Tag Archives: First Baptist Church

Timing is everything, but one more gun law will fix it

The First Baptist Church shooter had an interesting history. Pulling this together from assorted news reports:

  • He was reportedly on “high doses of ‘psych’ meds” in 6th through 9th grade.
  • As an adult, he dated a 13 year-old girl.
  • The police were called because he stalked the girl when she dropped him.
  • In the Air Force, while in pre-trial detention, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital (from which he escaped) because he was deemed a threat to himself and others. Somehow, the Air Force never reported the committal to NICS.
  • In a General Court Martial, he was convicted of multiple counts of domestic violence (including cracking a child’s skull). Somehow the Air Force failed to report the felony-equivalent domestic violence conviction to NICS.
  • There was an open sexual assault investigation of him that police dropped in late 2013 because they thought he’d left the state.
  • Then the police responded to another complaint against him (domestic abuse) at the same address in early 2014. Yet somehow the police couldn’t figure out that he was still in state.

That an adult was dating a 13yo is concerning enough (and where were her parents?). Was it a sexual relationship? If so, then he committed sexual assault. Where were the police?

But one more gun control law will fix it.

The timing of the asshole‘s military and civilian legal interactions raises more questions. In June 2012, he was facing charges in the at Holloman AFB in New Mexico. He was committed to a New Mexico psychiatric hospital in June. He escaped — that’s desertion –and was recaptured on June 13, 2012. He was sent to a Miramar Navy brig for pre-trial confinement, presumably after his escape and recapture; otherwise I have to wonder why he’d be sent from California back to New Mexico for committal.

In November 2012, he was convicted and sentenced to a year confinement, which he served in the Miramar brig until June 2013. Clearly, he was credited with pre-trial time served despite having escaped custody. For three counts of felony-equivalent assault, including breaking a child’s skull?

An appeals court upheld the conviction in 2013. When in 2013 isn’t clear.

Upon release from the brig “in early June of 2013”, he was placed on unpaid leave, apparently through the end of his term of enlistment in early 2014. Well, it’s not like the Air Force wanted him back (and oddly enough, I was stationed at Holloman AFB in the ’80s, and was detailed to maintain custody of another deserter, whom we didn’t want either).

Almost immediately — June 17, 2013, just seven months after his initial conviction — he was under investigation in New Braunfels, Texas for alleged rape. I would expect the police to run a background check on him, but since his committal and conviction were never logged, he would come up clean. Perhaps if the Air Force had done its job, the police would have seen a history of violence towards women and taken this case more seriously and arrested him.

In early 2014, the police were called to the same address again, on a complaint against him. They failed to notice that he was the same person they assumed had fled the state during another investigation. Since the Air Force never reported his committal and conviction, and the police hadn’t arrested him for the rape complaint, apparently he still looked clean. So he was allowed to roam the streets.

On August 1, 2014 he was cited for animal cruelty. With no other apparent criminal record (thanks, USAF and New Braunfels PD) a judge fined him and gave him deferred probation.

On November 13, 2014, he registered to vote in Colorado. He was able to do this because no one had bothered to record his committal and felony-equivalent crimes.

All we know about the next few years is that he lived in Texas and Colorado and bought guns. Because no one recorded his committal and conviction in NICS, or investigated other complaints more carefully… because he seemed to have a clean record each time. He tried to get a Texas carry license but was denied because they apparently noticed his Bad Conduct Discharge (my reading of Texas law is that anyone with less than an Honorable discharge is ineligible). At least someone did his job.

On November 5, 2017 — reportedly angry with yet another woman — killed 26 men, women, and children, and wounded 20 more. Because various authorities failed to apply the laws they expect all of us — who didn’t commit these crimes — to obey. The authorities failed to notice his criminal record, mental health record, and his history of of disturbing and criminal behavior with women.

But more bans, limits, and background checks for us — who didn’t commit these crimes — will fix it.


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[Updated] Assorted Observations: First Baptist Church Shooting

Much remains unknown about the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas this early in the investigation, but a few things are being reported with surprising consistency in the media. Like: Victim disarming gun controllers using it to call for more gun control. What about the laws already in place?

Background checks: Reports have it that the asshole purchased his Ruger AR-556 from a dealer, which means he passed a background check. The problem with that is multiple, consistent reports that he had been convicted of domestic violence (assault on spouse and child). That makes him a “prohibited person” thanks to the Lautenberg Amendment. So NICS, along with its 94% false positive rate, has lethal false negatives. Perhaps the system has it in for churches since the Charleston church shooter also passed a NICS check despite being a prohibited person. No wonder background checks don’t reduce firearms homicides. I expect we’ll learn that, since he received a Bad Conduct Discharge rather than the automatically disqualifying Dishonorable, the Air Force never bothered to report his conviction; although this is an inconsistent point of reporting (both versions from the same network). If it was a DD, there is no reason whatsoever for the Air Force to fail to report him to NICS.

That never happens: Victim disarmers tell us only police need guns because ordinary civilians never stop bad guys. Except when they do, as multiple reports have it that a local resident shot back, causing the asshole to drop his weapon, and ran the asshole away from the church. How, exactly, the shooter died hasn’t been released yet, but it’s possible the civilian killed him.

Laws don’t stop killers; honest folks armed for defense do.

Added: It’s now being reported that Stephen Willeford shot the asshole, apparently in a gap in the body armor. He and Johnnie Langendorff pursued the asshole in Langendorff’s truck, caught up with when he went off the road, and held him at gun point. It appears the shooter bled out from the wound Willeford inflicted. Well done, sirs.

Deadliest church shooting in America: I saw this claim several times. The Branch Davidians — the survivors — would beg to differ. Or doesn’t it count when the Only Ones are the shooters?

Updated: The asshole had been denied a Texas carry license: “So how was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun,” [Texas Gov.] Abbott told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “So how did this happen?”

As I read Texas law, Texas specifies that anyone separated from the military with anything lower than an Honorable Discharge is ineligible for a license, while federal law only specifies a DD as disqualifying. Also, Texas law allows application fees to be waived or lowered for veterans. If the shooter showed them his DD214 to get a discount, they would have evidence that he was disqualified from a Texas license. But the domestic violence conviction still should have made him a prohibited person.

Also, the sheriff is now saying he died of a self-inflicted wound.

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