February 13, 2017

Immigrants vs. Imports

I've been a bit behind in my newspaper reading lately, and spent some time catching up yesterday.

I was moving pretty quickly through last Tuesday's Post Standard, until I came across the fascinating juxtaposition of two stories shown here.


The story on the left, about immigration, is from the Associated Press. In it, we have the president talking not about his great victory in the electoral college, or voter fraud, or the size of the crowd that had eyes on his inaugural, if you can believe that, but about NATO and homeland security and the 'travel ban' we've heard so much about lately.

Here's what Trump had to say about that:
We need strong programs (so that) people that love us and want to love our country and will end up loving our country are allowed in (and those who) want to destroy us and destroy our country (are kept out). 
Freedom, security and justice will prevail...
Now, there's no surprise there in Trump's comments -- no "step away from the Teleprompter" kind of thing, just the usual stuff.

What's not just the usual stuff is what we read in the article on the right, from the Washington Post. In it, we learn that the second-highest-ranking muckety muck at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives - ATF for short -- wrote a white paper apparently on his own, and not representative of the opinions of his department, saying that we need some changes in our gun laws.

Wha?? Say it ain't so!  Well, before you get all riled up thinking someone's thinking about something thoughtful about guns and stuff, let's review what Richard Turk, the associate deputy director and chief operating officer of the ATF is talking about:

  • removing restrictions on silencers sales
  • letting gun dealers accumulate more allegations of their guns being used in crimes before having to provide additional info to the feds
  • studying whether we might want to lift bans on assault weapon imports.

Yeah, that last part about imports?Here's what Turk said in his document:
Restrictions on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States.
Interesting, isn't it?

Banning imported weapons serves "questionable public safety interests" but banning individuals who have shown no ill will towards us, and who have undergone a lengthy vetting process, or banning refugees who are Muslim just to let Christians in first, or banning people who we've already approved to be here, or banning people who have helped us fight terrorism in their countries, those are necessary "strong programs" allowing "freedom, security and justice" to prevail?

We need to make sure that "people who want to destroy us" or "destroy our country" are kept out, even though there are dozens? hundreds? thousands? of people who are willing to do exactly that, destroy us, already "generally legally available" in the US?

When people who are born in the US to immigrant parents, or who came here as children, or who come here as legal immigrant adults and who happen to be Muslim kill people at parties, or in nightclubs or anywhere else, we call them terrorists.

When Americans teenagers, or young adults, or middle-aged men do things like that, shoot up a school, or a theater, or an abortion clinic, or a shopping mall, do we call them terrorists? No - don't be silly. We call them mentally ill. We call them Americans.

Banning people. Relabeling our own who destroy us, so as not to confuse them with the immigrant kind of terrorist. Ignoring those who hate us who are already generally legally available.

Changing gun laws to keep the noise down.

Who loves you, America?