Affordable Care Act, or, Obamacare, and King v. Burwell 3/24/2015
Obama and the Nuclear Agreement with Iran 7/21/2015
Iran and the Obama Administration 7/21/2015
Refugees from Syria 9/15/2015
Islamic Terrorists Attack Americans in San Bernardino, California 12/7/2015
Gun Control and Obama 12/15/2015
The Islamic State
In recent months, an organization called The Islamic State, (also referred to as ISIS or ISIL) has taken over a large area of Syria and Iraq. ISIS stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The organization is a jihadist movement, which means that it’s composed of Islamic extremists who believe that God, who they call Allah, wants them to kill people who don’t worship as they do. They also hold women to be inferior to men and strictly enforce repressive laws. The Islamic State wants to annihilate the United States because it represents freedom and wants a free Iraq. In the last month ISIS has murdered at least two American journalists by cutting off their heads and it says it will kill more Americans. The Islamic State dates back about 15 years, during which the group bore different names and operated in states ranging from Jordan to Afghanistan and Iraq. In recent years, a power vacuum in Syria and Iraq has allowed The Islamic State to exert its influence. In Syria, various groups have been fighting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for control in a Civil War. Syria is weak. In Iraq, President Obama pulled out American soldiers, wrongly believing Iraq was strong enough to defend itself. And, after initially declaring the United States would fight Syria if it used chemical weapons, President Obama backed down and did nothing against Assad when he did use chemical weapons. This emboldened terrorist groups like The Islamic State to believe the United States was weak. The Islamic State has taken advantage of this lack of strength in the area, gaining control over large swaths of land. The Islamic State, it is believed, has over 31 million fighters who come from all over the world, including from 1 to 2 million westerners. Leader of The Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was born in Iraq, and was held in captivity by the United States. He was released either in 2004, or in 2009. Al-Baghdadi has had stunning success in his brutality. When ISIS takes over an area, it gives the citizens one week to make a decision: Become Muslim and believe in the religion exactly as The Islamic State believes, pay a special tax until you die, move, or be killed. It is not known exactly how many people The Islamic State has murdered, but we do know that up to 1,000,000 have fled, and we have pictures of murdered children and men. In a speech last week, President Obama announced “we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.” What this exactly means on the battlefield is still unclear, and it is unclear if the President thinks this a war or not. The President has said we will bomb The Islamic State, and we will work with other countries, however, he has said he will not put American soldiers on the ground.
What is The Islamic State?
What is The Islamic State doing in Iraq and Syria?
Read at least one newspaper article about this event, and answer the question: What should the United States of America do about The Islamic State? What is the best way to defeat it?
12/11/2014 In the past year, Ukraine has been in a war for its survival as an independent country. Russia has invaded and occupied southern Ukraine, has taken the Crimean Peninsula (a region of Ukraine), and has armed ethnic Russians who are fighting Ukrainians. Ukraine would like to remain free and cooperate with western countries but has received little help from the west. Under great strain and violent attack from a neighbor that is over twice its size in population, the future of Ukraine is in doubt. Ukraine’s recent problems are some of many in centuries of hardship and loss. Located in Eastern Europe with Russia as its neighbor to the east, Ukraine has struggled to keep its existence over the last seven hundred years. From the 1600s to the end of World War I (1918) Poland, Russia, and Austria-Hungary controlled all of Ukraine. After World War I, Ukraine emerged as an independent country. However, from 1918-1922 Ukrainians fought a civil war that killed over 1.5 million people. In 1922, Ukraine became one of the founding countries of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R., also called, The Soviet Union). The Soviet Union was ruled by Communists and its power was centered in Moscow, Russia. Under the policies of the Soviet Communist Party, Ukrainians had no freedom of speech, no real right to vote, no freedom of religion, and, millions of Ukrainians were murdered. In the early 1930s, The Soviet Union took away all privately owned farms from Ukrainians. People who resisted were either killed or starved to death. Over 10,000,000 Ukrainians were killed. Nearly all Ukrainian army officers, writers, and religious leaders and intellectuals were killed by the Soviets. Later, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin led what has been called the “Great Terror,” killing hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians so they would be terrorized in following the Communist state. During World War II (1939-1945), much of the fight against the Germans took place in Ukraine. Because of this, Ukraine suffered incredible losses. Between 5 million and 8 million Ukrainian civilians died in the war, and 1.4 million Ukrainian soldiers perished. Over 500,000 Ukrainian Jews were killed, both by the Nazis and by the Ukrainians. Ukraine’s life as a modern, free country began in 1991, when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Its 15 republics immediately declared independence, and Ukraine became a free country. In the 1990s, Ukraine suffered hard economic times. Ukrainians were free from the Soviet Communists but did not enjoy political freedom. In 2004, Ukrainians protested a rigged Presidential election, and in the “Orange Revolution” overthrew Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who stole the election. However, Yanukovych was reelected in 2006, and in 2010 he became President. The current problems in Ukraine began in 2013. Ukraine, led by President Yanukovych, had been working closely with the European Union, and most Ukrainians wanted to join this economic group. The European Union is a common market where countries work closely with each other. Citizens have political liberties, like the right to free speech and free press, whereas in Russia the government represses individuals. The leader of Ukraine, Yanukovych, started to work with the Russians and stated that Ukraine will have closer ties with its neighbor to the east, and not with the west. Most Ukrainians were furious at Yanukovych’s actions and words and began to protest. During the protests, soldiers fired on the crowd, and nearly 100 Ukrainians died. Ukraine’s Parliament removed President Yanukovych from power, called for new elections, and Petro Poroshenko was elected President. Yanukovych was wanted for ordering the military to fire on the protesters. He escaped to the arms of Vladimir Putin. Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, is a country where there is no freedom of speech, there are not free elections, and the Russian police violently control journalists. Ukrainians did not want to come under Russian control. During this unrest, ethnic Russians in southern and eastern Russia claimed they wanted to join Russia, and Russian President Putin ordered Russian soldiers into these areas. Initially, unmarked and unarmed Russian soldiers took over the Crimean Peninsula, an important Ukrainian naval base. After a few days, the Russian men were armed. A quick vote was held in the Crimea, and the Crimean Parliament claims that a majority of the people voted to be part of Russia. Within a week or so, in eastern Ukraine, ethnic Russians began fighting a civil war with the Ukrainian army and people. During this war, the Russian military has supplied the Russian-Ukrainians and has also sent in the Russian military in an invasion. In one instance, the ethnic Russians shot down a civilian Malaysian airplane, killing over 200 passengers. The western countries which comprise NATO has met the Russian aggression with mild resistance. Russia’s invasion of the Crimean Peninsula, and its open support of ethnic Russians, is the first time since World War II that a country has invaded and taken land in Europe. Ukraine has asked the United States of America and NATO for weapons, but they have refused to offer military aid. Some fear that the West’s passive response sends Russian Vladimir Putin the message that he can invade any country he feels he wants to. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is comprised of the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Germany, and nearly all other Western European countries. If one country of NATO is attacked, all are supposed to come to its aid. Ukraine is not a part of NATO, but the western countries favor a free and independent Ukraine. In 2008, Ukraine signed a document agreeing to work toward NATO integration. In 2010, however, President Yanukovych dropped this plan. President Poroshenko and Ukrainian Parliament are now petitioning NATO for membership. Questions
Who controlled Ukraine from 1922 to 1991?
Why did Ukrainians protest President Yanukovych in 2013?
How is Russia different from the United States today?
Question for Discussion
What do you think the United States and NATO should do, if anything?
Should the U.S. help Ukraine fight against Russia and its ethnic Russians?
Should the U.S. stay out of Ukraine’s problems?
Does Russian aggression in Ukraine signal danger for the rest of Europe?
Green States: NATO member countries Orange: Ukraine
Affordable Care Act, or, Obamacare, and King v. Burwell
3/24/2015 On March 10, 2010, President Obama signed a bill into law which greatly altered how health insurance is designed, bought, and sold. The law is titled “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” but is also known as Obamacare, because President Obama greatly favors the bill and because the President has endorsed this name. Recently, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that may be the end of this new law. The case, King v. Burwell, focuses on the source of subsidies that many receive who are insured under the new law. The court case touches on the constitutional issues of how laws are implemented, the meaning of words, and the separation of powers between the executive branch and the legislative branch. Insurance is a funny product. The buyer purchases it with the hopes he will never use it, or at least hoping he won’t use it too much. The insurance company selling it makes a bet that the buyer will also not use too much of the insurance, and determines the price of it depending on the person’s age and health. So health insurance is a product bought and sold by people who hope the user will not really use it. In the U.S.A., from 1789-2010, the U.S. government had stayed out of forcing an American to buy something. Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that the government has the power to force someone to purchase a product. This is because the American Founding Fathers believed in the free market and that the American government should be limited in its power. Obamacare changed the relationship between Americans and their government. Obamacare established the precedent that the government can compel its citizens to purchase products that the government decides is good for them. In the U.S. government, there are three separate branches, each with its own powers. American founding fathers established the government this way so that not one branch would become too powerful. The executive branch (President) is to carry out the law, the legislative branch (Congress) is to write the law, and the judicial branch (Supreme Court and all federal courts) is to decide the legality of the law. In the court case, King v. Burwell, plaintiffs argue that the Obama administration is not following the law, but is instead changing the law and thus, acting like the lawmaker, Congress. The defense argues that the Obama administration is correctly acting within its powers of the executive branch, and is merely interpreting the law so that it makes sense and works. Does the law mean what is written, or does it mean what the President says it means? This is one of the questions the Supreme Court justices are deciding. At issue is how Americans receive subsidies to help pay for their health insurance. As the law is written, only citizens in states that set up their own exchanges, or markets, will receive subsidies. A chief architect of the law, Jonathan Gruber, was videotaped multiple times explaining that the Obama administration wrote the law this way to force states to set up their own exchanges, and that whichever state did not set up the exchange, would risk having their citizens not receive subsidies. Obama, however, is currently directing the federal government to offer subsidies to citizens of over 30 states, because these states decided not to set up the exchanges. These states argue that the Obama administration is taking power illegally, creating a federal government that is taking over the rights of the state governments. It is believed the Supreme Court will issue its ruling on King v Burwell in June. If the Supreme Court decides the Obama administration is acting unconstitutionally, the federal government will cease offering subsidies to citizens in those states that chose to not have state exchanges, and the words of a law will determine its meaning. If the Supreme Court decides in favor of the Obama administration, it will mean Obamacare will continue as it is, and most likely, that whoever is the Presidents receives great freedom in determining what a law means, even if it means going against the meaning of the words used in creating the law.
What is Obamacare?
What is King v. Burwell?
What is the argument in King v. Burwell?
How is this a Constitutional issue?
How do you think the Supreme Court justices should decide? Explain your answer.
Obama and the Nuclear Agreement with Iran
Recently, President Obama announced that the governments of the U.S.A., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, and Germany have made an agreement with Iran regarding Iran’s development of nuclear bombs. According to President Obama, this agreement will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear bombs, it will bring Iran into the world community of decent countries, and it will help the Iranian people. According to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, this agreement will hasten (make quicker) Iran’s development of nuclear bombs, allow Iran to build its conventional weapons, strengthen the Iranian government that wants to annihilate Israel and kill Americans, and make the Middle East and the world a much more dangerous place. A History of Iran and Israel, from Ancient Times to Present It is too challenging to present the history of Iran and Israel, from ancient times to present, in one article. To let the past inform the present, please see these Classical Historian articles: Iran and Obama, and Israeli-Palestinian Conflict I, II, and III. Since its inception, modern Iran has been the world’s greatest state sponsor of terror, is actively planning and carrying out the killing of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has called for the destruction of Israel and America. Because of Iran’s activities, various countries have joined together to stop Iran by freezing Iranian assets, not selling weapons to Iran, and by doing everything possible to keep Iran from having a nuclear bomb. President Obama does not like this approach, and wants to be friendly with Iran, hoping that Iran will change its behavior.
The Agreement between the Six Countries and Iran In the deal, there are a number of understandings between the six countries and Iran.
The six governments will lift all economic sanctions against Iran.
Iran promises to not build a nuclear bomb. If it is believed that it is breaking this promise, there is a 24 day waiting period before all seven governments of the deal can investigate and decide if inspections can be made in Iran. Iran retains the power to deny those inspections. After ten years, no inspections are allowed.
The deal is supposed to give the world at least one year’s notice that Iran is seeking a bomb. After ten years, no notice is needed.
$100 Billion of Iranian assets that have been frozen by governments around the world will be released to the Iranian government.
After five years, Iran will be allowed to purchase as many conventional weapons as it wants to. However, Russia has announced an arms sale to Iran that takes effect immediately. This means, that countries can now sell conventional weapons to Iran.
Arguments Against the Treaty
Iran can continue to fund terrorist organizations, and it can use the $100 billion to do so.
Iran can now buy conventional weapons that will be given to terrorist groups.
Iran did not have to agree to stop trying to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has killed over 1500 Americans in these two countries.
Iran is holding four Americans hostage.
Dictator Assad of Syria, who President Obama threatened because Assad used chemical weapons, receives Iranian support. Assad loves the deal.
Iran calls America the “Great Satan” and believes the U.S.A. is the source of earthly evil.
What is a Treaty and What is Not a Treaty? In the U.S. Constitution, the President is given the power to negotiate all treaties. A treaty is an agreement between two countries. For a treaty to have the force of law in the United States of America, 60 senators must approve the treaty. Many say that this deal between the six countries and Iran is a treaty, because of its great change from past American-Iranian relations. However, the Obama administration calls this deal a “non-binding agreement” with a “capacity for enforcement.” Because the President says it’s not a treaty, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution giving it 60 days to review the deal. If Congress rejects the deal, the President can veto their rejection. If this happens, Congress can override his veto, but Congress needs a 2/3 majority of both houses to do so. It is challenging to have 2/3 of Congress agree to something.
What does President Obama say the nuclear deal with Iran will do?
What does Prime Minister Netanyahu say the nuclear deal with Iran will do?
What does the U.S. get from this deal?
What does Iran get from this deal?
What is your opinion of the arrangement?
Iran and the Obama Administration
7/21/2015 Because of the nature of this current event, I have chosen to write it as an editorial, where my opinion is clearly stated. I try to include a brief history of the topic, as my other articles include.
Every spring, 8th grade students from the middle school I teach at, MacArthur Intermediate School in Santa Ana, California, take a field trip to The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. This amazing museum teaches the importance of tolerance, a history of World War II, and the Holocaust. Upon learning of the atrocities the Nazis committed against 6 million Jews and 5 million others, students always ask, “How could this have happened?” What they mean is, how did the hateful Nazis take over a country, publicly state their goals, successfully implement their murderous plan on the Jews and others, and, how could the world have stood by and let it happen? Unbelievably, the U.S.A. and the world today is letting a similar event occur, and the American administration is actually aiding the perpetrators in their actions. The silence of the media and many of our leaders is a source of great sadness and disbelief. A Brief History From Ancient Times to 1925 In ancient history, there was no country of Iran but Persia, an empire of great size and importance. Ancient Persia encompassed the area from Egypt in the west to India in the East, from the Caucuses in the north to the Persian Gulf in the South. Persia competed with ancient Greece and Rome for power and in the Medieval Ages was conquered by Muslims and became part of various Caliphates. A Caliphate is an Islamic government ruled by a caliph, a man in charge of both the political order and religion. In the 1200s, Mongols conquered Persia, but then Persians regained their land from the Mongols. From 1502-1925, the modern country of Iran was founded and ruled by two major dynasties (a dynasty is a family who rules). The Safavid and Qajar Dynasties decided Iran would follow Shia Islam. (In Islam, there are two major sects – Shia and Sunni).
From 1925-1979 A Persian officer, Reza Khan, orchestrated a coup (military takeover) of Iran in 1921 and took the title of Shah (king) of Iran in 1925. Reza Shah ruled until 1941, when Allied forces invaded Iran to guarantee Iranian oil would help the U.S.A., Great Britain, and the Soviet Union win World War II. The Allies replaced Reza Shah with his son, Mohammad-Reza Shah (simply known as the Shah of Iran). America and the British wanted to have Iran as a country against the Soviet Union, and they wanted to use Iran for its oil. After World War II, the Iranian government became more democratic and also moved against American and British interests. In 1951, Iran nationalized the British-owned oil industry. Two years later, the United States and Great Britain organized a coup, overthrew the Iranian government, and made the Shah an autocrat (dictator).
The Iranian Revolution and the Islamic Republic 1979 – Today Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, many in Iran were unhappy with the Shah of Iran and his supporters, the U.S.A. and Great Britain. The main leader of the revolution was the Ayatollah Khomeini, who believed that everyone requires guardianship by a leading Islamic leader. The Ayatollah was upset at the Shah’s western ties, believing the west to be evil and decadent. In 1979, massive protests throughout the country forced the Shah to leave. The Ayatollah took power, and a national vote made Iran an Islamic Republic. In 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini died, and since then, the Ayatollah Khamenei has held the title of “Supreme Leader.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the U.S.A. is the “Great Satan,” the source of everything in the world that is evil, it officially hates Israel and seeks to destroy it, and it does not allow any freedom that goes against its strict interpretation of Islam. It publicly states its hatred for the United States and Israel, and, it openly supports terrorist organizations that kill Americans, Israelis, and anyone who opposes the Iranian view of the world. Ayatollah Khamenei uses every method of communication, including Twitter, to detail his plan for eliminating Israel.
Iran has been incredibly successful in sponsoring, arming, and cooperating with terrorists. For a complete list of their decades of murder and terror, simply conduct a search with the phrase “Iran and state-sponsored terrorism.” Most recently, Iran is responsible for the death of over 1,500 Americans in Iraq, and it continues today to plan and carry out acts of terror against Americans. Iran’s goal is to destroy Israel and spread their Islamic Republic as far as possible. It sees America as an enemy.
Iran and the Obama Administration In the past, American administrations have worked with allies to counter Iranian threats in the Middle East. Under the Obama administration, however, the U.S.A. is not working with its traditional ally Israel, but in fact it is aiding the Iranian Republic as it expands militarily. This American cooperation with Iran continues even though Iran is currently funding and coordinating terrorist acts against Americans and our allies. In Iraq, Iran’s military is working with American air power to defeat ISIS. While American pilots bomb ISIS from above, Iranian soldiers take over the ground below that Americans used to hold. Americans do not know if the Obama administration has discussed what will happen in Iraq after ISIS is defeated. Will the Iranians stay? Iran has been seeking for many years to develop nuclear weapons. As it would be the only Muslim country with this weapon, Iran seeks this power to exert its influence over the rest of the Middle East, Europe, and possibly to use this weapon to destroy Israel. Throughout the first months of 2015, leaders from the United States of America, Russia, China, Iran, Great Britain, France, and Germany have met to discuss a nuclear deal with leaders of Iran. The U.S.A. wants the deal to limit Iran’s ability to create a nuclear bomb, and Iran wants the deal to take away economic sanctions. (Sanctions are punishments that a country imposes. For example, no American company is allowed to do business with Iran.) Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanhayu has strongly objected to the talks, arguing that Iran should first cease all terrorist activities before the west grants Iran anything. Netanyahu’s thinking is, if Iran is killing Americans and Israelis now, how can we trust what they say during negotiations? Iran and the Museum of Tolerance When my students at MacArthur Intermediate asked me how could the Nazis take over a country and murder so many innocent people while the world stood by, I teach them about Iran today, as an example of how history is repeating itself. Iran seeks to destroy the Jewish nation of Israel, it sponsors terrorists that have killed over 1,500 Americans in the last few years, it calls America the “Great Satan,” and it is completely intolerant of anyone who does not fit their idea of what a good Muslim is. What is the American response to this? We are helping Iran expand militarily, allowing them to continue to support terror, and hoping that talking with them will bring good results. President Obama seeks to tolerate, understand and give into those who hate Americans and Israel, even at the cost of losing the lives of Americans and our allies. He fails to understand the universal rule of the bully. If you give him what he wants, he will only want more. If there is one thing the Museum of Tolerance teaches, it is that there can be no toleration for a country that foments hatred and intolerance. America cannot cooperate with and support Iran and at the same time defend ourselves and our allies from the deadly Iranian leaders. Questions
What ancient empire does Iran trace itself to?
Who conquered the Persians in the 1200s?
Why did the United States and Great Britain sponsor a coup in Iran in 1953?
What happened in 1979 in Iran?
How does Iran view Israel and the United States?
Do you think President Obama is following the best policy with Iran?
If you were President, how would you deal with Iran?
Refugees From Syria
9/15/2015 Ever since the Syrian Civil War began in March of 2011, Syrians have been trying to escape the Syrian military dictator Basher al-Assad, the Islamic terrorist organization ISIS forces fighting Assad, and various other military groups trying to take over Syria. According to the United States Agency for International Development, four million have fled the country, 12 million need humanitarian assistance, and over 7 million people are displaced within Syria. It is believed over 220,000 Syrians have died in the war. Germany has invited Syrians to immigrate, and partly because of this, hundreds of thousands of Syrians are risking their lives, walking across dangerous areas of Asia, overcrowding small boats to cross the Mediterranean Sea, and storming countries on the path to Germany. Baher al-Assad has ruled Syria as president since July 2000. His father, Hafez al-Assad, ruled Syria from 1970-2000. Assad is a brutal dictator and does not allow any dissent among his people. Torture and murder are some of the tools of Assad. He also controls a large stockpile of chemical weapons. In March of 2011, Syrian rebels rose up against him. Initially, the Obama administration supported the overthrow of Assad, although President Obama would not give or sell weapons to help the rebels. Issuing Assad a threat, President Obama warned Assad at a news conference in Stockholm on September 4, 2013, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.” The international community believed that this red line meant that if Assad were to use chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels, Obama would authorize use of United States forces to attack. Chemical weapons are dangerous because they kill everyone, not just soldiers. After it was proven that Assad did use chemical weapons, President Obama stated that he did not make a red line for Assad to cross, and he did not intend to use American weapons and forces against Assad. Since then, the Civil War has become worse, and Russian military has come to the aid of the dictator Assad. There are various militaries fighting in Syria. One is the military force of Assad. Fighting against them is the Syrian rebels, who wish to oust Assad. Fighting against both of these is the Islamic terrorist organization ISIS. ISIS wants to create a country in the Middle East. After it became clear the U.S.A. was not going to get involved, Russian President Putin has sent military weapons and soldiers to support Assad. Putin has made Russia an authoritarian country, where journalists are not allowed to write or report anything against him. Questions:
What and who are Syrian refugees escaping from?
Where are many trying to emigrate?
What did everyone think President Obama meant when he talked about a red line?
Who is ISIS?
In your opinion, should the U.S.A. encourage Syrian refugees to come to America? Why or why not?
Islamic Terrorists Attack Americans in San Bernardino, California
12/7/2015 On Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015, two Islamic terrorists attacked unarmed Americans at a County Regional Center for the disabled in San Bernardino, California. Fourteen were killed and 21 wounded. The two attackers, U.S.-born Syed Farook and Pakistani national Tashfeed Malik, were married and had a six month old baby. Before the attack, Malik had pledged allegiance to Islamic State and Farook had shared his pro-Islamic State sympathies with his father. This was the largest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11/2001. The Attack Syed Farook was an employee at the Regional Center he attacked and therefore knew the layout of the complex and his victims well. On the morning of the attack, Farook was at a training session that was followed by a holiday party and lunch. At 10:30, he left the party. At 10:59, Farook returned to the party with Malik. Both wore non-armored black tactical outfits, ski masks, and were armed with semi-automatic pistols, semi-automatic rifles, and pipe bombs. Within the next three to four minutes, the attackers shot and killed 14 and wounded 21. They left an explosive in the room and drove off in their black SUV. The explosive did not detonate. Police Response Within minutes, police and medical professionals responded to the emergency. Because of the quick response, many of those injured were saved. Over the next three to four hours, police searched for the couple who perpetrated the act. Somebody reported a suspicious black SUV parked outside a home in Redlands. During the police response, the couple drove away, back to San Bernardino. Police chased them, engaged the couple in a gunfight, and killed Syed Farook and Tafsheen Malik.
The Attackers Syed Farook was born and raised in the United States of America, and it is believed his wife, Tafsheen Malik, was born and raised in Pakistan. Authorities think they met two years ago, through an online dating service. Syed Farook married Tafsheen Malik when he visited Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Both were Muslim, and both strongly favored the ideology of Islamic State. Islamic State has declared war against the United States of America and Israel and targets civilians. Authorities are investigating if the attackers were directed by a foreign terrorist organization. On the morning of the attack, Malik pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Farook’s father has reported that his son spoke strongly in favor of Islamic State. The attackers destroyed or hid all digital history, such as their cell phones and hard drives to their computers, to make it difficult for authorities to find answers. The couple lived in Redlands, California, with Farook’s mom and their 6 month-old baby. They were prepared for an assault that had perhaps many targets. In and around their vehicle were found over 1,400 rounds for their rifles, and over 200 rounds for their handguns. At their home were more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition and twelve pipe bombs. Farook’s mother claims she had no idea of the plan to attack nor of the large amounts of weapons found in the house she lived in. Farook’s family also states they knew nothing of the attack nor of the couple’s intention to kill others. The Victims All of the victims were employees who worked at the Regional Center that was geared towards helping the disabled. Some had fled countries where their lives were in danger because of oppressive governments. Tin Nguyen, 31, had fled Vietnam when she was 8, attended Adams Elementary, McFadden Intermediate, and Santa Ana Valley in Santa Ana, California, and later earned her college degree from Cal State Fullerton. Tin was engaged to be married. Classmate Phi Luong said of Tin, “She just had that personality, you know, that goodness about her.” Nguyen had become the sole provider for her mother and older brother and had bought the home for her family. One victim, 45-year-old male Shannon Johnson, placed his body in between 27-year-old Denise Peraza and the attackers, saying to the young woman, “I got you.” Johnson was killed and Peraza survived.
The American Response As reported earlier, the San Bernardino police responded immediately to the terrorist attack, and eventually killed the two assailants. The federal government, however, has made no immediate change in the American response to terror because of the San Bernardino attacks. Immediately after the attacks, President Obama issued a statement explaining that gun violence was too common in America and called for stricter gun laws. After the FBI confirmed that this was an act of terror, President Obama gave a speech to the country on Sunday, December 6th. During the speech, President Obama reviewed how the federal government was combatting terrorism, he chastised Congress for not creating stricter gun control laws, and he warned Americans not to act in a discriminatory way against Muslims.
What happened on December 2, 2015, in San Bernardino?
Who were the two attackers?
Describe the weapons of the attackers.
Describe at least one of the victims.
How has the federal government responded? What did President Obama state the U.S.A. will do to combat terrorism?
Gun Control and Obama
12/15/2015 A few weeks ago, two radical Islamic terrorists murdered 14 and wounded over 29 in San Bernardino, California. President Obama responded by stating the U.S. Congress needs to pass stricter gun controls. A few days before his comments to Americans, in Paris, France, he stated that mass shootings don’t happen in other countries like they do in America. To have an opinion on gun control and mass shootings, it is important to know the facts and how the U.S.A. compares with other countries regarding mass shootings. The United States of America is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This organization is composed of 34 democracies with market economies, as well as more than 70 non-member economies. It makes sense to compare mass shootings in the U.S.A. with countries in the OECD, instead of using countries that are extremely poor, or those led by tyrants, or with countries that are in war. Of the OECD member countries, the United States of America is sixth in the frequency of mass shootings from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013. These countries had a higher frequency of mass shootings: Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel, Switzerland. It is important to note that the five countries before the U.S.A. in the frequency of mass shootings have national restrictive gun control laws. In terms of total victims of mass shootings as a rate per 100,000 people, the U.S.A. is fourth behind Norway, Finland, and Switzerland. Another comparison that can be made involves individuals committing mass murder with guns. Since 1982, there have been five mass murders with victims numbering at least 30. The following is the list:
Anders Behring Breivik Norway July 22, 2011 77 killed, 151 wounded
Woo Bum-Kon South Korea April 26, 1982 57 killed, 35 wounded
Martin Bryant Australia April 28, 1996 35 killed, 21 wounded
Seung-Hui Cho USA April 16, 2007 32 killed, 25 wounded
Campo Elias Delgado Columbia December 4, 1986 30 killed, 15 wounded
A third comparison involving gun violence can be made involving all countries worldwide. One company, START, is a national consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism. These are some of its findings on “mass-fatality, coordinated attacks worldwide.” All of these attacks occurred outside of the U.S.A.
Between 1970 and 2014, there were 176 occasions where 100 people or more were killed on a particular day in a particular country.
Between January and June 2015 there were 11 occasions in which terrorist attacks killed more than 100 people in a single country on a single day.
Between 2000 – 2014, ISIL committed over 750 coordinated attacks. Al-Qaida in Iraq carried out at least 400 attacks.
For a fourth comparison, we can compare the U.S.A. with one country, France, in 2015. In France in January, Islamic terrorists attacked the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical journal, killing 11 and wounding 11. Within two days of this attack, Islamic terrorists attacked other locations in Paris, including a Jewish deli. 20 were killed and 22 wounded in these attacks. In November 2015, Islamic terrorists attacked French civilians attending a concert and sitting at a café. They killed 130 and wounded 368. In the U.S.A. in 2015, in May 2015, two terrorists were shot and killed while trying to attack “Draw Muhammad” cartoon art exhibitors. In December, two Islamic terrorists killed 14 and wounded 21 in San Bernardino. France has very strict gun controls nationally and the U.S.A. does not. Questions:
After the San Bernardino attacks in December, what was one of President Obama’s responses?
Relative to OECD countries, how does the U.S.A. rate in terms of frequency of mass shootings?
Of the top five mass shootings carried out by one person since 1982, how many were carried out in America?
From January to June 2015, how many acts of gun violence occurred where 100 or more people were killed?
In 2015, what was the largest terrorist attack in France, and the largest terrorist attack in the U.S.A.?
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