NBC New York revives "Crazed Veteran" meme
By now everyone has heard about the Ft. Lauderdale shooting, perpetrated by a guy named Esteban Santiago. It's not entirely clear yet if this was ISIS related, or just a really mentally ill person. I tend to think the latter, but time will tell. Either way, from The Daily Mail we get this:
A photo of Florida airport gunman Esteban Santiago appears to show him making a jihadist one-fingered salute while wearing a Mid-Eastern keffiyeh sometime prior to him carrying out the shooting massacre.
The 26-year-old Iraq war veteran was pictured in the photo gesturing with his index finger in a pose that has become notorious among supporters of the Islamic State.
Law enforcement officers are currently looking at whether Santiago had any links to ISIS or if he was mentally disturbed as part of their investigation into the deaths of five people in the baggage claim hall at Ft. Lauderdale airport on Friday.
But again, he clearly was very ill:
Santiago was hospitalized for mental health treatment in November last year after he voluntarily walked into an FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska where he lives claiming the government was controlling his mind and forcing him to watch videos for ISIS.
A law enforcement official said the FBI interviewed him and then called the police, who took him for a mental health evaluation.
They said they closed their assessment of him once he was admitted for treatment.
Santiago, who was part of the Army National Guard from 2007-2016, was deployed to Iraq in 2010. He spent a year there with the 130th Engineer Battalion.
Not to let a tragedy go to waste, the NBC New York affiliate decided to do one of the stupider click bait stories I've ever seen, a timeline titled:
A look at high profile mass shootings carried out by veterans and active duty soldiers over the past 25 years
So this chronology they have is 11 veterans or active duty who shot people in the last 25 years. That's hardly an epidemic, but when you look at them, it's even worse. For instance, it lists one of the shooters as Major Hasan, someone who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and killed fellow soldiers in an act of Jihad (in his own words.)
Jonn Lilyea offers a devastating take on this malpractice of journalism:
NBC4 New York City took the opportunity that Esteban Santiago, a Puerto Rico National Guardsman, shot people in Ft Lauderdale last week to highlight 11 incidents of veterans and eleven “high profile mass shootings” over the last twenty-five years. Yes, eleven incidents in twenty-five years deserves scrutiny.
Some of the veterans listed in the slide show were deployed to war, but most weren’t. The ones who did deploy weren’t in military occupational specialties that would have trained them in their nefarious endeavors.
They include Nidal Hasan without mentioning that he was actually a terrorist on a jihad at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009. In fact I wonder if they have a slide show for folks that singles out mass shooters of the jihadist variety.
The list includes Micah Johnson, who even the New York Times admits “had an affinity for Black Power organizations”.
Wade Michael Page was dishonorably discharged for being a racist more than ten years before his crime, but he makes the list for shooting Sikhs at their temple. Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter is on the list, but he had his military career cut short because of his mental problems, again several years before he committed his act.
Regardless, eleven incidents in twenty-five years is not an epidemic – nothing more than click-bait for low-information voters.
Enough already with this "Veterans are a danger and will shoot up the workplace" nonsense. It's not born out by any facts available anywhere, and all it does is prejudice those of us who served our country.