Political Correctness More Deadly than ISIS

Which is a bigger threat to America? Terrorists or political correctness? Seems like an easy answer. PC is just an idea, whereas terrorists shoot people and blow things up. But which is easier to stop or contain?

I contend that if the PC movement went away, America would have a much easier time fighting terrorism. Meaning that political correctness will be our undoing, despite the best efforts of intelligence, law enforcement, and the military.

It took the FBI three days to reluctantly acknowledge that the San Bernardino shooting were an act of terrorism. President Obama also took several days before calling the shooting an “act of terror” but still hedging on assigning blame. The smart set in the media made fools of themselves attributing the shootings to everything from Planned Parenthood, despite the clinic being a mile away, to the usual canard, “workplace violence.”

To anyone following the news, especially after the recent Paris attacks, within hours it was fairly clear what the San Bernardino shooting was about. Islamic terrorism. But in the world of political correctness, this is “the cause which must not be named” for fear of offending Muslims.

In the wake of the Colorado Springs shooting, it was perfectly fine to label the shooter a “Christian terrorist” despite a neighbor saying he’d never heard the shooter talk about religion. If it turns out that Robert Dear carried out the shootings in the name of Christ, then call him a Christian terrorist. We know the female San Bernardino shooter pledged support to ISIS, so it would be fair to call her an Islamic terrorist.

Yet we can’t. Neither could President Obama in his Sunday night oval office address. He did say the shooters were, “embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam.” Only 70 percent of U.S. Muslims have a very unfavorable view of al Qaeda, meaning that close to a third may actually accept this “perverted interpretation.”

Major Nidal Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar” before he opened fire killing 13 people at Fort Hood. Yet the U.S. government called this “workplace violence.” Not Islamic terrorism, the phrase which is not politically correct.

So why not call it what it is? If it’s Christian terror, so be it. But same with Islamic terror. Instead those who describe it accurately are demonized. Ask Donald Trump. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will bring the full force of the U.S. Department of Justice down on anyone using “anti-Muslim rhetoric that edges toward violence.” The last part is quite vague giving the justice department wide latitude in determining the extent to which “rhetoric edges toward violence.”

Remember how Sarah Palin was blamed for the Gabby Giffords shooting because she spoke of electorally “targeting” specific Democrat lawmakers and had a campaign map with targets over various Congressional districts? Business target new markets, politicians target their opponents. Seems such rhetoric is in the eye of the beholder. Anyone want to guess how the DOJ might view negative comments toward Muslims?

The result is predictable. A neighbor of the San Bernardino killers didn’t report suspicious activity “for fear of being called racist.” This was before AG Lynch’s comments, but who can blame the neighbor? George Zimmerman learned this too. As a neighborhood watchman, he reported the suspicious activities of Trayvon Martin, and after an altercation where Martin was fatally shot, Zimmerman was branded a racist and faced a criminal trial. Even NBC got into the act, doctoring an audiotape to make Zimmerman appear racist. 

The Department of Homeland Security has the “If you see something, say something” program. The purpose is to raise public awareness about terrorism and encourage reporting suspicious to law enforcement. They recommend calling 911 for an emergency, which was what George Zimmerman did. Look where it got him!

The San Bernardino neighbor may have wanted to report seeing several Middle Eastern visitors to the apartment bring packages at odd hours of the night, but decided that seeing something and saying nothing was the safer course of action. 

This is the result of political correctness. Shutting up to avoid offending and being ostracized for trying to do the right thing. Islamic terrorism has arrived in the U.S. How are we to fight it? “See something, say something” is a good idea. Just as we do with neighborhood watches. These programs expand the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement since they cannot be everywhere at all times.

If citizens are vigilant, many terror plots will be noticed and disrupted. But residents must feel free to speak up, even if their suspicions turn out to be wrong. Even if they are wrong more than right, lives will be saved and we will have a chance at stopping San Bernardino-like plots. But if citizens are afraid to speak up due to political correctness, we all lose as law enforcement can’t do it alone.

Two weeks ago there were no credible threats against the U.S. This being the best judgment of intelligence and law enforcement. Turned out they were wrong. But who was right? The neighbor, cowed by political correctness and afraid to speak up. The result is 14 people dead. When the PC culture silences the next warning, how many more will die?

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based retina surgeon and writer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. 

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