Local terrorism expert talks about Orlando massacre

Published: Jun. 14, 2016 at 5:42 PM EDT
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A local terrorism expert agrees with President Obama, saying lone-wolves and self-radicalized terrorists are the most difficult to track. However, he doubts a terrorist organization had anything to do with the massacre in Orlando.

Marc Simon is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Bowling Green State University. He is also the coordinator of the university's peace and conflict studies program.

He says it appears the massacre is in part a hate crime as well as the act of a self-radicalized terrorist, "This is a guy who has his own internal demons who latched on to global terrorism by throwing out his allegiance to groups like ISIS and Hezbollah. It's clear he did not understand those movements because those groups don't even get along."

Simon says while it may not have been orchestrated by a terrorist organization abroad, this kind of violence will likely continue on American soil, "We are vulnerable to this kind of terrorist attack. There's just no way around it because people congregate in large groups and there is no way to protect everyone at all times."

And while a terrorist organization likely did not have anything to do with the attack in Orlando, Simon says they are happy to take credit, "They usually try to provoke over-reaction which helps them radicalize people but this kind of an attack would have had the opposite effect. However they are happy to take credit because they believe it makes them look more powerful"

Simon says a lot of the growing concern is because there are more and more attacks on every day places like movie theaters and nightclubs, "This is not the typical strategic terrorist plot on some symbolic targets. That's what's making us more afraid."

As we're seeing a growing number of attacks here in America, Simon points out this is nothing new for the world and it shouldn't change the way we live, "I would suggest while we have to live with the reality that this could happen but we shouldn't change out lifestyles and give in to that fear."