The weather was beautiful on the day I was almost murdered. Since it happened (or almost happened) in Brazil, it might not seem surprising that the weather was nice, but this was São Paulo where the only certainty is pollution. Beautiful days in São Paulo are worth noting, even when you barely make it through them alive.
The events of that day are not something I talk about much, and I doubt I have ever written about them. But I’ve been thinking about the murders committed last week by Major Nidal Malik Hasan. See, the guy who almost killed me – and I’ll call him G, has a similar ethnic background, though he hailed from a point a few hundred miles and a border crossing away from where Hasan originated.
But there are some differences, or at least were, between G and Hasan. Hasan was in the U.S., and apparently was an American citizen. G was neither. But I don’t know if that’s still true. It is my understanding that G is now in the U.S., and may have acquired American citizenship. The reason I don’t know with absolute certainty is that G’s last name is kind of common in the Middle East, and his first name – always popular in the Middle East – became doubly so after an extremely anti-American “warrior” made a name for himself through the sort of spectacular failure that is so widely revered in the region.
G’s problem with me was that I was Israeli. Except that I wasn’t. To this day, I’ve never been to Israel. But I am Jewish, and an American, and apparently, to G, there is/was no difference between an American Jew and an Israeli. His problem with Israelis seemed to stem largely from the fact that the Israelis sided with the Christians during one of the Lebanese Civil Wars. Which brings up a wider issue – I don’t think he was all that fond of any non-Muslims. Or what he’d call non-Muslims, but which would probably be better termed non-Islamists. (And there is a big difference.) I barely knew anything about him, never associated with him, and generally avoided him, but it was obviously he was pretty pissed off at the world around him.
And its also pretty obvious that G is not unique in disliking non-Islamists. Yet plenty of people fitting precisely that description (i.e., disliking non-Islamists and all that the West seems to stand for) appear to have no problem coming here, as much as they despise this country and its residents. But that kind of internal fucked-uppedness is not uncommon. Hasan could get his jollies at a strip club while mentally and metaphorically applying oil to the cleansing blade of the One True Faith.
The flip-side of the equation is the problem for me. Just because some people who are messed up in the head can maintain positions that are internally contradictory doesn’t mean we should facilitate the process. After all, as its been noted many times, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. We as a people have no requirement to allow extremists into the country whose goal is to kill us. A bit of digging to ensure we don’t let in people who believe Americans in general are evil and deserve to die because of their faiths or behaviors would not be unreasonable.
In fact, it should be a flat out question asked of those who would come to the U.S. “OK… Next question… Do you think the infidels should die? Yes or no?” (FYI, my father immigrated from Argentina, and I don’t believe that was a question he was asked.) In fact, getting a citizenship should be a bit like a contract, and one of the terms of the contract has to be that citizenship gets revoked and you have twenty minutes to be on the next plane out if you join some organization for which “Death to America” is a rallying cry.
Engaging in such a policy would be discriminatory. I bet it would be opposed by organizations like CAIR. But we already discriminate. A few years ago, my first cousin and her family (from Argentina) were living in Mexico City, as her husband’s job had transferred them there for a few years. They wanted to come to the US to visit family and do some tourism, and they had the funds to do so (which would have helped the US economy). The problem was they couldn’t get a visa; apparently people with well-paying jobs abroad are viewed as having an almost uncontrollable desire to overstay tourist visas and seek out lucrative positions picking lettuce in Novato, CA or busing tables in some no-name place forty miles from Lincoln, Nebraska. Or something.
The source of discrimination, when it comes to immigration and tourism, is that more people want to come to the US than can fit at any one time without killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, so to speak. So if we’re going to discriminate anyway, shouldn’t we at least try to differentiate between our friends and our enemies?