“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.” Brian Kilmeade, Fox and Friends, Oct. 15, 2010
“I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Dylann Roof, Charleston shooter, June 17, 2015
Two major issues in the current presidential campaign are immigration and terrorism. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has proposed some solutions. To keep Mexican immigrants out, build a wall. To keep Islamic terrorists out, ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.
Forget that neither of these will ever happen. The wall would be too complex, expensive, and ultimately ineffective. Banning Muslims is unconstitutional. Even if these were allowed, would they keep us safe? Whom should we be excluding from our country to stop attacks by terrorists and others?
On July 1, 2015, Kate Steinle was shot and killed in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a criminal who had been deported five times. This was a terrible crime, but not a unique one. Americans have been shooting other Americans for quite awhile. However, since this murderer was an undocumented immigrant, immigration opponents have seized on this crime as an example of why we should deport 11 million undocumented people.
In reality, several studies using a variety of methodologies have shown that immigrants are less likely than native-born Americans to commit crimes. Most undocumented people don’t commit crimes, since they want to keep a low profile. But that fact won’t gain Trump any voters. He has to insist that undocumented immigrants are rapists and murders, in order to keep his followers in a state of constant anger.
How about all those terrorist attacks? Aren’t Americans being massacred at record rates by foreign-backed terrorists? Since 9/11, there have been ten terrorist incidents by so-called jihadists, including the Boston bombing, San Bernardino, and Orlando. A total of 95 people were killed, with many injured.
During that same time period, there were over 30 terrorist incidents perpetrated by American born, non-immigrant, non-Muslim white men, with over 100 people killed. There are far too many to list here, but a few examples follow.
On June 10, 2009, neo-Nazi James von Brunn entered the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He killed a security guard before being stopped by two other guards.
On Feb. 18, 2010, Andrew Joseph Stack III crashed his single-engine light aircraft into the IRS offices in Austin, Texas, killing himself and an IRS manager. Thirteen others were injured.
On Jan. 8, 2011, Jared Loughner killed six people in a parking lot in Tucson, Ariz., and injured 14, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
On July 20, 2012, James Holmes killed 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., injuring dozens more.
On Aug. 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page killed six members of a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis. and injured four. He was later killed.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adult staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
On April 13, 2014, KKK member Frazier Glenn Miller killed two people at a Jewish Community Center near Kansas City, Mo., then killed a third person at a Jewish retirement home. He wanted to kill Jews; all three victims were Christians.
On June 8, 2014, anti-government extremists Jerad and Amanda Miller killed two policemen in a restaurant in Las Vegas, Nev., and then killed an armed civilian. The shooters both died at the scene.
On June 17, 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black people at a Bible study in Charleston, S.C.
On Nov. 27, 2015, Robert Dear, Jr., attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., calling himself “a warrior for the babies.” He killed three people and injured nine.
One man commits murder, and all undocumented immigrants are rapists and murderers. An American born, mentally unstable Muslim man commits a terrible hate crime, and all Muslims should be banned. Attack after attack is committed by American-born white men, and apparently that’s acceptable. How does this make sense? And if you disagree that these were acts of terrorism, imagine if Muslims had perpetrated the above crimes. What would the headlines be screaming then?
Unless we plan to deport all American-born white men, we need to work on identifying and preventing hate crimes no matter who commits them. Blaming everyone for the actions of a few is lazy, bigoted, scare-mongering and solves nothing. Shouldn’t we be better than that?
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at email@example.com.