Open Arms

Governors of several states Monday announced that until the federal government can explicitly outline their procedures for vetting Syrian refugees, such individuals would not be welcomed to settle in their respective states.

To many (especially those on the left) this sounds rather draconian, or maybe it’s just because the governors who are pausing to take a step back to monitor the situation have that pesky ‘R’ after their names.

Are there more compassionate ways to come to the aid of Syrian refugees other than opening our country to the possibility that the very jihadists who are forcing these innocent refugees to flee their homeland are cutting in line?  There has to be.  Humanitarianism does not have to be an either / or proposition.  Especially when we already live in a country where there exists an all or nothing ideological approach to immigration.

I will concede that 99% of the refugees fleeing ISIS-controlled Syria are not terrorists, but it sure wouldn’t be hard for Mr. One Percent to weasel himself in among the crowd.  Does anyone know if the Syrian government has made available their intelligence data so that the Department of Homeland Security can properly and comprehensively vet each individual seeking asylum in the U.S.?  No, they haven’t because they can’t—Syria’s a mess.  So where is the data that Homeland Security will use to screen refugees?  Or is Homeland Security making this up as they go along?

Creating a safe haven for Syrian refugees is paramount, but creating that safe haven does not have to include laying the groundwork for another 9/11. The last time I looked at a map of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia was pretty big, and Qatar’s GDP ranks number one in the world.  To date, neither country has accepted even one Syrian refugee.  Zero.  The doors are locked to Russia, Japan, and South Korea as well.

Western civilizations are compassionate, so compassionate that they’re willing to invite the conflict into their own countries.  Does it have to be that way?  Is there an approach whereby every sovereign nation can to do its part, whether by offering asylum or offering aid?  Does proximity and culture weigh into the question of where best to place these individuals?

Imagine the jihadist—that Mr. One Percent—who enters Indiana under the guise of fleeing his hostile homeland. He checks his Twitter feed Friday, prepares his going away present Saturday, and when you and your precious family are at the Colts game Sunday afternoon, this son of a bitch blows himself up outside the gates of Lucas Oil Stadium at the end of the game, taking countless innocent lives along with him.

Imagine the card carrying members of ISIS who evaded the strict protocol of Homeland Security (because they did not have ‘NAJ’—Not a Jihadist—stamped on their passports), came to settle in the Circle City, and in an effort to eradicate the infidels one venue at a time, storm the entrance of the Carmel Palladium while you and your family are enjoying a performance and stage a murderous rampage at the beginning of the second act.

I am compassionate, but I refuse to fall prey to the ideology that if you don’t blithely roll out the welcome mat to those who seek to harm us that you’re some kind of heartless monster.  There are other ways to be compassionate.

And finally, I find it disturbing that any sane person would be angrier at America’s governors for wanting to pause the influx of refugees—and who are seeking only to protect American citizens from death and destruction—than at the jihadists who want to destroy all of western civilization.

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Following my years as an elementary and middle school teacher, I decided I wanted to spend the second half of my life just writing. Currently, I work as a technical writer for a software company, fulfilling my passion for writing and editing, and in between the times I'm trying to figure out how to put really complicated ideas into words the rest of the world can understand, I write novels. The Gym Show, published in March 2014, is my first novel. I'm already half-way through with my second novel--a title soon to be revealed. The creative side of me loves to write, but the teacher in me loves to edit, so let me help you craft your message, write your articles, mend your prose, and get people to read what you've written. Contact me at

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