By Seth Tamarkin, Contributing Writer
CNN reported last week that a man killed eight people when he slammed a rental pick-up truck into a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York.
Since then, 28 people have been murdered in mass shootings in the United States. So, what makes this vehicle ramming any more prevalent than the other mass murders that Americans are now accustomed to daily? The answer is that, unlike the other massacres this past year, the suspect Sayfullo Saipov explicitly stated that the attack was done for ISIS after pledging allegiance to them. After months of fear-mongering that radical Islamic terrorists would attack the nation, Republicans finally had some credence to that theory.
Yet, amongst all the ideas Republicans have pitched to make all Muslims look like terrorists, like Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were cheering as the World Trade Center collapsed, they never bothered to come up with practical resolutions to solve the issue. If the GOP really is keen on eliminating Islamic terrorism, there are rational alternatives to banning every single Muslim from the Land of the Free.
One idea is for the Trump administration to tone down its harsh rhetoric. No recruitment method is easier for Islamic terrorist groups than showing proof that Americans really do want to wage war on Muslims. A few months ago, Politifact published a report noting how multiple terrorist organizations were quoting Trump’s worst claims about Islam as recruitment tools. Just like how the numerous clips of ISIS saying “Death to America” could inspire disillusioned Americans to assault a Muslim, Trump shrieking that “Brussels was one of the greatest cities” before Muslim refugees immigrated there can have the same effect to millions of disillusioned Muslims.
Another plan for stopping Islamic terrorism in the United States is to reframe the argument in the first place. For years, America has prided itself on its stringent vetting system, making the President’s urge for “extreme vetting” puzzling.
At the height of the Syrian Civil War, for example, CBS reported that it took a full two years to verify a Syrian refugee and allow them refuge in the USA. Each refugee went through so much vetting that even their irises were scanned to establish their identity.
Unless ISIS has invented a way to change their iris, the vetting system seems to have worked pretty well. How well? There have literally been no fatal terrorist attacks since the framework for allowing refugees in the U.S. was established in 1980. Saipov had been a citizen for years, so there is no basis in blaming all immigrants for the actions of one.
A huge root of Islamic terrorism in Europe is due to the extremely lax immigration policies. On the other hand, America’s immigration system is much more complex.
Therefore, the issue the United States has run into as far as terrorism attacks isn’t that they’re ISIS affiliated. Instead, the attacks Americans face are typically lone wolfs with access to assault weapons. Common sense gun control such as stronger background checks, banning the “gun show loophole” allowing private dealers to sell guns without a license, and banning bump stocks like Massachusetts has done are obvious and ideal ways to curb all terrorism, not just Islamic.
A nation like the United States has been the beacon of hope for immigrants around the world for decades. Compromising our image as the land of the free ultimately discredits the melting pot that made America great in the first place.
Instead of focusing on policies that blatantly attack specific ethnicities and religions, it would serve our best interests to ban utilities that allow lone wolf terrorists to thrive in the United States, regardless of their skin color.