Friday, November 20, 2015

Paris Attacks: One Hundred Dead, Ten Thousand Homeless

Appomattox, VA – It has often been stated that when a horrific event happens, 9/11, the death of John F. Kennedy, Pearl Harbor, you remember the very place you were. For me, on Friday the Thirteenth of November, I was about to watch Batman Begins again when I checked the news for one last time…and I never did end up watching the film that night.
The Paris Attacks, like a shock wave, have vibrated round the world. The responses from the Western World were quick, as all of us hastened to change our Facebook images to French flags and everywhere from DC to Chicago to London-the ancient enemy of France, hastened to light up its monuments in the red, white, and blue of the French tricolor.
In the world of the barbarians, sometimes called radical Islamic Terrorism, the response was one of jubilation almost bordering on euphoria because they had done something only an animal (and I apologize to rats for equating them with terrorists) would find any pleasure in.
But the question is, how should our continuing response be measured? Anonymous, the online hacking group has initiated cyber war on ISIS, shutting down twitter accounts and hacking their bank accounts, and Britain’s next Prime Minister, George Osborne, has promised to do the same. France has taken the wise step of closing its borders, and of course all the other European Countries should do the same.  For too long insufficient border controls and a fear of being seen as racist stopped many from speaking out about the unspeakable crime of open borders. But hopefully these horrific acts in Paris will stop this trend and open the eyes of the world that the next time terrorists come through open borders, either through Mexico or Luxemburg, and the target could be Chicago or Brussels.
In America, anyone who may have been oscillating in the old fashioned isolationist or leftist positions of not continuing the war on terror have now been silenced for a few more years at least, Politico underscoring this with its headline article “On Terrorism, we are all Right Wingers now.”
But of course, here in America the most important question is not only how we will close our southern border to keep members of ISIS, who have already threatened to attack DC and New York out, but also what will we do with the 10,000 refugees that our president has promised to bring in, in the first wave of a mass migration a quarter of a million strong. The vast majority would be Syrians, many of them young men, coming from a nation torn by civil war and rife with terrorists and extremist Muslim propaganda.
Some have said let none of them in, some have said let them all in. Some have said let a few in, as long as they are Christian. The last one is of course not an option. Not only would it be a knee jerk reaction to this crisis, and a poor reaction at that, in a practical sense it would be an impossible proposition. Who decides who is Christian? How do we know if they are lying? It’s all nonsense.
For the moment, this wave of ten thousand refugees are perhaps the ones the most affected by ISIS’s acts of terror outside of the immediate friends and family of those who were murdered of wounded, which is ironic, because supposedly Muslims and non-westerners are supposed to be the very ones they are supposed to be fighting to protect.
Over thirty governors have so far said they want no part of the refugees, while everyone from Mitt Romney to Ted Cruz, and even a few Democrats have said that the refugees must not be allowed in.
Whichever side one takes in this debate, it cannot be denied that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. These people should not be left in limbo. A yes or no answer needs to be returned very soon. Our leaders must think through this very carefully. If the answer is yes then stringent background checks must be put in place that are more searching than the test to become Caesar’s wife. If the answer is no, we must stand by that answer, and explain to the world that we would love to take in innocent refugees, but since there could very well be wolves amongst the sheep, we can’t take anyone. And if we do return that answer, we need to stand by it, all angry charity groups or the UN itself to the contrary.
And one last thing, the president needs to stop talking. So far his pronouncements on this subject have not been helpful or constructive. He is saying the first thing that comes to his mind, and most of it isn’t any good. His calling anyone who doesn’t want the refugees here “hysterical” is ridiculous, a hundred people just got killed, and one of the murderers was reportedly a refugee. And his mocking of those who don’t want them here as “afraid of little girls” is shameful. It wasn’t a little girl that blew herself up in Paris.
Pray for Paris, and for our president, that he would start using wisdom before he opens his mouth; honestly, what happened to all that bipartisan discretion he exercised in 2008 when he first ran for the presidency? At this rate he will be labeled the Democratic Donald Trump.
But all of that aside, the terrorist attacks have now left 10,000 people in limbo, and we need to come up with an answer. But whatever that answer is, it must not put our compassion ahead of our security.

Andrew C. Abbott

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