Jarrod Ramos, the 38-year-old suspected of killing five employees of the Capital Gazette last week, has been formally charged with a separate charge of first degree murder for each of his victims.
Ramos' alleged motive for the gruesome attack, stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the suspect against the Capital Gazette for defamation. Ramos attempted to sue the paper for defamation following an column titled, "Jarrod Wants to be Your Friend". The article described the experience of an unnamed woman who was allegedly stalked and harassed by Ramos for nearly two years.
This was after Ramos pleaded guilty in 2011 to charges of harassment and sentenced to 90 days in jail. This sentence was later suspended for 18-months probation.
According to Anne Arundel County officials, "This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette." Evidence and official statements thus far seem to corroborate this statement.
The shooting took place in Annapolis, MD - home to both the United States Naval Academy, and some of the nation's strictest gun laws. Despite this,democratic lawmakers are already rushing to capitalize on this tragedy by calling for stricter gun laws.
President Trump meanwhile kept the issue apolitical, tweeting, "Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene."
One survivor of the attack, reportedly responded, "I couldn't give a f**k about your prayers."
While I don't agree with the crassness of the sentiment, I will acquiesce that thoughts and prayers aren't enough to solve the issue of mass shootings in America. Some on the left believe it's a policy issue, while many conservatives believe it a mental health concern.
Statistically, they are both correct, but not in the ways they believe. If the issue was simply one of needing stricter gun control laws than violent crime should be dramatically lower in cities like Chicago and Washington, DC where private ownership of firearms is prohibitively difficult - but it's not.
Afterall, Maryland has historically been among the first states to pass short-sighted, reactionary firearms legislation in the wake of mass shootings. Though these extraneous laws have thus far proven themselves totally ineffective according to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports.
MD legislators passed their own, more restrictive version of the Assault Weapons ban in 2013 following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But as stated previously, these reports show that violent crime statewide in Maryland continues to increase per capita.
Furthermore, American citizens looking to protect themselves in Maryland are in for a rude awakening: Maryland is among the most difficult places to get a conceal carry permit from. Not simply because Maryland is a may-issue state, but also because they require applicants have a, "good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun".
Moreso, because of the nature of may-issue CWP states like MD, and the state's left-leaning, anti-gun tendances, only a select few actually have a permit. Those that do, normally have political connections, or themselves are a politicon. Meaning, the laws in MD are effectively a de facto ban on concealed carry.
Despite these strict laws and regulations, Maryland's implementation of their Firearms Safety Act in 2013 did nothing to decrease its rising violent crime per capita rate.
Additional legislation is predictably unhelpful, as it only restricts those who intend to obey the law. Some have argued that more restrictive laws like those found in Britain would solve this issue of mass killings.
But violent crime statistics in places like Australia, where private ownership of firearms is exceptionally difficult, have shown no correlation between access to firearms, and violent crime.
This is because humans are resourceful, and human nature isn't easily dissuaded with harsh fines, prison sentences or pieces of paper that condemn these actions.
So while Democrats and hoplophobes continue to cry for more gun laws, keep in mind that even in their anti-gun paradise Britain, the shooter's shotgun likely wouldn't be prohibited - though only scant details have emerged thus far on what sort of shotgun Ramos used.
If these laws aren't the solution, does that mean the increase in mass shootings can be solved through increased access to mental health services?
The issue we have a society is the condemnation, and social stigma of seeking professional help. The heartbreaking epidemic of combat veteran suicides deals with this issue every day. The issue is so important, that the Defense Department conducted multiple studies and even reached out to the American Psychological Association for guidance.
While destigmatizing this issue will undoubtedly benefit hundreds, if not thousands of Americans, mass killing will persist so long as troubled individuals are determined enough to commit atrocities, and news outlets gleefully report on them for ratings.