Sunday, December 6, 2015

President Obama's Oval Office Address: "This was an act of terrorism."

     A few days ago, I posted about the tragic San Bernardino shooting here. As time went on, it was revealed that the two shooters had connections with ISIS. Unfortunately, this attack happened at the same time as tensions over allowing Syrian refugees are worsening. Today, President Obama released an Oval Office Address in an attempt to calm the nerves of the American people. In his speech, he revealed the San Bernardino shooting as an, "act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people," called ISIS a group of "thugs and killers," and emphasized the difference between ISIS and Syrian refugees.

     President Obama addressed anti-refugee sentiment by asserting that turning away any refugee based off their race is not the correct thing to do. He explained that, "when we travel down that road, we lose," calling it a, "betrayal of our values." Obama continued to oppose any anti-Syrian legislation and did not mention any in his address, claiming that, "freedom is more powerful than fear." He warns and assures us that, "the threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it."

     However, to prevent events like the San Bernardino shooting from happening again, President Obama is now pushing for legislation that would prevent individuals on the "no-fly" list from purchasing firearms. In a CNN poll, 60% of Americans disapproved of Obama's handling of terrorism and 66% disapproved of his handling of ISIS.

What is your opinion on the following questions:
     - Do you think President Obama is correct in his statements? Do you believe it was a "terrorist attack?"
     - Is turning anyone away from the United States based off race ever okay? If so, under what circumstance and why?
     - President Obama claimed that the San Bernardino shooters went down a "dark path of radicalization." Do you think this could happen again soon in the United States? What prevents "radicalization?"
     - Do you think preventing "no-fly" list individuals from buying guns will reduce crime? Does is violate the second amendment?

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Eric Chen 1 said...

The classification of the San Bernardino Shooting as an act of terror is fine in my eyes. It is worth noting however, that one shooter was an American citizen, while the other was a legal resident. The worrying part is that the shooters declared allegiance to ISIL, but do not appear to have been part of a group. Signs of a possible attack were also few, as the shooters had no criminal record and only appeared to be particularly zealous when it came to their religion.

It's true that the perpetrators of many terrorist attacks tend to be Muslim or from the middle east, but I agree with President Obama that turning away immigrants on basis of race or religion would be the wrong thing to do. It goes against much of what America stands for, and the number of immigrants who are actual (or future) terrorists is extremely small. However, I'm skeptical of how effective future gun control measures will be, even though I tend to support them. It does not strike the root of the problem - people radical or insane enough to want to kill will find ways to do so. That's why I don't see an effective solution to this issue, as preventing radicalization or excessively poor mental health is incredibly difficult. While it would be possible to put down a hard ban on all guns, the issue of mental health is not so easily solved. Signs tend to be few and far between, so unless all communities become highly vigilant for possible signs, or government surveillance escalates to an excessive degree, these incidents will be difficult to prevent.

TJ Bonbright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TJ Bonbright said...

Calling the San Bernardino Shooting an act of terrorism is accurate. The radicalized shooters declared allegiance to ISIL, and the organization itself had acknowledged the two as supporters of the terrorist group. All of this indicates that the shooting was an act of terror.

Although the San Bernardino shooters, as well as many others responsible for terrorist attacks, were Muslim or had ties to the Middle East, this does not mean that all people who come from that area of the world or have the same faith are evil. The overgeneralization that all Muslims are terrorists is a disappointing sign of ignorance that has unfortunately caused many people to bar certain people from immigrating to the United States. This act, however, cannot be tolerated, for the U.S. was founded on the values of equality and equal opportunity; both of which would be disregarded should the U.S. prevent Muslims, and more generally, people from the Middle East, from entering the country.

It is difficult to say whether another act of radicalization-induced terror is around the corner, but it is definitely a possibility. One thing that could be done to prevent radicalization would be to change our behavior towards Muslims. By treating them equally and not discriminating against them based on overgeneralizations, fewer people will be so inclined as to take up arms against the United States. This solution, however, will be near exceedingly difficult to accomplish because there will always be those who will discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religion, etc. As long as people do so, there will continue to exist those who feel so strongly as to kill those believed to hold the same racist opinions.


Rachael Howard said...

- Do you think President Obama is correct in his statements? Do you believe it was a "terrorist attack?"
I do think this was a terrorist attack because, when I watched the news about it two days later (I believe it was CNN, however I am not sure), they seemed to draw that conclusion rather convincingly. On the news report, they said that the wife had posted a statement pro-ISIS on a twitter account she had under a fake name - however, she took the post off shortly after she posted it (this all happened before the shooting). Of course, I do not know the validity of this news report since it was such a short time after the shooting, and they never actually showed the pro-ISIS statement the wife had posted. It will be interesting to see the what their purpose/drive for doing something like this was and how the president and the American people will react.
- Is turning anyone away from the United States based off race ever okay? If so, under what circumstance and why?
Based off of America's history, I do not believe that it is ever okay. From the very beginning with the pilgrims, America has been a place of refuge for those being prosecuted.
- President Obama claimed that the San Bernardino shooters went down a "dark path of radicalization." Do you think this could happen again soon in the United States? What prevents "radicalization?"
Unfortunately, I think that a shooting like this will happen again. Many times, shootings aren't preventable because there were no warning signs. When there are warning signs, we will have to learn to identify them quickly and take swift and careful actions to prevent a shooting. I do not think there is really any way to prevent radicalization because of the technology and media. There is no real way to suppress radical thoughts and propaganda because it is literally available everywhere, plus it is hard to suppress legally because technically it is freedom of speech. I'm not really sure that there is much we can do at this is just kind of the world we live in right now.
- Do you think preventing "no-fly" list individuals from buying guns will reduce crime? Does is violate the second amendment?
I think this is perfectly fair to prevent people on the "no-fly" list from buying guns because the people on that list are suspected terrorists. However, I think this should be a temporary prevention due to the current situation of terrorism. I think that after the threat level of terrorism has dropped, then people on the "no-fly" list should be able to purchase guns under STRICT precautions. Although I think this does violate the second amendment, the safety of the American people comes first. If you can't handle having a gun, if you are not mentally stable enough, or you are suspected of being apart of terrorist group, you should not be allowed to own a gun because it threatens the safety of the American people.

Lea Tan said...

I also believe that this was a terrorist attack because the shooters declared allegiance to ISIL. Furthermore, it does seem that more terrorist attacks have been occurring recently. After the Paris attacks, it's possible that ISIS will come after the US because we have been bombing them as well. However, I agree with Obama in that declining certain races or religious groups entry into the country goes against the values that this country was founded upon and only puts us in a negative light. If we barred Muslims or people from the Middle East entry, we would only create more hostility which could lead to increased terrorist attacks. Despite not being allowed into the country legally, terrorists would still be able to find a way to attack the US if they so chose to do so. Thus, I agree that we should still allow others into the US.

Although I think it wouldn't harm anything to prevent people on the "no-fly" list from buying guns, I don't think it would do much to prevent attacks. Recently, gun rights in general have become a really controversial issue. While this measure could, but wouldn't necessarily, decrease terrorist attacks, it would have no affect on other attackers within the US. Not all shootings or bombings are caused by terrorists; there have been US citizens in these positions as well.

Alex Binsacca said...

I'd would suppose that I am very unsure if this could really be called an act of terrorism. However, I will say that I am leaning more on the side that thinks this is an act of terrorism. The reason behind my belief, is that it is understandable that one can draw a conclusion this a terrorist plot based on the allegiance of two of the shooters to ISIS. However, I would also like to know the reason behind the attack, and why they choose San Bernardino specifically. The reason of "attacking innocent people" is far to brod for me. I do not believe it is ever okay to ban someone from entering this country to have a better life for their families is ever okay, just based on their national background. The moment that happens is the day history starts to go backwards, to a time when racism was okay. So I can agree with president Obama's statement in that degree. Continuing on I do think that this type of radicalism could indeed happen in the future. There is really no way to stop radicalism, because radicalism results from nationality and nothing can stop a person from be loyal to their country. Especially if that individual is surrounded by propaganda such as those of ISIS. The only thing we can really do is crack down on our own national security, even more than it already is. However, that still does not really give solid ground to ban a person's right to own a fire arm just because they are on the no fly list. In fact I really personally think if this law does pass, there will be no change, because the no fly list is for people who have exhibited aggressive behavior while traveling. It does not necessarily mean they want to kill innocent people around them. It just means they have made some poor decisions which could have been in the spur of the moment.