What do we do now?
What do we do after another mass shooting by an alleged mentally ill individual takes the lives of so many.
Even more disturbing is how the Friday afternoon bloodbath at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport further exposes how our airport terminals are big, tempting — some say, soft — targets for armed individuals who want to terrorize or just kill other people.
In March, three coordinated suicide bombings in Brussels, Belgium – two at Brussels Airport and one at a metro station – killed 32 civilians and injured more than 300. The airport explosions were in a departure hall.
In October, three gunmen with automatic weapons and suicide bombs staged an attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 45 people and injuring 230. Two of the attackers opened fire near a security checkpoint’s x-ray scanner, and detonated bombs when police returned fire. The third attacker set off a bomb in the parking lot across the street from the terminal.
And now, Fort Lauderdale. According to the latest reports, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago got off a Delta Airlines flight from Anchorage, Alaska, pulled his gun from his checked bag in the baggage area, loaded it in the bathroom and shot at least 13 people — killing five and sending eight people to nearby Broward Health Medical Center.
Santiago, who was discharged from the Army National Guard in August for “unsatisfactory performance,” served in Iraq for about a year starting in 2010. He was a combat engineer.
CNN reported that Santiago showed up at the Anchorage FBI office recently, and was checked into a mental facility after he said he heard voices telling him to join ISIS. And members of his family are now telling media outlets that Santiago “lost his mind in Iraq.”
Whatever his reason may be, our minds automatically go what we can do to prevent this from happening again on U.S. soil. A few ideas:
- Stop allowing passengers to carry guns and ammunition in their checked bags on airline flights.
- Beef up armed security at U.S. airports and ease restrictions on stop and frisk.
- Keep mentally ill people from owning and acquiring firearms in the first place.
But what freedoms would we be willing to give up as a result?
For example, American travelers are notorious for not wanting anything to slow down — read that, ruin — their vacations. We bristle, for example, every time we have to take off our shoes or belt at the airport security checkpoint.
What would you suggest? Tell us: How do we stop these mass shootings?