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My slightly edited response to the New York Times front-page editorial:
All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murders might have been prevented through improved gun laws. That is right and proper.
But new gun legislation does not matter to the dead in California, nor did it in Chattanooga, Boston, Garland, Fort Hood, New York City and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on platitudes and political correctness, excusing an ideology dedicated to the unfettered spread of ever more deadly terror attacks.
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that Islamists can commit acts designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are acts of war, barely concealed and deliberately promoted as tools of religious intolerance and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for jihad’s victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on radical Islam, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about gun control. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, violent crime.
Apologists for Islamism are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific terrorist. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective terror prevention. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers launched attacks illegally in places like Israel that do have aggressive profiling of potential terrorists. Yes, they did.
But at least that country is trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating special hate speech protections for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of terrorist attacks, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large numbers of Islamist radicals.
It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Constitution. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.
Certain kinds of Islamists, like the poorly vetted killers in California, and certain kinds of jihadist activity, must be outlawed to protect civilians. It is possible to define those people in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who tolerate those kinds of people to stop making excuses for the good of their fellow citizens.
What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?