I’m reminded of the scene from the movie Jaws where the captain of the small boat, Quint, played by Robert Shaw is arguing with Sheriff Brody, played by Roy Schneider. As they carry on, the shark expert Matt Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfuss, reminds them that the great white shark is returning.
And so it is for us today in America as we once again find ourselves divided, talking across each other, and failing to realize the hatred being fomented. As we’re arguing amongst ourselves, we need to remember there are sharks in the water aiming to devour us.
As reported by the Washington Times, “Al Qaeda is about to take on a new target — America’s trains — in an upcoming edition of its terror magazine, Inspire. Issue No. 17 is headlined, “Train Derail Operations,” and will spell out ways to create rail disasters in a transportation system that lacks the stiff security procedures of airline travel.
Its competing Sunni extremists group, the Islamic State, for more than a year has advocated using vehicles to mow down innocents. Its murderous followers have weaponized vehicles in Nice, Berlin and London, creating hundreds of deaths and injuries. Adding trains to the terrorist’s priority list would put at risk virtually every mode of transportation and placed added pressure on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) put out a report on Friday saying al Qaeda has teased the Inspire articles with a trailer appearing on Telegram app channels operated by its fans. “The trailer highlights that derailments are simple to design using easily available materials, that such a planned attack can be hard to detect, and that the outcome can substantially damage a country’s transportation sector and the Western economy in general,” MEMRI said.
The U.S. maintains over 100,000 miles of rail. But the trailer features scenes of just one system, the subway. It shows cars flashing through urban tunnels. It quotes from U.S. Government Accountability Office reports on the vulnerability of rail lines to sabotage. It then shows what appear to be rudimentary devices that can be clamped onto a line to cause a derailment. “Simple to design,” the promo says in English script, mentioning “America” several times. “Made from readily available materials. Hard to be detached. Cause great destruction to the Western economy and transportation sector.”
As we deal with the cancer in America that is identity politics and the partisan political violence, we must not forget our common enemy is militant Islamic jihadism as well. If we had elected officials in America who were less inclined to be focused on scoring political points, we could eradicate the hatred overtaking this nation — especially since last November. But we must remain ever vigilant against another form of deadly supremacist ideology: that of Islamo-fascists. Al Qaeda still exists, and are looking at a resurgence since they lost some front-page jihadist glamour with the advent of the Islamic State. Now that ISIS appears to be losing its territorial foothold, and not as prevalent in the news cycle, al Qaeda is looking to fill that void. And we must, and cannot, allow that to happen.
What I’d like to see is an eradication of any and all hate-filled rhetoric online. I completely understand and support freedom of speech, but we need to be precise in defining what is sedition. Speech that targets and threatens specific groups as well as seeks to undermine our system of governance, as a Constitutional Republic, needs to be thwarted. It should not have a platform by which it can spew forth its hatred. I have yet to hear anything further about the Islamic cleric who recently made specific threats against the Jewish people.
Now, I know we can have philosophical differences – understood — but when we reject even the hearing of each other and move towards violent resolution, we put our beloved nation at risk. But understand, even with our political and philosophical differences, it is our liberty and freedom that unites us, and is deemed reprehensible by Islamic supremacist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda.
As we are about to enter the fall season of college and professional football we need to be extremely aware of threats to our transportation systems, and large gatherings of Americans. I do pray we’ll come to a time when we do not excuse Islamic jihadist attacks, and instead see them as inexcusable — just like what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The sharks are still out there.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]