February 21, 2018

'Say Something' Leads to 'Do Nothing'

After the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, Gun Tests magazine tried to steer the conversation toward a concept everyone can agree on. People who love guns and who love to shoot must be the first line of defense when it comes to denying firearms access to the wrong kinds of people. That means a scrupulous dedication to the disciplines we hold dear - safes, action and trigger locks, segregated ammo, and quick-opening lock boxes. We the people who own and enjoy firearms need to pay serious attention to security - and our focus must never waver. We can’t forget that the Sandy Hook shooter shot his own mother with her own semi-automatic rifle. It’s too easy and flip to say “ban this” and “ban that” without getting to this crucial element of firearms security.

We also posited that it’s up to us to be sufficiently aware of our environment and the people around us - to be on the alert for people who might commit these horrible acts of violence against innocents. Following the Parkland massacre, there have been many discussions about how, and even if, we can spot those sufficiently deranged who might be capable of committing mass murder. But we have to try - like the grandmother in Everett, WA, who led police to her violence-prone Aces High School grandson and probably stopped another mass killing.

In the Parkland incident, the “see something, say something” concept went horribly wrong. Law enforcement at the local and federal levels had numerous chances to stop the shooter and failed to do so.

Gun Tests readers are just as horrified as anyone else by what happened in Florida. Our condolences go out to the families and to the larger Parkland community who have to bear the consequences of this horrible act. Further, Gun Tests readers, like other responsible gun owners, want something done to stop school shootings.

As knowledgeable gun owners, Gun Tests readers know that paying lip service to restrictions and limitations isn’t the answer. Guns aren’t going to magically disappear.

But gun owners, in particular, do have a responsibility to report erratic and potentially dangerous behavior in their communities. 

Because we have access to guns, it's up to gun owners to be the front line of responsible gun ownership and report when we see behavior like what Nikolas Cruz exhibited. We can't stand on the sidelines and say 'It's not my business' and move on. The trouble is, will we get law enforcement to follow up effectively? That clearly did not happen in the Parkland event.

What is demoralizing to gun owners is that if we "see something" and then "say something," as was done at least twice in this case, will the government respond appropriately?

The FBI has already released a statement admitting 'protocols were not followed in responding to detailed tips about Nikolas Cruz. Twice, people saw something, said something, and the FBI failed to act.

The second event occurred last fall when a Mississippi bail bondsman and YouTube video-blogger noticed a threatening comment left on one of his videos. "I'm going to be a professional school shooter," said a user named Nikolas Cruz.

The threat was left on Ben Bennight's YouTube channel. Bennight alerted the FBI's Mississippi field office and "said something" in two follow-up interviews with FBI agents.

Legitimate gun owners want law enforcement to have the tools to stop such people before they commit mass murder. The FBI could have pursued an investigation after January 5, when the tips were received. This could have included alerting all state and local law enforcement, all gun stores, and area school districts of Cruz’s identity and the situation.

We believe gun owners are willing to police our own ranks and report dangerous gun use and threats to people or places. But we have to have some confidence that if we 'say something,' then law enforcement will 'do something' to stop the violence before it occurs.

Comments (18)

See something, say something. Our presently constructed society nearly begs us NOT to become involved.... HIPPA privacy, "I'll sue you" rights that so often seem to lead to fear... yet, reaching someone that CAN AND WILL do something with the information is also anxiety producing. I wish there were some answers out there... I taught elementary during a career reaching parts of four decades (35 years), now, am a psychiatric RN in a mental institution... yes, I see, and have seen potentially dangerous people... but my legal restraints are very real, from a state and federal level.
B.S.Ed, M.Ed, RN- NRA life member and instructor

Posted by: klmspider | March 1, 2018 3:31 AM    Report this comment

The latest school shooting points out one again that even an Insane evil person is not necessarily Stupid. Why do they ALL pick SOFT targets? I think even the most avowed socialist who believes in Gun Registration, which leads to easy Confiscation, will admit these shooters are "disturbed" but will NEVER attack an NRA convention just because they are NOT Stupid! Then the media does it's part by giving the perpetrators, not just their 15 minutes of fame but day's and day's of air and ink. The politicians are all to eager to "DO SOMETHING" even if it's nonsense but makes the Progressive SnowFlakes "FEEL GOOD".
After 8 years of experimental "Lets all just get along" from the so called Leader of the nation it's apparent to all, except the mentally deficient, that Bullies Bully and Dictators dictate and EVIL is REAL.

Posted by: Carl Casino | February 22, 2018 7:41 PM    Report this comment

I can't believe how quick some of the readers are willing to knuckle under to the radical left. A NUT JOB with 39 cop visits, banned from his own high school, and reported to the FBI waltzed right in and committed this heinous act unfettered by anyone- even the Broward Cop assigned there! He hid like a coward, now he has resigned. Why don't you all just go turn in all your guns right now? - because that is the ultimate goal of the Democrats, so don't be fooled into helping them. 650 people were murdered in Chicago last year alone- that's one Parkland every single week! And in a city with a complete GUN BAN already!! If you are not a member of the NRA now, join before youget the knock on your door- the same useless Fed bureaucrats that let this happen are there to toss your place- and your freedoms.

Posted by: Florida Freedom Fighter | February 22, 2018 6:18 PM    Report this comment

How about Safe Schools and Sane Gun Ownership. Got your attention with that one. Me 65 been shooting since I was 13, my dad had his fill of guns in WW2, so I had to buy my own, and he signed for me. Today, I have CC for a lot of years, long before permits were needed in about 48 states, still own more and shoot more then most, and I have seen Gun, Ammo, and Mags controlled over the years, yes The Gov has done it for like 30 years now. It has always been a little left and right, but they use to work together for a common good. Did those controls hurt, Nope. I own a number AKs, Mac's, and MPA Mac types in 9 and 45, great fun, but do I need them, know, would I hunt with one no, should they be controlled NO, but a waiting period and stronger background checks would not hurt a thing. I won't open the door to more control as that door has been open for years. The NRA should do what they use to do, bring people into the world of firearms, but I think they have forgot how, or maybe all the money has blinded them. Attraction, Consideration, Listen to Em, and you get it, these things should all be practiced by all of US. Is the AR an assault weapon, no but it is a weapon based on a weapon of War, we all know it buy don't want to say it. Is it worth a hoot for hunting, sort of, but so many better choices. Bump Stocks, come-on they should never have been allowed and we all know it. I can make my Macs Bump and Climb The Pole, but after a few times I want them to be darn good at shooting semi auto Period. A lot of rambling that no one may ever read, but I suggest we learn to respect each other and work with each other for our common good. Do you think our founding fathers would write the 2nd the same way today as the did all those years ago. You know they would not, yet we think it cannot be used is any way other then exactly as it was written. Narrowed minded at best. Heck we have had Gun Control since the first FFL signed up the first gun owner, and I sure hope we keep our FFLs around. Dave

Posted by: gooder1 | February 22, 2018 5:46 PM    Report this comment

We need to start a conversation about demanding a Congressional investigation into why the FBI has failed to stop so many mass shootings where they had multiple warnings about the shooter! Then let the facts lead to wherever and as high as they lead!

Posted by: Crockett | February 22, 2018 4:03 PM    Report this comment

I see failure in several ways in Florida's shooting. The school had an open door policy allowing anyone to enter during the school day. The "guard" was a part time coach that was unarmed and was used as a shield. The school was a gun free zone. While Cruz is directly responsible for the shooting school administrators and board members provided the targets. Couple that with an inept FBI and the expected occurred.

Posted by: Rangerman | February 22, 2018 12:23 PM    Report this comment

There are times law enforcement seems to beat to a different drum. I had a gun theft here at the house some years ago. They were in a locked safe but managed to find the hidden key and stole several handguns. CA state law requires the police to list them in the database of stolen firearms but they didn't bother. A week later I got a call from police detective a nearby town telling me he had my handgun, since it was registered with the state. Two others showed up a few months later when various drug dealers were arrested. The worst part is this - the kid that stole them was bragging about it in my son's high school a few days after the theft. He told me, I told the police who it was and where the guns were stashed. However, the police didn't show much interest. I told them these were 38'ss, 9mm's - service side arms but they still didn't show any interest in talking to the perp. As of today, that 9mm is still out there on the streets. Please excuse me if my respect for local law enforcement is rather low.

Posted by: SpatialKing | February 22, 2018 11:09 AM    Report this comment

Fogman has the BEST, REALISTIC solution to minimize the chance of another school-shooting tragedy! Truly safe-schools will need funding to renovate (especially for safety glass throughout ) and it will need federal mandatory regulation to assure every state complies. An armed & trained resource officer in every school is a plus but requires continuing financial support from the town or State level. We have some in Connecticut.
Of course that still leaves places of worship and other targets uncovered - but it's a great first step.

Posted by: Motomo | February 22, 2018 11:07 AM    Report this comment

It is sad when you can't trust the FBI, supposedly the finest investigative agency in the world to do their job and protect the public from terrorism. Yes, the shootings in FL., was a terrorist act, perpetrated by a "home grown terrorist" upon innocent kids. I have read that one of the High School kids who survived the Columbine shootings years ago is now a state legislator. He has raised a law in his home state, making it easier for school officials, teachers, staff, to get concealed carry guns. This, to prevent shootings in his home state. It is terrible to think that teachers should be armed to protect their kids, but this is the reality. There are plenty of sick, mentally sick people in the world. Our media sells movie tickets and video games that shows that violence will get you some where. This is false. Kids grow up believing that they can right wrongs with a gun...This is not true. Try it and you face a life time of going to court and paying huge legal fees...I support the Gun Tests view that we must be responsible. This entails supporting legislators and educating the public that gun owners are not all "Rambos" waiting to kick the bad guys in their laurels. Gun owners must insist that ALL THREATS be answered by law enforcement and mental health officials. That people who threaten others should NOT be allowed to have access to guns and other means of deadly force. If the FBI can't be bothered with acting,.. then its up to local gun owners to go to the media,...... to local law officers,.......... and DEMAND action....

Posted by: barbuto | February 22, 2018 10:56 AM    Report this comment

It's tragic to read the many logical, sensible proposals being offered. But everyone has missed the point. This is an out and out assault in liberty, and the continued dismantling of the Constitution by "re-interpretation for our times"' or by circumvention. Make no mistake, we WILL be disarmed. It's just a matter of time. We are trying to influence thd outcome, but the opposition work from the standpoint that their agenda is a forgone conclusion. Their media collude.
Rational discourse is not what they want or will sanction.
The nation has been polarized to the exploding point.
But ultimately, will we turn out to be a nation of sheep?

Posted by: Goat | February 22, 2018 10:43 AM    Report this comment

Perhaps a Florida reader can help me out here: I lived in Daytona Beach for twenty years and every public school (I believe middle school on up) had on staff an armed and uniformed deputy sheriff (titled School Resource Officer). I can't recall any school shootings during my time there but I could be wrong. I just assumed this was done throughout Florida. Maybe a little off topic, but curious since I no longer live in Florida.

Posted by: ATP100 | February 22, 2018 10:31 AM    Report this comment

Build a wall. Not at the border but around the schools. Schools are soft targets because they are full of defenseless people and generally have no weapons but part of being a soft target is that they are also easily accessible. Just walk right in!

I've traveled a lot in Asia and their schools (and most other public buildings) have walls or fences around them. You can't walk in without being seen. Many have a guard or video camera at the entrance.

Most of our schools are completely open to the public with 360 degree access to the campus. With some decent fencing and monitored access points they would become a lot less appealing to your average mass killer.

Posted by: TominCA | February 22, 2018 10:17 AM    Report this comment

I have a proposal that will likely be regarded a "radical" for this group. The term, assault weapons, has become part of our everyday vernacular. But we know that defining the term without including virtually all semi-auto rifles and shotguns is difficult if not impossible. The AR-15 is THE assault weapon icon. Its appearance fulfills the image of a deadly military weapon in the hands of civilians. The same folks who have no issue with Dad or Mom or Grandpa having a semi-auto hunting rifle that does not look like the AR-15 are petrified by the AR-15. Clinton recognized this fundamental lack of understanding by the general public and constructed the 1994 "assault weapons ban" based principally on appearance, not function. The Browning BAR and Remington 740, for example, are high power semi-auto rifles. They have box magazines with 4 - 6 round capacities, rendering them far less useful for mass shootings. Perhaps it's time to accept an AR-15 design modification for civilian use that eliminates the quick change removable magazine feature, replaced by a fixed box type that is used in most sporting rifles. That compromise may allow continued civilian ownership of a very popular rifle while substantially reducing its potential for tragic misuse. I believe that we will be subject to far worse restrictions on our rights if we don't all work together to find a technically sound solution.

Posted by: Fjay69 | February 22, 2018 10:00 AM    Report this comment

For the record Lanza shot his mother with a bolt-action .22 LR rifle, more than once. This would indicate a deliberate act as he worked the bolt to " make sure." I cringe when I see people in TV interviews say we need more research on this subject. Since GCA 68 there have been hundreds of studies, most funded by the DOJ demonstrating the uselessness of gun control laws. Why do we fund such research and then ignore the results? The media certainly shares responsibility with their coverage of these events, assuring the next shooter that he will get his share of national notoriety. I strongly support the above editorial. We must keep hammering the facts in the face of lies and misrepresentation, arm ourselves with information and fight for real solutions to these real problems.

C. Rodney James, Ph.D., author

Posted by: C. RODNEY JAMES | February 22, 2018 9:47 AM    Report this comment

Probably the single most effective act that can be done to dramatically increase the safety of all schools in America is to repeal the Gun Free Zone Act, which has enabled all these mass murders since its inception. The only thing that the GFZA has accomplished is to turn every single school and educational institution into a "free fire zone." Once this happens, concealed carry weapons permit holders will be free to carry in schools.

Posted by: wernerpd | February 22, 2018 9:31 AM    Report this comment

From what I understand, the police and FBI knew of the potential danger from Cruz but were powerless to arrest him prior to the crime. I suppose we could pass laws that require anyone who engages in "violent speech" to be quarantined and examined, but that would mean destroying the First Amendment. And it wouldn't prevent the crime; it would only delay it. Social media and 24 -hour news cycles help fuel the type of mania people like Cruz exhibit. They want their 15 minutes of fame (or infamy), no matter the cost.
Our post-modern western society has abandoned or subverted much of our traditional religious foundation and ethics, opting instead for various forms of hedonism. It is in such an environment that erratic behavior is easily spawned and nurtured, leaving society with few options, none of which will guarantee our personal security. In the end it is a problem to be addressed by each individual. Members of this forum will advocate reactive measures (onsite security, armed teachers, pepper spray for students, entryway scanners, lock-downs, etc.), while others will demand more regulations and firearms confiscations. I can only be certain of one outcome. The politicians will pass new legislation intended to calm their supporters, while in reality providing nothing but more bureaucracy and intrusion into our private lives and personal rights. And so the cycle continues.

Posted by: Colonel K | February 22, 2018 8:48 AM    Report this comment

We need to steer the conversation to SAFE SCHOOLS. And include in that conversation a discussion of having a firearm available to selected staff members in the school. Or having an armed guard.
I propose a Federal SAFE SCHOOL INITIATIVE ACT that would require all public schools to have a double door and vestibule entry system. Visitors would have to be cleared by the school administration and "buzzed through" the second door in order to enter the school. Even low rent apartment buildings have a buzz through system. Why do we continue to have open doors in school buildings that allow kids with rifles to walk in and kill children? After Sandy Hook Obama DID NOTHING to help make school buildings safer. Now there has been another tragedy that happened in an all too similar way. Time the Republicans got on top of this issue and FUND and MANDATE renovation of all schools to make them secure facilities.
My daughter is the headmaster of a charter school in Colorado Springs that has a buzz-through system with the administration watching the vestibule from behind safety glass, hallway doors that can be locked down to prevent an intruder from gaining access to class rooms should an unauthorized entry occur, and a gymnasium that is tornado and hurricane proof - a SAFE school. From man-caused and natural disasters.
Why aren't our schools being made safe - why do we focus on tired old gun control arguments that never address the real problem? As responsible gun owners let's propose measures that remedy the problem and write our elected officials and give them the right answer for the "do something" people.

Posted by: Fogman | February 22, 2018 8:41 AM    Report this comment

Thanks for the perspective

Posted by: Tim06854 | February 22, 2018 8:27 AM    Report this comment

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