When Kevin Crane walked into the Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, California, he was sure to have seen the "This is a Gun-Free Zone" signs that are prominently displayed at all the entrances. Yet, somehow, the power of the sign had little effect on this man, intent on murder.
According to People, the flouting of this "requirement" had tragic consequences for a young mother, who was defenseless against her ex-husband's murderous assault. And with no one around her having a weapon to counteract Crane's threat, she fell victim to her destiny.
According to the L.A. Times, "Kevin Crane, 33, shot and killed his ex-wife, Parisa Siddiqi, 29, and then shot himself in a murder and attempted suicide at the Oaks shopping mall, officials said, causing panicked shoppers to stream for exits and prompting a huge police response."
Shocking revelations have emerged that report that in 2014, Police confiscated Crane's gun (the same one used in the murder/suicide) because of his history of domestic violence against his wife, Parisa Siddiqi.
But, in 2015, the weapon was returned to him because Siddiqi refused to cooperate with the investigation. A handgun returned to a man who has proven to be violent and abusive. Hmmm...
Then we had the tragic shooting at the Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland. There, three students were shot, two fatally. The difference in this case? The school resource officer entered the fray and shot the suspect, who then turned his gun on himself when he realized his rampage was at an end.
According to NBCWashington.com, Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, entered the school at 7:55 a.m. and shot ex-girlfriend 16-year-old Jaelyn Willey, who later died from her injuries. In addition, he was able to get off one round at another student before the officer was able to intervene to stop the massacre.
Since a massacre was prevented in the Maryland shooting, the story has died a slow death, as prevention is an impossible thing to prove. Few news outlets willing to explore the reason why the tragedy was unable to escalate.
Yes, the shooter committed suicide and was not killed by the officer, but, he was SHOT by the officer. This should make it clear to any thinking person that, in no uncertain terms, Rollins knew his escapade had come to an end. That is when he fatally shot himself.
The mass shooting issue is a complicated one, with strong emotions running on both sides. Until we take a good hard look at school security, mental health, and yes, gun-free zones, we are dishonoring the memories of all those lost in these senseless acts.