The next Omar Mateen (the deranged shooter in Orlando) will not be stopped by banning immigration by Muslims, which Donald Trump advocates. Mr. Trump claimed two days ago that Mateen was Afghan. He wasn’t. He was a red-blooded American, born and bred in the United States.
Demonizing an entire religious group does nothing to stop terrorist attacks. It simply undermines everything our country stands for and makes our Muslim allies question our partnership with them and our allegiance to them.
We need to takes practical, direct steps to stop the killing.
First, the FBI should have kept a much more careful eye on Mateen. I realize that the FBI has lots a potential threats to monitor. But why did the FBI take him off their watch list if they investigated him twice for very good reasons, especially given his history of violent behavior? I presume the FBI met with his former wife who says he beat her on a regular basis. If they didn’t talk to his former wife, they have some explaining to do. The President should be sitting down with the head of the FBI and asking lots of questions and then letting we the people know what he learned.
Still, Mr. Mateen’s being on the watch list would not have prevented him from buying the assault rifle and hand gun he used in his attack. So the first order of business is a law the prevents anyone on the FBI watch list or the FAA’s no-fly list from purchasing weapons.
Second, we need to deputize and train a significant fraction of the adult population, including school and college teachers, in the possession and use of non-lethal weapons in order to help defend themselves and others in the case of an attack. Stun grenades may be the best option provided they can be made safe against accidental use.
Third, we need to make it very clear to the general public that people who learn about a potential terrorist attack and don’t report this information immediately to the authorities will be considered accessories to the crime and subject to criminal prosecution.
Fourth, pending the complete banning of assault rifles, we need to require that each person purchasing an assault rifle face a far higher level of scrutiny. If, as a matter of national defense, the President has this in his power, he should exercise that power.
Fifth, terrorist groups that incite people like Mateen to commit violence should pay a swift and very large price to make it crystal clear to the next Mateen that he will do more harm than good to his supposed cause.
Sixth, we need to recruit the American Muslim community to lead the fight against radical Islam. As Paul Ryan said today, “There’s a really important distinction that every American needs to keep in mind: This is a war with radical Islam—it’s not a war with Islam. Muslims are our partners. They’re among our best allies, among our best resources in this fight against radical Islamic terrorism.”