More mass shootings. More lives lost. Still no answers.
With every one of these tragic events, like the ones that happened in El Paso and Dayton last weekend, we’re left with nothing but heartache and questions. When will we as a nation finally come up with some answers?
I have a few questions of my own.
1. If research shows that a very small percentage of shooters are diagnosed with mental illness, why does that keep coming up as a cause? Hatred and irrational anger are more often the causes. The term “mental illness” suggests that the sufferer has no control over his or her actions. I don’t believe that to be the case in most of the mass shootings we’ve seen in America. I agree that the El Paso shooting should be investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. That’s what it’s called when it happens in other countries.
2. Would new gun laws make a difference? What would those laws say? Unfortunately, murderers can usually find ways to get the tools of their evil trade. I don’t have any answers for this. If you do, please contact your congressperson.
3. Do we all need to pay more attention to the people around us and get better at recognizing warning signs? I do have an answer for this. Yes. Here’s one reason why:
A 19-year-old man was arrested last week after his grandmother stopped his plan to carry out a mass shooting at a hotel in Lubbock, Texas. William Patrick Williams was charged with making false statements to a firearms dealer. Prosecutors say he lied about his address on forms to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle. But Williams would not have been arrested if his grandmother hadn’t intervened.
Williams told his grandmother that he planned to use the gun to shoot people in the hotel and then force police to kill him. Fearing the worst, she convinced her grandson to go to a hospital instead. He was hospitalized briefly before being arrested. Williams had already rented a hotel room, which was searched by officers. They found the AK-47 rifle, as well as 17 magazines loaded with ammunition and multiple knives.
What if William Patrick Williams’ grandmother had not been so vigilant about the warning signs, or if she had dismissed them as idle talk from her grandson? Thankfully, she took appropriate action ahead of another potentially violent act.
This story makes me wonder if the incidents in El Paso and Dayton could have been thwarted. We may never know. However, this is something we should all be thinking about. I look at what this Texas grandmother did as one possible answer to the most important question in America right now: What can we do to stop mass shootings?