No one is too worried about the reelection chances of Republican Senator Johnny Isakson in Georgia. Executive Jim Barksdale is a little-known Democratic nominee in a state that’s reliably Republican.
But Barksdale does accurately represent the views of a lot of people on the Left after Orlando:
When I say ‘America is captive’ it’s captive because of the narrative of violence and hate, and I feel like that’s part of what we need to be working on,” said Barksdale.
“We are the ones that are in the wrong,” he later said. “We need to step back from the violence.”
Parade of the Red Flags
Meet young Omar Mateen:
Things took a dark turn on Sept. 11, 2001. As classmates looked on in shock, Mateen celebrated the terrorist attacks that day, claiming that Osama bin Laden was his uncle, said one person who was present. His antics prompted the school to call his father, and the classmate remembers watching through a school window as Mateen’s father approached his son and then slapped his face…
Robert Zirkle, who knew him through school in 2001, said: “We joked that he’d become a terrorist. And then he did.”
As he grew older, the threats continued:
At a barbecue in the spring of 2007, Mateen erupted when his hamburger touched a piece of pork, something he considered a religious affront. He told the class he ought to kill all of them, recalled Susanne Coburn Laforest, 61, who attended the barbecue as a trainee. Mateen told his classmates not to laugh at him because this was serious and “was going to come back and shoot us,” she said.
Not long after, Mateen was sitting in his car in the parking lot as classes were about to resume, when authorities swarmed the auto and escorted him off the property. An official told cadets Mateen had threatened to bring a gun on campus, according to Clinton Custar, who was attending the academy at the time and saw the incident from a classroom window.
This was the same month Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Mateen threatened to carry out a similar massacre at the police academy because he felt like he was being taunted for being Muslim, said a fellow cadet.
A few years later, after he started talking about how he hoped police would kill his wife and child so he could become a “martyr”, his coworkers called the FBI.
Mateen first came to the FBI’s attention in May 2013, after making a series of “boasts” to co-workers about his various ties to terrorist groups, a U.S. official told The Daily Beast, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the particulars of the case. “That triggered FBI to investigate.”
The FBI investigated more in 2014 when one of the members of his mosque became a suicide bomber.
The Islamic Center was also attended on occasion by Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who is believed to be the first American suicide bomber in Syria. Abusalha, who joined Islamist militants fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, was in his early 20s when he died in 2014 after driving a truck loaded with explosives into a restaurant in Aleppo where Syrian government troops were stationed.
This mosque has just 130 members. Two of them committed terror attacks.
During this probe, “an informant told the FBI that Mateen had mentioned watching videos by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born terrorist and al Qaeda recruiter who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.” This was the same radical cleric who exchanged messages with the Fort Hood shooter.
Earlier this year, Disney World security called the FBI.
Disney security officials told the FBI they believe Mateen visited Disney World on April 26 to conduct surveillance, a law enforcement official told CNN. The FBI is investigating that possibility.
Then a few weeks ago, the gun store called the FBI.
Mateen then called someone on the phone and began speaking in Arabic. Robert Abell says that’s when the salesman became suspicious.
“He just made the mistake of asking for an armor that wasn’t normal,” he said. “And then on the phone conversation was another key that you might need to step back and look at this. Our guy made the right decision at the time. I’m not selling him anything.
“As soon as we said we didn’t have the bulk ammo he walked out the door.”
Abell says they denied the sale, which they have the right to do. But before they could get his name and information, Mateen left the store.
The gun shop owner says they immediately alerted the FBI about the suspicious man who wanted to purchase body armor. But the feds never followed up and visited the store.
“I don’t see anything in reviewing our work that our agents should have done differently,” FBI Director James Comey said earlier this week.
And government officials wonder why people think they should to own a gun to protect themselves!
Wait, The Orlando Shooter Ranted at Hostages for Three Hours?
We love cops. They have one of the toughest jobs in society, and we can’t live without them. It can often be unfair to second-guess the judgments they have to make in a crisis.
But does it seem really surprising that three hours passed between when Omar Mateen first started shooting and the police raid that killed him? At least one of the survivors couldn’t believe it:
A survivor of the Pulse nightclub massacre said she’s furious cops took three hours to end Omar Mateen’s mayhem — a window of time that allowed the shooter to even check Facebook to see if the carnage was trending.
Jeannette McCoy, 37, told the Daily News she was so desperate to save her friends shot in the chaos that she confronted Orlando cops moments after they initially exchanged fire with Mateen.
“They took too long,” McCoy said. “They were supposed to continue to keep moving forward and they were supposed to go in there and get him. I was screaming, ‘Go in and shoot him!’”
I thought one of the lessons of the Paris attacks was that armed law enforcement had to engage a terrorist immediately or as quickly as possible; any delay just gives the terrorist more time to execute trapped civilians.
A delegation consisting of top brass from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Beverly Hills Police Department traveled to France in April to speak with Paris authorities about their response to the attack.
The resulting report released by the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council — a nonprofit led by former Los Angeles Emergency Management director James Featherstone — summarizes insights by French authorities, who they said stressed the importance of human intelligence, rather than technological intelligence, developed through engagement with the community as a way to prevent such attacks from taking place.
Also important is the need for quick action if attack does occur, according to the report. One example of a successful tactic used during the Paris attack was that of a lone law enforcement officer at the Bataclan concert hall who responded immediately by killing the shooter, even though protocol dictates that he wait for back-up to arrive before acting.
In the attack on the Bataclan theater, the first police responded at 9:45 and killed one terrorist. But they had to wait for the arrival of the special forces, and during that time, the remaining terrorists took the remaining concertgoers hostage ad moved them upstairs. The French special units arrived at 10:15, and by 10:30 they had secured part of the concert hall and allowed some injured to be evacuated. But they countered a closed door at 11:15. The final assault was 12:18; the police managed to save the remaining hostages and kill the final two terrorists.
Heck, after the Columbine high school shootings in 1999, law enforcement officials concluded that response teams had to shift from containing and managing the situation to confronting an active shooter.
ADDENDA: In case you missed it, an early look at the weekday lineup for The Trump Channel, coming to your cable provider soon!
On this week’s pop culture podcast: Mickey’s puppy update (a pupdate?); insane parents and the kid who swam to Alcatraz and back; cheating on your Fitbit step contests; the pro forma political activism of Kim Kardashian; the “meh” greeting to Pixar’s Finding Dory, and what’s on your bucket list.