Just weeks before the shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colo., theater in which a gunman – who could face the death penalty – shot 70 people and left 12 of them dead, the federal government issued a warning about the vulnerability of theaters, an online resource reports.
The warning was contained in a Roll Call Release from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Cyber, Infrastructure, and Science Division inside the Department of Homeland Security.
Headlined “Terrorists’ Interest in Attacking Theaters and Similar Mass Gatherings,” the warning was dated May 17. It was posted online by Public Intelligence, an international, collaborative research project “aimed at aggregating the collective work of independent researchers around the globe who wish to defend the public’s right to access information.”
“We operate upon a single maxim: equal access to information is a human right,” the site explains. “We provide documents, detailed analyses, and a host of other open-source intelligence products from the private and public sector. We attempt to provide information in a way that minimizes our involvement as much as is possible. Documents are provided in a raw format, available for download, with only excerpts and key facts accompanying them.”
The DHS document cited an attack on a theater just a few weeks ago and another incident in which a violent extremist urged a copycat of a 2002 theater attack.
“These recent instances demonstrate that mass gatherings such as those associated with theaters likely remain attractive terrorist targets,” the statement said. “We encourage facility owners and operators, security personnel and first responders to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities and behaviors that may indicate a potential attack.”
The document listed “suspicious activity indicators,” including someone “in crowded areas wearing clothing that is unusually bulky or atypical for the season” and “Persons asking theater security screening and evacuation procedures.”
Also, packages left unattended or suspicious, or illegally parked vehicles should generate alarm, the document said.
The report cited an April 4 attack by an al-Shabaab female suicide bomber at the National Theater in Mogadishu, Somalia, during a speech.
“The bomber blended in with the audience until her attack,” the warning said.
Then on April 7, “an al-Qaida-linked violent extremist urged others to emulate the 2002 Moscow theater hostage attack – in which Chechen terrorists seized the Dubrovka Theater and held over 800 people captive for three days until Russian security forces gassed the theater.”
The “violent extremist” had suggested that terrorists seize “crowded facilities in the United States, including movie theaters; taking hostages; and demanding the release of captured al-Qaida-linked or –inspired violent extremists.”
Officials with the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a WND request for comment on the document today.
But an Israeli lawmaker joined the chorus right after the Aurora shootings.
Danny Danon, deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, was speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.
“When I come to the U.S., sometimes I ask myself, ‘How come there’s no security in some location?’” Danon related. “I think in the future, we would see a change also in the U.S., not [only] against lunatics like we saw [in Colorado], but also terrorist organizations. I’m talking about checking your bag when you’re entering a mall or you’re going to a cinema.
“You are not familiar with that in the U.S., but in Israel we live with that on a daily basis,” Danon continued. “Yes, it costs us more money, but we feel safer.”
Klein asked Danon if he believed that guns “are at the center of violence or that guns protect against this kind of thing.”
“We should give guns, but the question is to whom?” Danon said. “When we give guns to the soldiers, when they go home in Israel, we feel safer to see them traveling on buses, on the train, on the street.”
But what about armed civilians?
“If you have more people who know what to do and are trained and they are respecters of the law, you will feel safer.” Danon continued. “That’s what’s happened here in Israel, and we saw … it was civilians who were capable of stopping those attacks.”
The shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that left 12 dead and another 58 injured is not the fault of the Second Amendment, nor is it the result of violence in movies, poverty or lack of education, asserted a number of experts and WND columnists who commented on the massacre at a screening of the latest “Batman” movie.
Police have said James Holmes, 24, was armed with at least four guns – a shotgun, a rifle and two handguns – and while he surrendered without a fight when confronted by police, he also left his nearby apartment booby-trapped with apparent explosives.
The suspect, a student of neuroscience, painted his hair red and was wearing numerous pieces of protective gear, including a gas mask. He told police he was the “Batman” character “the Joker.”
Several of the shooting victims remain in critical condition.
WND columnist Erik Rush, who is based in the nearby city of Fort Collins, said the blame need to be placed where it belongs – with the shooter.
“While the actions of the shooter here were abhorrent and atrocious, we have to remember that this was a lone, disturbed individual. Armed Colorado residents have actually saved more lives than were lost in Aurora, and it bears mentioning that one armed patron could have taken this guy out easily,” Rush said today. “If anything, it’s a good argument for looser gun laws, not stricter ones.”
He continued: “The anti-gun zealots trying to make political hay out of this while the bodies are still being counted is reprehensible, but reprehensible is standard operating procedure for the political left. The left is fighting for its life right now, because a lot more Americans have gotten wise to their compulsion to control us. This is illustrated quite handily in their ongoing determination to abolish or subvert the Second Amendment.”
One of those activists, CNN’s Piers Morgan, had tweeted: “Horrendous details from this Colorado cinema shooting. America has got to do something about its gun laws. Now is the time.”
Rush pointed out that the media tried to use the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona last year to increase gun control and immediately tried to connect the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, to the tea party or conservative politics.
The same thing happened in Aurora, when ABC News linked the suspect to the tea party, then quickly withdrew the claim.
“With absolutely no evidence, the media narrative for the Loughner shooting last year became an example of ‘right-wing extremism’ though no link was ever found,” Rush said.
Ted Baehr of Movieguide said the Second Amendment will be just one of the attack targets because of the shooting.
“The shooting at the midnight showing of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ will be blamed on many things,” he said. “One reporter who called me this morning blamed it on violence in movies. Certainly, violence in movies, television, and video games has had a tremendous impact on society. Over 500,000 studies, capped by the latest Dartmouth University study, show that violence in the media influences susceptible youths to commit violence. That said, most people are not susceptible. Most are just desensitized or scared.
“Another reporter blamed it specifically on the Batman movies. Yet, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is nowhere near as violent as the last Batman one, and Batman himself tells Catwoman not to kill. The message of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is justice and self-sacrifice. The villains and the killers in the movie are the socialist left-wing Occupy Wall Street power to the people villain Bane and his compatriots, who are clearly shown to be wrong, evil, and bad, and who get their comeuppance. It would have been almost impossible for this killer in Colorado to have even seen the new Batman movie before the 12:30 screening,” Baehr continued.
“Some people will blame it on guns, although countries that have tried hard to crack down on guns, like England, are now finding that knives and head-butting are out of control. Thus, it isn’t the head-butting or the knives, but the fact that people, who, as the Bible says, don’t know the loving God who gave us a way of salvation through Jesus Christ, are stewing in the juice of their own wickedness,” the leader in Hollywood family fare continued.
“Some people will blame poverty, or a lack of education. But James Holmes, the alleged killer, is getting his doctorate in neuroscience and came from an upper middle class family!”
“Every possible reason” will be explored, including “maybe the fact that Holmes was a Democrat and hated the anti-socialist message of the movie,” Baehr said.
But he said the incident simply is attributable to evil.
“This is an evil act committed by an evil person, who did not know the truth of Jesus Christ that would set him free from such wickedness. The answer is not more laws, the answer is not to banish movies, nor neuroscience programs, nor weapons that can be used to protect, but rather to get the Word of God out. Because ‘faith comes through hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17).’”