Florida feels kind of like the epicenter of tragedy in this country at the moment. Despite it having no kind of monopoly on horrible events, one can almost be forgiven for believing otherwise.
The most recent involved a man taking four children hostage after his girlfriend told police he’d battered her earlier this week. In the end, all four children were killed, a police officer was shot, and the hostage taker committed suicide.
Oh, yeah, he was also a convicted felon.
A Florida felon who authorities say killed four children after a daylong standoff that started with the shooting of an officer had recently violated his parole, and his parole officer recommended that he be put in jail for six months. Instead he was given supervised probation, court records show.
Gary Lindsey was arrested last month for theft and then jailed for violating his probation from a decade-old arson charge, the records show. His probation officer said Lindsey posed no threat to the community but she still recommended that he be incarcerated for six months. However, Lindsey’s sister agreed to pay $1,000 and he agreed to pay $300 a month toward restitution, and his supervised probation was reinstated during a court hearing. The records show Lindsey had been working at an auto center in Orlando, earning $1,300 a month.
Sunday’s 21-hour standoff began when Lindsey’s girlfriend left the apartment and told police she had been battered. Lindsey fired at responding officers, seriously wounding one of them. He then holed up inside the apartment for much of the day with the four children, who they say ranged in age from 1 to 11. The girlfriend was the mother of all four children and Lindsey was the father of two of them, said family friend Walter Benenati.
“We heard gunshots, and I saw through the window that the policeman was down,” neighbor Miguel Lopez said. “The top stair was full of blood. They took the police officer down. … It was horrible.”
The officer is in critical condition but is expected to survive, thankfully.
There’s no level in which this isn’t awful. It’s horrible. I just don’t understand how anyone could murder children. I can’t comprehend it.
But there’s something else here to be looked at. Namely, the fact that Lindsey was able to get his hands on a firearm.
The news report above makes no mention of that. It doesn’t even ask the question, which is interesting. I mean, killing four people and shooting another before taking your own life is a mass shooting, right? Normally at this point, we have all kinds of questions about the killing and how the murderer got his weapon.
Why not now?
In part, I suspect it has more to do with the fact that there’s no way he could have obtained a firearm legally. He either lied when he bought it, stole it from someone else, bought it off the black market, or something similar. He couldn’t have walked into a gun store, followed all the rules, have the store do the same, and still purchased a gun. It’s not possible.
And because of that, it doesn’t rate the scale of tragedy it might otherwise have warranted.
Instead, a bad guy broke one of the plethoras of rules designed to prevent them from getting guns, did something horrible as a result, and the anti-gun crowd will either ignore the reality that the rules failed yet again or will simply think more rules will somehow make it all better.
Time and again, we see gun control failing to stop the truly evil.