In your opinion was the Orlando terrorist attack isolated?
Question from K.K., Colorado Springs, CO.
While there is not sufficient room to adequately explore this issue, in a nutshell, this problem will not go away – you are witnessing the tip of a proverbial iceberg in which domestic terrorism has been merging with transnational. Such events will likely increase in frequency thus, pointedly, it will not be an isolated one. It becomes wearisome beating the same drum for a decade. I told the FBI and others in 2006 that training tactics for active shooters needed to be altered away from typical entry of inexperienced drug dealer type shooters due to this emerging issue. Little progress has been made and the Orlando shootings by Omar Mateen are the epitome of what I focused on. Standby for even worse events, because whether homegrown, domestic or transnational these types of terrorists are better trained and better armed than what we have observed in the past and many now have military experience. We simply need more counterintelligence, good management, and people who understand what is going on and how to deal with it. The face of terrorism is constantly changing and the political types and bureaucrats still do not get it! Terrorists do not negotiate and the old reference of 20-35 year-old, economic slighted terrorists has changed. Simply supporting the cause is not good enough for groups like ISIS; they also want active engagement from their supporters including 55 year-old engineers and other quantitative types – not just believing in the ideology, Quran, etc., but an activeness in support from logistics to bombing and shooting. It needs to be understood that for many radical Islamic supporters, there is a clan mentality. The clan that you come from, who you represent, how you conduct yourself, your beliefs of the culture and so forth, just as for Native Americans, is an important part of who these people are. And, though they are removed from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, or elsewhere, whether they grew up overseas or in the U.S., these foundational beliefs will not go away. For example, I belong to the Panther Clan as a Native American, I was trained as a warrior, know who I represent and have strict values on acts, related punishments, and so forth. Those characteristics are not bridled simply because I’m off the reservation. Where I am, those also are. This is the same with terrorists and such will not change. In this instance, while the Quran does not suggest a specific punishment for gays, more extreme strands of Islamic learning such as Salafi scholars or practitioners of Sharia law (harsh Islamic law) have interpreted Quran passage(s) as a call to “stone” or use of other means to kill gay people. They condemn homosexuality as not merely a sin but a crime. Therefore, carrying the torch of Jihad in this view kills two birds with one stone as it were. They make their point and in this case, killed gays in the process. What makes it worse is that just as the Internet leveled the playing field for global companies, it did the same for terrorist groups where even smaller groups can expand their influence, grow members, and promote self radicalization and lone wolfs thereby significantly increasing their respective asymmetric capabilities and resources. Our agencies such as DHS, FBI, and others cannot expand their resources in this manner and thus, are facing a threat that could potentially overcome their capacities. This does not bode well for critical infrastructure protection, resources and intelligence, and counter-terrorist activities, any gun-free zone where people typically gather in larger groups, etc. Further, employing a politically correct mindset to solve this problem(s) is less than meaningless; it is futile. After all, getting rid of one roach, such as UBL for example will not rid you of the rest of them. But, the current experts have it well in hand, right?