His hopes that the culprit in the Boston Marathon bombing would be a "white American" dashed, David Sirota, columnist for Salon.com, now predicts "a serious increase in hate crimes" because the terrorists are Muslims.
"Backlash" exists chiefly in the feverish imagination of liberals, because ordinary Americans distinguish between Muslims generally and the subset among them who are trying to kill us. The behavior of ordinary Americans in Boston was exemplary. Many ran toward the carnage to help; others to hospitals to give blood.
Bad behavior pretty much has been restricted to Democratic politicians and bigfoot journalists, who often used the tragedy to take cheap shots at domestic political opponents:
"Explosion is a reminder that [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] needs a new director," tweeted New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. "Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking appointment."
The bombing is proof the budget sequester is bad, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., implied in response to a leading question from a reporter.
"The [National Rifle Association] is in the business of helping bombers get away with their crimes," said MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, because it opposes putting "taggants" in gunpowder like those used to trace plastic explosives. (The NRA fears taggants could make gunpowder explode accidentally.)
The Boston massacre has cast a shadow over the 844-page immigration reform bill the "Gang of 8" introduced in the Senate last week.
After claiming refugee status to get into the United States, Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled freely to the country he claimed was persecuting him. The Tsarnaevs aren't the first legal immigrants or visa-holders to be involved in terror plots. Of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, 15 were Saudis, so it seems odd that the number of student visas issued to Saudis has increased 500 percent since then.
These facts suggest the system is broken. How much is due to poorly written laws? To bureaucratic ineptitude? To the unwillingness of the Obama administration to enforce laws it does not like? No bill should pass until these questions are answered, said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
He's right. If the problem is poorly written laws, a better law is the answer, as the "Gang of 8" says (though it remains to be seen whether what they've proposed is better). But if the problem chiefly is enforcement, passing another law for the Obama administration to ignore won't help.
Why do we let Muslims into the country at all? I don't favor a ban on Muslim immigration, but the question is reasonable. Most don't commit acts of terror, but some have. Why take the chance? If the administration is unable or unwilling to scrutinize visa applicants more carefully, a blanket prohibition may be the only way to deal with its recalcitrance.
Big majorities of Americans and Republicans say they'd support a bill which does what the Gang of 8 say theirs will do -- grant legal status to illegal immigrants, tighten border security and require employers to verify the immigration status of new hires.
I want the border secured, more scrutiny of visa applicants, prompt deportation of illegals who commit other crimes. But it serves no moral or practical purpose to keep the otherwise law-abiding looking over their shoulders, and there are better ways to utilize law enforcement than by hounding them.
So I'd support a bill that does what the Gang of 8 says theirs will do -- but I need more than just their word that it will.
Democrats don't intend to keep the promises they made to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, to get him on board, claims National Review Editor Rich Lowry. The haste with which Democrats want to push the mammoth measure through the Senate suggests they wish to minimize scrutiny of the bill's provisions.
Democrats support immigration reform mostly because they expect new citizens to vote for them; those Republicans who oppose it do so mostly because for them -- even after 13 years and a $2,000 fine -- letting illegals become citizens is still "amnesty." Neither has much to do with security, which should be our paramount concern.
So let's hold enough hearings to pinpoint why the system is broken, then pass a bill to fix it. We should consider carefully objections critics raise, but we shouldn't let what could be fixed by amendment be an excuse for jettisoning reform altogether.jackkelly
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1476).