“…the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men, citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment’s notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of America, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.” – President John F. Kennedy
America is at war. Regardless of anything else we hear, read or watch we need to accept that harsh reality. This conflict is neither new, nor is the enemy unknown to us. Our reaction as a nation has not been that much different than in the past, nevertheless our inaction only serves to strengthen our enemies.
The causes are countless, excuses are many, and again we are at odds as a nation. The debate has once more been hijacked, focusing on peripheral facts that have more to do with long held, individual views than with the truth of our current circumstances. Radical Islam is at war with the world, and it has no intention of yielding. The question facing each of us now is whether we resign ourselves to be sheep, or rise up once again and serve humanity as sheep dogs.
I have no difficultly separating good from evil, nor should any of you. Still, there are people who seem to be having a hard time unraveling the enemy we know from the friends we desire. Few of us, if any, can understand the mind of a person who has been radicalized to the point of homicidal rage. The twisting of one’s mind and heart that serves as the catalyst for a person to abandon their humanity, to allow themselves to descend into a merciless radicalization, is unfathomable to you and me. It is by grace that none of us will ever fully understand this disintegration of one’s own humanity, but it is important we acknowledge such people exist.
Understanding how and why a person allows themselves to be consumed by a depraved blood lust is not easy for a rational person to comprehend. Radical Islamist have embraced Tennyson’s famous line from the poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and are fully committed as individuals to the madness of a continual insanity, espousing the belief that “Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die.” We cannot understand this because overwhelmingly as a culture we value human life, and even in our faults, we truly believe in our humanity. However, we cannot ignore the obvious any longer.
The incident at San Bernardino is not a new warning, nor without precedence. We have seen this barbarity throughout human history. During the Holocaust, inhumane people were driven to exterminate other people, coldly calling it the “final solution.”
The actions of the San Bernardino jihadists may seem small in comparison, but the mindset is the same. We give it many names and try to explain its existence, ignoring its simplest definition — evil.
The San Bernardino shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, left their 6-month old baby with relatives, walked into a Christmas party, and tried to slaughter as many people as they could. The people Farook and Malik were shooting at were the very people who extended their hands as neighbors and friends. The people Farook and Malik murdered in cold blood were the same people who celebrated the birth of their daughter by throwing them a baby shower. Farook was an American citizen, well educated, with a great career. Farook was “living the American dream.” Let those facts sink in real hard, then tell me what law we can pass that would have stopped Farook and Malik.
Pass all the laws you want. They will only serve as an inconvenience to those who have been radicalized.
It is time we stop trying to “contain” these monsters and devote all of our law enforcement and military efforts to destroying them. The simple fact is the real weapon is radical Islam; the armaments are merely appendages, interchangeable instruments and the means to an end. Yet, knowing this, some would have us commit ourselves to a folly of trying to pretend more gun laws would have mattered, debating whether this incident was “workplace violence,” or going down the rabbit hole of trying to determine when and how this couple became radicalized.
Our battle against the forces of evil will never cease. Once we destroy one enemy, another one will take its place. We are living in a forced quagmire, one which may have no end. However, inaction is not an option and ignoring facts before us is to demonstrate to our enemies we have chosen the path of a “lesser effort.” Instead we must look to the words of President Kennedy once again, and recommit ourselves to a greater truth – “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”