This is going to be a very sensitive topic and I hope I do justice to telling their story, especially since it doesn’t appear that justice is going to be forthcoming from law enforcement.
Here is what the mainstream news and your government isn’t telling you:
- In April, Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered all non-essential businesses closed. Despite lots of debate and cries of free speech, Whitmer’s office clarified that gun shops were non-essential businesses that were ordered to stay closed.
- A Grand Traverse County resident entered a gun shop and purchased a gun in late April. The individual, who struggled with mental health, then used the gun to commit suicide.
- The victim’s family asked Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg to prosecute the gun shop for selling the gun while non-essential businesses were ordered closed. Prosecutor Moeggenberg has not authorized charges.
*My sources are police reports. Anyone can review these police reports using the Freedom of Information Act. Ask for Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department case numbers 2020-00006097 and 2020-00006469.
This is what happens when a society prevents (or at best, discourages) people from walking into a building for mental health care while allowing them to walk into a building to buy a gun. This individual was isolated from getting the help they needed, and they should have had a right to seek in-person mental health services if they so chose. This is what happens when a society isolates humans in general.
Noelle Moeggenberg did not issue guidance as to how she would be addressing violations of the stay at home order. She did issue cease and desist letters, and she mulled over charging a tree company for cutting down a tree in someone’s yard. So why hasn’t she authorized charges in this case where serious harm occurred? She did not sign onto the letter from neighboring counties whose sheriffs went on the record saying they weren’t willing to enforce the stay at home orders, so why isn’t she enforcing the orders? Perhaps if she had come out with stronger guidance at the start of the orders, businesses would have followed the orders more closely.
People with mental health struggles are no less worthy of our care and society’s consideration than people without mental health issues. Access to mental health services is for the very protection of people who need them; not the people who don’t need them. Can we drop the local mentality that people with “problems” (like criminals or the mentally ill) don’t matter as much? These are the very people that we need the best laws and services in place for. Not to say “oh well, they were vulnerable” when there is a breakdown and harm results.
I can tell you why Noelle wouldn’t charge this. There isn’t one person in that prosecutor’s office who could take this case and win it, when the defense would lawyer up with some really good defense attorneys with second-amendment-loving backers who would mop the floor of Noelle and her office. Alternatively, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office would probably be chomping at the bit to prosecute this case. Perhaps Noelle could swallow her pride and ask for help. And not take a year to do it. *cough Todd Ritter
This was a failure of our laws and leadership of Grand Traverse County and the State of Michigan. It continues to be a failure of our laws and leadership. It was never so simple as shutting down non-essential society to “protect” us all. It was, and is, so much more complex that that. And people have gotten hurt. And the media isn’t telling you about it.
There are a lot of other stories that came in this week. I hope to get to them all.