In the wake of any mass shooting, we typically hear the usual suspects pontificate about how we absolutely need gun control and laws like extreme risk protective orders (red flag laws) in order to combat the plague of deadly rampages. It’s always a new law that we simply have to have, some measure that will ultimately infringe on our constitutionally-protected rights.
We’re told that we absolutely have to have these laws if we’re going to stop mass shootings from happening. Yet if that was the case, explain the attack in Texas that was just prevented?
Less than a month before two deadly shootings took the lives of 29 people in one weekend, another mass shooting was stopped.A Lubbock, Texas man, identified as William Patrick Williams, 19, was arrested by special agents of the FBI and ATF, the US Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas announced Friday.Williams was allegedly contemplating a mass shooting and bought ammunition. He rented a hotel room where he was plotting to kill people before his grandmother persuaded him to visit a hospital after learning of his plan, the release said.According to the release, Williams told his grandmother on July 13 he had recently purchased an AK-47 rifle, was planning to “shoot up” a hotel and “then commit suicide by cop.”The grandmother was able get him into treatment prior to his arrest.…“This was a tragedy averted,” said US Attorney Nealy Cox. “I want to praise the defendant’s grandmother, who saved lives by interrupting this plot, as well as the Lubbock police officers and federal agents who investigated his unlawful acquisition of a deadly weapon.”
I suggest you read the whole article. It looks clear to me that Williams intended to carry out the attack.
Yet he didn’t.
There weren’t red flag laws that stopped him. Texas doesn’t have any. No universal background checks to stop him, he passed a background check but lied on his Form 4473, a felony. None of the stuff we’re told is absolutely essential to prevent mass shootings.
To be sure, Williams telling his grandmother his plans certainly helped in stopping the attack, but a remarkable number of mass shooters articulate their plans well ahead of time. Most of the time, people just shrug it off, only to have regrets later when they learn that those comments were serious.
The grandmother didn’t just assume her grandson was making a sick joke. She took it seriously and acted, saving an untold number of lives in the process, including her grandson’s.
How many other lives could have been saved if people hadn’t blown off comments made by potential mass shooters?
New laws aren’t necessarily going to work, but family members paying attention and taking threats like this seriously is an essential key in thwarting future attacks.
By notifying the authorities, they can take the needed steps to see if there’s a real threat or not. They can do what’s needed and perhaps prevent the next Las Vegas, El Paso, or Parkland.
We don’t need new laws, we need a new understanding that such threats shouldn’t be taken lightly.