“In San Bernardino, people knew what was going on, they knew exactly, but they used the excuse of racial profiling for not reporting it,” Trump said during a speech in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting.
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee was presumably referring to unverified reports that a woman who lived near the mother of one of the San Bernardino shooters had noticed that the family received “quite a few packages within a short amount of time, and they were doing a lot of work out in the garage.”
A man who claimed to be friends with this neighbor said she did not report the packages and the behavior to authorities because she “didn’t want to do any kind of racial profiling.”
In Trump’s America, however, that woman would face serious consequences. “We need to make sure every single person involved in this plan, including anyone who knew something, but didn’t tell us, is brought to justice,” Trump said in New Hampshire. “These people need to have consequences, big consequences.”
Trump failed to mention that many of the San Bernardino shooters’ neighbors described them as “quiet, religious people who didn’t attract attention or suspicion.”
He also strayed slightly from the prepared remarks posted on his website, which read, “If it can be proven that somebody had information about any attack, and did not give this information to authorities, they must serve prison time.”
Trump’s proposal that Americans be forced to report their neighbors expands on an idea he’s been peddling since last year, when he told a crowd in South Carolina,“People move into a house a block down the road, you know who’s going in. You can see and you report them to the local police. Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK. That’s the best way. Everybody’s their own cop in a way.”
Those earlier remarks, however, stopped short of proposing that people be punished for not informing on their neighbors — a hallmark of some of the most brutal and deadly regimes in history, including Nazi Germany and Russia under Joseph Stalin.