Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Some candidates including Trump and Cruz support the right of Americans to own effective tools of self defense. But none are talking about the long-standing official government stance of keeping Americans as vulnerable hostages to nuclear weapons.
It is terrible that Americans can get shot at a Christmas party, but much worse will happen if we don’t confront the problems beginning at the top.
After every shooting episode the response is the same formula: constant media coverage, much of it fact-free, and calls for thoughts, prayers—and still more gun control. It’s time to take a broader perspective than a focus on the dozens of individual tragedies.
Today, Americans are targets. Not just individual Americans, but also the United States of America. They are targeted by deranged individuals, by fanatical ideologues, by drug cartels, by terrorist organizations, and by foreign powers, some of whom have intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple independently targeted nuclear warheads aimed at American cities.
Our thoughts need to turn to what is really going on, and our prayers need to include “God save the United States of America.”
We have pervasive surveillance of our financial transactions, our telephone and electronic communications, our medical records, and our movements. The government has enormous powers of search and seizure, many unthinkable to drafters of our Fourth Amendment, and these are used against Americans engaged in normal business that threatens no one. We already have lots of gun control laws.
So how were terrorists in San Bernadino able to accumulate bomb-making material, an arsenal of weapons both legal and illegal, and body armor, without spurring any action by the authorities?
Terrorists have also engaged in operations that don’t yet have any poster children but that are far more dangerous than shooting up a Christmas party, such as disabling a key electrical substation. This shows the capacity for coordinated, sophisticate operations that could cripple the electricity grid for a long time.
Candidates such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz call for controlling illegal immigration—surely necessary, but insufficient. The San Bernardino terrorists were here legally.
Here are the real issues that we need to discuss:
Americans are mostly helpless victims. The government that is supposed to protect us, though awesomely powerful, appears to be incompetent, corrupt, or—dare we suggest it?—on the other side.Americans are divided by a culture of grievances.America is dangerously weak.Foreign policy is recklessly provocative. More