While it defies any rational logic to imagine that Americans were growing complacent about the threat of Islamic terrorism, the attacks in Paris proved that had happened. So while it’s encouraging to see that at least a few of our nation’s politicians appear to have awakened from hibernation, it’s sad to think that it took (another) tragedy like this to get their attention. Also sad to see so many of them still snoozing away.
But let’s look on the bright side. At least we’re finally hearing something, somewhere, that sounds like common sense.
Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan has abruptly changed his mind about how many Syrian refugees the Obama administration should dump in his state. After preaching the virtues of acceptance for a long while, Snyder finally seems to recognize what’s important.
“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder said. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”
Over the past year, approximately 2,000 refugees have been relocated to Michigan. 200 or so were from Syria. Snyder said that his state would accept no more until the Department of Homeland Security beefed up the screening process.
In Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley appeared less conflicted. “After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris,” he said, “I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”
Appearing on ABC this weekend, Senator Marco Rubio indicated that simply demanding a better screening process wasn’t enough to separate the good refugees from the bad. “The problem is not the background checks,” he said. “There is no background check system in the world that allows us to find that out because who do you call in Syria to background check them?”
Hey, yeah, that’s a good point.
Even if there were, though, why would we take the chance? It took only eight individuals to kill more than 100 people last Friday. It took only 19 people to bring down the World Trade Center. Are we so sure about our screening processes that we’re confident we won’t let just 19 bad apples in among the 10,000 good ones? Or just eight? Or just one, with the charisma and intellect to turn others to his cause?
Or what if all of them were clean, to a certainty? And what if, upon arriving in a country with a drastically different culture, they draw the only comfort they can from their holy book? And what if they begin to realize, slowly, that they aren’t just uncomfortable with their Western surroundings, they actively hate them? And what if there was an ideology waiting for them – a little tweak on what they already believe – that told them that the only way they were going to find peace was through slaughter?
Is it so selfish to want our friends and family to be safe? If it is, then hooray for selfishness.