Petula Dvorak's political commentary is as illuminating three blind men holding parts of a metaphorical elephant, each claiming the rump, leg or trunk is the whole animal. In this post-911 world, she objects to the sensible Department of Homeland Security motto: “If you see something [suspicious], say something [to law enforcement].” As our free society is geographically vast—and no one would want to live in a “1984” style police state—it makes sense that everyday citizens' eyeballs be enlisted. This is no different from the inherent value of any neighborhood watch.
Hers is a philosophical objection, tortured reasoning that assumes the worst of profiling. As any beat cop will explain such observations are a highly effective method to deter wrongdoing. Indeed, logically, who is likely to commit crime or terrorism? Should the focus be on aged, gray haired grandfathers? How about young mothers and their broods? Or is a better bet the flood of law-violating migrant gangbangers from the U.S.-Mexico border with no prospects and no allegiance to our country? Just because such judgments are stereotypes doesn't mean there aren't kernels of truth worth consideration especially when innocent lives hang in the balance.
Ms. Dvorak's knee-jerk reaction is a political third rail: assumed Islamophobia by police and/or the public regarding swarthy-looking individuals who speak in unrecognized, foreign tongues. Her example is a University of California, Berkeley student Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, 26, who made an innocent last minute phone call in Arabic. It was a personal call to an uncle before takeoff, but a fellow passenger sitting nearby became afraid. As a result, Mr. Makhzoomi was booted off a recent Southwest Airlines flight and questioned by authorities. It was a mistake—and no doubt a hassle—but the needs of the many in this situation must outweigh the needs of the one. Naturally, Ms. Dvorak is intentionally oblivious to 21st century realities that radical Islam confers. She assumes the worst of authorities, a groundless 1960s style discrimination, brown skin rather than black. However, in today's world issues are more complicated than the civil rights time warp between her ears. It's more than simple cultural misunderstandings or skin-deep prejudices she misconstrues in her divisive column.
In her superficiality, Ms. Dvorak could not resist the temptation to revisit the subject of teen hoaxer Ahmed Mohammad (better known by his internet nickname “clock boy”), now a resident of totalitarian Qatar. Then 14, in Irving, Texas, the middle school student took it “upon himself” to bring a dissembled, wires-exposed clock to school. Closer to the truth one suspects his media-seeking Imam Sudanese father likely put him up to this little stunt of virtual terror. As evidence, well beyond his tender years (and as skillfully as any progressive politician), Ahmed shifted blame from his wrongdoing. He used his 15 minutes of fame to also claim victimization and Islamophobia.
Using the Dvorak crystal ball, this half-wit nonsensically wants something said only when something is “sure,” but by definition, nothing in the real world is ever certain before it is investigated.
Consider the alternative if nothing had been reported or investigated by those wrongly cowed by political correctness. Imagine the public outrage if Ahmed's clock had been a bomb that caused another Sandy Hook? What of the potential grieving families if the plane crashed and Mr. Makhzoomi had been a terrorist collaborator? Unfortunately, scenarios of this type are not purely hypothetical. On November 5, 2009, in central Texas at Fort Hood, a homegrown U.S. Army officer Major Nidal Hasan went on a shooting rampage. He murdered 13 and wounding more than 30 others—most of them unarmed fellow soldiers. Also shocking, he's a medical doctor (specifically a psychiatrist), duty bound by profession to preserve life not take it. Instead, at a processing center armed with a semi-automatic pistol, he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is great”) and opened fire. The massacre lasted 10 minutes before he was subdued by civilian police. This is precisely what happens when people close their eyes to latent trouble.
Per a Congressional review, Major Hasan's superiors were concerned about his pattern of erratic behavior. Further, they suspected he had become radicalized. However, these legitimate suspicions did not prevent him from being transferred and promoted. His bosses feared being labeled Islamophobes. They saw many “somethings.” If they did say anything, it was not forceful enough. Their lack of vigilance cost lives in historically the worst mass murder at a U.S. military installation. As patriot Ben Franklin said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (The scribbler Dvorak should heed such sage advice.) In any case, related to Mr. Makhzoomi and “clock boy,” both observers and law enforcement made the right call: public safety must always trump individual inconvenience that zealousness causes.
While the occasional nutcase is a Christian zealot like Dylann Roof, the lion's share of worldwide mass murders are Islamic from the falling of the twin towers to more recently Paris and Brussels. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “We find ourselves in a new phase in the global terrorist threat, which requires a new . . . type of response,” in the Detroit Free Press. In practical terms, that logically translates into greater attention paid to certain segments of our society rather than others. Therefore, Muslims (same as non-Muslims targeted by radical Islam) should understand the necessity for additional scrutiny. It's not personal, it's simply “the way of the world.” Yet, tellingly, where are the marches protesting the violence committed in the name of their “peaceful” religion? Where are the leaders of Islam publicly disavowing radicalization?
The reality is that the American people need to use their peepers because we don't hear a “peep” out of peace-loving Muslims. Just because they turn a collective blind eye to the butchery committed by their fellows doesn't mean Westerners should make the same choice. In this regard, progressives who criticize those who act in good faith to curtail potential terrorist acts should be disregarded as the psychological cowards and immoral dupes they are.