|Franklin Sain's Mugshot|
Mr. Sain, who lives in Colorado Springs, sent Ms. Fields a number of emails and voicemails to complain about her support of gun control measures in the wake of last summer's shooting and the Newtown shooting from December of 2012.
In the emails and voicemails, Mr. Sain used racial and sexual slurs against the representative, and he expressed the wish that she would get shot in the head just like Gabrielle Giffords.
Mr. Sain, a 42 year-old chief operating officer of a technology company, may have unwittingly achieved the exact opposite of his intended goal: namely, his actions make a strong argument for gun control. There are many American citizens who are too dangerous to own a gun, and Mr. Sain may be one of them.
In previous posts, I have reviewed research on murder. Common characteristics of murderers are as follows (note: none of these characteristics show up on a background check):
1. They are White
2. They are middle aged
3. They have anger problems
4. They act impulsively
5. They are looking for revenge
6. They have access to a gun
These six points seem to describe Mr. Sain reasonably well. I have never met Mr. Sain, and there is certainly a question about whether he has an anger problem, acts impulsively, or is vengeful. But, his current behavior toward Representative Fields isn't doing him any favors.
And, he isn't helping out the gun rights cause, either. If gun control advocates are worried about public safety, and the most vocal gun rights voice in the discussion is the one advocating shooting people he disagrees with in the head, that conversation is not going to end well.
Every person in the United States is entitled to due process and a fair trial. We are all considered innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But, no one is denying that Mr. Sain sent hateful emails and left horrible voicemails. No one is denying he wished someone would die by gunshot to the head. For the sake of all Coloradoans (and especially those Coloradoans who disagree with gun rights advocates), I hope the fallout from this incident serves as a wake-up call. After all, it is entirely possible to control our emotions and have a rational discussion about gun rights issues without needing to resort to blind anger and death threats.
Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.