Where gun control advocates tend to miss in their calls for gun control is just how many other laws people break on the way to carrying out a mass shooting. They can often be stopped well before they carry out an attack and the loss of life can be kept to zero.
Unfortunately, you can’t always do that. Sometimes, you just don’t realize what’s going on until it’s too late.
And there are other times when you’re apparently too late for some, but not others. That’s what seems to have happened in Maryland.
A Maryland teenager is facing murder and gun charges after being connected to a missing person case by authorities in Frederick County.
Joshua Eckenrode, a 19 year old from Fredrick County, Maryland, was charged with murder after Curtis Smith went missing earlier this month. Smith, also 19, had told relatives he was driving to West Virginia and court documents obtained by ABC News indicated that he was going to meet the suspect to buy, sell or trade a firearm.
Upon searching Eckenrode’s house after detaining him, the court records say that detectives found a cache of weapons at Eckenrode’s house and “evidence was consistent with Eckenrode possibly intending on committing a mass shooting and/or mass casualty event.”
Authorities reportedly found a “large amount of firearms, including handguns, shotguns and semi-automatic rifles.” During the search, detectives located possible bomb-making materials, including fuses, the broken off tips of matches, gunpowder and Tannerite. There were also two explosive devices located along with a note addressed to Eckenrode’s family apologizing for “having to go out this way.”
Now, Tannerite is just something a lot of shooters love to use because you can blow something up legally. I don’t know how useful it would be for any other purposes.
However, the presence of a note suggests that the cops weren’t reaching by believing Eckenrode intended to do something even more horrible.
What he’s believed to have already done, though, is bad enough.
Now, let’s understand a few things. First, Maryland has a great deal of gun control on the books, including nearly universal background checks. The only thing exempted from those is long guns that don’t qualify as “assault weapons.” Handguns and AR-15s, favorites of mass shooters, are subject to them.
Further, Maryland has a red flag law, which didn’t seem to help in this case in the least little bit.
In other words, gun control failed. What caught Eckenrode was that he committed a crime of such significance too far ahead of any planned assault, giving law enforcement time to investigate the disappearance and see the trail lead right to Eckenrode’s door.
It’s just a damn shame that no one realized what he was up to before it got to that point. If they had, an innocent young man might still be alive.
Unfortunately, the horrors one human can visit on another will be with us always, and no amount of laws will actually be able to prevent that. Instead, we need to be vigilant of potential threats and report them if we believe there’s an issue.
What we don’t need are more gun control laws to lull people into believing that they’re safe and don’t need to keep an eye out for anything.