The Real Failure That Led To Boulder Shooting

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

All around us, people are debating the shooting at a King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado. Unsurprisingly, much of the debate has revolved around gun control.


As per usual, people are desperate to find answers. They’re looking for something that can be done so we never see another such event take place in our lives.

That’s not particularly reasonable, I’m afraid, though perhaps we can find ways to reduce such things drastically. It’ll take a lot of work and it’ll take people being willing to look for things they can agree on rather than immediately screaming about gun control.

Yet that’s what’s happening. Hell, the overturning of Boulder’s assault weapon ban has been blamed, despite the fact that the killer lived in a different town and anyone who thinks he would have respected the gun ban as he went about slaughtering 10 innocent citizens is deluding themselves.

What we do know, though, is that there were some failures that led up to the shooting, but they weren’t things that can be fixed by legislation.

The 21-year-old suspect arrested in a shooting rampage inside a Colorado grocery store was described by family as anti-social and paranoid and had purchased an assault weapon just six days before police say he shot and killed 10 people.

A motive has not been released in the shooting but family members described [the killer] as someone possibly suffering from mental illness. A police affidavit chronicles the suspect, wearing body armor and wielding two firearms, killing victims at point-blank range. Alissa was shot in the leg and stripped down to his shorts before he was taken to the hospital.

Ali Aliwi Alissa, the suspect’s 34-year-old brother, told The Daily Beast his brother was paranoid and would say people were after him when he was a high school student.

“We didn’t know what was going on in his head,” Ali Aliwi Alissa said, telling the publication he believes his brother is mentally ill.

Ali Aliwi Alissa said several family members were detained and questioned by police. He said he believed mental illness was the reasoning behind the massacre.

“[It was] not at all a political statement, it’s mental illness,” Ali Aliwi Alissa told The Daily Beast. “The guy used to get bullied a lot in high school, he was like an outgoing kid but after he went to high school and got bullied a lot, he started becoming anti-social.”


If the killer was that mentally ill, his family could have done something. For example, if he was that bad off, why not have him adjudicated? If he was genuinely paranoid, why not make use of Colorado’s red flag law, especially after he purchased a firearm?

So why didn’t they?

There’s a lot of talk about the guy being mentally ill, but while I’m sure the family may have tried to support him and listen to him, but it clearly wasn’t enough. Plus, I just don’t see this being the first warning of the alleged shooter being potentially violent. I just don’t see it.

While anti-gunners are spinning their wheels trying to justify still more gun control, the truth of the matter is that there were laws already in place–some long in place–that we were told would keep guns out of the hands of people like this. Clearly, it didn’t work, so why should we give up our rights because the last things failed to live up to the hype?


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