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June 27th, 2017

Insight

Same Old, Same Old Horror: The Orlando massacre brings up familiar lessons that we never quite learn

Victor Davis Hanson

By Victor Davis Hanson

Published June 14, 2016

Same Old, Same Old Horror: The Orlando massacre brings up familiar lessons that we never quite learn

The aftermath of Islamist Afghan-American Omar Mateen's murderous rampage against American gays seems disturbingly familiar, an echo of past themes that never stop playing --- and lessons that never get learned. The post-911 debate over "why do they hate us" should have been settled long ago with a resounding "because of who we are," rather than the refrain from the blame-America crowd --- voiced from the Ron Paul libertarian Right to the Michael Moore Left --- that the answer is "because of what we do." Mateen did not cite the usual ISIS foreign policy boilerplate so much as reportedly express his furor over gay men kissing --- suggesting that, like Mohammed Atta et al., he despised the essence of Western liberality and popular culture, yet, like a moth to a flame, was both repelled by it and attracted to it.

Once again, as in the case of the Tsarnaevs and San Bernardino murderers, the shooter and his associations were on federal authorities' radar --- and again to no avail. Apparently, dozens of Americans must be massacred every so often so that the rest of us can avoid the politically incorrect charge of being "Islamophobic." At some point, intelligence authorities will have to take seriously American-born Muslims who consume ISIS propaganda and espouse radical Islamic hatred.

Still more monotonous themes: as in the case of Major Hasan (the Fort Hood jihadist), the Tsarnaev clan (Boston Marathon), and Syed Rizwan Farook (San Bernardino), there is something deeply wrong with American immigration policy and the attitude of us, the lax host, to newcomers. In too many deadly cases, a generation of Muslims goes to great lengths to reach the United States only to raise an American-born or naturalized ungracious and unappreciative generation that apparently grows to hate the bounty and freedom of America to such a degree as to blow up, shoot, and maim innocent Americans. Immigration to the U.S., and citizenship itself, should be seen, again, as a privilege, not a right --- and assimilation and integration, not multicultural separatism and ethnic and religious chauvinism, should be the goal of the host. We need not single out Muslims in terms of restricting immigration, but we should take a six-month timeout on all would-be immigrants from countries in the Middle East deemed war zones --- Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen --- not only for our own immediate security but also to send a general message that entrance into the U.S. is a rare and prized opportunity, not simply a cheap and pro forma entitlement.

The inability of Barack Obama and the latest incarnation of Hillary Clinton to utter "radical Islam" or "Islamic terrorism" in connection with Muslims' murderous killing sprees again is exposed as an utterly bankrupt, deadly, and callous politically correct platitude. Mateen did not learn to hate homosexuals from the American government, popular American culture, or our schools, but rather from radical and likely ISIS-driven Islamic indoctrination. From Iran to Saudi Arabia, the treatment of gays is reprehensible --- but largely exempt from Western censure, on the tired theory that in the confused pantheon of -isms and -ologies, multiculturalism trumps human rights.

Finally, the Left will blame guns, not ideology, for the mass murder, forgetting that disarmed soldiers who could not shoot back were slaughtered by Major Hasan, that the Tsarnaev brothers preferred home-cooked explosives to blow up innocents in Boston, that the Oklahoma and UC Merced Islamists did their beheading or stabbing with a knife, and that Mateen likely followed strict gun-registration laws in obtaining his weapons.

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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.

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