Sunday, June 12, 2016

Stopping Terrorism AND (not OR) Gun Control

Despite being at the danger of participating in a political discourse while facts are still surfacing, one has to engage in the explosive politics of the tragic Orlando Massacre since 'memes' are getting formed in these early days; narratives are getting shaped with longer term consequences. The omnipresent background of the 2016 election campaign is invariably going to skew the debate. But as we mourn the loss of lives, in these early hours we still need to engage in getting certain things right.

Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake made early statements in this debate while juxtaposing whether it is the 'terrorism' debate or 'gun control debate'. I am not clear whether his statements are to be understood as 'advocacy of either or' or 'both'. Regardless, the unfolding facts and the logic of events are essentially going to force America to consider 'both these aspects simultaneously'. 

With ISIL taking the credit for killings, the killer having been on radar of FBI for terror links and his explicit expression of allegiance before the killing; 'terror motives' are very evident in this case. Donald Trump asks 'when is it going to stop?' implying that it will stop when he is in the Oval Office. Let us see what do our logic tells here:

There are 2 ways the tragedy could have been avoided:
- FIB or law enforcement authorities catch him before the killings or
- the killer finds it hard to get means to pull off the mayhem; in this case the automatic assault rifle.

Donald Trump may think creating a new internment for Muslims in this country may address the issue. But America does not want to repeat the sordid chapter of Japanese internment again for another community. It is immoral, unconstitutional and simply more ammunition to Islamic extremists making it difficult for majority peace loving Muslims all over the world to separate out terrorists who misuse Islam

That brings us to profiling of Muslim as 'at danger' people for gun ownership. And that is where American political system can find an opening, if it is availed carefully. No sane Congress member would allow 'profiling of Americans' based on religion. If determination of 'at terror risk' to prevent purchase of guns for the would be terrorist is to be allowed; it will have to be applied to all equally - including those who massacre people at worship or at school or at movie. In other words, if constantly evolving danger of domestic terror attacks due to easy availability of guns is to be addressed; America will be forced to think about gun control. That is to say, to stop 'domestic terrorism'; America will be forced to quit the lunatic loose gun accessibility policy. What a 'sane debate about gun control'[1] could not achieve, the ever expanding fear of Domestic Gun Terror Attacks will hopefully force a sane solution upon America.[2] 

Question is who are those Democratic and Republican lawmakers who want to face this reality and rise to the occasion. Sen. Jeff Flake's call to consider both aspects is the right starting point. [3]

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[2] - Well, that is at least my hope; but I could be delusional considering America's response so far. But may be, America being the most litigious society, once we start seeing lawsuits against organizers of these public events - for the failure of providing security - we may start getting the cost of organizing public events escalating. Only when Americans will starting paying hefty monetary price for the 'privilege of carrying automatic assault weapons at the cost few lives every few months'; we may get another opening to stop this madness of gun culture.  

[3] - The other argument to stop terrorism from Trump and Republicans would be to find out 'whether sand shines in the night or not' i.e. nuke Islamic State or carpet bomb their territory. Both are utterly insane approaches given the loss of majority innocent people. President Obama or any thinking commander-in-chief is unlikely to follow that whereas Americans and Congress will not be accepting, rightly so, 'additional boots on ground' approach as well. That leaves 'cheap political shots from Republicans' about Obama for failing in the 'war on terror'. Such baseless charges are going to be part of the territory in this case. Continuing stronger vigilance and intelligence practices; that is the only option for an American government here. Resistance from Americans for the loss of privacy - that is given. In Western Europe even misguided opposition to 'drones' is present too. Constantly explaining to Western Societies that 'any such loss of privacy or recourse to strong armed methods are the only tools available' is the routine here. Navigating all these conflicting concerns means the decision maker or the commander-in-chief need to have a balanced approach. In 2016 election, Americans will have to answer the question - 'who will provide such a balanced approach'?

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