by TREY HARRELL || In the time since the horrific events of El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, various law enforcement agencies with the assistance of concerned citizens have been able to thwart at least a half dozen acts of domestic terrorism in our nation.
Of these thwarted shootings, only the following three have received much meaningful coverage: Ohio, Connecticut and Florida. In Ohio, a young man was arrested after investigators found a social media post in which he appeared to threaten the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown. In Connecticut, a 22 year old man was arrested after police received a tip that he had allegedly written of his interest in committing a mass shooting, built his own firearm on social media as well as attempted to buy ammunition out of state. I n Florida, a 25-year-old was arrested after sending numerous texts to his ex-girlfriend regarding his interest in committing a mass shooting which included, “I’d wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever” and “But a good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location (laughing cry face emoji) is that bad?”
Closer to home, our local authorities recently prevented an act of domestic terrorism from occurring. Over the weekend, after a highly intoxicated older man was escorted out of the emergency room at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the Charleston hospital received a pair of threatening late night calls from a man with a “rough-sounding voice.” In one of the calls, the individual said “I’m going to shoot your security officers, especially the black ones.” Security at MUSC correctly alerted city of Charleston police, who arrested the individual and charged him with unlawful use of the telephone. Sadly, per S.C. Code of Laws § 16-17-430, this charge is only a misdemeanor that carries a max sentence of thirty days or max fine of $500.
While any idiot making ridiculous racist threats of violence should be punished much more severely, at least this individual is now on law enforcement’s radar. It is well known now that the guy is a racist idiot, or at the very least has racist tendencies, and needs to be watched carefully. Better still, his ridiculous actions should and will now act as a warning to others that such threatening comments will not tolerated.
One constant in all of these thwarted incidents is this: A concerned citizen saw something, said something and law enforcement responded appropriately. While it might sound like common sense to report this type of thing, it hasn’t always happened that way. We always seem to learn from reports following mass shootings that there were various signs that should have been reported or – worse – there were signs that were reported but not acted upon. However, in the days following El Paso and Dayton that does not seem to be the case – which is a very good thing!
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As if preventing the loss of life through senseless violence wasn’t enough, the concerned citizens and law enforcement did something else … they protected the second amendment.
Although it sounds crazy, it is true. Every time a coward commits an act of domestic terrorism there are cries for restricting gun rights of law-abiding citizens. Thus, if we as citizens wish to protect our right to bear arms it is incumbent upon us that we are vigilant and if we see something, we say something.
Additionally, since majority of these alleged shooters are fairly young, it is crucial that we talk with our children to make sure that they know to tell us if they see something. Our kids need to understand if they see a kid making a ridiculous racist video about how he wants to shoot up his school or hear someone say they want to “open fire on a large crowd of people from over
three miles away’ that they need to come to you. More importantly if they come to us with information like that, we need to do the right thing and get that information to the right party.
With all that being said, it would have been easy to write the individual who threatened security at MUSC off as just another idiot that had too much to drink but they didn’t. It doesn’t matter that following the investigation it appears that he was just a drunk idiot who wasn’t capable of pulling off such a threat. We now live in a day and age in which every threat of domestic terrorism, no matter how small, must be taken extremely seriously. As a result of that, when they are taken seriously, we must give credit where credit is due.
Bravo concerned citizens and bravo law enforcement!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Lowcountry attorney Trey Harrell is the father of two who is proud to call the Holy City home. His practice primarily focuses on Criminal Defense and Estate Planning matters. He has previously served as an Assistant Solicitor in the First Judicial Circuit as well as a member of the Mount Pleasant Historical Commission.