New York Attack
Dale on the New York attack –
The most amazing thing from my perspective, having been an FBI agent and police officer/now defense attorney, about the New York slaughter with a rented pick-up truck is the low bar of acquiring the tools for the destruction. You know, this individual did not have to go to a gun store and endure a waiting period. He didn’t have to go to a back alley someplace and buy an AK47 and the rounds to go with it. None of that was necessary. Frankly, that is what law enforcement relies on in order to identify these people before they can institute an attack.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen that way as we know. He walked into a Home Depot and rented a truck for a day, which he had done before to establish some sort of consistency. Home Depot is in a position where they may be called responsible for this, but I don’t know how you can be deemed responsible for what’s in the mind of another person. Certainly, the rental agencies aren’t required to vet out the background of anyone who rents from them, which makes it more difficult. All he had to do was pay the $29.95, secure it with a credit card, give them a driver’s license and he was good to go.
You may realize that when all of that is happening, there’s no regulation to prevent him from getting a car; there’s more regulation to keep him from getting access to a gun. If he in fact planned this out for a few weeks, then it’s a no-brainer that you couldn’t stop him.
One thing that is fascinating to me about these types of attacks is everyone drives cars around in the United States (it’s not like Europe where a significant part of the country is handled with subways and trains. It is all by car). Not necessarily New York, but other parts of the country. That makes everyone who walks in the street, and drives, a potential victim of an attack like this. Candidly, I don’t even know if it’s preventable.
We do have a certain advantage in this instance because we have him in custody and in a position where he has not been advised of his rights. He is being viewed as an enemy combatant who is not subject to rights. I suspect he’ll be interviewed to determine how it is a guy who is given access to this country (and brought 29 other family members with him) can go south on us. We now have the opportunity to begin to process how this happened and why. We know based on news reports that he was influenced by hundreds of ISIS video type documents or presentations. This alone changed him from being someone who considered himself an American citizen to someone who viewed USA as the evil Satan and something to be destroyed.
Just as an aside here…I am astounded that we allow information into the public marketplace of ideas (internet) that encourages people to commit such acts. Years ago, when I was an FBI agent, we knew that certain sex criminals congregated together. They communicated back and forth between one another with publications that validated their conduct and it had to be mailed to them. They would often share photographs, which had to be developed. Because of that, the Government, in a rare moment of brilliance, placed some ads in these publications that said “If you need confidentially developed film, send it to me and I will develop it. Confidentiality guaranteed.” We saw who was getting what and what behavior they were engaging in.
With the way the FBI can track things today, we can shut down every bit of access ISIS has and ability to post on the internet. We can track people who are also listening/watching that kind of thing. All of that seems like a better way to spend our time and money than other tasks. The war against drugs is an example…the government is wasting tubs of money on it. We ought to be able to protect young minds, minds that are not resistant to this kind of propaganda, from getting it.
The low bar of entry for renting a truck and these videos that suggest violence is the answer really makes it easy for someone who is crazy or ideologically driven (ISIS) to go out and hurt people. I don’t think you’re going to be able to stop that and we need to determine the root of the problem. What makes people so unhappy with life in America that they feel the need to go out and ruin the world around them? Just a thought for today.