To the editor:
It makes rational sense to keep black teenagers out of Westport, Kansas City, but it’s wrong.
It makes sense because some black teenagers have caused disturbances there and keeping them all out could actually cure it. It’s wrong because most black teenagers aren’t causing disturbances, and it’s bigoted. Also it wouldn’t prevent white teenage disturbances.
Charles Krauthammer’s (Journal-World, July 2) proposal to treat “Islamism” as “THE risk factor” for “great terror attacks of this century” (including “Fort Hood and Times Square”) is wrong because it’s bigoted. However it lacks the virtue of making rational sense, because it couldn’t possibly work.
Leaving aside facts (e.g. Times Square had zero fatalities whereas “Christianist” Scott Roeder caused one fatality right here in Kansas) no one knows what an Islamist is except that we don’t like them. Risk factors aren’t much good if we can’t define them.
But let’s try. Say we define “Islamist” as a devout Muslim who feels angry at America. International polls suggest that up to half of all Muslims are angry at America, or about half a billion people worldwide, of whom well under 50,000 are terrorists. That makes “Islamism” a 1-in-10,000 risk factor, which, technically, simply isn’t a risk factor.
It’s not like persecuting black teenagers. You can’t surveil a half billion people. You can’t stop a half billion people from going anywhere they want. Not all of them will get through your barriers, but enough will get through to conceal the 1-in-10,000 terrorists.