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

01/9/17 10:48 AM | by

Police assist people seeking cover outside Terminal 2 of Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International airport after a shooting took place near the baggage claim on Jan. 6, 2017. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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

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