Sometimes I wonder why I do not, here at W4, more meticulously record the various jihad terrorist attacks in the West. I missed one last week. Maybe one just gets bored, because the pattern is so repetitive. Maybe I'm also bored at the prospect of possibly having to argue again with liberal readers that, yes, it is about Islam. Yes, this is a pattern. Yes, the religion is the problem.
Before I try to say something a little more interesting about Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's murderous rampage in Ottawa than, "Ho-hum, another day, another Muslim terrorist attack in the West," let me just mention a few statistical points to bear in mind at all times when the Usual Suspects say the Usual Things:
--From "Not all Muslims are terrorists" it does not follow that "Not all terrorists are Muslims." Not, mind you, that I am saying that all terrorists are Muslims, especially throughout history. But even if they were, that would still be consistent with, "Not all Muslims are terrorists." What is true is that right now a disproportionate percentage of people carrying out terrorist attacks in the Western world are Muslims.
--Related: From "Most Muslims are not terrorists" we cannot infer that it is not the case that Muslims are terrorists in numbers vastly disproportionate to their representation in the population.
--From "Most Muslims are not terrorists" we cannot infer that it is not the case that a disturbingly high proportion of Muslims in the West have terrorist sympathies. See this survey, for example.
--From "Most Muslims are not terrorists" we cannot infer that a disturbingly high proportion of Muslims do not support sharia, which is not the same thing as terrorism. This survey, again, is relevant.
Okay, with that all said, what about Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who murdered Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the war memorial in Ottawa and then went on a shooting spree in the Parliament building? One point that immediately springs to mind is that he was already being watched by the Canadian government as an extremist. The Canadian government had apparently blocked his passport so that he could not travel abroad and join ISIS.
I think we need to think about this. Is this policy somewhat backward? It seems to show a greater concern for preventing homegrown Muslim terrorists from doing harm abroad than preventing them from doing harm in the West. It also raises interesting questions about civil rights. Should it be so easy to block someone from traveling? If there was enough information to prevent him from traveling, hadn't Michael Zehaf-Bibeau broken any laws, such that he could be put behind bars and prevented from murdering people? Would it have been better to let him go abroad? Do we really want to put ourselves in the bizarre position of deliberately keeping potential terrorists in the West but without grounds to imprison them? The result of this sort of policy seems to be more potential terrorists walking about free as birds on Western streets! Unless, I suppose, they do enough of their planning in a way that investigators happen to intercept and can arrest them for. A smart loner who keeps his mouth shut about his specific plans seems to be unstoppable, legally, so why do we want him around?
It may be that there is something I am missing here, but it seems to me that we should have better policies. Perhaps our own Paul Cella's jihad sedition law suggestion would work here in either the U.S. or Canada. Someone like Zehaf-Bibeau might run afoul of that and be able to be stopped more effectively, without the civil rights concerns that would quite understandably arise from allowing anyone to be arrested for being a "religious extremist."
What do readers think?