The Odessa shooting was the latest rampage by a crazed maniac. Like far too many attacks, the murderer took innocent lives with a firearm. Unlike most, however, the shooter purchased his weapon from an illegal manufacturer, a fact that is often missed in the discussion on new gun control regulation.
The more we learn about the Odessa killer, though, the more troubling everything appears.
The latest news is that at least one police department suspected the shooter was planning an attack…way back in 2011.
A mother in distress called police.Her son had refused to take his mental-health medication. He was delusional about a government conspiracy against him and had threatened to end his own in life in a shootout with police.When Amarillo, Texas, police officers arrived at her home the night of February 7, 2011, they found what they interpreted as preparations for an attack — a machete hidden in her son’s bed and an underground shelter he had dug in the backyard. In a recording the mother shared with police, her son declared, “911 will bow down before me.”The officers were so troubled by what they encountered that they recorded floor plans of the property and shared the information with the city’s SWAT team, according to incident reports. The woman’s then-28-year-old son, they concluded, was volatile and might hurt somebody someday.
The son was the man who eventually became the Odessa killer.
CNN argues [shooter’s name redacted]:
The 2011 incident reports, obtained by CNN through a records request, raise additional questions about whether more could have been done to prevent [the shooter’s] shooting spree in the cities of Midland and Odessa, and about how [the shooter], who once failed a background check for an attempted firearm purchase, acquired the AR-15-style rifle he used in the attack.Supporters of gun control say deadly assaults such as [the shooter’s] might be avoided, if legislators implemented a universal background check for all gun transactions and embraced so-called red-flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders, which allow police or family members to ask courts to temporarily remove guns from individuals at risk of harming themselves or others.
As noted, the shooter purchased a weapon that allegedly was manufactured for sale illegally. Only a fool would think such a builder would also insist on a background check. It’s not like he’d push to follow the law on selling his illegal firearm, now would he?
However, this new information does suggest that perhaps more could be done, but not regarding gun control.
As has been noted previously, guns aren’t the only tool murderers use to kill others. Had the Odessa killer been denied guns, he may have shifted to a more difficult but more deadly plan, like using an explosive. Please tell me how that’s any better?
Further, this lends credence to President Trump’s previous calls to address mental health issues in this country. Now, not all mental illness is the same–there’s a big difference between someone who thinks they toaster is out to get them and someone who has some mild depression, for example–but this guy was cracked. He needed help more than he needed gun control. Had he gotten the former, maybe we wouldn’t be talking about him right now.
That’s especially true since it seems police thought he was a threat almost a decade earlier. There just wasn’t anything that could be done about it.