Diaz was formerly Democratic Counsel to the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. He worked for then-Rep. Charles E. Schumer. His principal brief covered issues related to terrorism and firearms.
Prior to his staff work for the Congress, Diaz studied and wrote about terrorism and transnational organized crime at the National Strategy Information Center in Washington, DC. Before joining NSIC, he was assistant managing editor for news for six years at The Washington Times newspaper, where his earlier beats as a reporter included the Supreme Court and national security matters.
Most recently Diaz was senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization that studies the gun industry, its products, and their impact on crime, death, and injury in the United States.
- The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It (The New Press, Spring 2013).
- No Boundaries: Transnational Latino Gangs and American Law Enforcement (The University of Michigan Press, 2009).
- Lighting Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil (With Barbara Newman) (Random House, 2006).
- Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America (The New Press, 1999).
Recent Articles and Monographs
- “Fort Hood and Its Aftermath: An Archetype of Guns and Gun Violence in America,” Government, Law and Policy Journal, (The New York State Bar Association), Summer 2012.
- ”Understanding the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Semiautomatic Assault Rifle Used in the Aurora, Colorado Mass Murder,” Violence Policy Center, July 2012 http://www.vpc.org/studies/M&P15.pdf.
- ”The Militarization of the U.S. Civilian Firearms Market,” Violence Policy Center, June 2011, http://www.vpc.org/studies/militarization.pdf.
- ”Iron River: Gun Violence and Illegal Firearms Trafficking on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” Violence Policy Center, March 2009.
Few human beings are monsters. But they too frequently get caught up in passions that make them behave collectively as if they were two-legged monsters–cruel, inhuman, brutal. Modern terrorism, the Spanish Inquisition and its secular and modern spawn, Nazism and the Holocaust, are examples. I like trying to figure out what currents and artifacts of a given society and history over time give rise to and fuel these and other monstrous phenomena. Why, for example, are Americans willing to accept 30,000 deaths from firearms every year, many of which are preventable, but spend billions of dollars and give up vast swaths of civil liberties (think that airport line) because one-tenth that number died in one day of terrorist attacks? Why do two young men from the same neighborhood and family background choose different paths: one joins a street gang and the other becomes a cop?
I was born into a military family and raised largely in the American South, where I learned to shoot in the Boy Scouts and was on a rifle team in high school. I attended a military prep school, served in the Air National Guard as a small arms specialist and in the Army National Guard as an anti-tank platoon sergeant. I Worked for the Department of Defense (Advanced Research Projects Agency) in Thailand for a while during the Vietnam War. I also served three years as a District of Columbia Police Department reserve officer. I graduated from the University of Florida (BA Pol. Sci. 1962)and Georgetown University Law Center (1972, editor, Law Journal).
I practiced law in and out of government, became a journalist and spent six years as an assistant managing editor at the very conservative The Washington Times newspaper in Washington. I then spent two years at a small think tank in Washington studying terrorism and international organized crime. I went to work in 1993 (following the first WTC bombing attack) as a Democratic counsel on the U.S. House of Representatives Crime Subcommittee staff, where I worked on legislation and hearings involving terrorism and firearms. I am a registered independent.