While faculty and students on Winthrop’s campus focused on resolutions to ring in the new year, there were people in different parts of the world who were forced to say goodbye to friends and family.
In the weeks following New Year’s Eve, shootings in Turkey and Florida have caused those on campus to question the issue of gun control.
Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting
The most recent shooting occurred on Jan. 6 in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The suspect, Esteban Santiago, opened fire in the baggage claim area of the airport, killing five people and injuring six others.
According to USA Today, Santiago showed signs of questionable mental health when he approached the FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska, stating that his mind was being controlled by an intelligence agency.
Santiago, 26, joined the National Guard and did a nine-month tour in Iraq. After his tour was over, he moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where he confronted law enforcement on multiple occasions.
These signs of mental stability exhibited by Santiago have caused those on Winthrop’s campus to question gun control laws and the people who are deemed fit to have a weapon.
Brad Ghent, a sophomore business major, said, “This shows me that gun regulations aren’t where they should be right now if a guy like this, or any of the other shooters in recent memory, are allowed to have guns.”
Santiago appeared in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom on Monday, and there is talk on giving Santiago the death penalty.
Istanbul Night Club Massacre
On New Year’s Eve, a night club in Turkey was targeted by a masked gunman. The attack caused the death toll to rise to at least 39 people, with at least 69 people wounded. Of the 69 people injured, four of them are in critical condition.
Authorities have detained 20 alleged members of ISIS in connection with the attack at the night club, but the gunman who carried out the act is still unaccounted for.
The hunt for the masked gunman continues, as authorities have discovered a selfie video that the suspected gunman took in a nearby market.
Gun Control: Right or Privilege?
As the cases begin to unravel on both the night club shooting in Turkey and the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, there are those who are taking a firm stance on the right to bear arms.
Zackary Asch, a sophomore marketing major, said, “The shootings only strengthen the reason to carry a weapon legally. It is in the constitution and is a deterrent before you ever have to pull your weapon.”
There are other students, however, who believe that the gun policy needs to be changed.
Ghent said, “I believe to purchase a gun, you must have to go under an analysis of your mental health. I don’t think anyone with an existing mental disorder or a high potential to have one should be allowed to purchase.”
The gun control issue will continue to raise questions, especially as the case of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old who shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, comes to an end.