Colorado Springs shooting a "law enforcement failure"

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Law enforcement tends to have a rough lot in life. After all, when they do their jobs right, the best they can often hope for is that people pay no attention to them at all, that people will just ignore what they do. Otherwise, they get stuff like being blasted for racism because they arrested a minority or something.

But when they get it wrong, well, then it’s news.

And in Colorado Springs, there’s nothing about that shooting that isn’t because law enforcement got it wrong.

Once again, we have seen a high-profile shooting that wasn’t stopped by gun control but could have been stopped if law enforcement and prosecutors had done their jobs.

A gunman in Colorado Springs killed five people and injured 18, and unsurprisingly, he was already on law enforcement’s radar. In June 2021, he allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb. Neighbors were forced to evacuate from their homes, and a bomb squad and crisis negotiators were brought in.

And yet, according to the Associated Press, “there’s no public record that prosecutors moved forward with felony kidnapping and menacing charges.” In Colorado, first-degree kidnapping can be punished with up to 24 years in prison, and second-degree kidnapping can carry a sentence of up to eight years in prison. A felony menacing conviction can result in a sentence between one and three years.

Instead, charges were dropped. The shooter was out on the streets with seemingly no restrictions and no felonies on his record, meaning it is entirely possible that the firearms he used in the shooting were purchased by him legally, as CNN claimed law enforcement believes. Even if they weren’t, though, it is a moot point. The shooter should have been behind bars on felony charges.

The author goes on to note Colorado’s red flag law–a measure many argue will prevent shootings such as these–was nowhere to be found either.

Now, this is a law explicitly designed to take guns away from people that others think might be dangerous. Then, after the fact, they essentially have to prove they’re not. We’ve railed about this repeatedly, of course, but Colorado has this law just the same.

There, family or law enforcement can take advantage of the law to disarm someone. In this case, no one did.

On so many levels, law enforcement in Colorado Springs let the people down. I know they won’t always get it right and all that, but this is a guy who threatened to blow up his own mother’s house. How was he not locked up in some way, shape, or form?

If he was just crazy, there’s a way to keep guns out of his hands for that and those should have been followed. Especially since that kind of mental illness probably requires someone to be locked up in a completely different way.

Regardless, this shouldn’t have happened. The alleged killer shouldn’t have been free to murder five innocent people.

He was.

Law enforcement–which includes both police and prosecutors here–failed to keep the people of Colorado Springs safe. They blew it.

And this matters because we have people demanding more gun control. I’m sorry, but even if I were the least bit inclined to entertain the possibility of gun control, I’d be unable to get around the fact that so much of the gun control that could have supposedly prevented this attack simply didn’t. Why should we give up more of our rights for something that won’t produce results?

Since I’m not so inclined, I’ll just remind those that are of how bad those failures really were.