Terrible News

Author: David Kotok, Post Date: June 12, 2016

We will not recap the news flow about Orlando. Nor that about the thwarted attack in Los Angeles. No recap is needed.


Surveillance is already intense in the United States. It will become more intense in the wake of what happened early this morning in Orlando. Essentially everything anyone does or says or records is subject and will be subject to scrutiny. Judicial decisions about invasions of privacy by law enforcement are made in private. The world continues to change.

The presumption of innocence is eroding. The suspicion of guilt is rising.

The political climate has changed. We have had an “October surprise” in June. The attack in Orlando will galvanize the political debate in Florida, a battleground state in this national election year. It will have a similar impact in the rest of the country.

A million opinions about what to do and how to do it will be energetically argued. Who knows what is right or what improves safety?

The perpetrator bought a gun legally, using his credentials as a security guard. The implications of that fact broaden the debate about guns.

As for the protection of Americans’ rights, we direct readers to the public portion of a secret document that allowed for the assassination of an American-born radicalized Islamic imam in Yemen. You can read it here: https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/OLC-Awlaki-Memo.pdf. Anwar al-Awlaki was the Al Qaeda theorist and leader who sponsored the notion of “lone-wolf” attacks like the one that took place in Orlando.

The logic defending the legality of ordering an American to be assassinated in a foreign land or in this country is subject to debate. But the post-Orlando mood of our country raises the nation’s propensity to endorse preventive actions.

More surveillance, more invasive presumptions of guilt, more obstacles and barriers, more searches, more metal detectors, more patience required for transit and admission, more costs for security, more cameras, and more records. Orlando has added to this evolution of paranoia and xenophobia in America.

It is a sad day for the nation and for the victims and their loved ones.

The massacre in Orlando marks yet another appalling lone-wolf attack in a sequence that is unfortunately likely to continue.

A growing element of fear now influences behaviors in our country. We need to think about that accordingly.

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