In a blog earlier this week on gun control, I was critical of all the investigation into the background and motives of the two San Bernardino terrorists. I wanted solutions, not explanations. My impatience was misplaced. The value of all of this investigation, recently well summarized in the Los Angeles Times, has served to constructively reveal how ill-prepared our country is for this kind of “low profile” terrorism. And at least some of the steps we must now take to level the playing field. Quickly.
The San Bernardino killers were radicalized before they married and before ISIS even formally existed. Her k-1 marriage visa contained a false address that conveniently concealed her true address that would have revealed radical family ties. Several years ago, he was associated with persons in Chino previously convicted of a terrorist plot to kill Americans in Afghanistan.
U.S. authorities initially missed all of this.
It turns out her k-1 application may have been fabricated by foreign terrorist organizations specifically to seed her in the U.S. for terrorist purposes. Several hundred thousand k-1 visa applications were granted at about the same time. Only 20% of these applications were denied.
With the advantage of hindsight, several observations can be drawn from this recently revealed additional intelligence:
1. Our entry system is way too lax and porous.
2. There can no longer be any genuine doubt that the 20,000 Syrian refugees that are to be admitted into the United States will include some number of foreign terrorists pretending to be refugees who will escape detection, just like she did. We can stick to our historically compassionate attitude to open our shores and borders, and then explain to the grieving families of the next wave of victims how our naïve compassion allowed the admission of still more terrorists than are already here.
3. U.S. authorities are foolishly releasing this newly acquired intelligence to the public, which will only alert foreign terrorists still seeking admission to be subtler and more covert. The ONLY real justification for doing this is to educate our liberal do-gooders as to why their attitudes must change–for the safety of their children and grandchildren, if not themselves.
4. It seems apparent that all admissions over, say, the past five years–numbering hundreds of thousands–need to be re-vetted with much greater discipline and diligence. One can only wonder how many of these persons have gone to ground and disappeared? They must be found. Where warranted, they must be deported. Can this actually be achieved? Watching the investigative skills of the FBI following the San Bernardino catastrophe, I think it can be. Of course, I’m just a volunteer backseat driver.
5. We need to substantially clamp down on future admissions, whether by visas, visa waivers or refugee admissions.
6. Can anyone still rationally doubt that a gun licensing AND vetting program must be instituted AND that semi-automatic weapons must be outlawed without ANY exceptions AND that ALL purchases of such weapons for at least the past five years, if not longer, must be traced and confiscated (and justly compensated at least to the extent required under Constitutional principles)? This won’t be perfect, we won’t bat 100%, but that is no excuse not to do the very best we can. This will decrease the “ability” (give me a break!) of “we the people” to defend ourselves against government coups and high profile military terrorists and organized crime, but the odds of success of such amateur heroics are modest (and frankly I think our government has demonstrated that it is reasonably well up to the task of identifying and defeating high profile terrorist endeavors before they really get off the ground) compared to the certainty that there will be more low profile terrorist attacks like the one that occurred last week in San Bernardino. Those are the terrorist attacks that presently seem to be the most difficult to identify and address before it’s too late. Could the low profile San Bernardino terrorists have obtained their assault weapons (from their neighbor now revealed to be a relative by marriage) had these protections been in place? Maybe, but maybe not. Sure, some other low profile terrorists will procure their weapons nonetheless, BUT NOT AS MANY AS CAN EASILY DO SO AT PRESENT.
7. Be realistic. Please. Which scares you more, takeovers of our way of life by our government or organized crime if we the people are not armed with guns to resist that or the occurrence of more San Bernardino tragedies when guns are too easily obtained (now that we have learned with the advantage of hindsight what we could/should have learned before San Bernardino occurred)? While the liberals are the naïve and misguided problem on porous admissions into our country, the conservatives are the naïve and misguided problem when it comes to necessary gun control reform.
8. Between the liberals and the conservatives, we are killing ourselves, literally.
An equal opportunity critic, I have now managed to criticize and alienate everyone. It’s a tough job, but . . . . That’s okay; I’m not running for office, I’m not looking for a job, and I’m not trying to win any popularity contests. What I am trying to do is encourage peaceful, rational and constructive dialogue. We desperately need some of that. Right now, what we have is too much . . . nothing. If you listen carefully, you can actually hear it. All the . . . silence.
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