Low-intensity terrorism

By Joseph Farah

U.S. intelligence agencies received reports last week suggesting Islamic terrorists are targeting American schools for attack, according to a report in the Washington Times.

The reports indicate the targeting includes plans to attack “all levels of educational institutions in the United States, ranging from elementary schools to colleges and universities.”

Why would terrorists attack schools?

It’s obvious.

  • Because they are there.

  • Because nothing like attacks on schools terrifies American parents more.

  • Because schools, in recent years, have boastfully become “gun-free zones,” meaning there is no defense to such attacks.

I warned about this vulnerability some time ago – last May, in fact.

I scoffed at the idea that the future of terrorist attacks in America would resemble those in Israel. Many years ago, terrorists tried to execute more conventional attacks in the Jewish state. They armed themselves with automatic weapons and stormed cafes and crowded plazas. But they were unsuccessful at creating the kind of human carnage they desired.


Because so many people in Israel are armed.

When terrorists began shooting in public places, they themselves were shot down by ordinary citizens – or, in some cases, by Uzi-armed soldiers. Sometimes they were killed before they got a shot off.

The terrorists began looking for other methods. The suicide bombing attack is a method that works in a country where armed citizens are everywhere. There are no undefended schools in Israel. There are no undefended synagogues. There are no undefended buses or plazas or cafes or discotheques. Armed civilians are everywhere.

This has not been true in America for a long time. America long ago caved in to the political pressure to disarm. Now there are entire cities – including the nation’s capital – where it is illegal to carry a firearm. This was supposedly a plan to make people safer. Of course, it has not. Crime – especially violent crime – is rampant in the very cities and states that have the most restrictive gun-control policies.

If, indeed, the recent attacks in suburban Washington turn out to be the work of terrorists, it won’t be a coincidence that they chose Maryland rather than Virginia to try their shooting spree. Maryland is hostile to the idea of law-abiding citizens carrying or even owning firearms. Virginia less so.

The terrorists are smart. They know they will not have to kill themselves with bombs strapped onto their bodies to wreak havoc on American cities. They will be much more effective, unfortunately, with automatic weapons – or even single shot rifles aimed with precision. They can kill far more people spraying gunfire in crowded public places safe from return fire than they could with a single bomb. And, with this approach, they can often live another day to terrorize the American public again and again.

That was my prediction. That’s why I believe you will not see the Israel-style suicide bombings take place in America – at least not on any large scale. It’s unnecessary. It’s inefficient. And there are better ways to kill in a society stripped of its entire notion of self-defense and self-reliance.

Even in light of the most serious attack on America in history, the government still amazingly opposes arming even most airline pilots to defend themselves, their crews, their passengers and their craft. The American government simply doesn’t trust its own people to defend themselves – even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

It’s worth repeating that the Federal Aviation Administration banned firearms in the cockpits in July 2001 – just two months before the Sept. 11 hijackings. Had the FAA instead required pilots to be trained in the use of firearms and encouraged to carry them, I believe the tragedies of that date could have been averted.

Now the airliners are gun-free zones. In other words, they are safe for terrorists.

Our schools are also gun-free zones. In other words, they are safe for terrorists.

Our shopping malls are, in many jurisdictions, gun-free zones. In other words, they are safe for terrorists.

Our major city streets are, in many jurisdictions, gun-free zones. In other words, they are safe for terrorists.

In America, we have ensured that terrorists don’t have to blow themselves up to kill lots of people. They don’t have to die to commit mass murder and mayhem. We have determined that the government and only the government can defend us.

The possession of firearms is a fundamental American civil right. And it is now more important from a practical standpoint than ever before.