Today I’m off to Orlando, for the Future of Media Summit and Heritage Foundation’s Resource Bank. Campaign Spot posting will be light in the coming days.
The lead item in today’s Morning Jolt:
They Always Blame America First.
Jeanne Kirkpatrick had it right.
In Tuesday’s New York Times, Marcelo Suarez Orozco and Carola Suarez-Orozco, dean and a professor, respectively, at the U.C.L.A. Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, wrote an op-ed entitled, “Immigrant Kids, Adrift.” It began:
THE alleged involvement of two ethnic Chechen brothers in the deadly attack at the Boston Marathon last week should prompt Americans to reflect on whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers.
Really? Really? These guys blow up a marathon and shoot a cop in the back of the head, and we have to look at ourselves to see where we failed? Where we’re not adequate?
(By the way, after this piece appeared, the Boston Globe is reporting Little Brother Bomber* confessed, so we can drop the “alleged.”)
You’ll be seeing this theme of the brothers as troubled immigrants, struggling to build a better life, and failing to find acceptance in a cold-hearted, xenophobic America society a lot in the coming days. As one of my Twitter followers said, this is what happens when you’re absolutely determined to avert your eyes from a politically or culturally inconvenient conclusion — i.e., young Muslim men can be easy pickings for a radical imam who offers them a vision of themselves as noble warriors, earning vast celestial harems in the afterlife for struggling to defeat the evil infidel oppressor, offering them a channel for their anger that he assures them is morally just. After a while, you begin speculating about the bombing being prompted by boxing-related concussions, which, of course, would help explain why so many retired NFL players go on to become members of al-Qaeda.
(Oh, look, Time’s doing it, too.)
The initial biographical sketch of the bomber in the New York Times featured the headline, “Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying to Fit In.” The only thing these guys were trying to fit in that week was more nails inside the pressure cooker. (After considerable ridicule, the headline and top photo were changed.)
William Jacobson assembles more examples over at Legal Insurrection, including a Slate writer calling for “an emotionally fraught conversation, a careful reckoning of the particular variety of welcome we offer to children from abroad” and the usual suspects on MSNBC going on about “demonizing the other.”
Hey, doesn’t blowing up a marathon crowd count as demonizing the other? Could you spare some time to point out that the bombers’ refusal to grant us the right to walk the streets without being shredded to a pulp by incendiary-propelled shrapnel is pretty darn intolerant, too?
Now, let’s return to the argument put forth by the dean and the professor.
Do they realize that by drawing a connection between the Boston bombers and “immigrants who arrive in the United States as children and teenagers,” they’re suggesting that every one of those kids is a potential terrorist, if they have a life experience like the bomber brothers? Even the most vehement opponent of the DREAM Act wouldn’t make that claim.
The inanity of it all prompted me to throw a bit of a fit on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
The quasi-sympathetic “bomber brothers struggled with new identities in America” feature pieces are doing no favors for immigration reform. The notion that these two are somehow representative of some universal immigrant struggle to adapt to American life is weapons-grade horse[puckey]. Millions upon millions of immigrants made new lives for themselves in this country without feeling the need to bomb the Boston Marathon. If you think adaptation to American culture might cause you sufficient stress to commit mass murder, please leave immediately.
By the way, this society was pretty damn kind to these two. The terror financing blog “MoneyJihad” assembles what we know of the brothers’ finances — and it includes a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge in 2011 and public assistance for the family.
Peggy Noonan points out that either they weren’t struggling . . . or somebody out there was sending them money:
The past few days I’ve looked through news reports searching in vain for one item: how did the brothers get their money? Did they ever have jobs? Who or what supported them? They had cellphones, computers, stylish clothes, sunglasses, gym equipment and gym membership, enough money to go out to dinner and have parties. They had an arsenal of guns and money to make bombs. The elder brother, Tamerlan, 26, had no discernible record of employment and yet was able to visit Russia for six months in 2012. The FBI investigated him. How did they think he was paying for it? The younger brother, Dzhokhar, was a college student, but no word on how he came up with spending money. The father doesn’t seem to have had anything — he is said to have sometimes fixed cars on the street when he lived in Cambridge, for $10 an hour cash. The mother gave facials at home. Anyway, the money lines. Where did it come from?
Acknowledging that young Muslim men could be particularly vulnerable to the demonic cajoling and propaganda of a radical imam would force too many people in too many high places to rethink their entire worldview. So we’ll be hearing a lot about concussions and the mean, nasty, xenophobic culture of . . . Cambridge, Massachusetts can turn an otherwise happy immigrant success story into a child murderer.