This post was revised on November 7, 2017.
Links to two New York Times articles appear at the end of this post.
Whether your reaction to Sunday’s mass shooting in Texas is sadness, anger or something else, maybe we can all agree on one thing: Devin Kelley shouldn’t have been running loose — and there was just cause to keep him in some sort of controlled environment before he committed this unspeakable act.
We hear about overcrowded prisons. How many of those inmates pose a real threat? Devin Kelley’s history confirms that he posed a threat, and on Sunday he was free to do as he pleased. Now twenty-six people are dead.
We can debate whether Mr. Kelley belonged in a prison or a hospital, and experience tells us that prisons don’t offer real answers — and tend to escalate violent tendencies in inmates. We also have to recognize the problem of dangerous people avoiding psychiatric commitment, through laws which are meant to protect the average person. There should have been an alternative to letting this individual live unsupervised, though.
Why was Devin Kelley confined for only one year after assaulting a spouse and fracturing an infant’s skull while he was in the Air Force? The Air Force didn’t enter his name in a database which would have prevented him from buying a gun legally. If Mr. Kelley had run into that proverbial roadblock, would he have bought a gun illegally? I understand that’s easy to do, with the glut of firearms out there.
In spite of President (sic) Trump’s claim that this is exclusively a mental health crisis (when he doesn’t advocate funding for mental health treatment), it’s actually a combination mental health/gun issue. Forget the propaganda. There are separate aspects which must be addressed honestly, and powerful people are interfering with anything being done right.
Who is in charge of protecting us?
The same thing will happen again, someplace else. It always does, because our protectors (mainly politicians. I won’t blame the police for this) fucked up.