Americans more aware of their role in stopping mass shootings

It has been less than three weeks since twin mass shootings claimed 31 lives in the US.

In that time, at least 29 people have been arrested for allegedly threatening to carry out similar attacks.

Police departments across the country appear determined to send a message that they will act against those making threats of gun violence.

In Volusia County in Florida, a 15-year-old boy was arrested after posting a comment in a video game in which he threatened to take his father’s rifle to school and “kill seven people at a minimum”.

People react during a prayer vigil organized by the city, after a shooting left 20 people dead at the Cielo Vista Mall Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, on August 4, 2019. - The United States mourned Sunday for victims of two mass shootings that killed 29 people in less than 24 hours as debate raged over whether President Donald Trump's rhetoric was partly to blame for surging gun violence. The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: Thoughts and prayers are no longer enough – Americans are reporting potential shooters to police

Police released body camera footage of his arrest and his mother’s pleas for leniency.

“He’s just a little boy – he didn’t do anything wrong,” she told officers. “He’s not one of the crazy people out there doing stuff. He shouldn’t be treated as though he’s a terrorist or something, because he made a silly statement on a stupid video game.”

The officer replied: “We’re in a world where schools and kids are going to school learning and getting shot and killed.”

He added: “He has hands and feet. He can grab your gun and go do something.”

Tristan Scott Wix reportedly said '100 kills would be nice'. Pic: Volusia County Sheriff's Office
Image: Tristan Scott Wix reportedly said ‘100 kills would be nice’. Pic: Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Body camera footage was also released of the arrest of 25-year-old Tristan Wix. His girlfriend reported a series of texts to police in which he threatened a mass shooting. “A hundred kills would be nice,” he wrote in one.

Police found a hunting rifle and 400 rounds of ammunition in Wix’s home following his arrest close to a shopping mall.

James Reardon Jr. Pic: Mahoning County Jail
Image: James Reardon’s arrest was the result of a tip-off from a member of the public. Pic: Mahoning County Jail

A 20-year-old self-confessed white nationalist in Ohio was arrested after threatening a Jewish community centre on Instagram. A video showed James Reardon firing an automatic weapon and he had an arsenal of weapons and combat gear at his home.

Reardon’s arrest, like the others, was also the result of a tip-off from a member of the public to police.

In Long Beach in California, a hotel worker this week reported comments by a colleague that he planned to open fire on staff and guests because of a work place grievance.

Police said 'multiple firearms' were discovered at the home of Rodolfo Montoya. Pic: Long Beach Police Department
Image: Police said ‘multiple firearms’ were discovered at the home of Rodolfo Montoya. Pic: Long Beach Police Department

When police arrested 37-year-old cook Rudolfo Montoya they found a stash of automatic weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines in his home. They said he had a “clear plan, intent and means” to inflict mass casualties.

Experts say public awareness has been increased by recent incidents and prompted people to be more willing to report the warning signs.

Brian Levin, director of the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino, told Sky News: “I think because we’ve had a string of shootings, and thwarted plots in the United States are stacking up, the public realises they are the first best step to prevent a massacre.

“We’re seeing people who are now attuned to things and they’re now less likely to dismiss these signals and send them up the chain to police and mental health officials.”

The prospect of new gun regulations seems slim, despite the latest mass shootings and their inevitability has made Americans more aware of their own role in making sure community is not next.

Source: SKY NEWS

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