West vs. West III

From the previous post: Europe and any other country absorbing refugees must execute extreme caution and implement high security measures to ensure everyone’s safety. Black, white, brown, red, purple, yellow, LGBT, woman, man, child, adult, etc. If you prioritize refugee lives equally or more than your own, do them a favor and keep your country safe.

This brings me to my next point. America has increased its security since 2001. Yet in 2009, years after 9-11, I accidentally made it as far as London with a pocket knife in my carry on- this after being pulled out of the queue for a security check. That leaves me thinking there’s still room to grow. We (I’m also American in part) have had our fair share of attacks since 2001, and the free usage of guns hasn’t improved the situation. I live in a country which is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world and yet the crime and homicide rate is significantly lower than the US average. Jerusalem, arguably the most terrorized city in Israel, is safer than New York. Recently there are so many random shootings in the US that I’m not sure whether I’d exchange living through war and rocket attacks in favor of returning to the US. True, sense of safety and actual safety are two different things, but I think you’ll notice America; pretty much every other first world country is safer than you are, likely because people can’t randomly shoot each other. What would have happened if at every terrorist site in Paris some civilian had had a gun in their possession? Who knows? Maybe they would have killed a terrorist or two. Maybe a few people would have survived. Maybe they would be shot the next day by some lunatic itching to test out his shiny new gun collection. I think the solution I mentioned above, increasing security measures, is a safer more reliable way to manage the situation. Particularly since a few of the terrorists were questioned in route to Paris and/or used the refugee situation to their advantage.

Lastly, America, you’re a country composed of immigrants. That’s probably one of the few things I can be proud of as an American. We’re a big concoction of the best of the best, the risk takers that came to the US with $5 in their pocket- everyone knows someone that can tell this story- and dreamed of a better life. Our melting pot, original, entrepreneurial culture is what makes us unique above all. We’d have some audacity to deny others the same opportunity or to claim they’re not good enough to join our ranks.

The majority of my American contacts have been citing the rising homeless, unemployment and/or underemployment rates as a reason to reject refugees. There are an estimated 60,000 US military veterans without shelter. This fact is indeed disturbing. These people gave years of their lives, blood, sweat, and body parts for a war most of us still don’t understand today, thinking that it would somehow better their lives. Perhaps stories of their grandfather’s GI Bill and post-war glory lead them envision a happier ending, yet I can’t even say they have been “welcomed home” at all. At best they were halfheartedly greeted with an embarrassing and deplorably apathetic nod, and cast aside as soon as their PTSD was diagnosed. This issue absolutely must be addressed, but helping veterans and refugees does not have to be mutually exclusive. We have more than enough capability to do both. Given the right government and the right society, there is no reason why 70,000 living human beings – veterans, refugees, or otherwise- should have to live like tumble weeds.

If your problem with the refugee crisis is that there are other people in need,then to state it plainly: you’re doing it wrong. Instead, you should have been asking yourself why there are 60,000 homeless veterans in the first place, refugees aside.

10,000 is a minuscule number in a population of ~320 million and 9.2 million sq km (roughly 3 million sq miles). To put things into perspective, the refugee population would amount to a grand total of .000035 of the US population. I think we can handle it; we just need to get our priorities straight. America needs to stop aiming its angry gun at the wrong problem. The refugees aren’t the problem. The problem existed long beforehand.

About the Author
Hila Karmi holds a BA in English and an MSc. in Environmental Science. She has written many things.