Industry Focus

Home Grown Terror

Although we are part of the news machine, it is hard to know where to begin in recounting the most recent attack in Orlando. To listen to the so-called experts and their discussion if this is terrorism or not, is perplexing.

If this isn’t terrorism, I sure don’t know what else it could be.

It is domestic terror in every sense. In this case, as in many others, it is one person submitting a group of people to his will.

The weapon of choice, an AR-15 is the civilian version of the military’s M-16, with the only difference being that the military rifle can be used in full automatic mode. Law enforcement has had to deal with this weapon on numerous occasions. Syed Farook used an AR-15 in San Bernardino, killing 14 people. Adam Lanza used the same weapon at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 27 people, mostly young, innocent students.

There are approximately three million AR-15 rifles in the United States; most hold 30 rounds of ammunition. There are extended magazines as well, but a shooter can tape two cartridges back to back and have 60 rounds with quick access. That said, this nonsense has got to stop.

I am not a gun rights activist, but I believe and support the 2nd Amendment and the right to own weapons. However, there are those that should never be permitted to buy or own a gun. Omar Mateen should have been at the top of the list, even though he had been cleared and had worked as a security guard. He was known by the FBI, and on two occasions was investigated for his actions and comments.

What happened early Sunday morning in Orlando was the latest example of soft-target terrorism, the wholesale slaughter of civilians in locations with minimal security and many potential victims. This attack was reminiscent of what happened last fall in Paris, another attack on people having fun at a music venue on a weekend night.

Security should have started at the front door. Of course, it is not plausible for every establishment in the United States to have metal detectors in place, but it might not hurt to have something or someone checking party goers in and out of the facility. What is of great concern, a man with a long gun, an AR- 15 semiautomatic rifle, was shooting people. It was Mateen, 29, an American who had purchased the rifle and a handgun in the past week. He had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

World leaders responded with sympathy and concern over this tragedy.

Our own president made a plea for gun control, again. He repeated earlier calls for tighter gun control, saying the fact that the attacker was armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle was a reminder of “how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon, that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship or a movie theatre or in a nightclub.”

From Israel, where local leaders know the horrific cost of terrorism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the United States, saying “Israel stands shoulder to shoulder alongside the United States at this moment of tragic loss.”

Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whom I would not vote for, actually made some comments that make sense. “Let’s have a very clear rational discussion about what we do right and what we can improve on and how we’re going to protect Americans, both from the threats of terrorism and ISIS ... and how we’re going to try to save people’s lives from the epidemic of gun violence.”

Clinton also said the shooting renews the need to address gun control laws and called for steps to prevent people who are on the U.S. no-fly list from purchasing guns. I’ve said it before and I believe that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

“Now that we’re seeing terrorists use these types of assault weapons, that has to be part of the debate,” she said.

Part of that said debate must include who is buying these types of weapons. In the face of security, owning a gun is a lawful right, but a person who has made threats against humanity owning a gun is an issue where mental health is part of the discussion.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is the Publisher of Security Today magazine.

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