Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee, had some dire news today in a Fox News Op-Ed: “The West has not realized that it is losing this fight against radical Islam.”
Friday’s attack in London simply underscores his argument. Hoekstra, now a Shillman senior fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) recalled that in 2011, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had reached the same conclusion. Two of the dead terrorists have been identified as Khuram Shazad Butt, 27 and Rachid Redouane, 30.
While the mainstream press is deliberately distracting itself by paying attention to President Donald Trump’s sarcasm that nobody was talking about gun control because the terrorists used knives and a vehicle, Hoekstra’s warning is being somewhat ignored.
He noted that, “Fatalities from terrorist attacks had increased 744 percent from 2007-2011 to 2014-2015. The average annual fatalities had increased from roughly 3,200 deaths per year to approximately 27,000 deaths per year. The number of terrorist attacks during that time increased by roughly 500 percent. “
This seems to justify the increasing desire by Americans to arm up, because violence does not happen on a pre-arranged schedule and terrorists do not call ahead to say they are coming.
Last week, for example, Washington State’s Department of Licensing reported 584,305 active concealed pistol licenses in that state. That’s in a politically “blue” state that is in truth largely “red” but Seattle’s liberal enclave throws things out of balance.
Arizona noted there are 315,961 active permits last week. Add the numbers and that’s almost a million carry licenses in but two states. A recent estimate by the Crime Prevention Research Center put the number at more than 15 million licenses and permits across the country.
Gun-free zones may hamper one’s ability to be armed everywhere a terrorist might strike – sports stadiums, concert venues, some shopping malls, college or public school campuses and hospitals, for example – but a would-be terrorist can never be sure some armed citizen just ignores the signs. A fair number of armed citizens are notorious for their lack of reading comprehension when they pass a “gun-free zone” sign, but that doesn’t affect their marksmanship.
British citizens don’t carry guns because the law doesn’t allow it. Instead they are led down streets by police with their arms raised, as they did following last week’s attack.
Hoekstra noted that there were two predictions from IPT last year that need some attention. An analysis in 2016 concluded that “Islamist attacks in Europe will increase over the next 18-24 months.”
The report also predicted that “Europe’s security systems will become more stressed and unable to respond to the rising challenges associated with the mass migration of refugees. Violence in Europe will increase in size and scope as Islamists exploit its nearly unregulated immigration system and Muslim enclaves such as Molenbeek in Brussels become more widespread.”
The U.S. has already experienced a little of what Europeans worry about. There was the Boston Marathon bombing, the San Bernardino attack and Orlando nightclub slaughter. There could easily be more if Hoekstra is right. So he had this bit of advice:
“To defeat this threat, we need to hit the reset button. The citizens of the harrowing attacks in London, Manchester, Paris, Orlando, Boston, Kabul, Baghdad, and the many other cities and countries around the globe are demanding change from their political leaders to prevent future attacks.
“Let’s hope that they finally respond.”
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