Well, greetings y’all from BWI airport here on the outskirts of Baltimore Maryland. It’s Thursday afternoon, 4pm, and here I sit trying to get to Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m speaking in Queen City today for the Hamilton County GOP annual dinner. I spoke there three years or so ago — guess I didn’t do so well and have been given an opportunity to redeem myself.
Ya know, I looked at the weather for flying today and all seemed well…oops. My flight out of Dallas Love Field to Chicago was canceled, so I got a routing to Baltimore. Then the scheduled flight out of Baltimore was canceled, and so I sit awaiting a 10:25pm departure for Cincinnati. Lots of time to think, and of course watch CNN in the airport…oh joy! At least I now know how CNN pads their viewership numbers.
All attention is on the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This was an immeasurable tragedy, and it hit close to home for me. You see, Stoneman Douglas sits within the congressional district I was honored to serve in Broward County. I spoke to the JROTC Cadets at the school on several occasions.
And even before becoming a Member of Congress, when I taught high school at Deerfield Beach, I was also the football game announcer and yes, Deerfield Beach and Stoneman Douglas were rivals. As well, our family has a close personal friend with whom we spoke on Wednesday evening who has a daughter that attends Stoneman Douglas. Their daughter hid in a closet and was in communications with her parents. Wednesday night, they all just sat in quiet hugging each other.
I watched Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy’s floor speech, and just gotta tell ya, that is not what we need. I flipped over to MSNBC and heard all the denigrating monikers and references, such as Second Amendment extremists. As a retired U.S. Army officer and current Board Member of the National Rifle Association I do not consider supporting a constitutional right to be extreme. Funny thing, those fellas up in New England, Senator Murphy, obviously would be categorized as gun nut extremists for defending their right to keep and bear arms against the British at Lexington Green and Concord, Massachusetts.
It’s time we have an adult conversation on this issue, and not the typical ideological rantings, mainly from those who perhaps have never purchased or owned a firearm. And yes, every time I purchase a firearm, I must undergo a background check. When my Florida concealed carry license expired, I had to undergo a full day of classroom training, written examination, and range qualification before I could apply for my Texas concealed carry permit.
I’m tired of the collective demonization for being a law-abiding, legal gun owner. I’m sick of a certain group in America trying to “gun shame” folks and collectively align anyone who believes in the Second Amendment with horrific tragedies, especially before knowing the facts.
When there’s an Islamic jihadist attack, the progressive socialist left admonishes to not condemn all for the actions of one — sadly, this doesn’t apply in these cases or instances. Imagine if someone had come out and said we need to ban all male same-sex sexual activity because of the scourge of AIDS? Yes, that would have gone over like a lead balloon, so why is the answer to these specific tragedies always about banning firearms for everyone? Yes, I own several AR-15s and a carbine variant because I like to go target shooting. My Facebook page profile picture has be with my Spring,Texas made F1 .223 Carbine, a semi-automatic pistol, that is the classification. Why should I be ashamed?
As I’ve sat back and reviewed the news feeds, it has come to my attention that this tragic shooting isn’t so much about “gun control” but rather about indicators and warnings.
As reported by Buzzfeed, “Last fall, a Mississippi bail bondsman and frequent YouTube vlogger noticed an alarming comment left on one of his videos. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” said a user named Nikolas Cruz. The YouTuber, 36-year-old Ben Bennight, alerted the FBI, emailing a screenshot of the comment and calling the bureau’s Mississippi field office. He also flagged the comment to YouTube, which removed it from the video. Agents with the bureau’s Mississippi field office got back to him “immediately,” Bennight said, and conducted an in-person interview the following day, on Sept. 25.
“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed News. “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.” FBI agents contacted Bennight again Wednesday, after a 19-year-old named Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, killing at least 17 people.”
Nikolas Cruz had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas High and if you listen to interviews, he had conveyed threats. The students were aware of him and had concerns. Why wasn’t he further investigated? And I’ve also come to read that there was another warning sent to the FBI regarding Cruz. This reminds me of the Garland Islamic jihadist attack by two Muslim men from Arizona. The FBI had full knowledge, and was even trailing them as they drove from Arizona to the Dallas area, and alerted no one. If it hadn’t been for the vigilant Garland Law Enforcement Officers, we could have had a massacre here.
The real question is how did Nikolas Cruz slip through the cracks? Of course, he passed a BATF background check for firearms purchase, he had no red flags listed, nor criminal activity. You cannot list someone for being expelled from high school, but maybe, based on the nature of the expulsion we should?
Remember how the system failed the churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas when the assailant there was able to purchase firearms because no one listed him in the system as having received a dishonorable discharge from the Air Force…because of domestic abuse? No gun control law would have prevented that from happening; what would have prevented that incident from happening was the government upholding the law, doing their job. And by the way, the person who shot the assailant was an NRA-trained firearms instructor. Just another example of a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun…my question, where were the good guys at Stoneman Douglas High?
Gun control doesn’t stop criminal gun violence, just look at Chicago, or actually any major urban center run by Democrats where there are restrictive gun control laws. When cars and trucks are used to run down innocent people by Islamic jihadists, no one calls for banning vehicles. What we do is examine the individual, the motive, the ideology.
Let’s start acting like adults and ask ourselves the tough questions about better security at our schools. How can we better control access to these places of education? It’s obvious this was a preplanned event, premeditated murder by this embodiment of evil. He knew dismissal time was the best opportunity to conduct his heinous action. So what do we do now?
Let’s deal with the issue, this issue, and rectify why these indicators and warnings weren’t heeded. Why didn’t the FBI follow up on these tips, just as they failed to do so with Omar Mateen who ended up killing some 50 at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. How do we better secure our schools, lest we have a Beslan happen here. How do we provide a secure perimeter, and should we start allowing designated teachers to be trained and be armed on these campuses?
Yes, I’m sick of folks using our schools, gun free zones, and targeting areas to kill our children, but what are we going to do about it? Gun control ranting by the liberal progressive left is the ideological, political coward’s answer. This hit close to home and it always does. As a responsible American law-abiding gun owner, I want this to end. However, this is about evil, and broken homes — what are we doing about strengthening our families?
Ya know, this hurt, but I also hurt every day knowing how many babies are killed in their mother’s womb. Just as a reminder, 19 million black babies have been murdered since Roe V Wade. When you bring that up to the left, well, their response is, it’s a woman’s right to choose.
Long before the Roe V Wade Supreme Court decision we established a Second Amendment right. Stop with the collective conflating this right with the tragedy of these shootings if you don’t feel the same about killing unborn babies…dreamers, future generations of Americans.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]