Military-worship is bad for the military

We now know how the Texas church shooter was able to so easily obtain the weapons he used to slaughter 26 innocent men, women, and children in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs: The Air Force made a mistake. In 2012, the shooter was convicted in military court of “beating his wife and breaking his young stepson’s skull.” Let’s put aside for the moment his ridiculously light sentence — twelve months’ confinement and a bad-conduct discharge — and focus on the salient fact that the Air Force failed to transmit information about his crime to the National Criminal Information Center database. If the Air Force had done it’s job, the shooter wouldn’t have passed his background check.

Moreover, it looks like this mistake may not be isolated. As the New York Times reported this morning, “An online repository of active records maintained by the F.B.I.’s Criminal Justice Information Services shows that the Department of Defense had reported just one case of domestic violence as of Dec. 31, 2016.” And the reporting problem may not be confined to domestic violence, either. The Times also notes that all but a “tiny handful” of reported cases from the military were in one category only, dishonorable discharges. There are multiple other criteria that are supposed to prevent a person from passing his background check. Where are those reports?

This is not the only apparent systematic military breakdown. On Sunday night, the Washington Post reported that the Navy’s so-called Fat Leonard corruption investigation had expanded to cover the actions of a stunning 440 active-duty and retired personnel, including 60 admirals. The scandal has been called by some the worst case of corruption in Navy history, and its outlines are simple: In exchange for bribes, booze, fine food, and prostitutes, Navy officers allowed Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis to overcharge the Navy by $35 million when ships docked at his ports, and allegedly gave him access to classified information regarding ship and submarine movements.