What happened in that theater outside Denver, Colorado on July 25, 2012 or, for example, the terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, were acts of terrorism and/or combat no different from what happened on 9/11 or in America’s foreign wars such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In fact, twelve days after 9/11, the US Congress enacted the September 11th Victim Compensation fund of 2001. This $6 billion program was intended to compensate any individual (or the personal representative of a deceased individual) who was physically injured or killed as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011. Source: Homeland Security: 9/11 Victim Relief Funds
We already know what happens to America’s combat veterans in similar situations—and US troops are trained, armed and ready.
In July 2010, PBS News Hour reported, “Of the more than two million men and women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s estimated one in five will come home with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD,” said health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser.
Bowser quoted U. S. President Barack Obama, who said, “I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to keep notes just in case they need to apply for a claim. And I have met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.”
Before President Obama, the rules required veterans to document events like firefights or bomb explosions that could have caused PTSD. Such documentation was often time-consuming and difficult, and sometimes was impossible. … Under the new rules a veteran need show only that he or she served in a war and performed a job during which events could have happened that could cause the disorder.
But what about the innocent victims of combat in the United States?
I’m not talking about the homicide rate (which is in decline) or riots (which most people may avoid by staying away from the location of the riot). I’m talking about the victims of lone-wolf mass killings such as what happened recently near Denver, Colorado.
What Motivates “Lone-Wolf” Shooters – there are thousands hiding in public!
According to The Arizona Republic, “There has been no corresponding decline in mass murder—these sudden, stunning eruptions of violence with multiple victims, often perpetrated by gunmen who researchers refer to as ‘pseudo-commandos.’ Such a killer, clad in body armor and with a small arsenal of firearms, struck Friday in Aurora, Colo., leaving a dozen dead, 58 wounded and a nation horrified. …
“The United States experienced 645 mass-murder events—killings with at least four victims—from 1976 to 2010, according to Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox. When graphed, these incidents show no obvious trend. The numbers go up and down and up again. The total body count: 2,949.”
The total number killed in the terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001 was 2,819.
If what happened in that Colorado Theater does not qualify as a home grown terrorist attack by a ‘pseudo-commando’, what does?
Lone-wolf acts of violence in the United States must be considered the same as any disaster and be included under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988. Under this act, the Federal share of the costs of such efforts is to be no less than 75 percent of the eligible costs. Total assistance under this Act for one emergency is to be limited to no more than $5,000,000, except when the President determines additional funds are needed. If additional funds are needed, the President must report to Congress on the extent of the additional need.
If what happened in Colorado is not covered under the Stafford Act, we need a new law that will. After all, it is the government’s responsibility to safeguard innocent, law abiding US citizens and in acts of lone-wolf violence, the government has failed 645 times since 1976.
It’s time to take care of our own in situations such as a lone-wolf mass-murder events. If the US Federal government can spend $49 billion for foreign aid in 2012, it must help the victims of acts of violence similar to what happened in Colorado in that Century Theater—the victims in such acts of violence should be treated the same as if they were 9/11 victims, wounded in combat or came home with PTSD from Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.
Discover The Creative Writing Class at war with the Vietnam Vet
Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”
Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse.
It’s a conflicting issue whether changing gun regulations would really prevent the “lone wolf” type of attacks. It seems these people are highly motivated to carry out their plans and would find some way around it. But perhaps it would be able to cut down on the number of copy cat violence or the smaller scale attacks? But in all honesty I feel like tighter gun regulations wouldn’t have stopped what happened in Colorado.
I agree. Tighter gun regulations would not have stopped what happened in Colorado. In fact, it may have been worse. If he did not have recourse to those types of weapons, he may have resorted to bombs similar to what he rigged in his apartment killing and wounding more people. In a confined space such as a theater, an incendiary device or a fragmentation bomb would be devastating. One incendiary device blocking each exit would have trapped everyone inside and then he could have used single-shot weapons to pick them off one by one until everyone was dead.
It is obvious, that this long-wolf killer was intelligent enough to build such explosive devises from common household chemicals. From what I’ve read, all the ingredients one needs are available in stores. All he needed to know is what to mix with what and how to rig it and it appears he already had those skills.
Even the simple Molotov cocktail bomb would have been more devastating. I also understand it isn’t that difficult to make napalm–jellied gasoline that sticks to everything it hits and keeps burning.
However, if it was easier for qualified individuals such as former military combat veterans to carry concealed weapons, he could have been stopped soon after he started. Even with a bullet proof vest, his legs, arms and face are still exposed.
It is Time – Relief for Victims of Lone-Wolf Killers such as James Holmes – Guest Blogger Lloyd Lofthouse « Left Coast Voices