St. Louis School Shooting: Nothing Will Change

I am still avoiding any news about election polls and midterm predictions. I don’t want to know. I may not watch returns election night. These races are so close it may be a couple of days before we know anything. I need to catch up on other things, anyway.

First, I want to note the recent passing of Jerry Lee Lewis. Rock on, Killer. It has been truly said of Jerry Lee that even his wrong notes were right.

I want to write about the school shooting in St. Louis last week, which hasn’t gotten much attention. There’s a good account of how it happened at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — A quiet morning, then screams and bullets: How the St. Louis school shooting unfolded.

The shooter, Orlando Harris, was 19 and shot by police at the scene. He died in a hospital later. His parents had been worried about his moods and behavior, but Missouri has no red flag laws, of course. So police couldn’t take his assault rifle.

The family of the St. Louis high school mass shooter asked police for help removing the AR-15-style assault rifle from him nine days before the rampage — but it somehow ended up back in his hands, police said.

On Oct. 15, police responded to a domestic disturbance call at 19-year-old Orlando Harris’ home, where his mother found the weapon and wanted it removed, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Officers determined Harris was legally permitted to have the gun, but transferred it to a third party so it would not remain on the premises, officials said late Wednesday.

Harris had failed an FBI background check, so he bought the gun from a private seller, which apparently was legal.

The teenager accused of shooting a teacher and a student dead at a school in St. Louis earlier this week had been blocked from buying a gun from a licensed dealer due to an FBI background check, authorities said. Orlando Harris, 19, then purchased the AR-15-style rifle used in the attack from a private seller, according to police, with no law in place which could have prevented such a sale. The revelation comes after it emerged that Harris’ family had asked police to help remove the rifle when it was discovered in the family home before the attack, but Harris was somehow able to get it back after it had been given to a third party known to the family.

Missouri doesn’t require background checks for private sales. I haven’t heard any explanation of how Harris got the gun back. Whoever had it and gave it back to him might be in trouble in a sane place, but probably not in Missouri. The right to possess guns overrides everything else around here.

Harris had a AR-15-style rifle, over 600 rounds of ammunition and more than a dozen high-capacity magazines. Again, he may have acquired all that legally, in spite of his failed background check.

Predictably, when alleged governor Mike Parson finally addressed the incident, he said that these things happen and there’s nothing to be done about it. He originally claimed that state law allows for guns to be removed from people with mental health problems, which Harris had, but that was not true.

“People have mental health issues, you can take their weapons on that,” Parson incorrectly said. “That’s part of the bill that was passed and I think you can go in and read that.”

5 On Your Side has asked Parson’s office to show evidence to support his claims. His spokesperson has not responded to that question.

According to a link Parson’s office sent in a press release, the Second Amendment Preservation Act “declares…laws…,” and “court orders… invalid…including those that…prohibit the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm, or the confiscation of one.” 

Law enforcement also visited the shooter’s home on three other occasions this year. 

According to police reports obtained by 5 On Your Side’s Christine Byers, a crisis response unit visited the home in June — the shooter attempted suicide on July 6 and made a threat with a violent weapon on July 26 — and officers visited the home for a domestic disturbance on October 15. 

On at least three of those visits, police could have theoretically confiscated any weapons in his possession at the time if state law allowed it.

Police said all the red flags were there. The red flag laws were not. 

“The State of Missouri does not have a red flag law,” Officer Wall said. “That means SLMPD officers did not have clear authority to temporarily seize the rifle when they responded to the suspect’s home when called by the suspect’s mother on 10/15/22.”

Still, Parson claimed gun safety laws adopted in red states like Indiana and Florida wouldn’t have made any difference in Missouri. 

“The red flag laws have never been in place in Missouri,” Parson said. “You got a criminal that committed a criminal act, you know, and all the laws in the world are not going to stop those things.”

The man is absolutely and utterly worthless, I tell you.

Do read Will Bunch’s Philadelphia Inquirer column, Why St. Louis hero teacher Jean Kuczka did what 376 Uvalde cops couldn’t. Jean Kuczka, 61, was a physical education teacher at the school. She was also a mother of five, grandmother of six, and a national championship field-hockey player. She died because she put herself in between the shooter and her students.

The student who died was named Alexzandria Bell. She didn’t quite make it to her 16th birthday. I understand one of the students who will survive is an art student who may lose the use of his hands.

Missouri gun laws are, basically, do what you want. No permit, no restrictions. There is no provision for taking guns from anyone, including domestic abusers and people who are mentally incapacitated.

See also Texas Goes Permitless on Guns, and Police Face an Armed Public.



6 thoughts on “St. Louis School Shooting: Nothing Will Change

  1. The absolute craziness of declaring that Missouri state gun laws supercede federal laws is on show. 

    While it is awaiting the wisdom of the Extreme Court, all police in the state will be taking the path of least resistance and letting crazies keep their guns.  Then the governor tells you the quiet secret that children are less important than gunz.

    It is as discouraging as listening to the corporately owned media interview ‘groups of republican voters’ and tell you the election stories that draw the most attention and advertising for their 'horse race'.

  2. I'm pleased (but amazed) that the lunatic hunting Nancy Pelosi was not armed. 

    Until we expand the court and validate sane gun control legislation, the carnage will continue. Maybe me, maybe you, more likely our kids or grandkids. I haven't 'accepted' the situation we are in, but the fix requires a radical move by a Democratic majority in Congress that we will not have until 2024. 

    Somehow, we have to explain to Republican voters that we aren't 'taking away their guns.' Not the ones they can have for reasonable exercise of the Second Amendment. That is: Target practice and sport AND hunting AND self-defense. It should be rare and expensive for a private citizen to be authorized to carry in public. I say "expensive" because after passing psych tests to carry in public, the citizen should be required to carry insurance. (And what insurance company wants that liability?)

    From what I read today, ( Trump and Eastman are screwed – legally. Just my informed opinion but, there are two certain criminal charges Trump will be facing.  The first is Obstruction and violations of the Espionage Act. The second is Seditious Conspiracy. I think the Eastman emails may prove the plan after Trump lost the election to steal the election by fraud and force. (Not sure they can prove Trump planned the force – yet.) 

    I think Georgia will start filing criminal charges this year and Rudy will be among the first. This is not federal – a presidential pardon is not possible. IMO, Rudy is a spineless weasel – he's gonna make a deal if he's charged. But the deal is with Georgia – if the confession implicates Rudy in federal crimes, Rudy will have to give DOJ something if he doesn't want government housing with a small, locked room. Bannon is going down for serious time in NY for the ' Build The Wall" fraud that Trump pardoned him for. Some Oath Keepers are going down and will do serious time. Alex Jones is on perpetual "hide the money" mode for the rest of his life. 

    Despite Roe and the new interpretation of the Second Amendment, the Trumpsters, the Christian Nationalists, and White Supremacists are playing defense and losing. Yes, some of the J6 crowd are getting slaps on the wrist if they didn't get caught assaulting cops. But a lot of the Trumpsters got their lives ruined even if they didn't get years in jail. Their heroes are lawyered up trying to stay out of the slammer. This isn't a good look for recruiting activists who will take risks. 

    In terms of strategy, the period of time between Trump being charged and Trump going to jail is a closing window of opportunity. After Trump is in jail, the cultists are going to check out, quit, drift away. The leaders of Christian Nationalism and White Supremacy don't have Trump's mojo. To cite your article, Maha, just as the Great Depression deflated the second KKK movement, I think Trump going to jail will let the air out of the MAGA movement.  (My hope is that the GOP will fracture without Trump.) 

    But that "window of opportunity"  for the MAGAts that closes when Trump is convicted will be marked with domestic terrorism. I don't mean lone-wolf attacks like Mr. Pelosi was the victim of.  I think we'll see Trump call for violence and mass violence happen (domestic terrorism).  This is why I think 2024 will give Democrats the mandate to go after the radical USSC and expand the court to end the lawlessness. May we all live to see it.


  3. In good news, Brazilian bully Bolsanaero was defeated, in a tight election mirroring our own numbers in the US. Lulu returns. In Brazil however, leaders among Bolsanero's evangelical base (sound familiar?) are acknowledging that he lost, something he has yet to concede.

    I am still hopeful for Nov 8, it all depends on who shows up, the numbers are mostly within the margin of error.

  4. More hope: ‘This is a blueprint’: Abortion Rights Ballot Proposal takes off in Michigan

    Genius idea to get frat-boys behind it.

    ….the biggest change in attitude she has seen since she started working on the petition earlier this year is the gender split.

    “In the past, it was a woman’s issue. It was: ‘Talk to my wife, my girlfriend, I don’t know about those things.’ And now I hear men not only understanding that it’s not a woman’s issue, but actively supporting it”

  5. "still avoiding any news about election polls and midterm predictions"


    I just saw a brief story on msnbc. they showed a Michigan congressional race poll, it had the democrat up by seven points. Then they went to the reporter on the ground and they talked about the race being neck and neck? Seven points is neck and neck? If you think about it our corporate media cannot be trusted to issue fair coverage of national politics, especially when election ad money is flowing. They are in the tank for the GQP, it's the GQP that corrupted the supreme court and the supreme court that in turn corrupted our elections with citizens united. All the dark money that flows from citizens united goes right in the pockets of network and cable tee-vee "news, youtube, fakebook, they are all getting rich on dark money". It's about the most obvious bit of corruption and it's on full display.

  6. Just the fact that someone would own or want an AR-15 is a red flag in an of itself. Something ain’t in your head if you have that desire.


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