Orlando Shooting

How America's Counter-Terrorism Model Is Making American Less Safe and Free

The Orlando massacre shows the folly of fighting a decentralized terrorism model with centralization.

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Orlando Memorial
Zhukovsky | Dreamstime.com

Our sage leaders on both sides of the aisle believe that to preempt the next Orlando, we need to hand intelligence agencies more unconstitutional surveillance powers. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is already pushing to grant the FBI's long-standing wish to obtain the web browsing history and other electronic records in terrorism investigations without a court order. Meanwhile, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wants to give the FBI more draconian powers to put people on government terror watch lists.

But the lesson from the Orlando massacre isn't just that our intelligence systems failed. It's that they cannot succeed.

We need a paradigm shift. Rather than keeping alive the false hope that centralized intelligence bureaucracies can effectively stop lone-wolf terrorists, we need to encourage private entities like clubs, malls, movie theaters, and other places where people gather to take charge of their own security — just like they do in other countries, like India.

Surveillance-based counter terrorism worked, at least in theory, when state actors whose designs could be ascertained by a network of informants and spies dominated the terrorism business. Even al Qaeda's cell model, where the mother organization in a distant land coordinated the actions of a group on foreign ground, could be targeted by intelligence agencies since terrorist members also needed to communicate among themselves. But lone-wolf terrorism in the vein of Orlando and San Bernardino has evolved to dodge precisely such surveillance.

Otherwise, Mateen wouldn't have succeeded. It's not like the FBI didn't investigate him. But the feds had to let him go because there was nothing incriminating in his past beyond some stray statements. It wasn't until his attack that he pledged allegiance to ISIS, but the FBI would have needed omniscience to see that coming.

It is likely that Mateen, who was clearly disturbed, suddenly decided to hitch his angst to a readily available ideology to give meaning to his feelings. We can debate ad nauseam whether it was his Muslim background or his closeted homosexuality that caused him to go radical, but from the standpoint of effective counterterrorism, that debate is worse than useless; it's a distraction. The sources of terrorism do and will vary. Remember that the bloodiest carnage by a homegrown terrorist in America was committed by a crazy white dude in Oklahoma 20 years ago. Also recall that the worst mass shooting in the world was perpetrated by another white lone-wolf terrorist, Andres Breivik, in Norway four years ago, when he gunned down 69 young people at a summer camp (and bombed another eight).

Breivik wrote the ultimate 1,518-page guide that helped transform the cell-based terror model to the atomized individual or lone-wolf model of terrorism. In his grisly study, Breivik cautioned future terrorists that they would increase their chance of being apprehended by 100 percent for every person they involve. "Don't trust anyone unless you absolutely need to (which should never be the case)," he wrote. "Do everything by yourself."

We live in an era of easy radicalization where Breivik's guide can aid any single would-be terrorist. Is it all that inconceivable that a neo-reactionary white guy who has had enough with the humiliation and emasculation from feministas could decide to bomb a meeting of Social Justice Warriors? Or a Black Lives Matter activist who thinks that white privilege has become so oppressive that the whole system needs to be blown up, piece by piece? How about an eco-warrior who believes that he'll be doing humanity a favor by taking out folks or factories with large carbon footprints?

Fixating on the motives of such extremists and trying to understand their ideology won't serve the cause of good policy. What we need is a counterterrorism strategy that works regardless of motives. That means building numerous, individual points of resistance.

To that end, liberal suggestions to ban assault weapons and impose other gun restrictions are truly benighted — not to mention atavistic. They also run counter to the strategy that Israel, the country with long and bitter experience dealing with the kind of terrorism that is only now fully maturing in America, has opted for.

Israel requires all its active duty soldiers — men and women — to carry their weapons and ammunition at all times, even when out on personal business. The idea is that terrorists can strike anywhere, anytime, and government cannot (and should not) be omnipresent, protecting every individual at every time. What is true for a tiny country like Israel is doubly true for an enormous one like America. To be sure, Israel has stringent civilian gun ownership regulations, but the relevant point is that the government doesn't zealously guard its monopoly on providing security.

Things are very similar in India. Movie theaters have private security resembling what you'd find at the airport. After the 2011 Mumbai attack, private establishments beefed up security even more, and often have armed guards at the entrances. It is now impossible to get into a mall without going through a metal detector or drive into a hotel without opening the trunk for examination. Neighborhoods have become gated communities. One can debate if all of this is effective and some of it is definitely overkill. But the fact is that people are making their own risk assessment and acting accordingly rather than relying on a distant government.

Something similar will need to happen in America if the terrorist threat keeps growing. It will be a huge mental adjustment, a shock to the system. We will be less carefree. But it's better than being less free.

This piece originally appeared in The Week

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  1. They’re hiding Dalmia under “Reason Staff” on the main page, eh?

    You can’t fool me.

    1. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
      This is what I do.______ http://www.earnmore9.com

  2. New counterterrorism model?

    I’m thinking, hmm, Bar Rafael and maybe Kate Upton?

    1. You’re hired

    2. Nice.

    3. Are they gonna jello wrestle?

  3. I actually like this Dalmia article. More of this, please. Less of the immigration hysterics.

    1. I like Dalmia. But then again, I am no yokel.

      [Lights cosmo signal]

      1. Is this how the libertarian civil war starts?

        1. I do not know, Spencer, although I do have it upon good authority that it can start at any moment.

  4. Lone wolf terrorism is really just not that great of a threat in the US despite the media attention. If it were then you would probably see more private security. If people going out to clubs or wherever really felt threatened then those places with armed secirity would attracked more customers. As it is now the opposite is true. If you see armed security at an entertainment facility you would think what kind if shit is going down here that they need armed guards. Safety from terrorism wouldn’t likely enter your mind as it isn’t really likely to happen.

    1. Attract

    2. Lone wolf tTerrorism is really just not that great of a threat in the US despite the media attention.

      1 in 20,000,000 that you’ll be killed by a terrorist, as an American, anywhere in the world, in a given year.

      1. Look, let’s not bring a realistic Perspective into this.

  5. Wasn’t this posted earlier this week? If I recall it was one of the few articles where the commenters didn’t savage Shikha. must be trying to relive the glory..

    1. Yeah it was.

      1. She still manages to be an idiot. Focusing on the motivation of terrorists is pointless? Are you fucking kidding me? Only Shika could be that fucking stupid. The motivation matters, because it tells you what to look for to prevent future attacks.

        1. Hasn’t helped yet.

          1. Maybe that is because the FBI is following Shika’s advice?

          2. And I would say it has helped. The FBI has foiled multiple Islamic terror plots over the last few years. I think concentrating your counter terror efforts on Muslims is a good idea. You don’t? What should we start worrying about Buddhists or Quakers?

            1. 1st…multiple can mean 2, right?

              2nd… did their motivations have anything to do with them being caught?

              3rd… how many were entrapment schemes?

              1. No I mean more than two. And I don’t just mean guys they set up. There is a nice list on Wikipedia that reason won’t take. But look it up. Some of those are made up stings, but a good number of them are no shit Islamic terrorist plots

                1. Still, did their motivation play a role in their aprehension, or was it ancillary?

              2. S- I would have gone straight to your third point. Has the FBI foiled anyone they weren’t running in recent memory?

            2. How much man power, how many people ending up on lists?

              What about the UNSEEN John? You’re completely discounting that while accepting what you’re told about the *successes* at face value.

              I know you’re not a full-on libertarian but if you’re here then you lean that way – why do you trust the state to do right here but not elsewhere?

              1. What extra power, other to investigate am I arguing they get? I am saying the FBI needs to do its job and investigate suspected terrorists and stop dicking around dragnetting information it has nor legal right to collect and will never use anyway.

                1. They did. Twice. And he got a clean bill of health.

                  1. They did. Twice. And he got a clean bill of health.

                    which, frankly, needs to be repeated ad nauseum. This fit of Monday morning quarterbacking is the usual activity-disguised-as-action that gave us the Patriot Act, TSA, and NSA program, which ought to highlight how “do something” is the last reason for doing anything.

                    The system, such as it is, did what it was supposed to do or could do with Omar Mateen. And had he been put on a list, you can be sure CAIR would have had a news conference bitching about profiling with the same Dem morons in the sit-in as the amen chorus.

                  2. And that is the problem. They didn’t investigate him very well. The other bigger problem was that his wife and his family knew he was going to do this and they did nothing. The best way to figure out who these guys are before they do anything is for their friends and family to turn them in, because nine times out of ten the family knows it and doesn’t do anything.

                    1. The other bigger problem was that his wife and his family knew he was going to do this and they did nothing.

                      and with them, you have a case. Throw those fuckers in jail, charge them, and go from there. Maybe that’s what it takes to break through. Maybe someone in the future with suspicion that a violent act might occur says something, and maybe the investigating agency is a bit more diligent in its work, but no one is going rat out a relative without an incentive.

                    2. If what they are saying is true, the wife is as guilty as he is. She actively assisted in the plot. And I don’t think you can throw people in jail for not rating out their relatives, but you sure as hell can take their green cards and deport them if they are not citizens.

                    3. Then deport them, but it has to start somewhere. The only problem is counting on the same govt agencies to ensure these people do not re-enter.

            3. Incidnetally, do you know who wrote this to Oliver Cromwell?

              “Oliver, hadst thou been faithful and thundered down the deceit, the Hollander had been thy subject and tributary, Germany had given up to have done thy will, and the Spaniard had quivered like a dry leaf wanting the virtue of God, the King of France should have bowed his neck under thee, the Pope should have withered as in winter, the Turk in all his fatness should have smoked, thou shouldst not have stood trifling about small things, but minded the work of the Lord as He began with thee at first.”

              1. Hitler?

            4. Did they foil the ones they instigated, or some other terror plots? And unless they provide good evidence that they foiled such plots, why should I believe such a corrupt organization?

        2. But what if we discover that terrorists are motivated by oppression of transgenders?

          1. Then we know to look for people pissed off about bathrooms. The point is not to get rid of the motivation. The point is to know the motivation so we know who to look for in the future.

            1. I agree with you that motivation is important. But I think it is also dangerous to make sweeping generalizations. Each terrorist asshole is a different person with different motivations. For example, this Orlando fuckstick was primarily motivated by his gay issues that stemmed from him being gay. I don’t see any FBI profiling model predicting that.

              1. … his gay issues that stemmed from him being gay. I don’t see any FBI profiling model predicting that.

                Quite right Sir. Nice pants you’re wearing, by the by.

                /The ghost of J. Edgar Hoover

              2. For example, this Orlando fuckstick was primarily motivated by his gay issues that stemmed from him being gay.

                No he wasn’t. He was motivated by the fact that he was a Muslim who radicalized and decided to fight for ISIS. Maybe he became radicalized because he was some wierd self hating gay guy but that is not why he murdered those people. He murdered those people because he was a radical Muslim and thought he was doing his religious duty. He said that is why he did it. Saying otherwise is just denying the obvious.

              3. Each terrorist asshole is a different person with different motivations.

                Trivially true. What makes them terrorists is that they share a certain set of motivations – to inflict terror in behalf of a certain political cause.

                That shared motivation cuts your field of potential terrorists down by many orders of magnitude. If you can’t focus on terrorist groups because this terrorist has daddy issues, that terrorist is also a homophobe, then you are going to be flailing around, much like the FBI does, in a world where everybody and nobody is a terrorist.

                1. Exactly that RC. A genocidal homophobic ideology attracted a self loathing gay guy as a follower. How people somehow think that is a surprise or means the ideology is irrelevant to the resulting murders is beyond me.

              4. The motivation is the same as to kill as many people as possible with limited resources. Unless we want to move to a totalitarian police state the only way well have to counter mass shootings is armed and trained civilians. (That won’t help much with bombs or shooters with suicide vests). Police can’t be everywhere and even 5 minutes is enough time to wrack up a body count.

                1. The motivation is the same as to kill as many people as possible with limited resources.

                  No it is not. Being a self loathing guy person doesn’t necessarily motivate you to commit mass murder. Joining an ideology that tells you that you are going to go to heaven and that it is your religious duty to murder gay people does.

                  It is really that simple.

                  1. Except there are millions of the latter who don’t do the former.

                    You could say that a *combination* of the two is a problem – but how do you find the guys at that intersection unless you’re willing to give the government more freedom to spy on people?

                    1. Except there are millions of the latter who don’t do the former.

                      I don’t think there are millions of professed followers of ISIS out there. Does every follower of ISIS commit mass murder? No. But if I am looking to stop mass murder, concentrating my efforts on people who profess to follow ISIS is probably a good idea isn’t it?

                      but how do you find the guys at that intersection unless you’re willing to give the government more freedom to spy on people?

                      If you are running around claiming allegiance to ISIS, isn’t that a good reason for the government to keep an eye on you? Again, just what should LE do other than clean up the bodies?

                    2. Again, just what should LE do other than clean up the bodies?

                      I barely trust them to do that, so nothing.

                  2. I don’t think we’re going to find the answers in psychology. Everybody has different break and stress points. We can’t really treat the disease so we have to treat the symptoms.

                    I don’t care about before they go on a killing spree. It’s ultimately up to the individual to seek the help they need to fit in with society. If that isn’t going to happen society needs to be ready to be ready to deal with what happens.

                    Gun bans aren’t going to be any more effective than any other ban ever attempted at this.

              5. The motivation is the same as to kill as many people as possible with limited resources. Unless we want to move to a totalitarian police state the only way well have to counter mass shootings is armed and trained civilians. (That won’t help much with bombs or shooters with suicide vests). Police can’t be everywhere and even 5 minutes is enough time to wrack up a body count.

            2. The fifth column talked about this in an interesting light. Even under the same umbrella, motive is nuanced and numerous

              1. Agree. So look for that umbrella, perhaps?

                1. There are hundreds of umbrellas, and many nonviolent people live under them too.

            3. The primary motivation for the vast majority of mass murderers is being pissed at the world for any of a hundred different reasons and deciding to take that anger out in a way that draws the most public attention and so gives them a notoriety that they could never have otherwise gained.

              They almost universally admire each other and seek to outdo each other, regardless of the professed cause they’re dying for (and very few intend to stick around afterwards, so they’re also suicidally depressed).

              Their professed cause is a rationale for the killing, not the actual, personal motivation for the act itself.

              1. Dianne you are confusing the issue. Something doesn’t have to be the only motivation to be an identifiable motivation. Self loathing closet cases don’t as a general rule commit mass murder. Radial Muslims who run around claiming loyalty to ISIS, however, do or least do with some regularity.

                You are confusing the reasons why someone is drawn to the ideology and dismissing the ideology. A lot of people in the world don’t like Jews. Only some of those people became Nazis and volunteered to stick Jews in ovens. The fact that they were also Jew haters before they became Nazis doesn’t mean Nazism wasn’t their motivation in killing Jews. Same thing here.

          2. “But what if we discover that terrorists are motivated by oppression of transgenders?”

            I think that is the current working theory of the proggies.

            1. I love English’s ambiguous grammar.

              “Person X is motivated by Activity Y” can mean either that X is for Y, and so doing things, or that X is against Y, and doing things.

              So to put it simply… Team Red has, in all seriousness, been pushing the “Islamic terrorists are motivated by oppression of gay people” for the last week and a half.

        3. The motivation matters, because it tells you what to look for to prevent future attacks.

          I disagree nominally. A yuge part of the issue is the supposition or implication that these attacks share some commonality and that at least somel are predictable.

          Breivik’s ‘Work alone’ advice clearly flies in the face of McVeigh/Nichols, Harris/Klebold, Malvo/Muhammed, Farook/Malik, etc., etc. and would, somewhat empirically, suggest a vastly different motive. Moreover, plenty of ‘lone wolves’ for whom Breivik’s advice might empirically make sense doesn’t exactly make sense in context. Loughner was found to be insane and Lanza had no real protracted plan or larger agenda that ‘work alone’ would further.

          The idea that motive is exceedingly relevant flies in the face of all manner of objectivity and standard law enforcement. The crimes don’t intrinsically get more predictable just because the perps want to commit them for the same/different reasons. I don’t disagree with paying attention to motivations as empirical evidence of a network or movement can’t be refuted but, as I said, motivations are frequently immaterial and yugely misinterpreted (intentionally or not) post mortem.

          1. The idea that motive is exceedingly relevant flies in the face of all manner of objectivity and standard law enforcement. The crimes don’t intrinsically get more predictable just because the perps want to commit them for the same/different reasons.

            Sure but sometimes they do. In the 1920s, when the Klan was running around terrorizing black people, would you have spouted this nonsense in response to a suggestion that law enforcement start paying attention to the klan? Well, being a member of the Klan doesn’t necessarily mean you are violent. And hey, a lot of Klansman who commit violence against black people have other reasons for doing so.

            That sounds pretty fucking crazy doesn’t it? It is the same thing here. Just replace the word “Klan” with “radical Muslim”.

            1. is there not a difference between “paying attention to the Klan” and putting them on some enemies of the state list that strips them of rights without due process? Islam is full of people who are non-violent but support the violence done in the faith’s name. If the thought police win the day, then those folks are on some list, too, and when DHS gets more elected horsepower behind it, they’re joined by those former soldiers and gun owners and jesus freaks and other subversives from the original Janet Napolitano list.

              1. Sure there is. But how is following up on leads and concentrating your efforts on the Muslim community instead of pretending that isn’t the issue, stripping people of rights?

                1. John,
                  I’m not saying it is stripping people of rights any more than looking into those with ties to the Klan would have been. But someone on a list that is damn near impossible to get out of goes beyond investigating.

                  We’re expecting govt agencies to provide perfect security and a totally sanitized environment in a nation that pretends to value freedom. What if Mateen were just a loud mouth? I’m all for someone who hears the things that he said saying something about it, but then it’s up to whatever agency to find a good reason for filing charges, which could then be used to justify putting a person on a list.

                  None of this is easy and the problem with the elected class is the desire for quick fixes that are often worse than the original problem.

                  1. But someone on a list that is damn near impossible to get out of goes beyond investigating.

                    But that doesn’t matter so long as the list doesn’t prevent you from doing something. Saying people on a list can’t fly or buy a gun is not only stupid and unconstitutional it completely defeats the purpose of watch lists. You have watch lists to know who to watch. If they know they are on the list, there is no point in watching them. Moreover, if they can’t do something legally, they will do it illegally and you won’t know they did it. You want someone who is on a terror watch list and wants a gun to be able to do it legally. That way you know about it and can take another look at them and see if they are a threat. Make it illegal for them to buy a gun, you never know they got one and you have defeated the purpose of having the list.

                    1. But that doesn’t matter so long as the list doesn’t prevent you from doing something.

                      True, but no one is proposing a list that has no other ramifications. It’s a list that “prevents the person from doing X or Y” rather than a watch list that means no more than further watching and investigation.

            2. That sounds pretty fucking crazy doesn’t it? It is the same thing here. Just replace the word “Klan” with “radical Muslim”.

              Except McVeigh, Breivik, Harris/Klebold, Lanza, Loughner, Alexis, Lopez, etc. weren’t Muslim and distinguishing the results of a Lanza from a Matteen because Muslim seems kinda pointless and irrational. Moreover, at one point we could look at ‘Muslim’ and think ‘hijack’ or ‘bombing’ but clinging to profiles, especially when they don’t clearly apply, can put you at a distinct disadvantage. Assuming complete consistency/accuracy in reporting in your Wikipedia page, you can see this born out. Do more Muslims now perpetuate terror with guns or did we just start calling any Muslim with a gun a terroris?

              “Past performance is no indication of future gains.” and “Don’t chase bad money with good.”

              1. Lanza and Roof were insane. There are no lessons or ideology behind their acts. McVeigh was a member of the Patriot and Militia movements. And post OKC should the FBI have paid a hell of a lot more attention to those things? Absolutely. But that has been over 20 years now. And there hasn’t been another attack from those groups. if there is or someone has good reason to believe there will be, get back to me.

                In the mean time, our problem today is radical Islam. That is the enemy ideology and that is where our counterterrorism efforts need to be concentrated. Its that simple.

  6. NEEDZ MOAR PSYCHIC HOTLINEZ

  7. Arming people is great but it only goes so far. Being armed doesn’t help you against a bomb. It would just cause the terrorists to change their methods but likely wouldn’t cause them to not engage in terrorism.

    The FBI cannot look everywhere. And increasing their data collection powers does no good. It just causes them to endlessly collect data and have no way to process it or act on it. Even if these powers didn’t lead to abuse, which of course they will, they would be a bad idea because they don’t solve the problem.

    If you look at the terrorism cases over the last few years, every single one of them involved someone who was known to their family and friends as a radical and someone who was likely to do something awful. And in every case those close to the terrorist either didn’t say anything or if they did were ignored by law enforcement.

    The key to any counter terrorism program is to get people who are close to terrorists or suspect someone is a terrorist to call law enforcement and then get law enforcement to act on the information. That of course is easier said than done. But that is the crux of the issue. And giving the FBI more surveillance powers is going to make it worse because collecting more data will do nothing but take resources away from investigating useful information.

    1. I have to wonder if the DOJ was as concerned about public safety as it was about PC bullshit if this guy wouldn’t have gotten more follow up. And why doesn’t the OPD know this guy was on the FBI’s radar?

      1. I think that had a lot to do with it. Time and again we have one of these attacks and it turns out the guy did everything but take out an ad on craigslist announcing that he was a terrorist. And time and again, the FBI didn’t notice or put the guy under any extra scrutiny. I think it is a pretty good bet the administration’s obsession with the idea that there is nothing dangerous about Islamic extremism and the real threat is the evil right wing extremists has something to do with that.

        1. I wonder what it would take for John to rage-quit Reason.

          1. I wonder what it would take for John to rage-quit Reason.

            Nikki’s disembodied voice whispering some of her a priori statements into his ear as he tried to type out his thoughts?

            1. “Nikki’s disembodied voice whispering some of her a priori statements into his ear ”

              How come he gets to have all the fun?

    2. And I bet if you looked at the number of cases where the FBI concluded that there was no real concern you would find . . . every single one of them involved someone who was known to his family and friends as a radical and someone likely to do something awful.

      And the vast majority, by a huge margin, will be people who have not and never will do that ‘something awful’.

      False positives are worse for freedom and safety than false negatives.

      1. False positives are bad how? That someone gets investigated? I thought the standard was not to send innocent people to jail. Is the standard now never to investigate an innocent person? Of course most or at least some investigations are going to end with the person being innocent. If we knew they were guilty, we wouldn’t need to investigate now would we?

        What do you think the FBI should do other than clean up the bodies once an attack happens? I don’t see anything else they can do because you seem to be saying that they shoudl only be allowed to investigate people they know are guilty.

        1. What about these investigations do you think giving the FBI more power will fix?

          You simply can’t tell the difference between one dude who screams ‘death to America’ but has no intention to actually get off his ass and make it happen and the dude who is actually getting ready to do something.

          Because you can’t see people’s actual motivations. For you its simply – guy says he did it for Allah, Allah is the problem and anyone who like Allah is suspect.

          Except its never that clear cut. Why did the guy do it now? Why does he like Allah? Is there some element of self-hatred? Should we be looking more closely at gay Muslims? But what if the openly gay ones have made piece with the contradictions and its the closeted ones – the ones we don’t know are gay – that are the real risk?

          To do what you want would effectively kill privacy. Altogether. Everything in a government (but not *public* – unless you get uppity) database. And it would still solve nothing.

          1. What about these investigations do you think giving the FBI more power will fix?

            They could arrest him when he is plotting it instead of shooting him after he has done it. You are guilty of a crime long before you pull the trigger in most cases. This guy planned this. He bought the weapons to do it. He had his wife help him case several potential targets. The moment he did all of that he was guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and about 12 other federal crimes. Had the FBI known that, he could have been arrested long before he killed anyone.

            Because you can’t see people’s actual motivations. For you its simply – guy says he did it for Allah, Allah is the problem and anyone who like Allah is suspect.

            I can’t see their motivations. But they can tell me what they are. And in this case he said why he didn’t. And not every Muslim is suspect. Just ones who start saying and doing the kind of things this guy was doing.

            Except its never that clear cut.

            Yes it is. And it always has been. When did anyone claim that Eric Rudoph or James Earl Ray’s motivations were not clear cut? Never. Suddenly when it involves a Muslim who calls the TV station during the act to tell them why he is doing it, everyone gets all philosophical about “can you really know what motivated someone?” Give me a break.

            1. How do you know he’s plotting?

              He bought a rifle and went out and shot people. Not a lot of conspirators to tattle. Would need to be able to read minds to finger this guy.

              Being told motivations *after the fact* doesn’t really do the FBI (or anyone) any good does it? Again, unless you’re just going to say ‘that guy loved Allah, those guys love Allah, those guys must be like that guy’.

              1. How do you know he’s plotting?

                Because he told his wife and had her help him case potential targets. It is very easy. You have to have a plan and you have to take some action in furtherance of it. Do that and you are guilty. So for example, you write in your diary how you plan to kill your neighbors and are going to buy a gun to do it. You then go down and buy the gun. Your wife turns you in. You are guilty on the bases of the diary and the purchase of the gun. Claiming that you were just kidding around won’t help you.

                Would it be hard to catch a really smart terrorist who kept his mouth shut? Sure. But fortunately these guys seem not to fit that profile in most cases.

                They have arrested plenty of people in this country for terrorist plots who were arrested before they did any harm. Why do you think we have to wait until they actually kill someone?

        2. A person isn’t guilty of thoughts or feelings. They are only guilty of a crime once they *act* on those thoughts or feelings.

          1. No Diane, they are guilty once they start planning the act and take any concrete steps towards it.

            1. Doesn’t “once they *act* on those thoughts or feelings.” = “once they . . . take any concrete steps towards it”?

              1. It does. But that is not what Diane and others think it means. They think ‘act’ means ‘pull the trigger’. No it doesn’t.

            2. Guilty of what? The act itself? Or some other nonspecific crime related to conspiracy or something?

            3. Yeah, but you’re working with the benefit of hindsight. You know Mateen planned to shoot up the club, so looking back you can find all of the evidence of the planning.

              But if I’m, say, an awful white racist bigot and think black people are the worst, maybe I talk about how black people ought to be killed a lot. Maybe I get liquored up and start talking about how I’m gonna go shoot up a black church. Maybe I drive by said church from time to time, and maybe I buy a gun a week later. At this point, I’m still an idiotic blowhard with anger issues, and the odds are really good that I’ve gone as far as I’m going to go with my “plan”.

              You can investigate and find all of those facts and still not know that I’m going to kill a single soul. Now, maybe you say that the risk of not arresting a potential mass murderer outweighs the risk of arresting–and probably radicalizing–an innocent, but that’s the tradeoff. Unless you’re willing to perform constant, personal surveillance, as in cops around the corner ready to bust in as soon as homeboy loads up and says, “Honey, I’ll be back, I’m gonna go shoot up the AME down the street,” you going to catch people who aren’t and wouldn’t be murderers.

    3. The key to any counter terrorism program is to get people who are close to terrorists or suspect someone is a terrorist to call law enforcement and then get law enforcement to act on the information. That of course is easier said than done. But that is the crux of the issue. And giving the FBI more surveillance powers is going to make it worse because collecting more data will do nothing but take resources away from investigating useful information.

      A/The story goes members of his own mosque attempted to bring him to the FBI’s attention (or just cooperated in the investigation). Either it’s a lie and the FBI is inept or it’s true and the FBI is really inept. Giving the FBI full faith and credit; that they were chomping at the bit to pick up Omar but were restrained by some higher authority, only serves to prove the point. Why the FBI is inept is immaterial in light of the fact that they are/were.

      I agree with compartmentalizing with a radical checkbox and a muslim checkbox but it’s all buearcracy after the fact, IMO. Especially when you can check the crazy checkbox and nullify most all of it.

      1. The FBI is really that inept. People apparently thought this guy was dangerous and tried to get the FBI to do something and they wouldn’t. That is the real story here. But the FBI never gets blamed for anything. So lets talk about gays or how we need more power. Seriously, just what would the FBI have found out by listening to everyone’s phone calls that would have been any more valuable than the people in the guy’s mosque calling them and telling them he was dangerous? They couldn’t act on that, what are they going to pick up on a phone call that is going to make any difference?

  8. OT: NPR Issues Large Correction About Stay-at-Home Mom/Gun Control Activist

    Correction

    June 21, 2016

    This report refers to Shannon Watts as one in a group of “regular people” who began advocating for stricter gun control measures in recent years. After the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., she created the “One Million Moms for Gun Control” Facebook page. It later became “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” We should have noted that Watts has a background in corporate communications. From 1998 to mid-2012, she was a corporate communications executive or consultant at such companies as Monsanto and FleishmanHillard. Before that, Watts had what she says was a nonpolitical job as a public affairs officer in the Missouri state government.

    Our report also states that Watts had never “done anything political” before the shootings at Sandy Hook. We should have noted that Federal Election Commission records show she began contributing money to Democratic campaigns and political action committees earlier in 2012. According to those records, she has made about $10,000 in such contributions, and about one-third were made before the Sandy Hook shootings.

    That’s a whoopsie.

    1. Sheer coincidence.

  9. :Fixating on the motives of such extremists and trying to understand their ideology won’t serve the cause of good policy. ”

    I disagree. You need to understand the profile of the individuals committing these crimes in order to properly predict and react to it.

    1. Shika always manages to be offensively stupid. Even when she makes a few valid points, she still manages to put something unbelievably stupid into her articles.

    2. Israel profiles it works some still get through but at least they are doing something other than dissarming innocent bystanders

      1. Every country in the world profiles, except us apparently.

        1. Oh we profile. We just do the opposite of what should be done after we do so. He that dude with the guitar case looks like Sadaam. Well better let him through. Grab that 4 year old girl with the teddy bear though. That might be a bomb.

    3. I may be mistaken but I don’t think she is talking about people with terrorist connections here. I think she is talking about true lone wolf scenarios where unless you can read minds, traditional FBI investigations aren’t going to find these guys so you have to have the security in place to stop them when they act. Is the FBI going to monitor 3 million + Muslims in the US? And how does that stop guys like Roof and Lanza? I recently bought a book on ISIS from Amazon and have a show on them DVR’d not to mention I’m typing about them right now. Should the FBI be following me? That would be a huge waste of money considering I find them to be primitive barbaric sociopaths. Her point about localized security is still a good one although as I’ve mentioned I don’t think we’re there yet. Until then, best thing to do if you’re concerned about your safety is to arm yourself.

      1. You don’t stop guys like Roof and Lanza. Those really were senseless tragedies. Someone like the people in San Bernidino or the guy in Orlando you can stop. They didn’t just blow a gasket one day. They were part of a radical movement for a long time before they started shooting. And they engaged in a lot of preparation and planning before they committed their acts. It is hard but it is possible to stop those people.

        1. “Someone like the people in San Bernidino or the guy in Orlando you can stop”

          I think a hell of a lot more could have been done and should have been done in both those cases but at the end of the day it wasn’t. There will be more, and some of them may not ever even make it on to the radar at all. I think we need to do a better job of monitoring communications in and out of terrorist zones (most of the middle east) and sure as hell should be doing a better job monitoring travel to and from. Maybe if we were more focused instead of trying to monitor every American we would do a better job. When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. That goes for a whole host of things the government does.

          1. this is by no means an endorsement, but isn’t one candidate alluding to better monitoring of travel or immigration from certain parts of the world? And the result has been the usual volley of racist/bigot/hate/etc. Carter did it with Iran during the hostage issue and no one called him anything. As it is, Trump’s idea has always been couched by “until we figure out what’s going on.” Again, not an endorsement but it pretty well says “there is a problem and it has a common denominator.”

          2. I think it is possible to stop them. You won’t in every case but you can in some if you are smart. You will never stop someone like Lanza or Roof absent amazing dumb luck.

            1. Shorter John: if a white person mass murders, they are just mentally sick. If a Muslim mass murders, it’s the Islam.

              1. No. The guy thinks he is living in a video game and in a psychotic state goes and murders a bunch of people to up his score is mentally ill. The guy who murders 49 people in a gay bar and calls a TV station to proclaim his allegiance to ISIS is a terrorist.

                You really are browbeaten by progs aren’t you? The guy said why he did it and you just can’t bring yourself to believe that he is telling the truth.

                Pathetic. Really, just fucking gutless and pathetic.

                1. Shorter CMW: I won’t dare acknowledge it when Muslims do anything bad, because racism.

                  1. Hey, I’m expected to acknowledge when white Christian males do something bad without blaming it on them being white, Christian or male. If I can do that for the single biggest demographic group of violent offenders in this country, why should it be a burden to do the same for a much much smaller demographic?

        2. How would you have stopped Mateen? At what point was it known what he intended to do?

          Because if you’re going to jump on someone who’s critical of the US, US culture, whatever – you’re going to need to jump on a lot of people who have no intention of committing a crime.

          1. I would arrested him for conspiracy the moment he told his wife he wanted her help picking a target.

            1. How would you have known he told his wife?

              1. Hopefully she tells you. Or you get lucky. But you won’t know if you are not looking.

                1. So now we’re not just having the FBI spy on him after they’ve concluded he’s done no crime and has no serious crimes, we’re also spying on his ex-wife, on the off-chance he tells her something.

    4. There is no crime to react to until someone actually *does* something. Thoughts and feelings are not, and can never be, crimes.

  10. False positives are worse for freedom and safety than false negatives.

    Oh, come on. If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.

    Just come have a sit-down with the Special Agent in Charge; afraid you can’t prove your innocence? What exactly have you been doing and saying?

  11. What about my idea of narrowing down the list of suspicion to some tens of thousands of people in the world, & then assigning armed police to tail them everywhere they go in public for the rest of their lives, preventing them from becoming criminals in the 1st place? We have enough police in the world to do this, especially considering that practically nothing else police do is important, let alone as important.

    1. … assigning armed police to tail them everywhere they go in public for the rest of their lives….

      Robert, I think that you are quite forward thinking with regards to security and you plan has the benefit of being a permanent jobs program.

      Can we call it “Muzzle Steady” rather than Shovel Ready”?

    2. What about Bozo that shot up 23 kids in Sandy Hook?

      You gonna put a tail on all of the retards that are heavily armed by their mothers.

      I’m telling you, the only good thing that came out of the Sandy Hook shooting is that Retard killed the primary person that should have been killed in the first place, his Mother.

  12. or you could allow people to defend themselves with their own guns. BTW ideology does matter at least for the last 20 years and it clearly matters to the left since they want to blame Christians for Mateen’s actions

  13. Time and again we have one of these attacks and it turns out the guy did everything but take out an ad on craigslist announcing that he was a terrorist.

    Hindsight really brings things into focus. It’s all so obvious now.

    1. Hindsight really brings things into focus. It’s all so obvious now.

      I actually agree with this. The FBI interviewed him 3X. At least one of the investigations, members of his mosque reportedly told the FBI that they were concerned he was radicalizing. People associated with Farook/Malik prior to the shootings were posting on FB statements like ‘I feel like I’m a part of a terrorist plot!’ in regards to the couple.

      It’s like the discussion repeatedly had between Lucy and Charlie Brown right before she pulls the football away.

  14. Military training should include pistol marksmanship (they really don’t teach most enlisted how to shoot a pistol) how to concealed carry and how to handle civilian situations. Then let all current and former members concealed-carry anywhere in the U.S.

    1. former military are one of the few groups our government doesn’t have a problem profiling as dangerous.

      1. former military are one of the few groups our government doesn’t have a problem profiling as dangerous

        Indeed, Ron.

        See Page 8 “Disgruntled Military Veterans”

        “The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

        After Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991, some returning military veterans-including Timothy McVeigh-joined or associated with rightwing extremist groups.

        A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that ‘large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.’

        The FBI noted in a 2008 report on the white supremacist movement that some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups.”

      2. That’s right Ron…man…

        *brushes Ron’s shoulder, slaps his side*

        …we are dangerous.

        1. YOU! You don’t get to reference that scene. That’s *our* scene.

          1. You a pilot?

            …excuse me, a *best gay voice*…Naval…Aviator?

    2. Then let all current and former members adult citizens concealed-carry anywhere in the U.S.

      No privileged classes, especially when it comes to the BOR, if you please.

    3. NO. Absolutely not.

      NO SPECIAL CLASSES OF CITIZEN.

      And I can tell you, having been one of them enlisted guys – While we average better than the general population, there’s still a huge number of shitbirds who I would not trust on this side of the horizon while they’re armed.


  15. How America’s Counter-Terrorism Model Is Making American Less Safe and Free

    I think Libertarians are big fans of doing absolutely nothing about the matter.

    And, the truth is, there’s nothing anyone can do about these mass shootings.

    We can’t address mental health, guns, and the people who hate us.

    All we can really do every time there is a terrorist attack or a mass shooting where 20+ children die is bow our heads and say “What an awful tragedy. I hope this doesn’t happen to me or my loved ones.”

    So, no. I’m sorry. Other than squandering tax payer money, anything we do will neither help or hurt. It’s gonna happen and there’s nothing we can do.

  16. true lone wolf scenarios where unless you can read minds, traditional FBI investigations aren’t going to find these guys so you have to have the security in place to stop them when they act.

    And the real problem is this: for every Mateen, how many harmless talkers are there? Dozens? Hundreds? Some FBI agent has to make a determination based on a few brief interviews. Maybe Mateen didn’t clear the bar for perfectly good reasons at the time, but cracked up later.

    Sure, it’s fun to heckle those incompetent buffoons at the FBI, but I’d rather see one get away than dozens wind up in the net.

    1. You are absolutely right Brooks. It is very hard. That is why you have to concentrate your efforts on the right group of people instead of just vacuuming up endless amounts of random information hoping the connect the dots fairy arrives and saves the day.

      1. And here’s the problem. You are absolutely convinced that the only thing standing in the way of effectiveness is the FBI bowing to PC.

        1. PC may not be the only thing but you cannot say it’s not A thing. It was the only reason for Hasan at Ft Hood. It seems to have played a role here with regard to co-workers who said something and the trail stopped. And I understand why it stopped. Because the same leftists who now believe these lists are a great idea are also the first people to accuse someone of profiling or bigotry or whatever.

        2. No. There is more going on than that. What is hurting the FBI s a couple of things. PC is one of them. But there is more than that. The other thing that hurts them is investigations are hard and collecting data is easy. So they don’t investigate enough and spend too much time collecting data. Collecting data is a way of saying you are doing something and getting promoted but it doesn’t help.

          The other thing that is hurting them is they waste too many resources on other bullshit besides counter terrorism. They spend huge amounts of resources on shit like child porn and copyright crime. What the fuck is the FBI doing that for? Leave the child porn to the states and the postal service and stop being the criminal enforcer for copyright holders. The FBI should be doing public corruption and counter terrorism.

          Yes PC is a big part of it. You can’t do counter terrorism treating everyone in the country as a “potential terrorist”. You can but you won’t do it very well.

          1. Because the FBI is not a counterterrorism force. They are a generalist police agency – one who’s area of expertise is crimes that cover multiple jurisdictions. They picked up terrorism both because it was something that could be used to justify budget expansions and because it was a more cross-borders thing than it is today.

            Nowadays its some jagoff on Twitter and Youtube ranting and other jagoffs that the first jagoff never even communicates with deciding to do some stupid shit on their own without telling the first jagoff.

            To drop out the child porn and copyright crime (among a whole slew of other things) would a) require a massive realignment of the agency’s charter – which they can’t do themselves, and b) kind of leave us without anyone to do that multi-jurisdictional stuff.

            1. We don’t need the multijurisidctional stuff as much as we used to. This is not 1930 when I can rob a bank in Miami and go to Georgia and have them not know who I am. A lot of the reason for the FBI’s existence has gone away. And they are not the only federal le. We have CBP and ICE and DEA and a ton of other agencies that do multi jurisdictional stuff.

              Yes, we need a massive realignment of the FBI. That is my point.

    2. Sure, it’s fun to heckle those incompetent buffoons at the FBI

      They took down Martha Stewart and Denny Hastert, so they are good for something.

      1. They had time to get Martha but didn’t have time to do any follow up investigation of the guy in Florida who was listening to Al Alwalki tapes and telling everyone who would listen how he wanted to kill for the Jihad.

        1. Martha made it easy for them – she *talked* to the FBI. That’s all it takes to get two years behind bars nowadays.

  17. The Israeli government has become the terrorists, ensuring a steady supply from the other side, which boosts the revenues of the private security industry, including G4S, which Mateen worked for. They’ve set their sites on the US, where our own government has become terrorists. We need not let them in. Shikha is right that everyone’s prescription for terrorism is wrong: gun bans and bombing ISIS will only make the situation worse. What will help? We must stop enabling parents to encourage rebelliousness in their own children. Who was paying Mateen’s father’s bills? It’s the same story with San Bernardino: “Don’t worry about Israel, son. They will be gone in a few years anyway, God willing.”

    1. Whatever dude.

      As a point of pride for you – you’re finally making me seriously consider using Reasonable, something none of the other trolls have come close to.

      Not even AmericanSocialist.

      1. If it means you’ll stop responding to me then I’m all for it.

        1. If it means you’ll stop responding to me then I’m all for it.

          Hey dajjal, there’s this great app you can use for that. It’s called “Microsoft Word”, and you can make comment after comment after comment without any interruptions or responses. It even works in offline mode!

          1. He’ll never use Word has it has too many “Zionist fonts” for his liking.

      2. I switched to Chrome specifically to use Reasonable. I’ve got something like a three strikes policy, and then blocked. I find my blood pressure is much lower these days.

    2. What will help? We must stop enabling parents to encourage rebelliousness in their own children.

      And here I thought it wasn’t possible to make a dumber proposal for stopping terrorism than the tripe being spouted by administration mouthpieces.

  18. You’re in the lunchroom down at the rear view mirror bracket factory, and a co-worker known to you only by name says at a nearby table, “Somebody oughtta cap that motherfucker Trump. He’s anti union.”

    Do you excuse yourself and call 911? Or do you chuckle uncomfortably, like everybody else?

    1. Or do you say to *your* tablemate, “Somebody oughtta run *that* motherfucker through a woodchopper”?

      1. *woodchipper*, dammit!

        1. “Sounds pretty serious. Hope he doesn’t end up in a woodchipper somewhere.”

          Having been threatened by the federal government, I no longer find these references amusing.

    2. Yay – let’s start another witch hunt. And then the FBI can ‘investigate’ this guy by trying to lure him into a terrorist plot. And then after he turns them down they can act all surprised when he does exactly what thy were trying to get him to do.

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  20. Hmmm. When is the last time an El Al plane was hijacked?

    1. In Newark Airport and in JFK Airport in NYC, I always the EL Al’s 747.

      Unlike other planes, this plane is never connected to the terminal, ever.

      El Al doesn’t let airport employees anywhere near the plane. The repair people, the people that bring food, the fuel managers,etc are all El Al employees.

      Look, Israel has made many many enemies.

    2. When has El Al had more than 30 flights a day?

  21. The examples given were not terrorism. They had no political goal. Mateen was a crazy homo who thought he caught AIDS from a Puerto Rican guy and wanted revenge.

    1. Where did you hear that one ?

    2. No Trey, Mateen was a crazy fuck Muslim who called a TV producer during the act to tell him that he was doing this for ISIS. What breed of fucking retard do you have to be to think he was kidding around or didn’t mean it?

      1. Well, by your own assessment he was “a crazy fuck”. If you have any experience with crazy people, you should know that introspection and accurate assessments of their own motivations and personalities is not a common trait.

        So if he was, as you say, “a crazy fuck”, there’s really no reason to trust him on anything he says, his own state of mind least of all.

      2. The breed that eventually goes extinct.

  22. Wow, so many people here begging for the state to save them with more laws or more watch lists or more limits to personal freedom. On a nominally Libertarian website.

    Get your conceal carry. If a nut job tries to shoot you, shoot back. If they shoot you first, sucks to be you hopefully the next guy is line is a faster draw. No law is going to stop that bullet bucko, and taking guns away from you and me just ensures no one can fire back until everyone has been shot.

    There is no other reliable way to both protect yourself and have individual freedom. This has been known at least since 1776, it is now 2016. Is this really that complicated?

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  24. “It is likely that Mateen, who was clearly disturbed, suddenly decided to hitch his angst to a readily available ideology to give meaning to his feelings. We can debate ad nauseam whether it was his Muslim background or his closeted homosexuality ….” Shikha Dalmia is a socialist hiding among libertarians?

    From the nonsense she writes, I didn’t expect her to show much “Reason” anyway but she is utterly illogical(or dishonest), favors illegal immigration and now shows her true color in this article when she tries to obfuscate the truth behind almost all terrorism around the globe today. The reason is dangerous fascist ideology of Islam.

    Why this piece of non-sense in otherwise fine article? Because she is not really a libertarian but more like a left leaning progressive who favors “stringent civilian gun ownership regulations” and illegal immigration and is very comfortable with hiding Islam behind ambiguous causes just like Obama/Hillary. I quote from above article …” The sources of terrorism do and will vary. Remember that the bloodiest carnage by a homegrown terrorist in America was committed by a crazy “….. What????
    I didn’t expect much from a Delhi University(most Indian academia is leftist) graduate anyway but what she writes above is indeed dangerous and stupid. I guess “Marwaris” (her Hindu trader caste) never really understood the brutal Islamic conquest, rule and the subsequent bloody partition of India.

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