Home Grown Terror
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Jul 01, 2016
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,”
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.