The Corner

Politics & Policy

If You See Something, Say Something, but Also Prepare for a Lawsuit

From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

If You See Something, Say Something, but Also Prepare for a Lawsuit

This contention needs verification and further discussion in the days ahead:

Gilroy, a former Fort Pierce police officer, said Mateen frequently made homophobic and racial comments. Gilroy said he complained to his employer several times but it did nothing because he was Muslim. Gilroy quit after he said Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages — 20 or 30 a day. He also sent Gilroy 13 to 15 phone messages a day, he said.

“I quit because everything he said was toxic,” Gilroy said Sunday, “and the company wouldn’t do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.”

Remember the national brouhaha about the clock kid, and how allegedly “Islamophobic” everyone was when they treated a teenager bringing a box full of wires to school as a potential bomb threat? (The boy’s family moved to Qatar shortly after the controversy.)

Noah Rothman points out a discussion American authorities don’t want to have publicly: They can’t simultaneous tell people “if you see something, say something” and let them be potentially accused of discrimination or racism if it turns out to be a false alarm.

The common thread among suspects in these mass shootings and terroristic incidents is not merely mental health issues and an attraction to extremist political ideologies. In each case, the concerned people in those killers’ lives failed to speak up or their warnings were dismissed when they did. For all legitimate concerns regarding the allure of political extremism and the ubiquity of deadly weapons, few seem concerned about the nearly canonical tenets of non-judgmentalism. A cultural proscription on appearing to be prying or condemnatory has its drawbacks; one of them is that people who “see something” often don’t “say something,” or they are ignored when they do.

If the America’s preventative approach to terrorism is to deputize its citizens as members of a national neighborhood watch, authorities had better be prepared to listen and to act to them when they see something of concern.

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