what he meant by "superficially animated" as opposed to just... animated. He said it's when someone acts happy and sociable but then when they get into a one-on-one with the psychiatrist, they aren't happy anymore. Specifically, he said my client was happy and sociable on the unit, but when she "talked to me about depression she wasn't happy anymore." To which I responded, incredulously, "Do you actually expect people to be happy and animated when they are talking to you about depression?" The guy was so full of shit I figured the magistrate would catch on right away, but she granted the petition for longer commitment.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Is it your position that all mental illness exhibits some kind of identifiable brain lesion?

  • KendraParris||

    Is this a serious question?

    No, mental illnesses as we understand them (as they are voted into the DSM, if you prefer) DON'T display by way of brain lesion. That's the problem. It's an entirely subjective field with no diagnostic criteria beyond the psychiatrist's whims and personal observations, which tend to be influenced by the medication he desires to prescribe.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Doesn't the DSM list diagnostic criteria for each illness?

  • KendraParris||

    Yes, which are always simply subjective observations based on wildly varying criteria for each psychiatrist. Not on anything objective or measurable. Take, for example, "generalized anxiety disorder."

    For a psychiatrist to diagnose someone as having GAD, the patient has to have three of the following six "diagnostic criteria" (and please keep in mind that this "illness" was *voted in* to the manual):

    1. Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
    2. Being easily fatigued.
    3. Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
    4. Irritability.
    5. Muscle tension.
    6. Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep).

    You could easily diagnose 95% of the adult population in the US with GAD based on these "criteria."

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You asking me, or Kendra?

  • Bubba Jones||

    I have worked with several psychiatrists. They are all nuts. It's why they chose the field.

  • John||

    All of that and more Kendra. "Mental Illness", absent some kind of psychological known cause, is just whatever the psychiatrist says it is.

  • Rich||

    This is why Minnesotans use the expression "A lotta guys might say 'X'" instead of saying "X".

  • hardcorps||

    That sounds like an NPR reporter. "Some might say all libertarians are racist and that is why they oppose laws that require you provide services to everyone." I , the NPR reporter, am not calling libertarians racist, just that some, someone, some people, might take that very possibly wrong, or possibly right, view. Gotta love weasel wording.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Although Velasquez's Second Amendment rights have been restored, he has been barred from campus pending the outcome of another psychiatric evaluation, and he is carrying the burden of the publicity attracted by the case. "My client was tried, convicted, and crucified by the media before we could set the record straight,"

    *furiously taking notes on what not to post on Reddit*

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Just stick to posting on Reason. The five actual humans who post here aren't likely to have the ambition to turn you in, even if they wanted to.

  • John||

    And at least three of those five are staff at reason operating sock puppets. It is very unlikely any of them are going to want to bring negative attention to the site.

  • Zeb||

    And the remaining two are Tulpa.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I said humans

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Pro tip: Preet Brahara reads the comments.

  • John||

    We can only hope.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    ^ This is why we can't have nice things

  • croaker||

    Forgetting the woodchipper subpoena already?

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Save yourself the trouble and just never post anything on Reddit.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Reddit just never resonated with me. It is not a site for me.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Not even reddit.com/r/thefullbush?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Nah, the whole format is just bad. It is less conducive to actual discussion than almost any forum I can think of. Upvoting/Downvoting is a broken system.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If you can't fully discuss the merits of each untamed bush in its various attributes with fellow enthusiasts, without being immediately downvoted for preferring levorotatory pubic hair, what is even the point of looking at the pictures, amirite?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That's a core. Basically Reddit gives de facto ban powers to every person. Leading to a situation where the best posts become those that express the most popular opinion, but in a way that it's not so extreme as to draw too much ire.

    Specifically I take issue with the post rearranging based on upvote/downvotes. And that they even get hidden if viewed as sufficiently low. This is not actually a good way to have conversation and argument in my mind.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    The biggest problem is that the comments are not arranged chronologically, but by upvotes. I agree with you that it basically promotes group think and the most obvious jokes, which invariably end up being dumb puns. Imgur has the same problem.

  • Rhywun||

    Yeah, if they're trying to use that system for discussions - nuh uh.

    That system works great for StackExchange and the like - because StackExchange is not about conversation.

  • Bubba Jones||

    You can choose to display according to /new instead.

  • ||

    downvoted for preferring levorotatory pubic hair

    Only Nazi would prefer chirally pure pubic hair.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Not enough porns.

  • Rhywun||

    I often land there searching for technical or programming answers but yeah, I'd never go there willingly otherwise.

  • Bubba Jones||

    /r/gundeals

  • Bubba Jones||

    /r/gundeals

  • Bubba Jones||

    This is why I use a pseudonym and always overwrite and delete my comments after a few hours.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    The lesson as always is don't say stupid shit on social media.

  • John||

    Or "don't pretend you actually have a right to free speech."

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    And never, ever talk to the police.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    The lesson as always is don't say stupid shit on social media.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If no one said stupid shit on social media then it wouldn't exist.

  • DajjaI||

    Guys - this is why we must stand up for gun rights. Because if they succeed in taking our guns then they will come for the woodchippers next!

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Oh shut up.

  • hardcorps||

    You want to lose your woodchipper? How else will I easily get rid of zombies?

  • sarcasmic||

    I would think most of the time when someone says stupid shit like that, it should be treated as someone saying stupid shit. People who do crazy shit don't go around bragging about what they plan to do. They just do it.

  • John||

    Some do. The idiot in Florida told anyone who would listen his ambition in life was to be a school shooter. The problem is not that dangerous people never say what they are going to do. The problem is that lots of crazy people say they are going to do things but then never do. There is no way to tell if they really mean it until they go out and do it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Hindsight is usually pretty clear.

  • sarcasmic||

    And not helpful in the slightest bit at predicting the future.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    So of course Florida, having totally ignored the multiple warnings of a real school shooter, is going to overreact to just about any comment equivalent to a masticated pop tart.

  • Just Say'n||

    "The case should give pause to conservatives (such as National Review's David French) who see so-called gun violence restraining orders as an appealing alternative to broader restrictions on firearms."

    Conservatives support gun rights as much as President Trump does, which is not at all

  • John||

    It is a cultural thing. People like French are embarrassed to have to defend gun rights. They will give it a go because they have to to do it, but they really don't like guns or gun owners and don't enjoy doing it the way they do when they defend other rights. And so they are always looking for a way to equivocate and sound reasonable and differentiate themselves from the gun nuts that so embarrass them.

    Honestly, I have more faith in Trump to defend gun rights than I do someone like French. Trump may not claim to believe in gun rights but he is at least not embarrassed by having gun owners' support. French and his ilk are. And that makes them always liable to walk away to avoid losing their status as one of the perceived smart set.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Honestly, I have more faith in Trump to defend gun rights than I do someone like French"

    John, that was the dumbest thing I have ever heard you say

  • John||

    French endorsed this. And French is an attorney. He has to know what a Trojan Horse this is.

  • DajjaI||

    They're both trying to take away gun rights. However, French is much more premeditated and stealthy about it. Whereas Trump tries to rile up the crowd to 'force' him to do it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No cop wants to be the one who interviewed and failed to react to the next school shooter.

  • sarcasmic||

    Which means that these school resource officers are going to be jumpy. Thousands of jumpy cops. With guns. Around children. Oh boy.

  • hardcorps||

    Yep, and therefore, I see these GVROs becoming standard with most police interactions.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Is there a fifth amendment case to be made that you do not have to cooperate with a mental health evaluation because it could count as self-incrimination in a circumstance where your civil rights are at stake?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Refusing to talk to a mental health professional counts as "guarding behavior" that could get you locked up for months and forcibly injected with anti-psychotics in your butt. The government has ways to make you talk, but only if they start with the line, "We are from the government, and we are here to help."

  • hardcorps||

    So if you talk to a shrink, or shrink's assistance, they have the power to diagnose you with something and take away your rights with no further due process. If you refuse to talk to the shrink to preserve your rights, you are assumed to have a problem because "only crazy people would refuse to talk to a shrink". Reminds me of Full Metal Jacket "If they run, they are VC. If they stand still, they are well disciplined VC."

  • mjerryfuerst||

    yawn.... The guy got his guns back.

  • John||

    How about we lock you in a closet and leave you there? If we let you out after a couple of days, no big deal right? Yawn.

    Since when is taking someone's rights "okay" just so long as you only do it for a little bit?

  • shawn_dude||

    So mjerryfuerst's right to liberty is just like someone's right to own a gun? Not being able to own a gun is just like being falsely imprisoned? Really?!

    What are your thoughts on ex-felons being denied both guns and the right to vote?


    The guy had his due process. The system worked.

  • John||

    Yes. Rights are rights. And violating one is in principle no better or worse than violating another. If it is just no big deal to take away your gun rights, then it is just no big deal to take away any other right you have. If it is no big deal to take it from you, then it isn't a right.

  • ||

    It kinda seems like if I wanted to break into your house and steal some stuff without fear of being shot some low-level hackery on Reddit could get you and apparently some of your relative's guns taken away for a month.

  • croaker||

    Or you could just perform your fuckery in the UK, where you get arrested for felony self-defense.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Glad you are so passionate about preventing false imprisonment. Please google the terms "anti-psychiatry" and "mad pride".

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    And he's been branded as a psycho by the State. Yawn, right?

  • Bubba Jones||

    Except he wasn't. The State said the opposite.

  • KendraParris||

    The City, a subdivision of the state, alleged and tried to argue that he was "psycho," and they included several false statements to that effect in the petition. Those allegations spread like wildfire through the media. Sure, the judge saw through the nonsense a few weeks later, but you can't take that back once it's been placed in the mediasphere and litigation record.

  • hardcorps||

    I wonder if he can sue for defamation of character.

  • hardcorps||

    I wonder if he can sue for defamation of character.

  • ||

    Good thing officer didn't lead him into questions about the Women's Room or Ladies Locker Room as well. Probably could've got him 'duly processed' onto a sex offender registry as well.

  • KendraParris||

    He never owned any guns and there were no guns to give back. Do you REALLY have that hard a time reading?

  • Longtobefree||

    At this stage, the "respondent" has no opportunity to respond, and the claims about him receive no real scrutiny.

    So how is this in any way 'due process'??!!

  • ||

    Remember the halcyon days when the internet was understood to be a fake place that had absolutely no bearing on real life? Ready Player One is just the glitzy propaganda-piece used to sell a five-year plan. It's bizarre that the movie can be made, sold, and heralded in today's political climate.

  • ||

    Panter: At that particular time, at that instant, you were kind of thinking like...it would make me feel better if I went and did something like that. And it's OK if you did. It's just thoughts, right? It's OK. Nothing wrong with that, right? You didn't do it, right?

    You've asked three, arguably leading, questions that don't necessarily have the same answer.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    In related news, politicians are still OK with Modonna threatening to burn down the White House.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Panter: What would it take for you to go and grab that gun and go to your old school or go to the high school and get some payback? I mean, what would it take for you to get to that point?

    "Probably being asked deliberately leading questions by a jack-booted thug looking for any excuse to take away my right to self defense."

  • trev||

    All this article proved to me is that RPO's work.

  • QuadGunner||

    Yes, and now this kid is probably so pissed that NOW he'll go out and buy a gun.

  • KendraParris||

    This is what's so ridiculous about this entire process. Even if the RPO had been granted, he still could have easily obtained a firearm in a private sale. He could have ordered a black powder pistol kit from Cabela's overnight. If he were as crazed as the City and police (and media) tried to paint him to be, having a RPO in place sure as hell wouldn't stop him from anything.

    This is security theater, and it's coming at the very real expense of people's lives and well-being.

  • hardcorps||

    So what did it accomplish if it worked? The target was no threat to begin with, he didn't own any guns and appeared to have no plans to get one or if he did, to use it maliciously. And maybe you think-hey, no harm no foul. The judge reviewed after two weeks and let it drop. But the father had to surrender his firearm, I don't know why the father had a revolver, but if he kept it for self defense, he effectively lost that right for two weeks. Also, since the target had a lawyer, those are not free. Cops have jobs to do, as well as the judges. So now we are spending tax payer dollars to moniter on line trolling and take people to court for a GVRO over fairly mild comments? Why not suspend his first amendment rights for a few weeks too?

  • Art Gecko||

    Rule #1: Never talk to cops.

  • hardcorps||

    I come from a cop family, grandfather, uncles, cousins all police officers and have considered it several times myself. I teach defensive tactics to cops. And yet, I have repeatedly told my teenage daughter not to consent to anything, not to talk to the cops, not to talk to school officials. All she is to say is I want my parents present and a lawyer. She turned 18 a few days ago, I guess the parents think no longer applies. I just have seen too many cops who "just know" someone is guilty and wants to find a way to jam them up. I saw this in the service too, where people in authority-cops, MPs, officers, NCOs-forget that what is a routine daily task is a once in a lifetime, or at least rare event, that has life changing consequences.

  • VinniUSMC||

    "I'm not a violent person....I would never, ever, act out in violence against anybody in a mass shooting or anything of the sort."

    Exactly the sort of thing a potential mass shooter would say! /sarc

  • hardcorps||

    Saw this coming a mile away. GVRO will become commonplace with arrests. Every time someone is arrested or has a police interaction, they will file for these and many people won't have the means to fight these so they de facto lose their rights to self defense.

  • epsilon given||

    What I want to know is this: if a particular person is so dangerous that they cannot be trusted with guns, then why do we take away their guns, and then leave them free?

    A free person can have guns in locations that law enforcement didn't think to check. Or borrow guns from friends. Or steal them from relatives. Or kill people by bats or knives. (This is particularly a problem in domestic situations.) Or choose a far more effective method of mass murder than guns.

    Really, the only good a restraining order does, is that it reminds the potential victims that they need to be armed, and be prepared to use their weapons for self defense.

  • modrsbook||

    Where to go the world .. Destruction or terrorism .. very sad
    etisalat

  • ||

    So, don't talk to the police if you don't want your words twisted...

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