Category Archives: Terrorism

Our gun problem IS a terrorism problem

by Doug Muder, The Weekly Sift, 6/20/15

When Democrats in Congress responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting by renewing calls for gun control, Ted Cruz made a sharp distinction:

This is not a gun control issue; it’s a terrorism issue.

In other words, if it’s one it can’t be the other. Gallup implicitly endorsed that framing by making its respondents choose. The result was the usual partisan polarization: 79% of Republicans described the Pulse attack as “Islamic terrorism”, while 60% of Democrats called it “domestic gun violence”. [1]

But following just half a year after the San Bernardino shooting, the Orlando shooting makes the guns-or-terrorism argument obsolete. It’s all one issue now. ISIS is actively encouraging lone-wolf attacks, and the easy availability of AR-15s and other military-style weapons makes the United States uniquely vulnerable to lone-wolf terrorism. Our political inability to control or track even the most destructive guns keeps that hole in our defenses open.

I’m amazed it took Islamic State strategists so long to figure that out. About a year after 9-11, the Washington metro area was terrorized by someone the press called “the D.C. sniper“. Over a three-week period he shot 13 people apparently at random, ten of whom died. Rather than a mass killing, these were individual attacks that seemed completely unpatterned and unpredictable: one victim was sitting at a bus stop reading a book, another was pumping gas at a self-service station, and a third was walking down a street.

That’s what made the attacks so terrifying: Wherever you were in the D.C. area and whatever you happened to be doing, if you were out in public you had to consider the possibility that you might suddenly be killed.

The press speculated about Al Qaeda, but the killers turned out to have no connection to international terrorism. They were just two guys with a rifle who had drilled a barrel-hole into the trunk of a rusty old car….

read more and see links at The Weekly Sift

How the AK-47 and AR-15 Evolved Into Rifles of Choice for Mass Killers

By C.J. Chivers, New York Times, 8/5/16

Time and again it’s the same. A lone gunman or a small group of killers with rifles commits spectacular crimes that seize the attention of the world.

The list reaches back decades: the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972; the school takeover in Beslan, Russia, in 2004; the attacks in Mumbai, India, in 2008; the mall assault in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013; the killing of more than 100 people in Paris in 2015.

Often the rifles are variants of the AK-47, the world’s most abundant firearm, an affordable and simple-to-use assault rifle of Soviet lineage that allows a few people to kill scores and menace hundreds, and fight head-to-head against modern soldiers and police forces.

In recent years they have also been descendants of the AR-15, the American military’s response to the Kalashnikov’s spread. Semiautomatic versions of the AR-15 were used by sympathizers of the Islamic State in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015, and a Mini-14 and an MCX, rifles that fire the same cartridge as the AR-15 and compete with it for market share, were used in the mass shootings in Norway in 2011 and in Orlando, Fla., in June….

read more at New York Times

Congress Is Done Talking About Gun Control and Is Ready for Vacation

By George Zornick, The Nation, 7/13/16

An activist push for an assault weapons ban fell on deaf ears in Congress on Tuesday

Despite two high-profile and horrific acts of gun violence in the past month, Congress is likely to leave town this week for a two-month recess without taking any action on gun control. House Speaker Paul Ryan was planning a vote on a deeply flawed piece of legislation that would potentially prevent the sale of weapons to people on the terror watchlist, but now even a vote on that bill appears to be off the table.

On Tuesday, there were a few events marking the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Pulse nightclub—but mainly kept outside the doors of the Capitol. In the evening, on the front steps, the House LGBT caucus along with several members of Democratic leadership held a vigil for the victims of the shooting, the worst in American history, and demanded “action” on gun control.

Earlier in the day, a small group of activists and progressive members of Congress stood outside the Capitol building and demand reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. If there was ever a political moment for getting both parties to at least talk about the ban, one would think it might come after a professed adherent of ISIS used an assault weapon to kill 49 people, followed shortly by a man using an assault rifle to conduct urban combat against police officers in Dallas, killing five of them….

read more at The Nation

Connecticut asks for ‘no-fly’ list to screen gun buyers

By: Mark Pazniokas, The Connecticut Mirror, December 10, 2015

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy jumped into a roiling national debate over gun control, civil liberties and terrorism Thursday by revealing he has asked the White House for access to the U.S. government’s “no-fly” list and other terrorism watch lists to screen firearms purchases in Connecticut.

“I intend to sign a first-in-the-nation executive order, one that will result in banning the sale of guns to those on government watch lists,” Malloy said in an early afternoon press conference.

The White House was publicly non-committal on whether it would share what has been a closely guarded and much criticized screening tool. Malloy said his request for access to the federal data was well-received, but was “going through channels.”,,,

read more at The Connecticut Mirror

New York Times – front page editorial

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, DEC. 4, 2015

End the Gun Epidemic in America

​It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.  All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did. But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained it’s sense of decency?

Buy Today, Kill Tomorrow

By John Kiriakou, OtherWords, 12/2/15

Good people can disagree about guns.

Though I’ve always leaned left in my political views, I believe that Americans have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I owned a gun for many years myself — at least until my conviction for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program canceled my Second Amendment rights.

But there’s a problem that warrants immediate attention. You see, current law allows suspected terrorists, including those on the “No Fly List,” to legally purchase weapons.

That’s right. I can’t legally buy a gun. But suspected terrorists can.

Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, was an American citizen. Born and raised in California, he converted to Islam in 1995 and became a senior advisor to Osama bin Laden. Gadahn became al-Qaeda’s media expert, producing a slick magazine and videos to help the group recruit even more Americans to its cause.

Gadahn was killed in a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan earlier this year. But as early as 2011, he urged would-be American jihadists to buy weapons and turn them on their innocent compatriots. “What are you waiting for?” he asked. “Buy today, kill tomorrow!”

American intelligence and law enforcement agencies knew about this threat. So did Congress. And nobody did anything….

read more at OtherWords and also see links to further sources there.