Lone Wolf Terror – How Can We Protect Ourselves?
Here we go again. We’ve endured more terror attacks on American soil perpetrated by radicalized young Muslim men. Their faith is not mentioned here to condemn the entire Muslim religion but it is a common denominator that should not be left unspoken for fear of finger wagging from the stewards of political correctness.
In Seaside Park, New Jersey a pipe bomb suddenly disrupted the Saturday morning calm near the finish line of a 5k foot race. Later that same day, in St. Cloud Minnesota, 10 people were slashed and stabbed in crowded mall. Almost simultaneously, 1,300 miles away in a trendy New York neighborhood, a powerful bomb exploded wounding 29 people. An unexploded pressure cooker bomb (like the one detonated at the Boston Marathon) was found nearby. The next day, a pack of five pipe bombs was discovered near an Elizabeth, New Jersey train station. The unexploded bombs were located after alert citizens called police.
Investigations continue but both foreign born suspects – alleged bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami of Elizabeth, New Jersey and the knife wielding Dahir Adan of Ramsey County, Minnesota – are reported to have embraced radical Islamist ideals.
According to the federal criminal complaint against Rahami, (who was captured after a gunfight) the naturalized US citizen from Afghanistan had become a devotee of Osama bin Laden, kept a notebook of his jihadist intentions and had been planning his bombing spree for months. The FBI had been told Rahami was a suspected terrorist two years ago. He had also been flagged by U.S. Customs after returning from a yearlong stay in Pakistan. An FBI investigation found no illegalities so the case was closed.
From Minnesota, reports say Adan, a Kenya-born Somali immigrant who came to the US as a toddler, shouted out praise for Allah during his frenzied shopping mall attack and demanded to know if victims shared his Muslim faith. Adan was stopped from harming more people by an off-duty officer who fatally shot him on the spot.
These incidents won’t be the last radical Islamist terror attacks America will suffer. The bloody past is likely to be repeated.
In June 2016, The Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, was carried out by American born Muslim Omar Mateen. Mateen had been on the FBI’s radar before he killed 50 and wounded more than 50 others. During his horrific attack he called 911 to pledge allegiance to ISIS.
Last December, a married Muslim couple, American born Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani born wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out a terrorist attack against his co-workers in San Bernardino killing 14 and injuring 22 more. She posted a statement of support for ISIS right before their commando-style assault.
In November, 2009, American born Muslim, Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist and U.S. Army Major killed 13 and wounded more than 30 at Ft. Hood, Texas. Turns out a Joint Terrorism Task Force had been monitoring Hasan’s e-mail traffic with notorious imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. Hassan’s army colleagues knew of his escalating radicalization for several years but there was no intervention.
Officials in Washington may shy away from labeling these events as actual “terrorist attacks.” I see them as exactly that. And to defeat the terrorists there needs to be a unified consensus that our enemy is young, male, (radicalized) Muslim and very, very dangerous because they are not afraid to die for their blood-thirsty cause.
Under law there is just so much the FBI can do to monitor suspected terrorists. Open ended investigations are not allowed without justification. Traveling to suspect countries, speaking about jihad or buying a pressure cooker are not illegal actions. Maybe we need to give the FBI more legal lee-way in certain cases. Government agencies should, absolutely, share terrorist related intelligence. And Muslim clergy and families should be encouraged to do more to identify and anonymously report suspects within their communities.
It is up to our leaders to chart a course of action because, clearly, what’s currently being done isn’t working. What do the presidential candidates suggest?
In a nutshell, Donald Trump has backed off his idea to stop all Muslims from entering the U.S. and now proposes a temporarily ban on all immigration from countries known to be breeding grounds for terrorism. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria to name three. He also backs swift and strong military measures against ISIS.
Hillary Clinton supports a nationwide, community based system of early warning programs which enlists imams, teachers, coaches, physicians and others to counter violent extremism in their neighborhoods. She suggests technology companies take radical speech off social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. And she has pledged that no additional American boots will be sent to ISIS hot spots.
Which is the best approach? You get to decide come November.