By: Charles G. Slepian, Esq. Founder, The Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center.
Since international terrorism became a threat to America’s homeland, the most frequently offered piece of advice given to a concerned public has been: “see something say something”. However, a great number of trusting citizens who have acted on this well-meaning advice have been left with the question: What now? A neighbor of mine called our local police in response to a suspicious package found on the ground in our residential development. A responding police officer determined that the package contained illegal fireworks; he then sarcastically asked my neighbor: “What would you like me to do with it?” My neighbor is not likely to respond to a see something say something request in the future. I tried to console him by informing him that at least they responded to his call but by then his thoughts were elsewhere. If “see something say something” is the best we can do to encourage public participation in the war on terrorism, we need to be looking for a better response to these foreseeable risks of violence; and far better advice is available.
After the Orlando nightclub terrorist attack took 49 lives and left 53 others with gun shot injuries, we are still asking the public to report strange, unusual, or menacing conduct to the police. It seems that the Orlando shooter could become the poster boy for strange and menacing conduct; and federal law enforcement knew all about him. Despite sufficient cause to bring him in for questioning on 2 occasions by the FBI; a former wife who had been removed from his home by her parents because of his violent behavior; a work record as a security guard citing a co-worker having reported to management his outspoken hatred of various ethnic and racial groups; and his having been raised by a father who was an open supporter of terrorist groups in his native Afghanistan, the FBI, for reasons that remain unclear, ended surveillance on him, allowed his removal from the “no fly” list, and his approval to buy two guns which he used in his rampage in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where he had been a frequent visitor. If that was not enough for law enforcement to maintain him on a terrorist watch list, then why bother to report suspicious conduct and exposing yourself to possible retaliation by a relative, neighbor or co-worker if law enforcement that does not take the facts that support such reports too seriously.
The war on terror will not be won with slogans. For Americans at home to join the war on terror, we will need to develop a commitment to actively join with those elected officials willing to put aside inane political theories masquerading as religious tenets.
We must insist on fealty to the United States. As can be seen on local streets in France, Belgium the Netherlands, Germany and Britain, citizens native to those countries are standing by and watching as their communities are overrun by radical Islamists unwilling to accept the local culture, show obedience to local laws, and cease their support of Jihad against the West. We Americans might be better served by not concerning ourselves with elaborate schemes to discover who amongst us has a gun, and supporting law abiding citizens who wish to legally have a firearm and know when and how to safely use it; options many of our European friends now wish they had.