Orlando Shooting

The Failure to Stop Orlando Shooter Was Not a Surveillance Gap, So Reject Calls for More

We don't need a 'broader database.' And have we already forgotten about fusion centers?

|

Hillary Clinton
Nrbelex / Flickr

As we learn more about the life of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, what has become abundantly clear is that he was on a lot of people's radars, including the FBI's, for erratic behavior, threatening comments, and acting out.

There is and will continue to be a lot of backseat analysis of what authorities might have done (or should have been able to do) to have stopped this attack from happening. But what should be abundantly clear right now is that there was no surveillance gap here, no inability for the government to keep track of Mateen's behavior that needs to be addressed.

And yet, the response to Mateen's violence by some is for more lists, more surveillance, more government suspicion. Donald Trump gets lots of attention for fomenting anti-Muslim attitudes, but frankly Hillary Clinton is no better. She's on board with the idea of tying a person's right to gun ownership to mere suspicion of criminal activity, which is bad enough and thoroughly unconstitutional. But she also has made it clear that she wants to increase the likelihood people get placed on government surveillance lists. From NPR:

"We need to look carefully at this," she said. "Should we have a broader database? If someone comes to the attention of the FBI not once, but three times, that suggests that law enforcement needs to know, that people need to be more aware."

"If there had been a broader list that would have triggered the comprehensive background check required under Brady, that might have put a big red flag in the way of him purchasing the assault weapon plus the ammunition," she later added.

But all of this better communication people are calling for now is supposed to have been already happening with the new "fusion centers" created by the Department of Homeland Security that were designed to help police agencies share information about threats. Those fusion centers have been shown to be mostly worthless, money pits of superficial analysis that end up tracking mostly peaceful political movements within the United States rather than terror threats.

Our watch lists are already too "broad" as it is, consisting of hundreds of thousands of people with no direct ties to terrorism. Clinton's suggestion is to create more haystacks. As it is, intelligence agencies have warned that having too much data is itself a barrier to discerning actual threats. Does Clinton actually support the domestic surveillance of groups like Black Lives Matter? Because that's what has been happening with these calls for more snooping. That's where "broader lists" of people to be watched leads. 

Whatever tools might have prevented the Orlando attack (even if such tools exist), the problem here was clearly not a lack of surveillance authority or a lack of useful intelligence.  

NEXT: Coffee Not a Possible Human Carcinogen After All

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I predict this will be the commentariat’s fav line:
    “but frankly Hillary Clinton is no better. “

  2. he was a lot of people’s radars

    He was ON a lot of people’s *gaydars*, too.

    1. His Grindr said he was into twinks and otters

      1. From twink to twank to twunk.

  3. By the way:
    Rest in peace Matt Welch, hpv is a real killer

    1. OK, funny man, HPV per se is not a killer, but it can lead to both oral cavity and colorectal cancers which are both terrible ways to die.

  4. Does Clinton actually support the domestic surveillance of groups like Black Lives Matter?

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  5. WE NEED HYPERFUSION CENTERS

    1. “OK, people — Let’s fuse the hell out of this data!”

    2. Fusion Centers – ironically like actual actual fusion reactors [insert jokes about ‘cold’ and ‘perpetually 10 yrs. into the future’].

  6. Does Clinton actually support the domestic surveillance of groups like Black Lives Matter?

    “‘Domestic’? My goodness, no! The United Nations should do it!”

  7. We don’t need broader surveillance, but we do need broad surveillance. How else are we going to know where all the available broads are? I need to fill my binders!

    1. The only thing worse than the wasted tax money and privacy invasion by Jimbo’s “No Fat Chicks” task force will be the scandal when leaks reveal that he used it to spy on fat chicks.

  8. what has become abundantly clear is that he was a lot of people’s radars

    I think you need an off, or perhaps an on, there Shackford.

    1. He was my radar, he was your radar–in a way, wasn’t he all of our radar?

      1. No Problem, but thanks are actually due to Rich who called it first.

  9. Good enough for gubmint work. AMIRITE?

  10. By ‘Reject’ you mean Hillary, right?

    Or is it supposed to be a verb in that sentence?

  11. RE:
    HIT & RUN BLOG
    The Failure to Stop Orlando Shooter Was Not a Surveillance Gap, So Reject Calls for More
    We don’t need a ‘broader database.’ And have we already forgotten about fusion centers?

    Nothing could further from the truth.
    How else can our socialist slavers in power know if we wipe our butts with an upward or downward stroke?
    Nothing but good will come from more surveillance from those who enslave us.

  12. Whatever tools might have prevented the Orlando attack (even if such tools exist), the problem here was clearly not a lack of surveillance authority or a lack of useful intelligence.

    Some things can’t be prevented. That’s the sad truth that no one wants to admit. Though you’ll never hear a politician say that. After all, tragedies like this are opportunities to take more power.

  13. Once again I must commend the excellent alt text, Scott.

    Sonny Barger?

    1. Indeed. Using a pic of Hillary doing the Heil Hitler for that alt-text is just gravy.

    2. Yes, winning alt-text there.

    3. I know I harp on Scott being super-champ of alt-text but DAMN, that is possibly alt-text of the year right there.

  14. Heh, it looks like the leftard scum that runs Twitter actually tried to ban Milo Yiannopoulos for the unforgivable sins of agreeing with Trump and not wanting to be murdered by fanatical Islamonazi jihadi shitheads.

    I guess there was such an enormous backlash that they had to reinstate him within a few hours.

    1. Saw that. Is that the silly club for keeping twitter a safe space?

      1. The frightening thing about this election is that we may finally be seeing the interweb displacing the legacy media as the driver of info.

        That’s frightening because its not coming from publications or blogs. Its coming from Dem Op companies that are shaping access to info below the radar – Google, Twitter, Facebook.

        1. That’s frightening because its not coming from publications or blogs. Its coming from Dem Op companies that are shaping access to info below the radar – Google, Twitter, Facebook.

          That odd. I swear I was assured private markets in news distribution would be a good thing, with much much SJW fairness level diversity where all points of view are welcomed.

          Perhaps I was mislead?

        2. Misled, even. Wish I could have been misgolded.

  15. It’s just pathetic watching alleged adults running around like five year-olds, looking frantically for a simple solution that can be stuck into a bill with a goofy acronym/name or an executive order. Then we’ll all be safe without having to actually do anything to look after ourselves. Anybody who points out the obvious–that Barack, Hillary, and Donald don’t have all the answers (shit, any answers) is slagged as a “naysayer”.

    Sweet baby Jesus, I feel old.

  16. Just me or have Hillary’s outfits become more outlandish recently?

    1. Well, she’s porked up and has to hide the goiter, so she needed a new wardrobe.

      1. THE GOITER WILL NOT BE RESTRAINED!

      1. Nice. Not far from what she was wearing on the news last night. Looked like she had broken into the wardrobe of a Russian Countess.

  17. In the wake of an attack by someone who was on a list, investigated, and not caught, why would anyone conclude that the problem is not enough people are on lists?

  18. The Failure to Stop Orlando Shooter Was Not a Surveillance Gap, So Reject Calls for More

    No! If you have microphones and cameras everywhere, we can hire a bunch of Chinese people and monitor us to make sure you don’t kill gays in a disco, put the toilet seat down once you finish peeing, and pay your fair share.

  19. Excellent article Mr. Shackford! When I heard Clinton’s reaction I thought as you did. She seems completely unable to see the contradictions in her “policies”. I really don’t pay any attention to Clinton or Trump. Knowing that I am going to vote for Gary Johnson in November has given me quite a bit of peace of mind.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.