“This kid exhibited every single known red flag, from killing animals to having a cache of weapons to disruptive behavior to saying he wanted to be a school shooter. If this isn’t a person who should have gotten someone’s attention, I don’t know who is. This was a multi-system failure, “ stressed Howard Finkelstein the Broward County public defender whose office is representing Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the mass shooting in Major Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The FBI now admits that it received two separate tips about Cruz, reports John Fund in NRO.
Last fall, a frequent YouTube vlogger noticed an alarming comment left on one of his videos. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” said a user named Nikolas Cruz. The vlogger alerted the FBI and was interviewed. But the agency subsequently claimed its investigators couldn’t locate Cruz, despite the highly unusual spelling of his first name.
The second red flag came just six weeks ago, when someone close to Cruz called the FBI’s tip line to warn that Cruz, and expelled student, had a desire to kill and might attack a school.
The Parkland school shooting is not the first time the FBI has failed on its basic job: assessing threats and acting on them, John Fund reminds readers.
Look at what has happened just in Florida in the last two years. FBI agents investigated as a suspect the man who gunned down 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016, but concluded the agency couldn’t act against him. The FBI also had an unexpected visit from the mentally ill man charged with killing five people at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport last year. He had walked into an FBI field office and made bizarre, though not threatening, statements.
As the Editors at NRO point out, shooters Omar Mateen, Nidal Hasan, Adam Lanza, Sayfullo Saipov–these perpetrators of mass shootings didn’t simply step out of the shadows.
Our police and mental-health authorities, including the fumbling FBI, are not performing as well as they should be. Many of these cases could have been prevented well before the bullets started flying.
We already have in place protocols for placing people in temporary custody when they are judged likely to be a danger to themselves or others. But we
cannot make use of those powers if the relevant law-enforcement and mental-health authorities are unable or unwilling to intervene.
Beyond that, defensive measures are called for. Schools are targets and we should treat them as such, with better gatekeeping and, if necessary, armed guards. We wish it were not the case, but wishful thinking isn’t enough. We also can do more with venue security, especially for wide-open events such as that concert in Las Vegas.
As Ned Ryun in American Greatness, asks, can you imagine a bank not having security and then broadcasting to the general public its lack of armed guards or security precaution? Who wouldn’t think that insane? Yet schools, soft targets for psychopaths, are often completely unprotected, thanks in part to the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act, which needs to be repealed. In the real world this Act means that in most places “all the normal law abiding people on school grounds have precisely zero guns when a heavily armed insane person shows up.”
Most Americans look at gun ownership as not only their right but also their responsibility. Gun safety is top priority. Anyone who takes gun ownership seriously trains for hours at local shooting ranges, after passing, for example, an NRA gun safety or personal protection course. Others, like our son-in-law E.J., take the not-inconsiderable time, effort and expense of training at a dedicated shooting school like Sig Sauer Academy in Exeter, NH. The inalienable right of proponents of the 2nd Amendment is as important as the Constitutional right of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Who would you rather count on in another preventing mass shooting? The FBI and local “authorities,” who often are hampered by bureaucratic bumbling and/or incompetence? Or armed, trained, responsible citizens?
Read more here.