On January 6, 2017, there was a mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood National Airport, leaving five people dead and six wounded. Esteban Santiago, the shooter, served in both the US Army Reserve and Alaskan Army National Guard and is said to have returned from duty “a changed man.” The family declared this change to include new mental problems for Santiago, including selling his possessions and believing hallucinating. However, his neighbor claimed that he had always viewed Santiago as a good guy.
Confessing to being the mass murderer, Santiago was immediately arrested and brought to court a couple days later. He faces three federal charges: two firearm offenses and committing an act of violence, which resulted in death, at a national airport. Santiago’s maximum penalty is death.
— CNN (@CNN) January 9, 2017
Sophomore, Morgan Farrior says, “I am very happy that at the very least, Santiago will be spending life in prison. I think he deserves a big punishment, considering what he has done.”
With this shooting being a harsh wake up call of the harsh realities of the world today, there are many lessons that can be learned from this horrific event including:
1. Just because you are in a gun-free zone, it does not necessarily mean you are safe.
In the Fort Lauderdale case, Santiago followed every airport regulation and law involving weapons by checking in the gun that was involved in the shooting. Therefore, it’s extremely important to be aware of one’s surroundings, even if it is a “gun free zone.”
Freshman, Ella Castellano says, “If I was in a zone where all guns were banned unless they were approved and checked in, I would feel safe, but since learning about Santiago getting his checked in and still getting away with using it to murder, I now know to always be on guard.”
2. If you spot any unusual behavior, say something.
Junior, Mia Lopez says “Whenever I am in a public place, I always pay close attention to the way people are acting around me because of all the terrorism, bombings and shootings that have been occurring in the US recently.”
3. Airports should train all staff and empower them to act.
Although airports are one of the most gun protected buildings in the United States, they are also very crowded and a prime target for a terrorist or shooter. Therefore, the staff should be trained in evacuation planning, communication with the people of the airport. They should also be in good a physical condition, so that they can do everything in their power to save themselves and bystanders in the case of an armed invader.
With the airport shooting being a tragic event, leaving many people hurting, these lessons need to be taken into account to help prevent these type of actions in the future.