by Marion Marks
Omar Mateen was never classified prior to Saturday evening with specific “terrorist” traits or organizations at the time he walked into the club immediately before he started pulling the triggers because his profile and available documented work records, fell into many groups, most containing only degrees of “Red Flags!” But, in as much as America is under attack from many enemies, it seems to be common sense that we all failed to properly diagnose the apparent problems. For those failures we must regroup and make certain the same mistakes don’t happen again.
As night follow day, we seem to repeat the same tragic logic, refighting battles over Second Amendment rights and who can purchase and carry what and where. Getting beyond the same critical rights discussions must become our first mission if we expect to change history and assure average citizens that government can do more than posture and refight the losing battles we constantly repeat.
If we admit that the mental health of Omar Mateen had bearing on his motivation to commit this heinous crime, and that it was Mateen, the shooter, not the gun, who was guilty of mass murder. Only at this point can we begin to find common ground and agree that this tragedy is not repeated in the exact same way again. Those who knew Mateen best, family and ex-wives, now indicate he was more than just your average angry young American-born Muslin of foreign heritage. And, red flags seen in earlier record research, indicate that there was valid documentation of issues that should have slowed his purchase of firearms – even the FBI triggered two checks and local law enforcement had a file on him. But at the time these red flags didn’t appear to rise to the level that his background report prohibited him from purchasing the weapons used to commit murders.
One ex-wife, Yusufiy, stated there were early signs of emotional trouble in their brief marriage, and that Mateen had a volatile temper. At the time of her first interview she spoke on condition on anonymity, but she described Mateen as an abusive husband who beat her repeatedly while they were married. ‘‘He was not a stable person. He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.’’ She told The Washington Post, Mateen “was a very private person,” but, he was obviously not a very nice person!
Yusufiy’s father told CBS News from his Edison, New Jersey, home that they called the cops when they learned she was being abused by Mateen. “They met online, and all of a sudden they decided to marry, and then she went there for four months, and then actually what happened was she was abused by him, and then we went and picked her up from there,” he said. “We even called the cops to pick up her belongings.” These facts, along with the facts that Mateem could not pass a check for a job in local law enforcement, should have been included in the background check before he qualified to purchase firearms. Local law enforcement got this one correct!
If Donald Trump is trying to slow down Muslims from entering the country, he might start by demanding better background checks to limit all refugees seeking asylum (and any who might be capable of such crimes) from buying firearms so quickly. The serious problem is the red flag that goes up for all intent on owning weapons who are capable of such crimes and have any record that their mental state is prone to such criminal acts. The motivating issue always really is a focus on the money that drives the system, but, when public safety is at risk, we might hope that the mental health of those who desire to purchase guns might also be a more important issue. CNN has done an interesting analysis of social media vis-a-vis gun violence. And, laws on who qualifies for purchasing firearms probably need serious review.