In the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, Donald Trump is calling for a complete ban of all Muslims entering the country. This is an extraordinary proposal that goes against everything the U.S. stands for. It is so blatantly unconstitutional, it so violates the freedom of religion that the constitution grants everyone the right to, that to call it outrageous is an understatement. Trump’s comments at best reveal an arrogance and stupidity that would render him unfit for the job of most powerful man in the world, at worst they reveal a dangerous fascist who would threaten world stability.
About San Bernardino – another tragic loss of innocent American lives. I find it interesting that at first, the Republican Party was silent, but then, once it was revealed that the shooters were Muslims who’d been radicalized, all Hell broke loose. Republicans were suddenly outraged that the seeds of radicalization had been sewed right here within our borders, and soon I heard one of them say that this was the second worst act of terrorism, after 9/11, that we’ve been subjected to.
That is simply wrong. The second worse act or terrorism was the Oklahoma City bombing. Perpetrated by a white Christian, Timothy McVeigh, it killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. Yet Oklahoma City is largely forgotten and rarely a part of the terrorism conversation, as is Ted Kaczynsky, a.k.a. the Unabomber, who killed three and wounded twenty three people. The shooter at Sandy Hook was white, too – yet when terrorism is discussed, his name never comes up. Murder sprees by white Americans don’t mobilize the political base.
In the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino incidents, there’s a movement gaining a lot of momentum that we should send ground troops in to eliminate ISIS. This seems problematic to me and would put our troops at great risk, as ISIS is not a country, and there is no way to go into battle knowing who’s a bad guy and who’s not.
I find the Republican outrage about radical Islam to be inconsistent with their continued silence on mass shootings. I think it’s time we start naming mass shootings for what they are: acts of terrorism. If we’re at war against terrorists, we need to count the 462 American lives taken by American terrorists in mass shootings so far this year. Donald Trump and his followers have no problem with ignoring the constitutional rights of Muslims, yet they hide behind the constitutional right to bear arms when a white male commits an act of terrorism.
The right’s reaction to mass shootings is insanity – more guns and the elimination of gun-free zones, and a refusal to consider even the slightest legislation calling for gun registration and background checks. The latest example of this insanity it that the government maintains a “no-fly” list, a list of characters who have been deemed too dangerous to board an airplane. Yet, thanks to opposition from the NRA, any one of these people can walk into a gun store and buy a gun with no questions asked.
But numbers are just numbers. We can throw them around all we want to make whatever point we want. It’s important to remember, though, that for each of the numbers of deaths, there is one innocent life taken and countless others impacted.
I hope that someday we can move forward, and look back on the first couple of decades of the twenty first century as a period when we collectively lost our mind.