Mandated Reporter Laws Post South Florida School Shooting
In the wake of one of the worst mass shootings at a school in US history, Congress and states need to enact “mandated reporter” laws. If someone knows or has credible reason to believe that an individual is contemplating and/or capable of carrying out a heinous act of violence, and they fail to report their suspicion, they face criminal prosecution as a “facilitator” or in the case of a social media portal, they would face massive monetary fines.
We live in a self absorbed dangerous world where assault weapons are sold to anybody with a debit card like cotton candy and people in general don’t want to get involved in other people’s business. While accomplishing a ban on the sale of assault weapons (AR15 or W6) is unlikely in the foreseeable future due to the NRA buying off politicians, we can make positive change by creating a “legal” stake in nationwide safety for everybody by requiring them to report suspicious comments/activity/behavior to law enforcement. If the “red flags” are there like they were in the Florida shooting, and people and or entities like YouTube/Google don’t report them, then they face civil and criminal repercussions.
The common thread in most of the recent mass shootings is that someone had knowledge of erratic and suspicious behavior of the eventual perpetrator and did NOT report this to law enforcement.
- In the Sandy Hoook school shooting, the mother of the shooter knew how unstable her son was and knew he was using an assault weapon practicing at a shooting range and did nothing to report this to law enforcement. In the Aurora theatre shooting, the therapist of Holmes knew of his potential for violence and did not report this to law enforcement.
- In the San Bernardino Shooting, the neighbor of the shooter was aware of the threat for mass violence and did not report this to law enforcement.
- In the Pulse nightclub shooting, Mateen’s wife potentially knew of his desire to carry out mass violence and failed to report it to law enforcement.
- In the recent Las Vegas Shooting (of which I am a survivor), make no mistake about it that Paddock’s girlfriend (Mary Lou Danley) knew of his irregular behavior and obsession with guns and ammunition and she failed to report any of this to law enforcement and she was never prosecuted because there are no laws with teeth to go after her.
What follows is a list of people/entities in the South Florida school shooting who had opportunities to report the shooter’s mental instability and erratic behavior and yet failed to notify law enforcement:
- Legislation that let him acquire a gun.
- The FBI who didn’t share the YouTuber tipster’s warning
- YouTube for allowing the content to be posted and not reporting it
- Google for allowing the content to be posted and not reporting it
- Guardians who let him have access to the gun
- The entertainment industry that makes violent games/images
- His parents for not having him in treatment
- Mental health professionals for not providing him proper treatment
- The school for not doing more than expel him
The universal reason why nobody in the Florida school shooting acted on these obvious red flags by reporting the shooter to law enforcement is that there are NO consequences for failing to do so! New federal and state “mandated reporter” laws (much like we already have in place for suspected child abuse) would require us to report credible suspicious behavior of another or else face potential criminal prosecution for being a “facilitator” or in the case of social media portals such as YouTube/Facebook/Google they would face massive monetary penalties for failing to report nefarious postings that clearly indicate that an individual is potentially violent. The post by the shooter in Florida that “he wants to be a professional school shooter” should have been immediately reported to law enforcement. It wasn’t because there are no penalties for failing to do so. Social media portals who make billions in ad money must face the music for failing to serve as a second set of eyes and ears. Any civil penalties imposed against social media portals would then be earmarked for improving security at schools nationwide!
Last, we need an independent investigation into how the FBI was informed of the shooter’s erratic post on social media and did little to flush this out. The pathetic excuse by the FBI that they couldn’t figure out whose computer it came from is laughable. This colossal failure evidences an attitude that the FBI does not take these reports seriously and they lack proper training to adequately investigate them. We need an “independent” report on what was done and not done to investigate the social media post and then come up with universal guidelines/protocol on how to properly investigate the postings.