Last Friday, Esteban Santiago arrived at Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale on a flight from Alaska. He went to baggage claim and picked up one piece of luggage. He then went to the men's room, removed the handgun that was in a case inside the bag, loaded it and came out shooting.
Five people were killed, almost 40 were injured, and hundreds were traumatized.
The gun was obtained legally and it was declared -- which means that the proper procedures for traveling with a weapon were followed. In the eyes of the law, this murderer had done everything right.
Yet it all went so horribly and tragically wrong. And another madman with a grudge and a gun he shouldn't have had, slipped through the cracks.
A few months ago Santiago, who was a security guard in Alaska, showed up at an FBI office there -- telling them that "voices" were telling him to fight for ISIS. The FBI turned him over to local authorities and he agreed to a mental health evaluation.
"Shoot gun" image by Gideon Tsang on flickr through Creative Commons
That's not all, though.
Turns out he was a member of the Alaska Army National Guard and was discharged, last August, for unsatisfactory performance.
I have a few questions:
How did he get a job as a security guard with his National Guard record?
Considering that record, and his mental health issues, how was he able to legally get a gun?
How is it, that someone who was discharged from the National Guard, is known to the FBI, claimed he was told to fight for ISIS, had mental health issues and declared he was traveling with a gun was allowed to get on that flight?
It's a disgrace.
And, as we all know, it's not an isolated incident. It's not even the first incident of 2017.
"Is it really okay that five people lost their lives so that Esteban Santiago could enjoy his 'Constitutional right to bear arms'?"
Here we are, mere days into a new year. On the first day of 2017 there were already 264 incidents of gun violence in the U.S. -- with at least 64 people killed and 146 injured.
As of January 5 those numbers rose to 500 shootings, 113 deaths and 288 injuries.
If, like me, you had hopes that, if Hillary Clinton became president, we might at last see some much-needed, long-overdue gun control in the U.S. we can certainly forget about it now.
Not with Donald Trump as president.
Not as long as he has to remain loyal to the NRA (National Rifle Association), one of his first endorsements during the campaign -- who also happen to be one of the most powerful lobby groups in the U.S. Not as long as Conservatives make up much of the Republican party -- who now have control of the House, the Senate and the White House.
Not as long as upholding the Second Amendment is more important than protecting the lives of innocent Americans.
President-elect Donald Trump speaks to the media at Trump Tower on Jan. 9 in New York. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
How can you call yourself pro-life when you believe the rights of an unborn fetus are more important than the rights of five and six year olds in school, shoppers in malls, Batman fans in a movie theatre and now travelers at an airport in Florida?
Is it only an unborn "life" that counts?
Is it really okay that five people lost their lives so that Esteban Santiago could enjoy his "Constitutional right to bear arms"?
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