OPINION|Barry Richard: Should Florida Massacre Have Been Prevented?
Did the FBI fail to prevent the carnage at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida yesterday?
Buzzfeed says the agency was warned by YouTube user 36-year-old Ben Bennight in September about a school shooting threat from someone named Nikolas Cruz, who posted the following comments to the man's YouTube video:
"I'm going to be a professional school shooter."
Yesterday a 19-year-old former student, Nikolas Cruz, was arrested in connection with the Florida school shooting that left as many as 17 people dead.
It's not clear to me if the Nikolas Cruz allegedly involved in the massacre yesterday is the same man who posted the threat the YouTube several months ago, but Buzzfeed says the FBI visited Bennight's home after each incident.
If the Nikolas Cruz tied to yesterday's shooting is the same man flagged by Bennight in September the FBI has a problem.
From the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston Marathon bombing to the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, there have been questions about why the FBI has been unable to do more to prevent bad actors from killing people when those individuals had already been on the agency's radar screen.
Students and school officials were well aware of Cruz and the potential danger he posed. He had been expelled from the school last year for disciplinary reasons. Teacher Jim Gard told the Miami Herald that Cruz had been identified as a potential threat to other students.
"Classmates, relatives, and neighbors have described Cruz as a troubled "loner" who often taked about guns and flaunted his obsession with weapons on his social media accounts."
So, while politicians do what politicians do (which is not much at all), the real conversation needs to focus on how law enforcement is unable to prevent individuals like Nikolas Cruz from killing people, even after so many warning signs have been posted.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.