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Ben Stein: Shooter in Canada Should Have Been Under Tight Surveillance

By    |   Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 04:41 PM

Actor and economist Ben Stein says the suspect in the deadly shooting at the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday should have been under careful surveillance because of his apparent instability and criminal past.

"This is a guy who had been convicted of making threats, he'd been convicted of a number of crimes, had recently converted to Islam. This is a guy who at the very least deserved to be investigated enough to make sure he didn't possess a firearm," Stein said Thursday on the "Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"How on earth in a country that has the strictest firearms laws imaginable, such as Canada, allow this terrible, horrible, evil man to get a gun? Canada doesn't let legitimate sportsmen have guns. Canada is insanely strict about guns."

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, born Michael Joseph Hall in Quebec in 1982, was a convert to Islam with a criminal record who exhibited mentally unstable behavior, including a belief the devil was after him, his friend, Dave Bathurst, told The Globe and Mail.

Zehaf-Bibeau pleaded guilty to a 2004 drug possession charge and received a 60-day jail sentence. He had also been charged with robbery and uttering threats in Vancouver in 2011 and convicted of the lesser charge of uttering threats.

The suspect, who gunned down an unarmed ceremonial guard at the Ottawa War Memorial before firing his way through the parliament and being shot dead himself, had his passport seized after being designated a high-risk traveler.

"My wife and I live in Sandpoint, Idaho, during the summer where everybody has a gun and a lot of people wear them, a lot of people carry them in their trucks," Stein said.

"This wouldn't have happened in Sandpoint because everybody on the sidewalk would've had a gun."

Stein, a former speechwriter for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, recently stirred controversy when he suggested the U.S. should pay ransom for Americans being held captive and under threat of beheading by the Islamic State.

"What I said was it’s all very well to sit in a comfortable, air conditioned, safe office surrounded by police and say we don't pay ransom to terrorist," Stein said.

"But the idea of an American citizen kneeling in a dessert with a knife being slowly drawn across his neck and throat all alone, terrified out of his mind. The idea that we don't pay ransom to get them back just doesn't make any sense to me.

"I might add if I may respectfully do so that countries like Germany and France and Italy apparently do that and if they can do it, I don't see why we can't do it. I don't see that the principle is more important than these people's terror and pain and death."

Asked by Steve Malzberg if paying of ransom would just encourage more kidnappings, Stein, a Newsmax Magazine columnist, said:

"They're already extremely motivated to do evil and the idea that somehow our moral stance will stop them just doesn't make any sense.

"I don't think, considering that they control a tremendous amount of oil production out of Iraq that they're going to be impressed one way or another by getting or not getting $1 million or a few million dollars.

"It's mostly a matter of prestige and the U.S. it seems has plenty of prestige. We can spare a little prestige in order to save lives and … to save people from being in just inhuman terror and pain."

Stein is author of the book, "How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio," published by Wiley, and has appeared in such films as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Frankenstein General Hospital" and "Ghostbusters II."

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Actor and economist Ben Stein says the suspect in the deadly shooting at the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday should have been under careful surveillance because of his apparent instability and criminal past.
Ben Stein, Canada, shooter, suspect, Islam, Ottawa
Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 04:41 PM
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