On the Shooting in Sutherland Springs

[Content Note: Mass shooting; death; injury; gun apologia; domestic violence; child abuse.]

On Sunday, a 26-year-old white man named Devin Kelley walked into a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and shot nearly every person in the congregation, killing 26 of them and injuring about two dozen more. He then fled, was shot and injured by a local resident, and then took his own life.

My condolences to the families, friends, fellow congregants, and community of those who were killed. I am so sorry.

Here is a thread for information sharing and discussion. As always, let's keep it image-free. And please note that talking about the critical need for gun reform is on-topic for this thread. This is a political issue. Politicize the fuck out of it in this space.

On that note, here are some thoughts I shared on Twitter:

Once again, a public act of mass violence was preceded by an escalating history of domestic abuse. Kelley was kicked out of the Air Force with a "bad conduct discharge" following a conviction for domestic violence, after he assaulted his wife and his baby stepson, the latter so badly he fractured his skull.

He should have been barred from purchasing firearms because of that conviction, but, as noted above, it was never entered into the National Criminal Information Center database that alerts federal law enforcement, which would have red-flagged his background check.

That could be, in part, because "the military has no distinct charge for domestic violence, notes Grover Baxley, a former judge advocate general who now practices military law as a civilian. 'We see this all the time,' Baxley said. 'There is no specific domestic violence article.' Instead, military prosecutors charge abusers with other offenses, like assault."

The military also appears to have failed to impose the maximum sentence on Kelley: "In fact he should have still been behind bars at the time of Sunday's shooting. Had justice been done, Kelley would have only been due for release at the end of a five-year term, which would have come on Tuesday." Instead of the maximum sentence, he was given only 12 months.
The 12 months is an important number because anything more is presumed to result from the equivalent of a felony and disqualifies the person from owning a firearm whether or not it was a domestic violence crime. No more than 12 months is presumed to result from a misdemeanor, which does not preclude owning a firearm unless domestic violence is involved.

The military judge in the case, J. Wesley Moore, has also given 12-month sentences to a colonel convicted of possessing child pornography in March of this year and to a lieutenant convicted of aggravated and abusive sexual contact and assault upon a commissioned officer in August 2014.

...Exactly why Moore gave Kelley such a light sentence is difficult to determine without the court record, and the judge was not available for comment.
I'll bet he wasn't.

It sounds an awful lot like Judge Moore doesn't like "ruining men's lives" by giving them sentences that reflect, sheerly by their duration, the severity of those men's crimes.

Here's the thing about not wanting to "ruin men's lives": It almost always abets those men's ruination of other people's lives. Case in fucking point.

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