Homeless Men Thwart A Terror Attack; Trump Revives FDR Internment Rationale

Though the media tends not to disclose the socioeconomic status of criminals who are not homeless, they almost always discuss when the perpetrator of a crime is homeless -- even when the crime committed is not directly related to their homelessness. (Sadly, Americans who assert that poverty breeds crime are more interested in locking up the poor criminals than they are in employing petty criminals after the fact or addressing poverty in blanket form before the fact. Think solutions.) This practice by the media of mentioning someone's homeless status (especially if it's a violent crime) does much to contribute negatively to societal biases and stereotypes concerning the homeless. While the media does indeed cover stories of homeless people being attacked as they sleep outside, the general public seems only to remember the stories of homeless people committing crimes and to forget about the many cases in which homeless people are victimized by housed people (often wayward adolescents ages 15 to 23).

Then there is that occasional story of a homeless man like Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax who was stabbed while rescuing a woman who was being robbed -- only to then be left to die while dozens of passers-by ignored him as he bled to death or lie there dead. If you spend enough time using social media, you might run across stories like that of a homeless man who stopped to assist a freezing adolescent whom thousands of people had walked past and expressed no concern for -- only to eventually find out that the boy was being watched from a distance by family members who were doing a social experiment to see who would care.

Now it's "homeless man (err 'men') to the rescue once again". We have homeless men helping to thwart terror attacks. Two homeless men hanging out near a train station in Elizabeth, NJ (the city where I got adopted by the Sheptocks in 1975 at six years old) found what turned out to be pipe bombs in a trash can -- a fact that has only received brief mention in articles that are bound to increase xenophobia and distrust of Muslims (or "Moslems" where I come from). The image of two homeless men digging through a trash can in a train station, finding bombs, saving lives and being given short shrift by the media creates in my mind a strange confluence of circumstances. When you consider the circumstances that led to Ahmad Khan Rahami being "radicalized", that only adds to this strange confluence -- a topic that must be teased out and talked about.

The next time you see a homeless person digging through a trash can, you might not be so quick to mock them or talk trash about them (no pun intended). You might instead question whether or not they're saving lives or even speculate as to why Homeland Security doesn't employ them as "bomb gestapos". When this person exits the trash can, you might even offer to buy them a meal in lieu of their apparent usefulness -- a gesture you should have considered even before the "Rahami Rampage". I expect that travelers won't find the homeless people in airports, train stations or bus terminals to be so repulsive anymore. I also suppose that Middle Easterners who like to keep up with Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric will read articles about the NYC bombing, notice the line about these two homeless men and exclaim, "They have homeless people in America???!!!".

Given the facts that we've learned thus far about the bomber, it would seem that he was angry about how the U.S. military has decimated his country of origin -- only to find Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan after starting wars in two other countries and destabilizing the entire region with money that would have been better spent assisting poor Americans whose plight just gives "terrorists" more fodder for their war on the American government. We know that Ahmad Khan Rahami made multiple months-long trips to his native Afghanistan and to Pakistan since 2014. We don't have any clear indication that he was in direct contact with any known terror group. It stands to reason that he was angered by the decimation he saw -- especially when it's coupled with the fact that many Afghans have absolutely no idea as to why the U.S. started raining ballistics down on them in late 2001. My guess is that Mr. Rahami was "radicalized" by the harm that the U.S. government has done to his homeland and came back to the U.S. to carry out some "homeland security". Now, before any of you xenophobes say that he should have just gone back to his homeland if he missed it so much, bear in mind that he doesn't have much of anything to go back to -- thanks to the U.S. military and its "bad intelligence" (otherwise known as "governmental stupidity"). In a sense, Mr. Rahami's situation is similar to that of the men who found the pipe bombs. One has no homeland and two have no homes; but, none of the three has a place to go back to.

As for the fact that many Afghans don't know why they were attacked beginning in 2001, I expect every Black American to relate to this matter. Why??? Philando Castile. Walter Scott. Eric Garner. Eric Harris. Alton Stering. Terrence Crutcher. A Black man can't even assist his autistic patient without being shot by a trigger-happy cop. These are cases where the Black person who was shot didn't see it coming; because, they'd done nothing to bring it on. (I purposefully avoided mentioning those who I'm not sure where innocent of a violent crime.) I'm left to wonder why more Black Americans haven't been "radicalized" against the American system, in light of the aforementioned as well as additional circumstances -- especially with the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers taking place in October 2016. In any instance, the "Hands up; don't shoot" slogan has been turned on its head and rendered useless by the mounting number of instances in which a Black man HAD his hands up and got shot by cops anyway. Logic says that my chances of surviving ANY encounter with police -- even a traffic stop -- are greatly increased if I have MY gun at the ready. I'm waiting for this logic to catch on and spread like wildfire.

Then again, there is the troubled (and troubling) thinking of people like Donald Trump whose primary similarity to other Republicans is that he knows (to a small degree) what he's against but has absolutely no idea as to what he is for. He fits more snugly in "the party of 'No'" than he does in "the party of 'Let's go!!!'". It's a terrible indictment on the U.S. that Trump has gotten as far as he has in the polls and has gone on to become the GOP candidate. He's ridden the Ferris wheel of fear all the way to the top and gotten stuck (for a short time, hopefully). He's given fearful Americans the hope that he'll act impulsively on bad intelligence (governmental stupidity) so as to make xenophobia standard fare in America, to justify racial and religious profiling and promote more war for oil.

During his third term in 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt used antics that Donald Trump and other fearful Americans can appreciate. FDR had Japanese Americans rounded up and put in internment camps after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Some 75 years later the best and longest-serving president this country has ever had is still ostracized for this particular decision, even though Americans in 1944 loved him enough to give him a fourth term during which he died. (Term limits began in 1951.) In addition to his final election, he also has in his defense that he was the Democrat who brought America out of the Great Depression that Republican President Herbert Hoover "sucked" us into.

The silver lining here is that Mr. "not-to-be-president" Trump is reaching across the political aisle so as to borrow from the Democratic playbook. The dark cloud is that he is only attempting to imitate the most contentious and disagreeable decisions made by his predecessors (whom he supposedly doesn't even read about). Who read to him about FDR's internment camps??? Donald, Jr???

By now, you the readers are probably taken aback by the way that I connect issues. You might go so far as to call it "a strange confluence of thoughts". This post has covered: homeless men finding pipe bombs and averting a disaster, a bomber whose homeland has been destroyed by our military, unarmed Black men whose lives have been destroyed by trigger-happy police for at least 50 years and counting, xenophobia in America for 75 years and counting and a man whom many people the world over hope doesn't become America's nut-case-in-chief. The flow should indicate that these issues are all connected. The bombs we dropped in countries that have done us no harm have now jumped back across the pond and landed in American trash cans where they are being found by the people whom the money we spent killing innocent civilians and their defenders actually SHOULD have been spent on. It's time to get off of the Ferris wheel of flaws and failures and to board the Ferris wheel of fixes and forgiveness. Finished.

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