He Seemed Like a Nice Guy…

Gary Martin, Aurora Shooter

Gunman Kills Five in Workplace Shooting

Another disgruntled employee twists off, brings a gun to work and five people die. Four cops are shot before they return the favor and kill the gunman. In the words memorialized in “Casablanca” everybody is “Shocked!” Why? Que the chorus, “It’s the gun’s fault!”

It is amazing to me that as more facts become available, the narrative doesn’t change. Gary Martin brought a gun to a termination interview. We need more gun control!

Gary Martin purchased a gun from a licensed gun dealer. This means he filled out ATF form 4473. The forms asks in 11B if the purchaser is currently under indictment, 11C inquires as to a felony conviction and 11i deals with a domestic violence conviction.

An affirmative answer to these questions would cause the dealer to void the sale. Lying on the form is a felony. BINGO! Martin got his handgun, therefore he lied on Form 4473.

But wait, there is more! Federal Firearms License (FFL) are required to conduct a NICS check. NICS is a computer database maintained by the FBI. Everybody knows that the FBI never makes mistakes.

Martin later applied for a carry permit through the state of Illinois. As part of the process he had to submit a set of fingerprints. The background check revealed a felony conviction. The State Police denied the application. They also sent him a form letter telling to turn in his gun. Yeah, that’ll work.

I don’t know the ins and outs of the Illinois handgun licensing system. I am not sure that an application for a handgun license constitutes “probable cause” to believe that the applicant possesses a handgun.

Next we have ATF form 4473. FFL dealers must have a completed form to accompany any transaction. They do not report the results and are not obliged to forward the form. Had ATF known Martin’s criminal history and compared it to the answers on Form 4473, then they could have arrested Martin. FFL dealers must keep the form on file for that rainy day when law enforcement asks for it.

The Illinois State police knew that Martin was a convicted felon and was not eligible to possess a firearm. There is no indication that the state police contacted ATF to advise ATF of the potential violation of lying on form 4473. The FFL knew that Martin had a firearm, but not that he had lied on Form 4473. The FFL knew that Martin passed the NICS check. There is no telling what the FBI knew, they don’t share with anybody, ever.

Gun control, therefore, was not the solution to this problem. There were controls and Martin beat them.

There is another dimension at play here, one that I don’t think is fully appreciated. Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) and the dingbat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represent opposite sides of the same coin.

Mike Rowe examined the American worker pursuing his/her vocation usually in adverse, unusual, or dangerous circumstances. Most of these jobs were not glamorous and probably didn’t represent the top of the pay scale.

I’m sure that the people portrayed were on their best behavior and were thrilled with the attention. What I saw in every episode were people who were proud of their skills or ability to do a job where most people would run away. I didn’t see anybody who acted like they were being demeaned for hard work.

Rowe demonstrated that workers are invested in the jobs they do. The task might not be high paying or glamorous, but it is their job. There is pride in doing what other people will not or cannot do. Taking that job away is not deliverance, but doom.

On the other hand, Ocasio-Cortez killed 25,000 jobs because the workers stood to be exploited. Liberals seem to have this attitude of: “if I wouldn’t do that job, neither should you.”

So what? Martin was a fifteen year employee. The company decided that their investment in the employee was counter productive and decided to let him go. They failed to acknowledge that Martin had a fifteen year investment in that job also. His performance, by any objective measure, may have been substandard. Not in Martin’s eyes.

Cause for celebration in Ocasio-Cortez world, Martin has escaped the oppressor, had an unintended result. I think Rowe would view it differently, Martin was being discarded to the unknown. His investment of fifteen years, gone. The Aurora Police Chief commented on the events leading up to the shooting.

Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman said 45-year-old Gary Martin “was being terminated” before he started shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. — which makes valves for industrial purposes — in the city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

I am not trying to justify Martin’s actions. I would point out that an adverse reaction by Martin was predictable. I suspect that the company spent some time building and documenting a case to fire Martin. The firing was probably no surprise to Martin. How much time did the personnel manager spend setting the stage for the action?

Part of the company’s plan was to send a college intern who had started that day to the termination interview. “Why don’t you sit in while we fire this guy? It ought to be good for a few laughs.

Japanese companies have been known to initiate surveillance on participants in such actions. The purpose is to obtain protective intelligence and to protect the company from extreme reactions.

That didn’t occur to American human resources managers. Why should it? They were just firing a shitty employee from a shitty job. Could this shooting have been prevented? Probably, but the intervention had to occur weeks or moths prior to the event. The indicators were likely there but routinely ignored.

Blaming an inanimate object while ignoring the human dynamic is short sighted. Reducing the causation of any event to something that would fit on a bumper sticker guarantees a re-occurrence at some other place.

Seems like everybody wants a piece of you when you are down.