Dakota Reed had a mind filled with hate and mass murders. November of last year, he posted on Facebook, “I am shooting for 30 Jews.”
In December, he posted pictures of his AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle hanging on the wall with white supremacist themes all around and the caption which read, “fixing to shoot up a school.”
About four months, the FBI was investigating Reed, and they were ready to charge him, but federal prosecutors said they did not have enough to go through with the arrest due to the threats were “too vague.”
The FBI scurried to turn over the case to the local law enforcement to build a stronger case under their state’s law.
Local detectives from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department arrested Reed, and he went to trial in May and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced this week to one year in prison.
This case is just one of the many cases the FBI has problems with when it comes to domestic terrorism.
They are limited to stopping violent acts in the U.S., which are meant to intimidate and cause terror among the citizens.
The First Amendment protects a person who makes threats because no action was carried out.
In these situations, the FBI has their hands tied, and they can only hand over the cases to local authorities.
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in attacks where the action was carried out like the shootings in Pittsburgh, Charleston, South Carolina, San Diego, California, and many more.
Attention has been raised, and there is a debate if the feds can get involved. This would save time throughout the system, and it would also save lives by stopping the terrorism in its tracks.
Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, voiced his concerns, “The rise of white supremacy is an undeniable threat. As the threat of violent white supremacy continues to mount, we must do more.”
Both Congress and the White House have been working on the issue but are weary on how far they can go before it overrides The First Amendment.
Mary McCord is a former top national security prosecutor who fell back on the issue of the guns used in the attacks and stated, “Law enforcement needs more effective tools. I recognize the very legitimate concerns of those in the civil rights community, but I would hope that their concerns could be addressed through oversight.”
Over the last two decades, there has been a rise in Islamic extremism in international terrorism cases, but there is a bigger rise in domestic terrorist attacks which now surpasses every form of terrorism in the nation.
FBI agent Michael C. McGarrity told lawmakers, “Individuals affiliated with racially motivated violent extremism are responsible for the most lethal and violent activity.”
All the FBI can do is hand over the cases.
A national security expert, Hina Shamsi, stated, “Law enforcement agencies already have the investigative and prosecutorial tools they need, and they should prioritize resources and policies to meaningfully address white supremacist violence.”
Former top FBI agent, Adam Lee, disagrees and feels the laws should remain the same, “We can hold those groups and people to account most effectively by using the investigative methods we used to break up the mafia and violent street gangs.”
The FBI can break up groups of terrorist easier than stopping an individual. They have successfully targeted suspects who are involved with hate groups and use the mix of violence and speech to draw attention to themselves.
When it comes to stopping them from carrying out a heinous act of violence and murder, the FBI cannot do anything until the laws are changed.
Many have been fortunate to have been stopped by handing the cases over, but how many more have to lose valuable time before something gets done?
There was Dylann S. Roof in 2015 who killed nine churchgoers, a year later there were the militia members who tried to kill Muslims in an apartment complex with a bomb, and there was the San Diego Synagogue shooter, John Earnest, who all were targeted by the FBI.
There was nothing they could do but let innocent people get slaughtered because the laws will not allow them to act on their job in time to save those people.
The First Amendment can be debated according to our freedoms, but not the lives of innocent people at the hands of those who instill fear into communities and the public.