One of the talking points being proffered this week by the “sacrifice a little essential liberty for an imagined security” crowd is the idea that a person suspected of some sort of crime (i.e., not actually convicted or even charged with a crime) should immediately have their civil liberties suspended, starting with the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Indeed, rumors started flying around the media claiming that the terrorist was on the list, and that it was outrageous that he was able to purchase equipment that he used to commit murder. Hillary, the ex-president’s wife, has exemplified this perspective in social media:
If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 13, 2016
There’s a problem with this view. Actually, there are many problems, but the key that relates to the topic du jour is that this terrorist wasn’t actually on a watch list, according to FBI Director James Cormey.
The man believed to have killed 49 people in a brutal rampage in Orlando, Fla., early on Sunday morning was on a federal watch list for roughly 10 months in 2013 and 2014, while he was the subject of an FBI probe.
But then Omar Mateen was taken off the list soon after the investigation ended in March of 2014, FBI Director James Comey said on Monday
“He was watch-listed with the opening of the preliminary investigation and he was taken off the watch list when the investigation was closed,” Comey told reporters.
That preliminary investigation was launched after coworkers complained that Mateen, who at the time was the guard at a Florida courthouse, reported that he had boasted about having connections to al Qaeda and other extremist groups. As part of the investigation, the FBI followed Mateen and had confidential sources meet with him, but the results were not enough to press forward, Comey said.
Had Mateen remained on the list, federal officials would have received a flag when he purchased two guns earlier this month….
Don’t you hate it when reality doesn’t fit the narrative?