The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Rules

In an article headlined, "After Manchester Attack, Britain Looks at New Ways to Curb Extremism", Tara John of TIME Magazine writes:
The suicide bombing of Manchester Arena by a home-grown extremist has Britain grappling with many difficult questions — among them, whether the government is doing enough to prevent people like Salman Abedi from being radicalized.
A quick question: Why is it "the government's" responsibility to "prevent people like Salman Abedi from being radicalized?" The radicalization comes from a extreme form of Islam that has been adopted by hundreds of millions of Muslims. Isn't it mainstream Islam's core responsibility to "prevent people like Salman Abedi from being radicalized?" If not, why not? And if so, what is being done in real terms?

But back to the TIME article:
Authorities reportedly knew of Abedi's terrorist sympathies five years prior to Monday's attack, BBC reports, but he nonetheless was still able to slip through the net and kill more than 20 people, many of them young girls, after an Ariana Grande concert. Abedi, a 22-year-old born in Britain to Libyan parents, fits a familiar profile of disaffected, often impoverished youngsters who are ripe to be preyed upon by jihadist recruiters. Residents of his Manchester community told the Washington Post he was an “isolated dark figure.”

As TIME reported last week, experts believe Britain is unlikely to strengthen its anti-terrorism legislation in the wake of the Manchester attack. David Anderson, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said police and intelligence agencies are broadly happy with the extremely robust laws they have in place – which Anderson says are "very strong by international standards." Prime Minister Theresa May promised there would be no "knee-jerk style" crackdown on security. The current "critical" threat level is expected to be a temporary measure.
So ... British authorities are "broadly happy with the extremely robust laws they have in place." and that there will be no "knee jerk" reaction. Hmmm, those robust laws did nothing to stop the mass murder of 22 British people ... and the authorities are "happy"?

I suspect that they're happy because far too many Western politicians would prefer to avoid any accusation of "Islamophobia" or accusations that they've violated the civil and human rights of all Muslims. Of course, the 22 people who were murdered and the 100 people who were injured (some grievously) had their civil and human rights violated by a known Islamist. Not to mention the millions of people whose privacy is violated and activities are needlessly inconvenienced with security theater that is designed to be as even-handed as it is ineffective.

So ... making every attempt not to be "Islamophobic" let's instead objectively try to identify indicia that seem to be characteristics of most, if not all, of the perpetrators of Islamic terrorist attacks in the West over the past five years. Some of the indicia are innocent enough; other indicia, not so much. The typical terrorist is:
  1. A person who believed in a strict interpretation of Islam and is a proponent of Sharia law.
  2. A person of Middle Eastern decent.
  3. A person who visits Islamist websites and/or electronically communicates with know radical Islamists.
  4. A person who is radicalized by a personalities that might be local but are often accessed via the normal or dark web.
  5. A person who has met with other people on the terror watchlist.

  6. A personal (usually male) between 20 and 40 years of age.

  7. A person who expressed his radical beliefs to one or more friends, relatives, or acquaintances.

  8. A person who traveled overseas to predominantly Muslim countries that have been destabilized by Islamist strife.

A person exhibiting just a few of these characteristics might not be a problem, but someone who exhibits all eight should raise red flags. But raising flags isn't enough. As I noted in a previous post, the West is in a war with radical Islam. Islamists attack us within our borders and do it with increasing regularity. The normal rules of criminal prosecution do not and should not apply to warfare. A person who meets say, 6 of the 8 indicia noted earlier should be profiled—period. That person should undergo a vetting process that may violate some of his rights. But like it or not, the vetting is fully justified because that person could become an enemy combatant in a war that has already been declared against the West.

The PC crowd and well-meaning civil libertarians would argue that profiling and the vetting it implies are "unconstitutional," that it attacks religious freedom. The first amendment does in fact protect speech and religion. But consider this—many who invoke the first amendment in this instance also claim that Islamist thoughts and actions "have nothing to do with Islam but are a perversion of it." So, if we take them at their word, this isn't about religion, is it? And profiling? There is nothing wrong with using a set of proven indicia to help narrow the threats we face. In fact, it's absolutely derelict not to use those indicia along with profiling to remove terrorist before they kill.

At some point, I suspect that a combination of the frequency and barbarity of Islamic terror attacks on the West may force our leaders to admit that we're in a war. At that point, the rules will change.