Gun Lobby Thankful No One Remembers These Airport Shootings Before Fort Lauderdale
The Fort Lauderdale airport mass shooting in which five died and eight were injured has already been forgotten—except by the victims’ families.
Nor does anyone seem to remember that less than two months before it a gunman shot and killed the father of an NFL player at Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport. The man who was killed, Southwest Airlines employee Michael Winchester, father of Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester, was victim of “workplace violence” said police. Lloyd Dean Buie, a former Southwest Airlines employee apparently seeking revenge, was charged in the murder. Like the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter, Buie was a legal gun owner.
The gun lobby appreciates the public’s short memory in which mass shootings “just happen” like tornadoes or ice storms—and are quickly forgotten. Nothing to see here, says the gun lobby. No laws needed to keep innocent people from being shot in the airport and other public places. By the time the next airline passenger checks his firearm through and loads it on arrival like confessed airport murderer Esteban Santiago, the public will have forgotten Fort Lauderdale.
Three years ago there was another Fort Lauderdale-like airport shooting. On November 1, 2013, in Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles International Airport Paul Anthony Ciancia opened fire with a rifle, killing a U.S. government Transportation Security Administration officer and injuring several other people. Ciancia carried a note saying he wanted to kill TSA officers and asked people if they were with TSF before shooting.
Like the Fort Lauderdale shooting, passengers fled in a frenzy, hiding in the concourse area and running for street exits. Ciancia was carrying a semiautomatic .223-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle, five 30-round magazines and hundreds of additional rounds of ammunition contained in boxes, said news reports. Due to the weaponry, police could not let paramedics enter the crime area and as a result TSA Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez, age 39, bled to death. Seven Ciancia victims were later treated at the scene.
Like Santiago, Ciancia was a legal gun owner whom a comprehensive background check would have detected as mentally unbalanced. Yet 85 percent of U.S. mass shooters and a shocking number of non-mass shooters pass their background checks—including Dylann Roof who murdered nine church worshippers. Ciancia’s rampage also could have been stopped by a gun order of protection—those around him said they knew he was intent on gun violence—or a registry of owners to detect who has become unstable since a gun purchase. The gun lobby fights both provisions and shockingly lobbies for greater gun rights for the mentally ill.
After a massacre like Fort Lauderdale, even gun friendly politicians realize that little-to-no gun safety laws are the reason for the bloodshed and deaths. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, in whose state the worst gun massacre in U.S. history happened, now expresses support for keeping guns away from people with mental illness. But as long as the public forgets a mass shooting a week ago, the massacres will continue you. The gun lobby thanks you.