“Elton Simpson was the first figure identified in the latest eruption from the Religion of Peace™ — an attempted massacre at an exhibition of anti-Islamist cartoons in suburban Garland, Texas, which ended in the shooting of Simpson and his coconspirator, because Texas is where terrorists go to get out-gunned at an art show,” Kevin D. Williamson writes at NRO today. “Simpson and his pal are as dead as a tuna casserole — in Texas, we shoot back:”
We got lucky when luck wasn’t what we needed.
Simpson was, like the overwhelming majority of murderers and most of those who commit serious violent crimes, already known to the authorities. He had been investigated by the FBI on the suspicion that he was attempting to travel to Somalia to engage in jihad. He was convicted of lying to the FBI in that episode, and sentenced to . . . probation. The average sentence for a tax-related crime in these United States is 31 months in a federal penitentiary, but for attempting to join up with a gang of savages who are merrily beheading, torturing, enslaving, and raping their way around the world? Probation, and damned little subsequent oversight, apparently.
* * * * * * * *
We got lucky in Garland, but we needn’t — mustn’t — rely on luck. (As the IRA told Margaret Thatcher after its failed attempt to assassinate her: “We only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.”) We have professionals for this sort of thing. Yes, it is tons of work to keep an eye on sundry peripatetic villains, and yes, in many cases that laborious effort will produce nothing that is going to earn any fed or local cop a plaque on his wall or a commendation. But we give these police agencies princely budgets and resplendently compensated managers, along with remarkable investigatory powers and other generous resources, to do that job.
So do the damned job.
Federal authorities weren’t doing their job on 9/11. They weren’t doing their job before the attack in Garland, either. No, nobody can stop every crime or detect every criminal, much less every jihadist. But this one had a great big flashing neon sign over his head reading “terrorist.”
If nobody saw, nobody was looking.
Read the whole thing. And if you’d like to see Kevin D. Williamson discussing the first and second Amendment and Texas while in Texas, sign up for our Bullets and Bourbons event in December, where Kevin will be speaking with my PJM colleagues Glenn Reynolds, Roger L. Simon, Steve Green and Dr. Helen, and Ed Morrissey, Dana Loesch, and Mark Rippetoe.
Related: Regarding Elton “Lone Wolf” Simpson, here’s your official Lenny & Squiggy Trigger Warning from Australia’s Tim Blair.