Tell us if you’ve heard this one before. An individual displays disturbing behavior that’s enough of a — ahem — red flag that it’s noticed by law enforcement. Not just the local yokels, but F by God BI. The G-men investigate, find nothing (or not enough to do very much) and then…that person goes on to be mentioned on the evening news, and not in a good way.
That scenario has played out in a disturbing number of high profile cases, featuring such names as Nidal Hassan, Omar Mateen, Elton Simpson, Nikolas Cruz, Devin Patrick Kelley, Dylann Roof and recently Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. Now we can add San Jose rail yard killer Samuel Cassidy to that list of infamous names.
Back in 2016, the FBI got a tip from another federal agency that suspected Cassidy had an unusual level of interest in terrorist attacks and how to carry them out.
As the McPaper is reporting . . .
In 2016 — five years before the mass attack — Cassidy was stopped on a trip back from the Philippines by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
A Department of Homeland Security memo from the stop, which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal, includes that an officer found Cassidy had “books about terrorism and fear and manifestos … as well as a black memo book filled with lots of notes about how he hates the VTA.”
Last week Cassidy, who apparently had been plotting his attack on the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority for years, murdered nine people and then committed suicide as police closed in on him. Investigators found bomb-making materials in his locker at work. He also set a timer to torch his home in an apparent effort to destroy evidence.
The FBI didn’t notify anyone in local law enforcement or Cassidy’s employer about their investigation. As you might imagine, the locals say they would have liked to have been informed.
The information could have helped local law enforcement and the suspect’s employer potentially mitigate the attack Wednesday that took the lives of nine employees of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail hub in San Jose, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in an interview.
“The DA’s office was not notified,” Rosen said, adding he wasn’t aware of a single agency in the area that was told this information. “I would like to have known this in 2016.”
Of course, much of this could very well be after-the-fact ass-covering and deflection on the part of the locals. It isn’t clear what, if anything the San Jose DA could or would have done with any of the information the FBI turned up. But we’ve heard this broken record before. The FBI gave the shooter a close look and moved on. Does that qualify as a universal background check?
Keep in mind that California is the gun-grabbers’ holy land. The Golden State already has every gun rights-restricting law that grumpy grampy Joe and his minions want to spread to the rest of the country; a ban on private gun sales (universal background checks), mandatory serialization of homemade firearms (AKA, a “ghost gun” law), gun violence restraining orders (a “red flag” law), magazine capacity limits, a 10-day waiting period, an “assault weapons” ban and more.
Yet somehow this failed phalanx of Second Amendment restrictions and “gun safety” laws did precisely nothing to prevent Cassidy from committing mass murder.
From the San Jose Mercury News . . .
Law enforcement authorities said that the gunman, Samuel Cassidy, used three semi-automatic pistols, all legally obtained, but he was equipped with 32 ammunition magazines holding 12 to 15 rounds, which are illegal in California. The state limits magazines for civilian use to 10 rounds. It was not clear how or where he got them or if he bought them before California banned their sale in 2013 or possession in 2016. There was a short window after a successful court challenge last August when the larger magazines were legal to purchase, but the ban is now back in effect, pending a federal appeals court decision.
Cassidy, who killed himself when deputies arrived at the scene, also had several other firearms legally registered to him, including shotguns and rifles, but only used the pistols in the rampage, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair.
California requires universal background checks on all firearm transfers, including gun shows and private sales, background checks to buy ammunition, a 10-day waiting period after purchase, and bans military-style “assault weapons” often used in mass shootings.
The high-capacity magazine ban aims to reduce the lethality of mass shootings by limiting the number of shots that can be fired before reloading, giving potential victims a chance to flee or fight back.
But authorities said the gunman Wednesday used all three guns to fire off dozens of rounds, freely reloading as he mowed down his coworkers. Sheriff Laurie Smith noted that reloading a semi-automatic handgun is “very quick.”
If you’re starting to suspect that all of the gun control laws in the world won’t do anything to stop a committed killer from carrying out his plans, you’re not alone. Not that any of that will deter those who hate civilian gun ownership from trying.