Following any mass shooting, there’s a lot of information flowing hither and yon, information that often turns out to be incorrect, and it’s hard to make sense of what just happened. We say this following Las Vegas, for a far too recent example. Early information is wrong and we have to wait for a time until we can get some actual, valid information.
What we know so far is straightforward. A gunman was reportedly seen outside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs sometime after 11:20 Sunday morning. He was dressed in black and wearing what one witness described as a “ballistic vest.” He apparently opened fire on the church from outside the building. He then entered the church and continued with his attack.
He gunned down 26 innocent people ranging in age from five to 72.
Upon exiting the building, the killer was met with armed resistance from someone in the area who fired at the killer and pursued him. The killer dropped his weapon and ran.
A short time later, the killer was found dead in his vehicle, though officials are unsure right now whether the fatal wound he received was self-inflicted or the result of the armed citizen’s fire. Already, the anti-gun forces are out. Not even a week after criticizing President Trump for supposedly politicizing the New York City truck attack, they’re already out doing the same thing.
I’ll just keep saying it: The NRA is a terrorist organization.
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) November 5, 2017
Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honor their God, and while doing so, get shot in killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) November 5, 2017
The @NRA is soaked and bathed in blood. How do its adherents sleep at night?
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 5, 2017
They were in church. God was with them the whole time.
Their President did nothing to protect them. https://t.co/XhxljskiH5
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) November 5, 2017
Sutherland Springs is in rural Texas, these were all likely 45 voters.
This is karma in action.
— Antonio E. Gonzalez (@ReFlex76) November 5, 2017
Enough with the prayin'. Time to start legislatin'.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 5, 2017
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) November 5, 2017
— ABC News (@ABC) November 5, 2017
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) November 6, 2017
Thoughts & prayers are not enough, GOP. We must end this violence. We must stop these tragedies. People are dying while you wait.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 5, 2017
Because it’s OK for them to politicize tragedies, but not for anyone else.
Further, these tweets came before we knew very much, unlike in New York. Following the terrorist attack, we had a live suspect in custody, we knew his motives and not just from his yelling “Allah Ackbar!” when he exited the vehicle, we knew his identity quickly and how he’d entered this country, and we knew he was a supporter of ISIS.
It didn’t take very long, so President Trump’s comments were in regard to known facts about the killer.
In this case, many of these comments were made well prior to much of anything being known about the church killer. For example, it appears that he was already legally barred from owning a firearm.
Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement that Kelley is a former U.S. Air Force member who served from 2010 to 2014. Records confirm Kelley previously served in logistics readiness in New Mexico until his discharge in 2014, Stefanek said.
Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of assault on his spouse and assault on their child, Stefanek said. He received a bad conduct discharge and confinement for 12 months.
As per the Lautenberg Amendment, a domestic violence conviction makes you ineligible to purchase a firearm.
Guess that’s a gun law that doesn’t really work, now does it? (Edit: It does appear he actually passed a background check somehow.)
Nothing has been released regarding the shooter’s motive, but President Trump referred to the issue as a “mental health problem” when he issued remarks from Japan regarding the attack. However, just why the president believes that to be the case is unclear, though it’s entirely possible that his argument is that mentally healthy people don’t do this sort of thing. Which, of course, is accurate.
However, there is some misinformation floating around that the shooter was, in fact, an Antifa supporter. While it’s too early to rule this out completely, the evidence presented with this tidbit is usually a photo of the killer’s Facebook profile and a picture of an Antifa flag plugged into the lower left corner of the supposed screenshot. This is apparently a faked image as the killer’s public photos on Facebook were basically just a picture of him after having shaved his beard off and a picture of the AR-15, likely the one he used on his murderous rampage.
That’s not to say he’s not an Antifa supporter or someone with progressive sensibilities, but he could just as easily be a militant atheist or being directed by the cast of My Little Ponies who talk to him through his pet goldfish. Right now, we just don’t know.
What we do know is troubling enough, and this falls just 35 days following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. This one? It’s right up there as well.