I’ve been puzzling over his motivations since the massacre, and suddenly realized something today: he’s the lone wolf that security agencies have been warning us about for a while.
He clearly had a mixed-up history and “broke bad” at some point. But he didn’t really have a way to give shape to his badness until, really until ISIS burst on the scene.
Watching the other massacres, he realized he could affiliate himself with ISIS — no need for a pesky trip to Syria or even much contact with them — and then carry out an attack.
He did impinge on the FBI and other radars several times, but, because there was nothing further to his plotting — no connections, no ties, no infrastructure — there was no way to escalate our interest in him, no way to pick him out from millions of mixed-up bad-breaking people who might look to ISIS for some kind of justification for their bad feeling.
I sympathize with our security guys: lone wolves are probably the “long tail” of their job, and very very hard to know how to triage the severity of the threat posed by a lone wolf.
But that’s what it looks like he was. An ISIS wannabe.