FBI Would Rather Moderate Twitter, Investigate Parents Than Follow Through on Mass Shooter Tips

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On July 22, 2022, a man holding a rifle hid inside a restroom just outside the food court at the Greenwood Park Mall just south of Indianapolis. As he emerged, he shot and killed one man on his way to the restroom, followed by a couple at a table at the edge of the court.

Fifteen seconds after the first shot was fired, local 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken ended the shooting by firing 10 rounds at the gunman from across the court (hitting the shooter eight times). This “good Samaritan” and hero saved the lives of countless people in the mall—but this tragedy may have been preventable altogether.

According to Police Chief Jim Ison and Dicken’s lawyer, Guy Relford, the shooter (whose name will not be printed in this article) had been reported to the FBI after troubling social media posts in 2019. The shooter, who spent large amounts of time studying mass shooters and Nazi Germany, went so far as to honor the Third Reich with his Reddit username, “thegraterGermanReich” (now removed from the platform). 

While Ison claimed that the police department could not define a motive for the shooting, he told reporters that other email addresses and usernames showed a disturbing trend in the shooter’s activity and mental state, such as an email address with the handle “TheDarkWillRise.” His ex-girlfriend also told investigators that he had once put a gun in her mouth, and told her that if and when he died, he would be “taking others [with him].”

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Relford told The Daily Signal that the FBI had followed up on the anonymous tip in 2019 about the would-be shooter by tracking his IP address to an apartment complex before abandoning the search. The FBI didn’t investigate further, nor did it cross-reference other logins with IP addresses to specify the individual. In other words, the FBI could have checked from where else such accounts logged on, and checked what individuals worked or traveled to those places. That could have narrowed down the search considerably.

Instead, we now know that the FBI spent much of 2019 and 2020 dedicating agents and analysts to moderating Twitter and going after parents who attended school board meetings. Internal documents released after Elon Musk took over the social media platform reveal that the FBI used 80 agents from its “Social Media Task Force,” founded in 2016, to collaborate with Twitter to moderate political content—including censoring a critical story about the Biden family’s ties to Chinese business investments and its Communist Party days before the 2020 presidential election.

In 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI to investigate the “imminent threat” of parents who expressed displeasure with critical race theory curriculum and pedagogy in public schools. Garland ordered the FBI to do so after the National School Boards Association wrote a letter to the Department of Justice in 2021, labeling upset parents “domestic terrorists.” Garland designed a specific plan for the FBI to begin collaborating with all levels of law enforcement in the United States to begin assessing and combating these “threats.”

The FBI is clearly prepared and capable of taking action on tips received about perceived threats—but only appears to act on them when it’s politically convenient. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have both confirmed that the risk for racially and politically-motivated mass shootings, meant to imitate previous horrors, was on the rise.

The FBI and the DHS have the gall to admit that these “copycat” shooters are on the rise—yet they have allowed shooter after shooter to slip by. The FBI was sent tips concerning the perpetrators of massacres at Parkland, Normandale, Charleston, Fort Hood, in Boston in 2013, in Colorado Springs, and a despicable host of others.

Do I lay the tragedy at Greenwood Park Mall at the hands of the FBI? No—nor am I saying that an individual doesn’t have the First Amendment-protected freedom to have and speak disgusting political opinions (such as praising Nazis or communists). I do, however, question the allocation of resources in an organization that claims to be deeply concerned with the number of shootings while funneling those resources toward politically-motivated nonsense.

We will never know if an FBI agent could have driven less than 9 miles south from the Indianapolis bureau and offered to chat with the Greenwood shooter. We’ll never know if a conversation with his ex-girlfriend would’ve uncovered such critical information and domestic abuse earlier—therefore never putting Dicken in a place where he had to defend the innocent inside Greenwood Park Mall.

Perhaps the FBI should reassign its social media task force to the arduous but worthwhile task of sorting through tips on actors brimming with a sick fascination with mass shootings paired with disturbing historical idolization. Perhaps the FBI should stop wasting time deleting tweets and investigating moms—and start defending the American people by investigating things worth concern.

The FBI did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

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