We’re going to learn a lot more about Ahmad Khan Rahami in the coming days, Save Jerseyans, the 28-year-old Afghanistan native and naturalized U.S. citizen who, on Monday, was apprehended by Linden, New Jersey police after a dramatic, movie-quality running gun battle.
That confrontation resulted from a massive regional manhunt for Rahami; he’s believed to be the mastermind (or maybe only the button man?) behind bombings in Elizabeth, New Jersey and the Chelsea neighborhood of New York.
Whatever we learn NEEDS to lead to some even tougher questions as Americans prepare to select a new president in seven weeks. A lot of lives are depending on it.
This state lost far more lives on September 11, 2001 but that disaster struck on the other side of the river. Terrorism is no longer something that happens elsewhere. It just happened in one of our largest cities AND a peaceful, out-of-the-way Jersey Shore community. There’s no hiding from it.
What we do know as of this writing? Rahami may’ve naturalized but he never assimilated. He’s been back to Afghanistan numerous times before his terrorist coming-out, and I’m betting that those weren’t purely social visits in light of the past few days’ events. His family-owned fried chicken restaurant sued Elizabeth back in 2011 after Rahami’s clan accused the city’s police force of discriminating against them on the basis of their Islamic affiliation/beliefs.
Authorities aren’t sure if he was a “lone wolf” actor or part of a larger ISIS-inspired cell.
Either way, we also know that the problem Rahami represents isn’t isolated to Rahami, and simply building a wall won’t matter worth a damn. America’s most successful terrorist criminals aren’t sneaking into the country.
CNN’s Peter Bergen noted back in June how “Every lethal terrorist attack in the United States in the past decade and a half has been carried out by American citizens or legal permanent residents, operating either as lone wolves or in pairs, who have no formal connections or training from terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda or ISIS.”
What’s more, coincidentally, we found out on Monday that our U.S. government mistakenly granted citizenship to approximately 858 immigrants who either (1) came here from ‘countries of concern’ or (2) are known to have elevated rates of immigration fraud.
The wolves didn’t break into the hen house, folks.
Uncle Sam invited them in.
And while we can’t assume that every immigrant from a Middle Eastern country is a current or future terrorist, a good number of these individuals are coming to use from countries where the federal government’s much-cited 13-point check matters for little because we don’t have reliable intelligence in the countries/regions of origin.
Those immigrants include the 53 brand new residents of New Jersey who came here from Afghanistan in 2016 (as of June).
Remember how everyone in the Harry Potter books was afraid to utter Voldemort’s name? The Left has the same issue with ‘Islamic Terrorism.’ You can’t ignore evil and hope it goes away. Hillary Clinton is trying anyway; she attacked Trump for calling the NJ-NY attacks ‘bombings’ in her most recent remarks! President Obama, true to form, didn’t even use the word terrorism in his Monday morning address to the nation.
The problem for those of us who are mature, sane adults and acknowledge the problem at hand (specifically, a fundamentalist Islamic culture that’s values haven’t evolved beyond the Bronze Age) is what to do next.
Politicians will primarily focus on law enforcement ‘answers’ because they’re easy.
There’s nothing easy about what should come next.
Yes, we can (and should) freeze immigration from any country where we lack reliable intelligence partners including Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan among others.
Nothing about what I just said is racist. Human beings have an entitlement to equal rights; that doesn’t mean all cultures are creating equal. More on that below.
The courts will never let the states do it themselves; we need a Republican Congress to act pursuant to Article I, Section 8, and and a Republican president who won’t frustrate that Congress’s plenary immigration power with extra-constitutional executive orders.
However, since this particular enemy is a largely homegrown phenomenon, we also need to abandon political correctness and re-prioritize assimilation over multicultural gobbledygook.
This is the tougher nut to crack but growing up isn’t easy. American citizenship is unique in that it isn’t based on nationality, race, or geography; Americans are united in their embrace of constitutional ideas. We can (and have) accommodated diversity in religious and cultural practices, but if our schools and other public institutions continue to pretend things uniformity of language, respect for U.S. civics and yes, constitutionally-embodied principles don’t matter, socio-economic and cultural alienation will leave increasingly larger numbers of new emigres feeling estranged and, ultimately, vulnerable to radicalization.
New Jersey remains especially vulnerable in this scenario. This state – along with neighboring New York City – remains the nation’s biggest melting pot.
If the melting pot remains broken?
It won’t be long before this state chokes to death on a bitter Rahami stew.