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Steinberg: Which are more dangerous, Muslims or gun owners?

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general and retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser. | AP and Getty photos

Follow @neilsteinbergRadical Islamic Terror!

An untraditional way to start. But these are untraditional times. And since Donald Trump fans obviously read this — trust me on that — and they seem to like hearing that phrase, why not keep them happy too?

Again again, as the Teletubbies cry: Radical Islamic Terror!

There, I said it twice. They must really like me now. President Obama, on the other hand, refuses to say it because he realizes that the whole purpose of the phrase is to weld these three concepts together. Republicans may be against gay marriage, but they’ll happily wed “Radical” to “Islamic” and “Islamic” to “Terror.”

Yes, there is terror inspired by Islam. In their zeal to make those who disagree seem ridiculous, the GOP insists that not using the phrase means you are unaware there are terrorists who blame Islam for their actions.

Look at it this way: terrorists also have two legs, and mirrored left and right halves to their bodies — every single terrorist is like this, in fact — and yet we don’t scream “BIPED BILATERAL TERROR!” because that would draw white folk into the range of blame, which is what this exercise is really about: offloading responsibility for terror from those who commit it to innocent individuals who share their religion.


Follow @neilsteinbergIn picking Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Trump places a flat-out racist and Islamophobe in charge of enforcing the laws of the United States. And naming retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser elevates someone who once tweeted “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

Fear of Muslims is not rational, not in the way fear of the government Trump is right now assembling is not only rational but necessary. Every patriotic American should be afraid.

Trump voters demand that he be “given a chance” to show what kind of president he will be, and last week he did just that. These nominations can only be signs of sincerity that Trump plans to follow through on his scheme to punish American Muslims for the actions of a handful, either by barring their co-religionists at the border or by forcing Muslim citizens to register, an unconstitutional step that should chill the blood of any patriotic American.

“Unconstitutional?” you ask. “In what way, Neil? Tell us more!” The 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War, contains this: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

And lest you fixate on the word “state,” a 1954 Supreme Court ruling said that goes for the federal government too.

So, you ask, what is the harm in requiring Muslims to register? No life or liberty is being taken. The harm is in the reason why: the notion that, because of — everybody sing! — Radical Islamic Terror, these individuals, who have been accused of nothing wrong, never mind convicted, must undergo this special process, be barred at the border, or enroll in some registry because Donald Trump and his flock of tremulous blowhards are afraid of their religion.

Pretend for a moment, instead of Trump suggesting our safety requires a Muslim registry, it was Barack Obama (boo, hiss) insisting that we need a comprehensive national registry of gun owners, something forbidden by law.

Gun owners would scream, and rightly so, that the vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding. They are, though Muslims are, on average, far more peaceful.

I won’t bore you with the math, but the odds of a gun owner killing someone — typically himself — with one of his guns is far greater than the odds a Muslim will ever be involved with an act of terror.

Yet we have a president preparing to impinge upon the Constitutional rights of the far less risky group while celebrating the Constitutional rights of the far more dangerous one.

Got it? Good! Let’s end on a happy note. All together now.

Radical Islamic Terror! ! !

Tweets by @neilsteinberg