Sunday, June 12, 2016

On Orlando

The commission of a crime requires the confluence of motive, means and opportunity.

A terrorist has a lot of opportunities in an open society.  There is no means to secure every venue from somebody who wants to spray a crowd with bullets or to blow them up.  Only some opportunities, such as those provided by commercial airline flights, can be diminished.

On the motive side - ISIS has shown itself capable of long-distance conversion of Americans into jihadis, whether or not these converts were previously from a Muslim culture.  Unless we shut down all social media there is no way to prevent to the local crazy from connecting up with the far-away crazies.  The Trump solution of a temporary (or permanent) ban on Muslims entering the US of A can't work, even if somehow it was made palatable to a majority of Americans.

Regarding the means - Americans are quite determined to keep the type of weapons and ammunition that are designed kill and maim people freely available.  The principle involved is called the Second Amendment.

It seems we are stymied on all fronts.  But we are not entirely devoid of hope.  Governments are actually quite pretty good at squashing ISIS-like organizations -- provided such organizations are not themselves state-sponsored (or aided by a wealthy diaspora - e.g., the Irish Republican Army or the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers).    If ISIS still exists, it is because eradicating it is not any government's top priority, and because it likely has state-level covert sponsors.  This is what we can change.