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It seems like something that no one thought would happen, and perhaps should have been on the alert for. On January 6. 2016 a 26-year-old Esteban Santiago open fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in front of the baggage claim area. Santiago killed five instantly and injured eight others. After doing so instead of trying to flee the terminal he just laid face down onto the floor spread eagle waiting for the authorities to come to arrest him. These are the facts as they are known at the moment, but one thing has been plaguing many since the incident, the reason why this young man born in New Jersey and having served in the armed forces would commit such an act of terrorism on those he once swore to protect with his very life.
So far what is known of Santiago is that he had a record with the FBI documented last year for having mental issues after having served in war-torn Iraq. In fact, one of his Aunt Maria Ruiz when asked about his mental state, after returning home, was quoted as saying:
“He lost his mind, “she told the press and went into how he spent time in a mental hospital due to hallucinations that he had suffered as a result. She is just one of several of Santiago’s family and friends how have come forward to say how he wasn’t the same after Iraq.
As for what Santiago himself has said about his motives, sources as now stating that he has claimed that the government put him up to carrying this attack out. But there are also sources that claim that Santiago was starting to sympathize with the well-known terrorist group Isis. So, what is true, and at the point can we believe what is coming out of the young man’s mouth, since he obviously isn’t thinking straight any longer given his mental instability.
The only things that we now do know from all of this is that airport security still isn’t what it should be. Santiago took his gun case off the baggage claim went into the bathroom only to come out moments later to open fire. Then there is the military itself, do we do right by our veterans coming home from war? So many come back with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder along with other mental trauma due to what they witness while on the battlefield. Maybe during times of war, those who have to go onto the front lines should be required to undergo Psychiatric evaluation upon coming home and even join a support group. Whether the government was directly involved in Santiago’s actions is very questionable but that doesn’t get them completely off the hook, they do have to think about how they handle coming home from war for the sake of the veterans and the general public.
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