Hindsight truly is 20/20, but the FBI and the U.S. Army had advance notice that a Fort Hood-inspired shooting was potentially imminent weeks before the Christian Science Monitor was telling the public on April 3 what we know about the Fort Hood shooting that actually took place on Wednesday.
According to Fox News on April 1, John Thomas Booker (aka Muhammad Abdulla Hassan), age 19, was posting radical threats about his jihadist desires on Facebook as early as March 2014.
Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush! I am so nervous, NOT because I'm scared to die but I am EAGER to meet my lord," Booker wrote on Facebook.
The FBI was alerted in March to the online threats and made contact with the young man before he could take action against Army bases after enlisting with a Kansas City, Mo. Army recruiter in February. But as early as two days ago they were downplaying any potential violence as a result of the threats, or the rumors that more than one person may be involved in a Fort Hood-type shooting.
There is no imminent threat to public safety, nor should the public be concerned that this threat exists from an individual at large," the FBI Kansas City, Mo. Field Office spokeswoman stated to Fox News.
Now, two days later, a real Fort Hood shooting has occurred and law enforcement are wondering what was the motive that drove an Iraq War veteran to kill three people and wound 16 others before committing suicide on the Texas Army base.
Ivan Lopez was that shooter this week in Texas, and, coincidentally, he didn't arrive at Fort Hood until February of this year. The same time that John Thomas Booker signed up for the Army in Missouri. Authorities are confiscating Lopez's home computer and searching his house in order to find out if he also made any online posts or communicated with anyone that might indicate his motive for the shooting. So it is not known if he had any prior connection to the man the FBI placed in a mental facility for threatening a Fort Hood-inspired act of violence last month.
All law enforcement and the military has to go on right now in determining why Lopez opened fire on the military Army base is whatever his wife can tell them about his personal life and actions, as well as what any living witnesses can tell them about their interactions with Lopez when they were fired upon or encountered him during his rampage.
We have to find out what his actions were, and what was said to the victims," a federal law enforcement official said confidentially.
Will the FBI and the U.S. Army learn that the two men were connected and a part of a larger jihadist plot to attack people on military bases, especially at Fort Hood? Or was this an unusual coincidence involving two mentally ill men who both had the same idea?
The Atlanta Top News Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics.