Threats

As I read this Atlantic interview of Chris Christie by Jeffrey Goldberg, it made me start thinking about threats. My thought process must be very different from that of most Americans. There’s a long list of countries and organizations I just don’t think are meaningful threats to us.

DAESH. Iran. Russia. China. Yes, even in the light of the San Bernardino murders I don’t think that DAESH is a meaningful threat to us.

That’s not to say that I think there are no meaningful threats but they’re not global ones, not institutional ones. They’re individuals and you can’t even get into a meaningful discussion of the subject without making people squirm, many to the point where they object.

Let’s look at risk factors. I don’t see how you can look at the San Bernardino or Fort Hood cases and not come to the conclusion that Muslims are risks. To me that’s not the question. The question is how great a risk and whether the risks can be mitigated.

More risk factors. Travel in certain high risk countries (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc.)

Mental illness. Anomie. There’s a strong streak of what for lack of a better word we might call “anomic violence” that subsumes the murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Aurora shooting, the Colorado Springs shooting, maybe the San Bernardino murders, too. Some of these risk factors stack up.

Sure, the availability of firearms is a risk factor. I don’t see a meaningful way of mitigating the risk. It’s a great way of signalling virtue, though.

What are some other risk factors?

I also think of that old MAD Magazine joke.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by hostile Indians.

Lone Ranger: Well, Tonto, it looks we’re not going to get out of this one.

Tonto: What you mean “we”, white man?

Not every threat to Israel or Germany is a threat to the United States. Or not a threat that presents the same level of risk.

15 comments… add one
  • G. Shambler

    I guess that the Obama administrations idea of dealing with Islamic violence is to pretend, insist, that it is an aberration, not a central facet of the religion. That’s not how we handled the Branch Davidians. Difference being, numbers. One point one billion Muslims. Can’t kill’em all. Also, Obama has life experience with peaceful Muslims. So, say Islam is the religion of peace enough times, over years, guess that’s Bama’s plan.

  • PD Shaw

    I very much enjoyed reading that interview, interesting and amusing. One thing Christie offered-up that I think would be useful if it happened more often was conveying a sense of priorities. For him, Iran more important than Syria more important than Assad. I’m not aware of interviewers asking this type of question directly, and I’m sure politicians are reluctant to answer it. Politicians have a set of policy issues they campaign on that they believe are popular, and they don’t want to lose that advantage with abstract relative valuations. The other way to interpret the interview is Christie has a set of issues that are primarily for anti-Obama purposes and another which he believes are important.

  • PD Shaw

    On Dave’s more philosophical point, I am a realist informed by American history, foreign attacks on the U.S. will result in an expended governmental response. The burning of Washington in the War of 1812, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks are the best examples of events that would change American conceptions of the role of government.

    The terrorist attacks in San Bernardino will result in governmental responses. Tactically, one could propose something that is unlikely to happen or help, like repeal the Second Amendment or require Muslims to register with a new division of the Department of Homeland Security for evaluation. But the reality is that there are plans for expanding U.S. involvement overseas and for greater surveillance at home that already exist and the cost-benefit of these has moved in their favor. Which options are the best investment? Which are most likely to be favored by voters?

  • bob sykes

    The greatest source of violence in the US is the black and Hipanic male underclass. They kill thousands more than Muslim terrorists yet no one is proposing any systematic action to suppress their violence. Of course they are carefully segregated, and very few of their victims are White.

  • Which options are the best investment? Which are most likely to be favored by voters?

    And which are likely to mitigate risks rather than increasing them?

  • The greatest source of violence in the US is the black and Hipanic male underclass.

    According to the FBI, the homicide rate among Hispanics and whites is roughly comparable. The homicide rate among rural blacks is about the same as among rural whites.

    The big difference is between urban blacks and all other groups. The homicide rate among urban blacks is a multiple.

  • steve

    “So, say Islam is the religion of peace enough times, over years, guess that’s Bama’s plan.”

    And yours would be to kill 1.1 billion people who mostly leave us alone? Be real. What credible plan do you have to stop a couple of people from taking their guns and killing people?

    “The homicide rate among urban blacks is a multiple.”

    Mostly by people with prior criminal records. A lot of it is gangs and drugs, but a lot is just being a criminal and killing is a part of the culture.

    Steve

  • Guarneri

    You seem a bit testy, steve. What’s wrong, a bit of a “nuisance” occur?

  • Guarneri

    “So, say Islam is the religion of peace enough times, over years, guess that’s Bama’s plan.”

    Naw. Announce in his weekly radio address that maybe (maybe!) we have terrorism occurring, while proposing more gun control. That plus a carbon tax and we can all sleep like babies. I think we have to assume that control of multi-automatic round weapons will be integral to the plan. Square ones, too.

    BTW – there is no truth to the rumor that Rahm called him up to propose a blue ribbon panel. However, it IS true that Hillary, wanting to steer clear of all things foreign policy, is an advocate of billions for free tuition, free abortion and free beer.

    I’m feeling safer already.

  • ...

    Not free beer, free birth control. Beer, especially free beer, is that complete opposite of birth control.

  • PD Shaw

    Part of Christie’s interview that should be read:

    “These folks [Muslims] are Americans and they’re going to say that they’re at as much risk as anyone else. They’re going to want to help. This is what happened post-9/11. After 9/11 we were getting more intel out of mosques than anywhere else, from mainstream members of mosques. . . . [T]here is a motivation on the part of the American Muslim community, a law-abiding, mainstream community to say, “We know how easy it is to get painted by the same brush, and we’re going to try to help you make sure another attack doesn’t happen.””

  • steve

    “You seem a bit testy, steve.”

    The stupidity. It burns.

    PD- That pretty seals Christie not winning the nomination. We either get word salad (see Drew) or stupidity. We aren’t going to kill a billion Muslims, or even the few million here. We aren’t going to take everyone’s guns away. We could try to improve our intel capability, but calling all Muslims evil isn’t likely to help that effort. Even acknowledging that, like Christie has just done, is anathema to most of the right.

    Steve

  • We aren’t going to take everyone’s guns away. We could try to improve our intel capability, but calling all Muslims evil isn’t likely to help that effort.

    Yeah, that’s about right. Nobody is in much mood for intelligent discussions or assessments right about now.

  • G. Shambler

    Steve,
    It’s not really the terror attacks that bother me the most. I know, how cold is that? I think the terror attacks are a deliberate effort to affect mindless military responses that aid ISIS recruiting in the ME. While we focus attention there, groups like CAIR infiltrate the upper levels of our government, (Huma Abedeen), college’s, high schools, grade schools, and even our own minds with propaganda equivocating Islam with race and racial diversity and other things we dare not oppose in polite company.
    Well, I will say it. Islam is not compatible with western values and mores, and when and where they arrive in sufficient numbers to outvote you THEY will make this clear. And it will be too late.

  • It seems to me that there’s a distinction between theoretical Islam which is benign and “Islam which is the way we do things back in the Old Country” which is perfectly legitimate for Americans to reject, oppose, and want to toss out of this country. Honor killings, female circumcision, and the subjugation of women are all pre-Islamic practices which lots of Muslims apparently associate with Islam.

Leave a Comment