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Violence at Mexican consulate, Florida airport, bring calls for better police

Two recent shoot­ings remind us that while vio­lence is at his­toric lows through­out the world, it has not been elim­i­nat­ed and that efforts at secu­ri­ty the­ater are failed solu­tions.

One of these was a shoot­ing of an Amer­i­can diplo­mat at our con­sulate in Guadala­jara, Mex­i­co.  The con­sular employ­ee, Christo­pher Ashcraft, was leav­ing a local gym when he was approached by an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen of Indi­an ori­gins wear­ing a nurse’s uni­form.  The man shot Ashcraft and fled the scene and has since then been tak­en into cus­tody by Mex­i­can offi­cials.  He will be extra­dit­ed to the Unit­ed States.  Ashcraft is recov­er­ing in a Guadala­jara hos­pi­tal.  The motive for the attack is unclear, but may relate to a dis­pute over a visa.

The oth­er attack was the shoot­ing in the air­port in Ft. Laud­erdale by a man who worked as a secu­ri­ty guard in Alas­ka and had flown to Flori­da appar­ent­ly to com­mit the assault.  The shoot­er in this case had served in the Nation­al Guard, includ­ing a tour in Iraq, but was “dis­charged for unsat­is­fac­to­ry per­for­mance,” what­ev­er that may mean, and vis­it­ed an FBI office to inform agents that the voic­es in his head, sent by one of our  espi­onage agen­cies, were telling him to seek out videos made by ISIS.  After killing five and wound­ing six more, he was tak­en into cus­tody.  He had checked the pis­tol that he used and picked it up at the bag­gage claim upon arriv­ing.

What do we learn here?  Mexico’s gun laws are well known to many in the gun com­mu­ni­ty.  In sum­ma­ry, they are every­thing that our gun con­trol advo­cates would like to impose here—a con­sti­tu­tion that in the­o­ry pro­tects gun rights, while in real­i­ty, there is only one legal gun store in the coun­try, legal cal­ibers are lim­it­ed, and car­ry out­side the home isn’t allowed.  And how does this all work out for the Mex­i­can peo­ple?  The homi­cide rate Mex­i­co is some twen­ty per hun­dred thou­sand.  This is not nec­es­sar­i­ly the result of the country’s gun laws, but it’s clear that their strict con­trol of legal firearms isn’t stop­ping mur­ders from hap­pen­ing.

In the case of the air­port shoot­ing, as I described above, the attack­er gave strong evi­dence of being a dan­ger to oth­ers, if not to self.  That would war­rant a psy­cho­log­i­cal exam­i­na­tion at least.  The spe­cif­ic details of his dis­charge from the mil­i­tary are unclear, and while a dis­hon­or­able dis­charge does make a per­son pro­hib­it­ed from own­ing firearms, “dis­charged for unsat­is­fac­to­ry per­for­mance” doesn’t appear to meet that stan­dard.  What can be said here is that once again, a mass shoot­er gave law enforce­ment good rea­son to inves­ti­gate him, but noth­ing seems to have been done.  As has been report­ed, the shoot­er worked as a secu­ri­ty guard, that rais­es the ques­tion of whether he was licensed.  If that were the case, that piece of infor­ma­tion should have shown up in a check that should have been done when he came to the FBI office talk­ing about the mes­sages he believes he has received from gov­ern­ment agents invad­ing his mind.  How much of this was done may come out in future report­ing, but there’s good rea­son to ask ques­tions now.

Time and again, we keep being giv­en the mes­sage that oner­ous gun con­trols don’t stop crimes and that we ignore obvi­ous threats at our per­il.  Gun con­trol advo­cates leap to demands of sweep­ing new reg­u­la­tions, but they nev­er accept the sim­pler steps of bet­ter law enforce­ment and more respect for the rights of good peo­ple.  If we want to reduce inci­dents such as the ones described here, though, tak­ing what I sug­gest as the obvi­ous first steps is a bet­ter choice.

The views and opin­ions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not nec­es­sar­i­ly reflect the posi­tion of
Vio­lence at Mex­i­can con­sulate, Flori­da air­port, bring calls for bet­ter police
Vio­lence at Mex­i­can con­sulate, Flori­da air­port, bring calls for bet­ter police

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