by John Lawrence
In light of the fact that Omar Mateen, the shooter at the gay nightclub in Orlando, had been under investigation by the FBI and was on the no-fly list, it is unconscionable that the FBI gave him what amounted to a clean bill of health and said in effect, "Your Second Amendment Rights are fully restored Sir. You can go out and buy all the guns you want." And then James Comey, FBI Director, has the unmitigated gall to say "We were searching for a needle in a haystack." It's a pretty small haystack if you already had this guy under surveillance ... twice!
Other apologists for the FBI have said things like "You never know when one of these lone wolves is going to attack." But a gun store owner reported Mateen to the FBI right before the attack:
When denied the purchase of body armor, “Lone Wolf” Omar Mateen got on the phone, had a conversation in a foreign language and then started asking about purchasing large quantities of ammunition. Abell [the gun store owner] then contacted the FBI, reported everything that had occurred in his store and that was the last thing he heard until Sunday morning when he saw Mateen’s face plastered across his television.
Mateen Was No "Needle in a Haystack"
For one thing this was no search for a needle in a haystack. They had Mateen in their sights for sure. He had been under investigation. When he was under investigation, he could not buy guns without it being reported to the FBI. The FBI's excuse was that once they closed his case, he was free to buy guns and ammunition. But even then a gun store owner reported him to the FBI after refusing to sell him large quantities of ammunition just before the attack. Mateen was no needle in a haystack.
So where is the criticism of the fact that the FBI let this one "slip through its fingers"? Instead Obama and Democratic lawmakers said the equivalent of "Heckuva job, Comey" by omission. They don't want to criticize their own appointees for doing a lousy job of protecting us. When these sorts of things happen, heads should role in the bureaucracy instead of a national outpouring of grief led by the Commiserator-in-Chief. Enough of candlelight vigils, balloons, crosses and flowers. I want action: action in the streets, legal action, action to take down the NRA and rid Congress of its accomplices.
Mateen and others like him should remain under investigation if that's what it takes to keep tabs on these people. Their bureaucratic screw-ups and legalese defenses of arcane laws is just what gives people like Donald Trump their edge. Comey has said he doesn't want to interfere with ongoing "adjudication." What? Taking away a potential terrorist's guns could interfere with adjudication? Adjudication for what? This is what gives Trump his appeal. The simplicity of his statement that nobody who has the slightest inclination towards being a terrorist should have a gun has the hallmark of common sense and infuriates the gun industry as well. Comey's insistence that the finer points of the law are preventing him from acting until and unless all the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted is bullshit and defies common sense.
We Spend Billions on Intelligence for Meager Results
It was the same thing with the Tsarnaev brothers - the Boston Marathon bombers. They had been under investigation too. The FBI is just not doing its job well. And what about all the other intelligence agencies we taxpayers are spending billions of dollars to support? Homeland Security, the NSA, the CIA? The US intelligence capabilities based on the amount of money spent on them should have prevented these attacks. And yet they come in for no criticism.
Besides that the firm that hired Mateen as a security guard and gave him a gun never submitted him to a psychological evaluation as required by law:
The global security firm that employed Orlando shooter Omar Mateen is facing additional scrutiny over whether it adequately screened his fitness to be a gun-carrying licensed security guard, this time from a psychologist who says she never administered a key mental health evaluation of him when he was hired in 2007.
Dr. Carol Nudelman said in a statement to NBC News that she had nothing to do with the psychological evaluation of Mateen that the security firm submitted to the state of Florida on Sept. 6, 2007. The firm stated in its submission that Nudelman had conducted the test.
The form, which certifies that "the employee is mentally and emotionally stable" is required under state law, and cleared the way for Mateen to obtain a Class G permit and carry a firearm as part of his duties as a private security guard.
They, G4S, should be sued.
Don't Waste Time Trying to Figure Out Mateen's Motivation
And then there were the two 9/11 hijackers based in San Diego that had been under surveillance by the CIA which forgot to tell the FBI about them. These guys in the intelligence-industrial complex are making tons of money, and they can't even take some kind of preventive action against the guys who they have or have had under surveillance? First of all it's a total disgrace that someone on the no-fly list is not on the no-buy-gun list. Even Donald Trump, to the chagrin of Republican lawmakers, recognizes this bit of common sense and is just stating the obvious. Hillary and Bernie should take a stronger stand. They shouldn't cede this issue to Trump. They are too concerned about parsing their words; Trump isn't. The forces such as the NRA that are paying Congressmen and women to vote against any gun control laws need to be counteracted. Republicans who oppose gun control should be voted out of office.
The wife of Mateen needs to be prosecuted to the hilt. She knew what was going on and didn't report it. She accompanied him to the Pulse club; she was with him when he bought ammunition. That is against the law. Instead they will probably pussyfoot around with her on the grounds that "she might have important information." They have enough information as it is. They have no lack of information. What they need is the balls to go after these people and their accomplices. But they tread lightly because they don't want to offend the Muslim community. They want to figure out Mateen's "motivation." Really? I think most third graders know Mateen's motivation. And are we to believe that figuring out Mateen's motivation is going to prevent the next attack?
It's obvious that Mateen was protecting his family in the actions he took beforehand even as he was planning to murder innocent people. He ran up his credit card, signed his house over to a sibling for $10, bought stuff for his wife in the last days, evidently making sure she would be provided for. Going after his wife would send a message to the terrorist community that the accomplices of those who perform these murderous acts will pay.
Democrats, unfortunately, are getting the reputation for pussyfooting with terrorists. That gives Trump his main issue in the election. He wants Obama to say the words "radical Islamic terrorists." Well then, he should say the words "radical Christian terrorists" for those mass murders where that term applies. But rather than argue over verbiage, the Muslim community, the LBGTQ community and the black community should all be out there in the streets demanding gun control and taking up figurative arms against the NRA. Instead they mainly try to gain sympathy for their own communities when a tragedy like this happens.
Why are they showing Mateen's picture on TV? Not a bad looking guy, he doesn't deserve the fame he's getting. They keep talking about it being the largest mass murder in history like it's some kind of record. The next guy is thinking 'how do I beat Mateen's record?'
The Proverbial Moment of Silence
The moment of silence was rejected by Congressman Jim Himes (D-Conn.) who said he won’t be attending any more moments of silence on the House floor after mass shootings, arguing that they have become an excuse for Congress not to take any real action to address gun violence. He's totally right about that. All these outpourings of concern take the place of outpourings of demands that assault rifles be taken off the market, that laws be changed to deny easy access to guns especially for potential terrorists and that covers plenty of people. The FBI is simply not doing a good enough job. Comey has plenty of excuses like his "needle in a haystack" excuse, but the fact is that any one who has been under investigation for terrorism should stay under investigation for terrorism and be monitored. There were all kinds of clues in Mateen's case. And their excuse was "his case was closed"? Keep the goddam cases open, fahcrissake!
Displays of sympathy and sorrow should be replaced by calls to action. Instead we get massive displays of flowers and people displaying grief. This seems to be the mainstream media's response to mass murder especially. No one is calling out the despicable gun control laws and demanding action except a few like Jim Himes. There needs to be a pitched battle over gun control not a massive display of sympathy for the victims. Some families of victims are fighting. Why is this not being covered by the media? Instead we get this huge ritual of flowers and candles and people crying and this has become almost an ingrained and traditional response every time something like this happens. It shows we Americans are really good people and we care. If we care so much, why are we not getting rid of guns like every other civilized freakin country? Why aren't all these good and loving people demanding action? Why aren't they marching in the streets and demonstrating against the NRA?
The LBGTQ Community Should Train Its Guns on the NRA
Why wasn't the LGBTQ community out there demanding an end to assault rifles? It seems they were only interested in treating this as an LGBT (whoops, I almost forgot the Q) issue instead of a human issue, an American issue, a gun issue. It seems like they were only interested in drawing attention to LBGTQ issues instead of issues of violence and mass murder in general. Mass murder is a human issue, an American issue. The LBGT community should be joining hands with all the other gun victims and gun control advocates and calling out the Republican Congressmen who refuse to budge because their hands are in the pockets of the NRA. Instead we spend much time and energy debating bathroom issues.
The Washington Post has called on the gay community to take on the NRA: "But this time, things might be different. Not because of the record number of people killed in Orlando or because this heinous act was a terrorist attack, a hate crime and a mass shooting. It’s because the victims were part of a social movement with infrastructure and political know-how largely unmatched within the gun-control movement. It’s because the attack targeted gays — and their community is organized." Other organized communities like Black Lives Matter should also join forces and take on the NRA. Take 'em down! It's the major fault line in this country.
The FBI should be profiling anyone who purchases an assault rifle, cartridges and large quantities of ammunition. The gun shop should have to report such purchases to the FBI as one gun shop owner did in Mateen's case. The FBI ignored him.
Here are some of the things to check off on the profile. Is he Muslim? Check. Has he ever been under investigation? Check. Has he ever exhibited any signs of mental illness or emotional instability? Check. Is he or does he have a history of unstable family situations? Check. Travel to a Muslim country? Check. Trouble in school? Check. Trouble with employment? Check. Marital problems? Check. I'm sure the FBI could come up with many more. I'm not saying that guys who shoot and kill people are all Muslims. Some of them are lone wolf misfits and haters of other stripes, some of them are Christian terrorists, some of them are atheist terrorists. It doesn't matter; this check list should cover them too. There have been clues like this in almost all of the mass murders. The FBI needs to keep close tabs on gun store sales. Any loopholes need to be closed. Better yet comprehensive gun control legislation would stop the USA from being the gun murder capital of the world.
Other hints of a disturbed mind continued to emerge. In 2013, G4S removed Mr. Mateen from his security post at the St. Lucie County Courthouse after he had made “inflammatory comments” about being involved somehow in terrorism. Though far-fetched and even contradictory — he claimed connections to Al Qaeda, the Sunni extremist group, and ties to its near opposite, the Shiite Hezbollah — his comments were troubling enough for the county sheriff’s office to notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Will extensive gun control make it impossible for these types of crimes to be committed? Heck no, but it will be at least something, a step in the right direction, a baby step at least. It will give pause to the mass murdering community. It will make it less likely for them to be successful. It will deter some. It will reduce the carnage that huge gun clips and semi-automatic rifles are capable of. It will reduce some murderers to knives instead of guns. Then maybe America will be able to join the rest of the civilized world instead of descending into the quagmire of guns and violence for all. If this continues to be the case the Pledge's last words should be restated "with guns and violence for all."
Finally John Lewis Leads a Sit-In on the Floor of the House
Democrats under the leadership of Civil Rights icon John Lewis staged a sit-in last Wednesday demanding a vote on gun control. This is exactly what is needed - our Congressional leaders demanding some sanity on this issue. If it takes taking over the House and violating House rules, so be it. Republicans turned off the C-Span cameras but Democrats kept the video feed going on social media. Civil disobedience is exactly what I'm calling for on this issue. The Senate also did something similar. More power to John Lewis, Elizabeth Warren and the House and Senate Democrats who haven't totally bowed down to the Republicans, rules or no rules.
Lewis said: "Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more."