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Air Force Admits Failure

TempThe U.S. Air Force admits it didn't properly report Devin P. Kelley's history to federal law enforcement. The error is critical because Kelley's violent past may have prevented him from buying guns he used to kill 26 people in a Texas church. Kelley spent 12 months in prison and left the Air Force with a "bad conduct" discharge after harming his wife and child.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said, "Initial information indicates that Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database." This omission led to Kelley's passing the background check before he could purchase guns at a firearms retailer.

Of course, the incident raises bigger questions about how often relevant background information is not reported about former service members. U.S. Air Force Sec. Heather Wilson appeared on MSNBC's Squawk Box to admit the failings during a televised interview. When asked whether she was concerned about possible liability from victims' families, she said, "No, I'm more interested in responsibility. And we've taken responsibility, and we're going to find out what happened and fix it.

Image source.

Discussion:

  • The Air Force has readily admitted a critical failing, which could have led to 26 deaths. Why would the organization choose this disclosure?
  • Describe how Wilson is demonstrating vulnerability. What are the potential downsides?