(AP/Jae C. Hong)

Daily mass shootings are an infinitely greater threat than Middle Eastern refugees

Refugees in the U.S. carried out 0 terrorist attacks since 9/11, while there is more than 1 mass shooting per day


Ben Norton
December 3, 2015 4:22AM (UTC)

At least 745,000 and as many as 1.5 million Middle Eastern refugees have come to the U.S. since 9/11. They have carried out precisely zero terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, there is an average of more than one mass shooting in the U.S. every single day. The web project ShootingTracker.com compiles lists of media reports on mass shootings in the U.S.

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Last week, suspected gunman Robert Lewis Dear shot 12 people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, killing at least three people, including a mother of two. Authorities say Dear was "definitely politically motivated" and the Colorado Springs mayor says it was likely an act of domestic terrorism.

As of this November 27 attack on Planned Parenthood, ShootingTracker.com documented at least 351 media reports on different mass shootings in the U.S. in 2015. On average, then, there has been more than one mass shooting every day this year.

The U.S. leads the world in mass shootings. This is the real manifestation of "American exceptionalism" — America is exceptionally violent.

Today, there was another mass shooting at a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, California. At least 14 people were killed and 14 more were injured.

While hundreds of Americans are murdered every year in mass shootings carried out by native-born citizens, the right-wing tells us we must be afraid of refugees fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq, and other war-torn Middle Eastern countries. It fear-mongers about the families fleeing bombs, and beheadings, and brutality. It tells us we must be afraid of them because they are Muslim (the Christians are okay, some of the xenophobic pundits say).

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In order to do so, in order to entertain such fears, we must ignore all of the evidence. We must ignore the fact that, once again, somewhere between three-quarters of a million and 1.5 million Middle Eastern refugees have been admitted to the U.S. in the past 14 years, and they have committed no acts of terror. We must ignore the fact that gun-wielding Americans carry out what should be seen as acts of terror on a daily basis.

From 2005 to 2015, 301,797 Americans were killed in gun violence. In the same decade, 71 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks -- and, of these, homegrown right-wing extremists were a significantly greater threat than Islamic extremists.

If we look even cursorily at the facts, we would see that, if anything, we should be infinitely more scared of native-born Americans -- who could go on a shooting spree any minute -- than refugees. The Robert Lewis Dears, the Dylann Roofs, the Elliot Rodgers, these are the real threats, not the Syrian mothers, the Iraqi fathers, the Yemeni children.

We are told in the West we must reject refugees, for they may attack us (while our governments and militaries are attacking them with more force and ferocity than we could ever muster), yet the evidence indicates that refugees pose no threat to us. The baseless scapegoating of refugees is only a distraction from the fact that we are already being attacked -- by our own fellow citizens.

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Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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