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Why don’t we ever learn?

June 13, 2016

That’s not a misquote from a 1960’s Bob Dylan song. It’s a plea for reality.

Within literally minutes of the Orlando shooting, the usual predictable voices were calling the incident “another deplorable incidence of gun violence.” Some immediately started in on the unregistered gun gambit “because assault weapons just don’t magically appear.”

Imagine the consternation when the news that the shooter carried a firearms permit, had passed every background check and was in fact currently employed by a division of one of the largest private security businesses in the world.  Oops.

And as deplorable as the shooter’s choice of target was, it’s not just about intolerance of the LGBT community either, regardless of the two-bit politicians who advanced that theory almost before the last shot was fired.

It could just as well have been a Christian Sunday service, or a beauty pageant in Malibu, if he had been more targeted on Christians and women than lesbians and gays.

This was no more basically a hate crime than Pearl Harbor was just an over-exuberant expression of Japanese patriotism.

This is about an armed attack by an person who embraced an extreme form of one of the world’s largest religions, essentially functioning as an enemy combatant within the borders of the United States.

To put Orlando into perspective – twice as many people died inside the Pulse nightclub as have U.S. servicemen reported KIA in Afghanistan in all of 2016 to date. And that doesn’t even account for San Bernardino, or American noncombatants killed overseas in terrorist attacks.

Orlando may not be Fallujah or Kandahar, but it was definitely a battle zone.

Current reporting indicates the shooter had been on the radar as a possible terrorist threat since 2013, initially reported to the FBI by his own co-workers, but the investigations were closed.

Maddeningly, the process for identifying a possible terrorist threat went exactly as blueprinted, right up until it got into the hands of the authorities.

Maybe we should modify the saying “If you see something, say something” to ” Something seen,  something said, now DO something”

In defense of the FBI, who it is said has been right (or lucky) more than it has been wrong, the system, or at least the way it is applied, may be at fault.

One interesting factoid to come out of the initial reporting, if it is proven to be accurate, was that the FBI can only keep an investigation active for a certain period of time unless they find evidence of actual terrorist activity, i.e. probable cause for a warrant. That’s apparently the same scenario that applied to the investigations of the Tsarnaev brothers and Nidal Hassan.

It’s unclear whether that is a policy restriction or an actual law on the books, but it might be useful to investigate modifying that standard as a possible deterrent, or just turn the whole thing over to military intelligence in the first place.

The investigation is still far too early in development to draw any hard and fast conclusions, but one has to wonder what protocol dictates that we should ignore two apparently separate instances where people expressed concerns about the man, based on his extremist associations and expressions.

Leaving out the elements of radical Islamic associations is equivalent to displaying the Mona Lisa with her mouth painted out.

If he had threatened the President, he could have been held simply on the basis of his speech.

But the authorities couldn’t do that, because he hadn’t hurt anyone yet.

The whole point of all of the foregoing is to make the point that our leaders still don’t seem to understand that radical Islam and its minions and sympathizers are at war with us.

Factoring in that reality is not religious bigotry. It is simply common sense.

Taking away everyone’s guns is not the answer. That makes about as much sense as saying that because the FBI has reported that men commit 90% of all homicides, we should therefore castrate all men.

At some point in time, our country will have to wake up to being on the front lines.

Hopefully, that happens before the front line is our collective living rooms.

From → op-ed

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