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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


This terrorist threat isn't no

Posted 7/19/16 (Tue)

We’ve been down this road before. We, as in the United States, have had to deal with this sort of thing in our not-so-distant past.

Just when we thought San Bernardino was rock bottom, we get some crazy shooting up a nightclub in Orlando, then Dallas.

You have to ask yourself, something has to change. Many of us don’t know what it is, but something must change and soon.

But this has happened before and the only obvious difference with the Red Scare is it didn’t last as long as the ISIS threat.

The Red Scare surfaced in 1919 and ended about a year later but at a time when people should have been dancing in the streets because World War I had just ended, many Americans feared for their lives and their government.

Essentially it was a rapid spread of communism in the United States using ideology of the Bolsheviks that had taken hold in Russia.

Unfortunately, we can draw numerous similarities between the ISIS threat and the Red Scare.

The most notable is the spread of fear. The communists set off bombs, killed people who didn’t pledge allegience to the Communist Party, organized massive public strikes and even passed out communist literature at sporting events.

Most of the people instigating the violence were eastern European immigrants who figured the United States should be more like the “fatherland” and those who didn’t agree with that would be shot or terrorized.

Does that appear familiar? Today’s terrorists are of a radical Islamic ideology that states anyone else but them is inferior.

Most of the issues this time originated with Middle Eastern immigrants; Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen, as well as Somalia in Africa. They want to disrupt what Americans are doing and liking.

Never mind just killing someone or bombing a building. These people are ruthless in every way, shape and form.

Remember the Jordanian Air Force lieutenant who was locked in a cage and lit on fire? Remember the TV station owner in Buffalo who beheaded his wife in their home because she asked for a divorce? And, remember the young woman who was run over by her father’s car because she was too “westernized?”

Communists would kill you, but they would at least respect you as a formidable opponent. ISIS fighters will kill and torture each other just for the sake of grabbing power.

We’ll never forget Sept. 11, 2001 when 3,000 were killed by Middle Eastern extremists.

We sometimes forget about Nov. 5, 2009 when an Army major, a psychiatrist, opened fire at Fort Hood, killing 13 unarmed Soldiers.

The Boston Marathon bombers didn’t quite fit the same M.O. They used clandestine bombs instead of assault rifles and even though they were Chechen rather than from the Middle East, they were Muslim.

One of the striking differences of ISIS and communists is in how they communicate.

When the Red Scare happened, the “bad guys” held secret meetings or wrote letters back and forth.

Today it’s social media and we’ve heard from all the major news agencies including those here in the United States, that the Internet is being used to recruit and radicalize people to join ISIS and it’s twisted ideology.

Whether it’s Muslims, assault rifles, picking soft targets or using Islam as a crutch, we can all connect these dots, but we must also take a serious look at the Internet and what has to change within to curb this sort of violence.

If the Internet is the problem, then we need to find a solution on the Internet and rectify it.

In addition, it’s been said before, if Muslims want to be known as a peaceful people, then they are going to have to “police” their own.

We’ve heard time and time again where neighbors, friends and acquaintances of known terrorists  know something but don’t say anything until it’s too late.

The Orlando shooter was on an FBI watch list, he obtained at least one assault rifle, he had made trips to Saudi Arabia and he made aggressive threats to co-workers.

Talk about connecting the dots. Isn’t that about enough suspicion to keep a closer eye on this guy?

The Red Scare ran its course and fizzled when a May Day parade in 1920 was a total flop.

But in that year leading up to it, the attorney general rounded up suspect immigrants instigating the violence and deported them to Russia on a boat called the “Soviet Arc.”

Another answer to this is patriotism, just like after 9/11. Raise flags and enjoy freedom. Then maybe ISIS will also run its course.