Anders Hagstrom, DCNF
Mark Dallas, a school resource officer, exchanged shots with and disarmed a student who brought a gun to school in Illinois Wednesday morning.
The alleged suspect, Matt Milby, 19, arrived armed at Dixon High School around 8:00 a.m. Wednesday. When he got there, Milby fired shots at the resource officer on duty, hitting him. The officer was able to fire back at the alleged shooter, hitting him, according to Dixon City Manager Danny Langloss. What happened in Illinois should have transpired in Parkland in February, but the on-site officer acted with cowardice and didn’t enter the building. But Dallas’ success is, unfortunately, the exception — not the rule.
Both the FBI and Broward County Police knew the Parkland shooter was violent and mentally unstable. He was kicked out of school and reported to police dozens of times but still allowed to buy an AR-15.
Other mass shootings tell the same unfortunate story.
Dylann Roof, who in 2015 shot nine people at a church for blacks in Charleston, was allowed to purchase his weapon in part because of errors by FBI agentsduring the background check process, the agency said.
Pulse shooter Omar Mateen, who pledged allegiance to ISIS before killing 49 people at the Orlando nightclub, similarly seemed to have fallen through the cracks. The FBI investigated Mateen twice before the slaughter but ruled him not a threat on both accounts.
The FBI knew Fort Hood shooter Army Maj. Nidal Hasan had been in contact with al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, but the bureau declined to investigate him. The FBI had failed to alert the Army about Hasan and the shooting could and should have been prevented, a congressional probe found. Hasan killed 13 people and wounded dozens of others in the 2009 shooting.
The FBI similarly missed opportunities to stop Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers behind the 2013 Boston Bombing, a government review found. Russia warned the United States Tsarnaev had associations with Islamic terrorists, leading an FBI-led task force to question the future terrorist. The agent who interviewed Tsarnaev closed the probe, “having found no link or ‘nexus’ to terrorism.”
The task force was alerted a year later that Tsarnaev was leaving the country for Dagestan but declined to interview him or prevent his departing the country. The failure to interview Tsarnaev was a “huge” error, FBI agents later said, according to Boston Magazine.
Perhaps lawmakers should focus on fixing these issues before restricting gun access for law-abiding citizens.
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