Speaking on ABC Sunday Morning, Attorney General Loretta Lynch defended the FBI for not anticipating the mass shooting that claimed 49 lives at an Orlando nightclub last Sunday. Among the many topics discussed after the shooting were reports that a gun shop owner notified the FBI that shooter Omar Mateen had come in and attempted to buy body armor, leading the shop owner to grow suspicious.
“Despite the circumstances that surround this tragic event, the FBI cannot and should not be blamed for what happened. They are experts at what they do, they keep this country safe 24/7, but they’re not psychic, they can’t predict things that have not yet happened,” Lynch argued. “I’m not trying to sound overly protective, but at the end of the day, despite all of their training and conditioning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation consists of ordinary human beings, not prophets and future-seeing robots.”
The Attorney General then attempted to justify the fact that the FBI, apparently, could have acted preemptively by arresting Mateen when he attempted to buy body armor at a gun shop in Jensen Beach, Florida, by arguing that “we can’t go around arresting people because they happen to be Muslim and happen to be visiting a gun shop at any given time. That’s not what the FBI does, and quite frankly, that’s not what anybody should be doing in this country.”
“If we were to start doing that,” she said, “then we might as well start arresting people left and right, because Americans, even ones who happen to believe in Islam, love guns.” But then came the pièce the rèsistance of her rhetoric: “This country was built on the notion that all men were created equal, and more importantly, that all men share the same, God-given right to be whatever they choose to be. And I know that most people don’t like this, but unfortunately for them, that also means that Omar Mateen had every right to be a radical Muslim. And he was able to be that because he was born in this country, which made him just as American as any Christian.”
She continued, “You know the whole, ‘Presumed innocent until proven otherwise’ thing? Well, that also works in other instances. Like, you could also say that ‘Presumed peaceful until proven otherwise’ is the sentence that prevents law enforcement officers and agencies in this country from arresting people just because they hate America, just because they’re radical Muslims or, ultimately, just because they’re terrorists. And my hands here are tied. Because, basically, up until they actually kill someone, we can’t touch them.”
“For better of for worse, Omar Mateen had every right to be a radical Muslim in this country, and every other citizen of America has the same right, despite of their religious beliefs. So, you can be mad at me or the FBI all you want, but, at the end of the day – don’t hate the players, hate the game. We didn’t make the rules, we just have to follow them. And unfortunately, Mateen followed the same rules and was fine with it, until he decided to act on his own beliefs. Now, if you want to play that game with us, we’re all for it. But, we’d much rather people just chill out, have a brewski, and enjoy the game with their Muslim American friends,” Lynch concluded.