It’s Never Too Early to Discuss Public Safety


On Oct. 31, a terrorist drove a rented truck down the bicycle lane in Manhattan’s Battery Park, killing eight people. The terrorist, who had been identified as Sayfullo Saipov, was shot by a policeman and has asked that an ISIS flag be hung in his hospital room.

President Trump has said and tweeted a number of things about Mr. Saipov, as well as about the program that allowed Mr. Saipov, a Uzbeki immigrant, to enter the United States.The day after the attack, President Trump told reporters that the government “is coordinating closely between federal and local officials to investigate the attack and to further investigate this animal who did the attacking.” Three days later, he said “When we have an animal do an attack like he did the other day, we are hitting them [ISIS] 10 times harder.” President Trump also tweeted, “He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”

President Trump also tweeted: “The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.”


“‘Senator Chuck Schumer helping to import Europes problems,’ said Col.Tony Shaffer. We will stop this craziness! @foxandfriends”

President Trump also said that Democrats are obstructionists and that Mr. Saipov should be sent to Guantanamo.

The references to Sen. Schumer are due to the fact that in 1990 he was instrumental in passing the diversity lottery, which allowed residents of countries with very low immigration rates, to enter the United States. The president failed to note that in 2013, Sen. Schumer advocated an overhaul of immigration policies that would have eliminated the diversity visa.

In 1990, after passage of the immigration bill by a bipartisan vote of 89-8, Sen. Schumer said, “There are certain countries that have been left out. It’s wrong that countries like Ireland or Poland or Nigeria can’t get almost any immigrants into this country, simply because the people who came from those countries came a long time ago and aren’t brothers and sisters but are rather second and third cousins.”

There are some minor notes about the attack on the bike path. While the Halloween terrorist attack was small compared with 9/11, both occurred in the same area, and many of the people living there now also lived there when the World Trade Center fell. Also, the Halloween attack took place just as school was letting out. A bit later and the streets would have been filled with young children. Those children who were out on the streets were hustled to places of safety, rather like the air raid shelters of the 1950s, but the children were not prepared for an attack, and being rushed into strange hallways and basements will probably have long-term effects.

And, of course our President had nothing to offer by way of prayer or concern for the wounded or the survivors. He had anger, and called for vengeance, and barring the United States to the wrong sort of immigrants, but no words of assurance and comfort.

On Oct. 1, a gunman shot and killed 58 people at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. This was the largest mass murder in modern American history. Oct. 31, the terrorism by rented truck in New York’s Battery Park. On Nov. 5, a gunman killed 26 people in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Of the Las Vegas shooting, President Trump said “My fellow Americans, we are joined together today in sadness, shock and grief.” After the Texas shooting President Trump said, “This isn’t a guns situation. This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event. A very, very sad event, but that’s the way I view it.”

He claims this is a mental health problem, yet President Trump signed legislation that reversed an Obama-era rule that would have required the Social Security Administration to provide information about mentally ill people for background checks on gun purchases. If this is a mental health problem then perhaps the replacement for Obamacare should be a universal coverage plan with expanded access to psychiatric services.

We can no more get rid of firearms than we can get rid of pick-up trucks – each has a legitimate and necessary function. But every time there is a mass murder using guns, the reflex action of politicians and gun lobbyists is to say that it’s too soon to discuss ways to make life safer. It’s a tired shibboleth. The time is up and has been up for too long.

Sam Uretsky is a writer and pharmacist living in New York. Email

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2017

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