July 17, 2016

The Update Desk: Newt's Sniff Test

Friday's post on the religious sniff test that Newt Gingrich believes is the way to solve the American problem of terrorist attacks in Europe needs a couple of updates.

First: Oops. Newt has apparently remembered that deporting American citizens is a no-no.
With an American citizen, deportation is impossible. It's not appropriate under the Constitution and there, historically we've always said, if you fought against the United States, that the correct answer were basically jail as opposed to deportation. I think we have to talk through what should be the right way of handling people who are here, but are not citizens. 
Second,  officials in France are holding several 'suspects' for questioning in the horrific Bastille Day attack. According to this article in the Washington Post, the ex-wife of the killer was held and then released, and there are a handful of others currently being questioned.  It seems the killer's cell phone has provided at least some insight, including a text right before the attack asking someone to 'bring more weapons' and it's believed the recipient of that text is one of the folks in custody.

The article also opens the door for Gingrich and others of similar beliefs to expand their attacks on Americans beyond merely religious grounds. Referencing public statements from ISIS that the killer was "a soldier of the Islamic State" but offering no proof of any kind,
The link underscores the difficulty of preventing the spread of extremist ideology in a world where even people like (the killer)  - whose family and neighbors portray him as a troubled loner - can be spurred to attack without training, resources or connections.
I can picture the SWAT teams now, cruising around town with Troubled Loner Cans (TLC),  like the ones they use to check license plates for parking tickets, slamming on the breaks whenever they spot someone with a pierced nose, or Goth tattoos.

That girl with the nerdy glasses with her face buried in a book. The millennial sitting on a park bench, face up turned to the sun.

Anyone walking around town without a fitness tracker. Men wearing black socks with sandals.

A person eating alone at a sidewalk cafe. A woman in the grocery store who has more cat food than people food in her grocery basket.

Someone who actually goes to the teller window instead of an ATM.

The guy in the kayak taking bird pictures.

And bonsai gardeners -- I mean, come on -- someone who spends their days torturing trees into crazy shapes, twisting them up with wires and then cutting them up with tiny scissors?

Clearly. Troubled Loners.