In 1949, Russia successfully tested its first nuclear bomb. The Cold War started and we began to live in fear of nuclear attack.
Anyone who lived through the 1950s remembers the advice our government gave us. In case of a Russian nuclear attack – “Duck and Cover.” That was the crux of the life-saving recommendations given to us; lay down on the floor, or under a desk and cover your head. In elementary school, our class practiced “duck and cover” drills. I remember being afraid, but we still went to school every day.
The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in October of 1962. Our family sat in front of our old black-and-white TV and watched President Kennedy explain the situation to the American people. Our country took a firm stance against the Russian placement of missiles on Cuban soil; missiles that could easily reach American soil.
As a 12 year-old boy, I remember that it sounded like we were about to go to war. I remember being afraid, but our family still went to church. We all went to school. Dad still went to work.
During the many years that our country was fighting the War in Vietnam, we frequently poked Russia and China in the eye. There was posturing and threats from one side of the world to the other. We could not feel safe while our troops were fighting and dying half-a-world away. North Vietnam, supported by China and Russia, battled with American troops. Over 58,000 Americans died in the conflict. It was decade of war; a decade of fear.
The Cold War ended as the Berlin Wall came crashing down. The Soviet Union dissolved into 15 separate republics. Russia would remain a world power and they would support many of the countries that would do harm to Americans around the world.
Within a few years, Iraq would invade Kuwait and the Gulf War would start. Tension grew for years. Hatred for anything and everything related to America grew in the Middle East. That hatred grew into numerous acts of terrorism. The terrorist attacks of September 11 signaled the beginning of the worldwide war on terror; a war that continues to this day. Since then, many acts of terrorism have been discovered and stopped before any harm could be done.
However, in the past several months, terrorism has changed. The war in Syria and the growth of ISIS (The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has changed how terrorists strike. Loosely organized, ISIS supporters strike wherever and whenever they want; shooting, killing, exploding bombs and taking out innocent citizens, and themselves, in the process. The target of terrorism is now focused on civilians and local law enforcement. Fear is growing throughout the world.
Dozens of people were killed by ISIS terrorists in Paris as citizens enjoyed a concert, attended a soccer match or relaxed at street side café’s. ISIS is such a loosely organized group of terrorists that if you say you belong to ISIS… you do belong to ISIS. If you commit an act of terrorism and claim you did it on behalf of ISIS, then you are an ISIS terrorist.
Personally, I’m getting tired of the political correctness that is keeping people from speaking the truth about what is happening right in front of them. Members of ISIS (whether they are wearing black hoods and beheading people in Syria or shooting people in San Bernardino) are radical Islamic terrorists. We must not deny that truth.
Within the past few days, Edward Archer, having pledged his allegiance to ISIS, tried to assassinate Police Officer Jesse Hartnett in Philadelphia. He fired 13 shots at Officer Hartnett, striking him three times. It was a miracle he survived.
Archer reportedly told investigators that he targeted a police officer because the police defend laws that are in opposition to the teachings of the Quran. He confessed, saying he did it “in the name of Islam.”
Despite Archer’s confession, the mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, said the shooting had nothing to do with “being Muslim or the Islamic faith.” According the man who pulled the trigger, it did.
Archer is a Muslim extremist. Does he represent all peace-loving Muslims throughout the world? Of course, he does not. He is an extremist. He claims his violence in the name of ISIS and their extremist views. He is a terrorist. He committed terror “in the name of Islam.”
These terrorists, who claim they act in the name of ISIS, need to be identified and stopped. Don’t let their claims of religion get in the way of the fact that they are terrorists and are committing horrible crimes. We need to stop them. We need to put them away.
Thank God that kind, peace-loving Muslims outnumber the Muslim extremist by the millions. We should never blame the terrorist acts of the few extremists on the millions who practice their religion in peace, but those millions need to decry the deeds of the terrorists. We must all work together to stop the extremist.
They are terrorists. ISIS members and sympathizers must be identified and stopped.
We must protect our law enforcement officers. Ask any police officer in the United States what their primary, number-one responsibility is whenever they put on their uniform and go to work and they will all give you the same answer. “My most important job is to get home to my family at the end of my shift.”
Let’s protect our police officers. Let’s give them the tools and the support they need to protect us. Let’s make sure they get home at the end of every shift. Our police have reasons to be afraid, but they go to work every day.
We must not give in to fear.
Randy Riley is President of Council of Wilmington.