When you’re talking about mass shooters, there are usually some red flags that pop up. After the fact, we tend to talk about these warning signs and try and figure out how atrocities like these can be avoided. Usually, though, few of those red flags ever seem to get reported to law enforcement.
In the case of Parkland, Florida, however, it appears the shooter bragged about his plans in a YouTube comment.
BuzzFeed reports that a YouTube user named Ben Bennight tipped off the FBI about a comment left by [the same name of the shooter] on one of his videos that read, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
Bennight immediately contacted the FBI and spoke with agents the following day.
“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person. I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them,” he told BuzzFeed.
After the shooting, Bennight reports getting a voicemail message from someone claiming to be with the FBI wanting to follow up.
Too bad 17 kids had to die first, right?
I get that the FBI agents may well be swamped. They may have looked at a YouTube comment and rolled their eyes, thinking that there was no way in hell this was serious. It’s also possible that the name similarity is pure coincidence.
But I doubt it. The spelling is too unique for it to be just pure, dumb luck.
That means the killer openly stated his intention. He declared he was “going to be a professional school shooter.” How hard would it be to get a court order to find his IP address, trace it back to him, and take a longer look at what he was doing? Mass shooters tend to plan their rampages carefully. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t research this heavily, leaving a digital trail for prosecution.
But that’s not what the FBI did.
No, they apparently sat there and did nothing. That leaves the question of “Why?”
The more paranoid part of me wonders if this is anything like the FBI agents who clearly had a liberal bias against the president. In this case, they wanted a mass shooting to try and push a liberal gun control agenda.
Then I tighten the tin foil and remember that you should never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.
The FBI had the information and apparently did nothing, not for political reasons, but because someone in the Bureau just flat out dropped the ball. They were warned that this nimrod stated his intention to shoot up a school, and they did nothing.
Because of that, 17 high school kids are dead.
I hope the agent or agents responsible for this can sleep at night and look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. I don’t think I could. Someone getting hurt because of one’s inaction can haunt someone for a lifetime. That many someones being murdered can’t be any easier.
(Edited: The Truth About Guns has taken apart the FBI’s response here. They seem just as skeptical as I do about there being nothing they could do to identify the shooter and possibly prevent the attack.)