Streetwise Professor

February 16, 2018

The Answer to Systematic Law Enforcement Failure is Not More Laws

Filed under: Guns,Politics — The Profesor 2 @ 4:16 pm

The horrific school shooting in Florida has elicited the same responses from the same people.  Truth be told, there are no easy answers. Or even hard answers.

What adds to the horror is the realization that it was eminently preventable, and should have been prevented. Not by different laws, or more laws, but by merely minimally competent exercise of existing law enforcement authority.  The hours since the shooting have revealed systematic government failures at every level. The school administration, yes, but especially local law enforcement and especially especially the FBI.

The local police responded to 39–yes, 39–separate calls about shooter Nikolas Cruz, yet he was free to buy guns and to kill indiscriminately. Cruz was a textbook case of a dangerous threat who scared the bejezus out of everyone who came in contact with him. But he skated time after time after time.

Even more shockingly, the FBI had at least two separate warnings about Cruz. Very specific warnings.

One warning pointed them to a YouTube video on which Cruz had made threatening and disturbing comments and identified himself. But the FBI claims it couldn’t find him.

The response to the second warning suggests they didn’t try very hard.  This one came more than a month ago from someone “close to” Cruz and specifically stated that he intended to shoot up a school.  If they knew someone close to him, they should have had no problem finding him, right?

Well, that would require that they tried. And today FBI director Wray admitted that the agency had not lifted a finger in response to this very specific threat.  Not. A. Finger.

After all, the FBI obviously had more important things to do. Like fight furiously to protect disclosure of its actions before, during, and after the issuance of the FISA warrant against Carter Page.  Priorities, dontcha know.

I am literally nauseated–yes, literally–at the juxtaposition between the FBI’s appalling inaction in Florida and its frenzied actions in DC.

And this is not the first time someone that someone on the FBI’s radar has committed mass murder–Orlando, San Bernardino, NY bike path, the Tsarnaevs. And why is Stephen Paddock a mystery to them to this day? Perhaps they have derailed many more plots, but this litany of false negatives is beyond disturbing.

What’s the point of passing new laws when those who would be responsible for enforcing them and the existing laws are capable of such systematic failures of omission and commission?

That is not a rhetorical question. The institutional decay in the United States is beyond obvious. Yet the institutions fight tooth and nail to avoid accountability. Before entrusting these institutions with any more power, it would be far better to fix them–which may require a root-and-branch restructuring–so that we can be confident that they can responsibly exercise the vast powers they already wield.  To say that no such confidence is warranted today is beyond cavil.

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  1. Can’t disagree with you. Diagnosis – Metastatic Institutional Sclerosis. Aetiology – unknown. Prognosis – poor to terminal. Treatment regimen – snake-oil, quackery, other fake nostrums.

    Comment by Simple Simon — February 17, 2018 @ 12:39 pm

  2. There has got to be a statistical way to figure out a solution to the problem. There are also procedural things we can do. If statisticians can figure out where to armor bombers in WW2, they should be able to figure out some solution given unbiased data.

    I was talking to some people in the wine country that survived the fire. When society breaks down, you are glad you own a gun. Knife fights at gas stations for a tank of gas…..Looters showing up to rob homes that had been abandoned. Even with some police presence, there isn’t enough presence to stop all the mayhem.

    Another reminder; only a government can execute on the idea of a Holocaust, forced labor camp etc….

    Comment by pointsnfigures — February 18, 2018 @ 10:33 am

  3. There have been many common-sense suggestions made over the course of the last 20-30 years about school safety. Most common are single, secured entrances (with lots of fire exits) and using retired law enforcement and military personnel as security guards (already trained and don’t need to be paid much). There are two many false positives for law enforcement authorities to prevent violent offenders from attempting a massacre, but there are reasonable and constitutional ideas being floated for temporary suspension of weapon ownership rights for persons with a proven history of violence or mental instability. This would have to be implemented carefully to prevent either political party from claiming that being part of the opposition proved mental instability and trying to take away constitutional rights on this basis.
    Ultimately, this is neither a Federal nor a State issue, but is a local issue, Parents, and the teachers who are in-loco parentis, are ultimately responsible for the safety of their children and should take steps to secure their schools and neighborhoods without waiting for the “government” to do something.

    Comment by Pacy — February 19, 2018 @ 2:43 pm

  4. What laws did Nikolas Cruz break before committing mass murder? What do people suggest the FBI and police do? I am no legal expert and I want to hear solutions not blame. What laws “professor”? Please point to the city, state or federal laws that were violated so that the FBI and police had legal right to confiscate weapons or detain Nikolas Cruz?

    Comment by The Dude — February 20, 2018 @ 11:37 am

  5. This will be a slightly bizarre comment, but this post actually goes a long way to helping me understand something about American healthcare: This same government which ignored 39 (evidently credible) tips on this guy simultaneously wants to say that they could run a fair and efficient healthcare system. I can understand the scepticism…

    @The Dude:
    Don’t be silly: It is a crime to threaten violence. But I think the Prof’s point is that the FBI doesn’t seem to have investigated at all…

    Comment by HibernoFrog — February 21, 2018 @ 4:17 am

  6. @HibernoFrog:
    Right, I’m silly for pointing out that APPARENTLY Nikolas Cruz broke no law before the shooting. By apparently, I mean he was not arrested and charged. The FBI is not responsible for investigating every matter. The FBI is not a “police” force.

    Comment by The Dude — February 21, 2018 @ 12:08 pm

    However, Nikolas Cruz apparently did complete NRA funded gun education and was a very good shot. Obviously. He probably even showed the police his NRA Alt-Right Certificate and was congratulated on being a fine upstanding white boy who was being targeted by immigrants and leftist teachers.

    Comment by The Dude — February 21, 2018 @ 1:48 pm

  8. The next psychotic, young, white male is out there planning his own “15 minutes of fame” in another school shoot up. It’s a guarantee. And why? Because media turns each one of these events into a revenue stream or eyeballs grab for their network, paper or website. The point I’m trying to make is the media has a hand in these national tragedies. I’m not trying to deny anyone or organization their 1st amendment rights. Report the story. Cover it fairly and thoroughly, but the add-ons, the breathless, endless coverage is, in my opinion, giving these individuals a stage-certainly not a forum because they have no point to make- that they would never have had in their entire, worthless, lives. I have no idea what is “enough” coverage, but surely it ought to be talked about by the adults in the room.
    As a small, and not very apt comparison, European football and to a lesser extent American sports had jerk-offs running on to the field (some naked) just to get a little tv time. As soon as they took the cameras off these assholes the problem pretty much went away. We could only hope that would be all it would take.
    My point again is; media has some responsibility in this ongoing disaster. They know it, but refuse to do anything about it. It’s time to talk about it.
    Man! I hate to get anywhere near the Constitution, but we gotta talk about this.

    Comment by Fuzznuts — February 21, 2018 @ 3:42 pm

  9. @#7 Dude, by your own cited story, an NRA grant funded the varsity marksman team at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Where’s the ethical problem with an NRA institutional grant?

    Apparently the US Army also funds high school JROTC programs. The description of NRA grants to other programs sound very socially responsible, such as the “firearm safety program for students [that] teaches children not to touch guns and to run away from them to prevent accidents.

    The story you linked as evidence, instead contradicts you. You don’t have any grounds for your gripe, which in any case looks prejudicial.

    Comment by Pedric — February 21, 2018 @ 9:30 pm

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