Delirium, Questions, Resolve in the Wake of Florida

By | 2018-02-27T11:23:28+00:00 February 19th, 2018|
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In a testament to progressive insolence, the Florida school shooting swiftly became a platform for shredding the Second Amendment. Any notion that it is unseemly to belligerently politicize tragedy has gone out the window.

The shooting was characterized by shills on the Left and the people they all too willingly exploit as something enabled by President Trump’s administration (because why not). The corollary, of course, is that the National Rifle Association and Middle-American gun owners are then absurdly condemned as the real face of terrorism in America. Since Wednesday, 115 people have been killed and 88 wounded by Islamists in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa—but those lives don’t matter, I suppose. It is only when a death can be used as a cudgel to beat ordinary Americans into political submission that it “matters.”

Still, despite the deluge of shameless soapboxing that flowed from the mainstream media in the minutes and hours that followed the shooting, something even more alarming than progressive derangement came to light: the FBI was warned about the shooter well before the attack.

This revelation has created more questions than answers, leaving us to sift through the flotsam of what we know and the jetsam of what we can only speculate.

In September, the FBI was notified of a YouTube comment made by the person we now know to be the Parkland high school killer. He had used his real name as his YouTube handle and commented: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The FBI followed up with the Vlogger who reported the comment, but agents claimed they were unable—yes, seriously—to properly identify the commenter. The FBI was actually alerted about the shooter again in January, over concerns involving his “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.” But again, federal agents didn’t follow up.

Police were called to the killer’s home 39 times over the last few years, on top of those aforementioned FBI tip-offs.

The outage directed at anyone to the right of ban-all-guns was interrupted only when news of the FBI’s blunders broke, presumably because now there might actually be someone besides the shooter culpable of something. In this case, the FBI and negligence.

Is that fair? Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel doesn’t think so. “At the end of day, make no mistake about it, America: The only one to blame for this killing is the killer himself,” Israel said. Israel isn’t wrong; individuals are ultimately the sole proprietors of the responsibility for their actions and the FBI can’t possibly prevent every shooting.

But this is one shooting that conceivably (and seemingly easily so) could have been prevented.

The feds certainly have the ability to act on intelligence and draw their own conclusions based on fragments of information, as seen by their capacity to intricately map out 284 people implicated in the “Russian collusion” investigation that kicked off over a disproven dossier. The most recent development of the Russian investigation has been the feds admitting that no American knowingly cooperated with Russians, and that the 2016 election outcome was ultimately unaltered. So, a lot of good that investigation did Americans.

After days of increasing pressure from the media following the revelation that the FBI had dropped the ball not once, but twice with the Florida shooter, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that 13 Russian nationals had been indicted on charges pertaining to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe (which thus far has revealed no actual collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government).

So initially, blame fell on gun-owners and the Trump Administration (blaming Trump in any case doesn’t actually have to make sense), but eventually the blame shifted to the FBI for its arrant negligence. But then, with Friday’s impromptu announcement of indictments, the media were again pleased with the FBI, so the blame shifted away from them again, and the media hasn’t looked back.

Does the timing of Rosenstein’s announcement seem fairly convenient? Might the three-letter agencies be trying to draw attention away from their catastrophic failure in Florida (which may or may not be the consequence of misplaced priorities)? It sure looks that way. I don’t know to what degree Florida Governor Rick Scott aligns with my suspicions, that the FBI has perhaps blundered as a result of their hyperfocus on Russian collusion, but I know that Scott isn’t buying the FBI’s excuses:

The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable. The FBI has admitted that they were contacted last month by a person who called to inform them of [the shooter’s] “desire to kill people,” and “the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”

Scott has since called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign in the light of the Bureau’s bungling. Kurt Schlichter of Townhall.com seems to be on the same wavelength, tweeting:

It’s hard to say just how much money and manpower the FBI alone has invested in the Russia investigation, but we do know that Jim Comey asked (or claims to have asked) for more of both before he was shown the door. Mueller’s investigation has blown $1.7 million on the salaries of its personnel, $733,000 on equipment, $362,000 for rent and utilities, $223,000 for travel and $157,000 for contract services.

“People are angry,” reads a Washington Post headline. Angry at gun-owners and the Trump Administration, of course. But why? Two tip-offs to the FBI, both of which provided a first and last name. Authorities also overlooked or ignored numerous alarm-raising posts on the shooter’s social media accounts. Not only did the feds fail to intervene, they’ve deflected blame, too. This doesn’t sit well with many Americans.

“We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI,” Governor Scott said in his statement. “And the FBI failed to act. ‘See something, say something’ is an incredibly important tool and people must have confidence in the follow through from law enforcement. The FBI director needs to resign.”

In the wake of such heinous crimes, any gun-control measures should empower citizens, not the federal government, to defend against would-be assailants. So-called gun-violence restraining orders (GVRO) are one such example. David French points out that “the Charleston church shooter, the Orlando nightclub shooter, the Sutherland Springs church shooter, and the Parkland school shooter each happened after federal authorities missed chances to stop them.”

Time and again, the federal government has failed to intervene after citizens tipped them off to credible threats. Authorities clearly failed in Florida, and it looks like they want to draw our attention away from their failure. Don’t let them. Americans should not acquiesce their rights and liberty in paroxysm; rather, they should demand to be empowered to keep their communities safe.

Just like we’ve been left to speculate as to why the FBI always seems to miss the mark and why they deflect blame when they do, we are left as the first and best line of defense for our communities, for our families. The locus of any gun-control discussion should rest squarely on that fact.

About the Author:

Pedro Gonzalez
Pedro Gonzalez, a writer based in California, is a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness.