The Road to Orlando

A clear picture of what exactly happened in Orlando in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday is slowly emerging. While reports persist of more than one shooter, these remain unconfirmed, meaning that Omar Mateen killed more than four dozen people by himself over a three-hour period. Since it took nine jihadists to kill 130 people in Paris last November, and several of those murderers were veterans of the Islamic State’s jihad in the Middle East, Mr. Mateen appears to have been a significantly deadlier ISIS killer than usual, despite his complete lack of combat experience.

The enormity of that death toll at Pulse nightclub has something to do with the fact that Orlando police waited until 5 a.m. to send in their SWAT team to save hostages – a decision that was at odds with normal police procedures in active shooter situations and appears to have been an error that cost lives.

That said, it’s important to place blame where it really belongs: on Omar Mateen and any helpers or co-conspirators he may have possessed. Although progressives are chanting their usual mantra about gun control being the solution to jihadism, creating heat rather than light, it’s fair to ask why on earth Mr. Mateen had an AR-15 rifle after being questioned by the FBI twice about possible ties to extremism.

Just as we should ask why he remained employed with a security firm that did significant work for the U.S. Government, we should be concerned that Mr. Mateen bought an AR-15, a near-military-grade weapon that surely did the lion’s share of the killing on Sunday, just days before he became the deadliest mass murderer in American history. The legalistic answer – that he had been convicted of no crime and the FBI’s investigations into Mr. Mateen never went very far – is correct but unsatisfying when 49 innocent Americans are dead.

Read the rest at The Observer…