Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Separate Question About Orlando

Many questions remain about the motives of the Orlando killer. I suppose whether or not to call him an Islamic terrorist is of political importance, playing, as it does, into the hands of those (like the guy who chose Sarah Palin as his veep) who shout that President Obama is directly responsible for the murders. Directly. 

From what I can tell, the shooter was a very disturbed and angry person, known to be so for years, possibly a closet homosexual, who quite likely had no direct association with Islamic terrorism but fancied himself carrying out their mission of hate as a way of justifying his own sick motives. 

Much has been written about him, about gun control, about lone-wolves, how to fight terrorism. The usual. But this article, more than tangentially related, is scarier to me than the possibility of a guy like Mateen showing up at some place around here. If it's no more directly responsible for the horror than Obama is, the Republican mantra of privatization of all things is pretty scary stuff, as applies to prisons and security. If it has nothing to do with Orlando, per se, it's at least as impactful. 

... In the aftermath of the Orlando killings, many questions remain unanswered—about the role that religious extremism played in the crime, the mix of personal despair and political ideology that motivated the killer, the efficacy of gun-control laws to prevent such violence, the competence of the F.B.I. in recent anti-terrorism investigations. And there is also the question of how G4S, the world’s largest private security firm, could have employed an armed guard who, for almost a decade, angrily and openly threatened to commit mass murder... 
...The G4S juvenile facilities in Florida have been notable for disturbances, escapes, high levels of violence among the detainees, and sexual assaults by staff members. During an August, 2013, riot at the Highlands Youth Academy, in Avon Park, G4S employees lost control of the detention center and fled the premises. ... A grand-jury report on the causes of the disturbance was released in 2015. It said, “The buildings are in disrepair and not secured, the juvenile delinquents are improperly supervised and receive no meaningful tools to not re-offend, the staff is woefully undertrained and ill-equipped to handle the juveniles in their charge, and the safety of the public is at risk. . . . 
Yet G4S has a 9% profit margin and expects to make $800,000.00 in profit this year from the operation of the Highlands Youth Academy.” The G4S juvenile facility was “a disgrace to the state of Florida,” the grand jury concluded, and should “cease to exist.”... 
... [O]n July, 28, 2012, three peace activists, including an eighty-two-year-old nun, broke into Y-12, cut through three perimeter fences, made their way undetected to the uranium-storage building, and spray-painted anti-nuclear slogans on its walls—a security breach of unprecedented severity. ... Subsequent investigations found that video cameras at the complex had remained broken for weeks, alarms were routinely ignored, and G4S guards had been cheating on proficiency exams for years....
So, yeah, I worry about Islamic terrorism. But in terms of our national security, I worry a lot more about the thoughtless and ideological zeal for privatization in all things. It's neither cost-effective nor effective-effective. Same with charter schools. Remember how well it worked for the TSA? It's fine with Donald Trump, of course; he may know nothing about anything but (so R leaders hope) he'll toe the party line on these matters if elected.

[Image source]


  1. Having trouble raising campaign cash, Mr. Congressman? Surely there are some potential privatization prospects in your district or state. Get on the bandwagon and get that feedback loop pumping. What are you waiting for?

    Trump will be more than fine with privatization should he win. I am sure that, in his mind, he's rubbing his grubby little hands together at the prospect of using the presidency to grease the expansion of the Trump brand onto that wagon.

  2. Fairly easy to imagine an operative getting ahold of nuclear waste for a dirty bomb. Can only desperately hope weapons grade has fail safe built in but Fukushima...


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