From the Washington Post:
And Holmes left a bizarre impression with Glenn Rotkovich, owner of a gun range called Lead Valley in Byers, Colo. Rotkovich said Sunday that he had received an e-mail from Holmes on June 25 asking for an application to join the shooting range.
He said he followed up with Holmes within a day or two, calling to inform him when to come to the range for orientation.
“I called him and I did not get him,” Rotkovich said. “I got his answering machine. It was a very bass, very deep-sounding, guttural voice that once you heard it, you realize it was not an accident. Somebody was trying to make it sound that way. It was an intentional act . . . bizarre or freakish. I could not make out certain words.”
Rotkovich called a couple more times in the following days and heard the same message.
“By the time I called the third time, my attitude is one that I don’t like this,” Rotkovich said. “So I told everybody, if James Holmes shows up, he’s doing nothing before I saw him. Is he weird? Is there something strange about this dude? I flagged it that he had to see me before he gets to do anything.”
It won’t always be this easy. A lot of mental illness can be well hidden away. But doing a basic screening before selling people guns and munitions might have caught this guy, or the VT shooter as well.
Indeed, it seems to me that failure to do even a basic screening represents some sort of reckless disregard for public safety. I know there have been various efforts to sue gun manufacturers, but does anyone know of the history of civil suits by victims of gun violence against gun vendors? If I can sue a bartender for letting a drunk get behind the wheel of a car, why can’t I sue a gun vendor for selling a weapon to a guy showing symptoms of severed mental derangement?