President Trump’s Friday executive order imposing a temporary halt on visitors to America from a short list of seven countries deemed “very risky” by former Pres. Obama has caused a lot of smoke to be emitted from liberals, conservatives, independents, pundits, circus animals, basically everyone and anyone who has heard about it. But what’s the real deal?
“Words matter.” Citing part of the 27 January executive order, “I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).”
The Short List. The list of countries on the 90 day travel ban reads like a “who’s who” of failed states and jihad incubators: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.
Reaction. Some folks have recoiled from this executive action, labeling it a “ban on Muslims,” or a “religious test” for entry… in the latter case, a phrase specifically prohibited in the US Constitution. But is this a ban on Muslims entering the US, as some claim? The words “Muslim” and “Islam” appear nowhere in the 27 Jan executive order. In fact, foreign nationals from the seven countries of any religion, sex, creed, and race are temporarily prohibited from entry into the US while a review is conducted. I’m a numbers guy: consider that there are about 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. If we assume all 218 million people from the seven predominantly Muslim countries are in fact Muslim–they aren’t–that means the 90 day travel ban applies to around 13.6% of all Muslims. Thus a reasonable person can only conclude that the 27 Jan executive order is not a ban on Muslims. As to the motives of those who incorporate and promote these claims, we can only guess.
Using a 2000 pound JDAM to swat a fly? Are there other measures that can mitigate terror attacks here at home in America? On the face of it, a blanket ban–even a temporary one–on travel and refugees seems like a plan that lacks finesse and discretion. Consider some of these terror attacks:
- Fort Hood, 5 Nov 2009: Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan [an American] shot and killed 13 people and injured 30 more before being subdued. “Before the shooting rampage began, [he] was sitting quietly among the soldiers going through medical preparations for deployment. He then stood up and reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — before revealing his weapons and beginning to fire, according to Chuck Medley, Fort Hood’s director of emergency services. The first 911 call came at 1:23 p.m. Four minutes later, Hasan was down.” http://www.stripes.com/news/civilian-police-officer-acted-quickly-to-help-subdue-alleged-gunman-1.96218
- Fort Hood, 2 April 2014: Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, an American, led a one man shooting spree at several locations on the Fort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas. Four people, including the gunman, were killed, while fourteen additional people were injured, twelve by gunshot wounds. The shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This was not a terror attack, but is important in responding to any person or group intent on inflicting maximum death. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/army-report-finds-warning-signs-triggered-2014-fort/story?id=28436047
- Chattanooga, TN, 16 July 2015: Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized American citizen born in Kuwait to “strict, conservative Muslim” Palestinian-Jordanian parents, committed a drive-by shooting at a recruiting center, then traveled to a U.S. Navy Reserve center and continued firing, where he was killed by police in a gunfight. Four Marines died on the spot. A Navy sailor, a Marine recruiter, and a police officer were wounded; the sailor died from his injuries two days later. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/16/us/tennessee-naval-reserve-shooting
- San Bernardino, CA, 2 December 2015: 14 people were killed and 22 others were seriously injured in a terrorist attack consisting of a mass shooting and an attempted bombing at the Inland Regional Center. The perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, targeted a county training event and Christmas party, of about 80 employees, in a rented banquet room. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States. http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/04/us/san-bernardino-shooting/index.html
- Garland, TX, 3 May 2015: Elton Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi, both born-in-America citizens, attacked an event at the Curtis Culwell Center. They attacked officers with gunfire at the entrance to an exhibit featuring cartoon images of Muhammad. The attackers shot a Garland Independent School District security officer in the ankle. Shortly after the attackers pulled up and opened fire, both were shot and wounded by a police officer (who was wrongly credited with killing the two men in initial news reports), and eventually killed by four members of a SWAT team. http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/04/us/garland-mohammed-drawing-contest-shooting
- Moore, OK, 24 September 2014: Alten Nolen, an American who called himself “Jah’Keem Yisrael” on his Facebook page, attacked two employees at the Vaughan Foods food processing plant with a knife. Colleen Hufford was beheaded, while another employee, Traci Johnson, was stabbed and critically injured. Nolen was then shot and wounded by Vaughan Foods Chief Operating Officer Mark Vaughan. The attack came to national attention due to its gruesome nature, which followed a well-publicized recent series of beheadings carried out by the ISIS. Nolan had a criminal record and his Facebook page featured photos of Taliban fighters and Osama bin Laden, as well as a photo of the September 11 attacks that was captioned:”A Future Prophecy Revelation 18:8 She (The statue Of Liberty) is going into flames. She and anybody who’s with her.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/26/alton-nolan-beheads-cowor_n_5888500.html
The Bottom Line. I highlight these cases because none of them would have been thwarted by the arbitrary travel ban imposed by Pres. Trump. In two of these cases, the attacks were stopped by armed people already on the scene: an armed citizen in the case of Vaughn Foods (one fatality) and an armed security officer in the case of Garland, TX (zero fatalities). The San Bernardino, Chattanooga, and both Fort Hood shootings–one of which was not terror related–happened in areas where local or Federal law prohibits individuals from concealing a firearm for self defense and defense of others, and predictably resulted in many fatalities. In Chattanooga, Abdulazeez drove across town with police in pursuit before killing his final victim. Where the ban of people from these seven countries may save some life in the future, the Second Amendment will surely allow people to defend themselves, and not just from terror, but from any deranged killer motivated to kill in bulk. This is the vital message that has been obscured in all the smoke regarding the 27 Jan executive order.