US Fails to Prevent Mass Shootings

I share the nation's grief over the tragic shooting in Orlando, FL yesterday at a gay night club. I want to first express my deepest sympathy with the families and loved ones of the 50 people who were killed and 53 who were wounded during this mass murder. I hope that they are able to recover from this horrible nightmare.

I want to share with you what was discussed on my weekly radio show, Clearing the FOG, this morning with my partner, Kevin Zeese. I know that most politicians will be vague in their comments about such tragic events. I want to delve deeper and explore the causes so that we can learn from these events and prevent them.

Last week we had planned this week's radio show to be about FBI stings against Muslims. We invited Sue Udry of Defending Dissent as well as a spokesperson from the Council on American Islamic Relations to talk about how Muslims are portrayed in the media and what is being done to correct those perceptions. Then, the tragedy in Orlando happened. We went ahead with the show because we thought that it was still important to have this discussion and to place the events in Orlando in context. Our original guest had a family emergency, but fortunately Janaid Ahmad of Just International was available to join us.

On the show we discussed a recent study that found that literally 99% of FBI "terrorism" cases involve an undercover agent or paid informant setting up someone who was unlikely to have gone ahead with any action without FBI involvement, often the person who is entrapped is Muslim. Without the FBI there would have been no "terror" plot. The people the FBI informants select are usually people with other issues, such as mental or emotional issues, that make them easy targets for entrapment. This method of law enforcement does not make us safer but it does increase prejudice against Muslims. And it wastes resources that could be focused on identifying real solutions to prevent violence.

In the case of Omar Mateen, he was investigated by the FBI because of concerns by co-workers that he expressed hatred towards certain populations and a desire to kill people. His investigations found that he was not linked to a known terrorist group, but why did the investigation stop there? He had a history of domestic violence and he owned guns. It shows a failure of the system that the investigation stopped with the FBI.

The current approach is not working. It is not preventing real crimes and it is resulting in more bigotry. This shooting had less to do with Omar Mateen being Muslim and more to do with his bigotry against people who are gay. It highlights a failed system that handles mental and emotional disorders as well as gun control very poorly.

I know that if we do not take the time to understand the causes of mass murders, we will come up with the wrong prescriptions.  The United States needs to look at these situations with more honesty. We need to examine our failure to provide social services to troubled people, our failed mental health system, the FBI's focus on entrapment, the inability of government to put in place meaningful gun laws and the violent nature of our culture whether from our history, our war culture or violent images in television, media and video games.

These acts of violence will not end until we honestly look at ourselves, our government and our culture; and stop creating scapegoats based on an individual's religion.

Listen to our discussion here: FBI Stings on Muslims Worsen Bigotry and Security.

 

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