It is uncertain if Esteban Santiago, the man in custody for the horrific attack, is a true believer in a radical Islamic ideology, or a severely mentally unstable person who carried out jihad because of the voices in his head. What is undeniable is that he walked into a FBI office in Alaska and told them “voices” were making him do things.
He told officials he was hearing voices in his head, some of which were telling him to join ISIS and watch their videos, and was taken to hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Santiago, who also told the FBI the government controlled his mind, gunned down 13 people at Fort Lauderdale airport today, killing five and injuring eight.
After the evaluation, and after agreeing to seek help for his mental issues, Santiago was freed. It looks as though there was very little monitoring of him afterwards. There also appears to have been no follow up or monitoring of Santiago, nor an attempt to use existing laws and due process to suspend his right to carry a gun, something that is permissible under current law.
Again, it is very much unsure at this stage if Santiago is an actual convert to radical Islam. But he did flash what is known as, for lack of a better term, the ISIS gang sign in a social media photo.
If, in fact, if it turns out that Santiago is mentally unstable and not a true jihadi, that brings another government agency into focus: the VA. It is well known that the VA health system has been letting down our nation’s veterans at an alarming rate, especially the mental well-being of those veterans. It has been reported that Santiago recently spent a tour of duty in Iraq. His family said that he was not the same since coming back.
The suspect’s aunt Maria Ruiz Rivera claimed the alleged shooter “lost his mind” while fighting in Iraq.
When quizzed why Santiago may have opened fire at passengers, her husband, Hernan Rivera, said: “No idea. Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good.”