In a recent development in the story of a shooter at a Parkland, Florida school, Buzzfeed reports that the shooter left a troubling comment on a Youtube video – back in September.
Ben Bennight was the video’s creator and a vlogger and bounty hunter who goes by the moniker “BentheBondsman.” He received a comment on his video from YouTube user Nikolas Cruz that said he was going to “be a professional school shooter.” Bennight then sent all the information he had (which was not very much) to the FBI’s tips email and Youtube. He was shortly contacted by FBI agents. Bennight has since put up the full story on his Youtube channel.
“He [Mississippi FBI agent] just asked me as many questions as he could think of,” Bennight says in the video. “‘Had I ever had any interaction with the guy before? Was I familiar with the person? What video did he comment on?'”
Bennight’s story may create a problem for the FBI and Youtube because it naturally creates the question of how a government agency and a powerful corporation handled credible threats of violence. According to Bennight’s story, the FBI got back to him “very quickly.” As for Youtube, Buzzfeed’s report claims that after Bennight flagged the comment, Youtube removed it from his video.
Furthermore, Youtube has removed Cruz’s Youtube account, citing “multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy on violence.” However, did Cruz’s actions not violate Youtube’s policies before he carried out a mass shooting at his former school?
Based on the story, we know that both the FBI and Youtube had direct knowledge of the threat. What the public doesn’t yet have answers for is what happened between September and now. How they respond those questions will be a critical element in a complex and developing story.
Here is Bennight’s video:
Image provided via Youtube screenshot