Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings says he’s more afraid of white men shooting up theaters and schools than he is of refugees seeking haven in the US. In a climate where many are voicing concerns and calling for bans on immigrants, especially those fleeing war-torn Syria, Rawlings says that we as a country should embrace the Syrian refugees.
Mic reported November 24 that Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas, which is the nation’s ninth largest city and hosts the fourth largest metropolitan area, says that homegrown threats are far more worrisome. “I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up, but we don’t isolate young white men on this issue,” he told MSNBC Saturday, responding to questions regarding possible terrorists making their way into the US through refugee programs. “I was out in the streets last night in Dallas looking at a great part of town that has had some recent robberies. Those are the things that mayors are concerned about.”
Rawlings has good reason to view homegrown terrorists as bigger threats than refugees. Three separate reports and a statistics amalgamator help substantiate his position.
At the time of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on October 1, where a student shot and killed a professor and 8 fellow students before committing suicide, CNN put together a graphic showing the disturbing number of people killed via gun violence in the US since September 11 (and ending in 2013, the last year for comprehensive data). But as disturbing as they were, the statistics were magnified when compared to the number of incidents and deaths resulting from domestic terrorist acts. The number dead through gun violence: 406,496. The number of dead from domestic terrorism: 3,030 — and that includes the 2,977 people that died on September 11.
Consider also that, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings in the US, there have been 304 mass shootings in the US this year alone. (A mass shooting is defined as an incident where four or more people are shot and killed.) Among them are the Oregon community college killings and the shooting incident in June where nine black church-goers in South Carolina were killed by a lone white gunman. A more recent shooting incident brings home Mayor Rawlings’ words, although none were killed: Four suspects were arrested (three white men and one Asian-American) in Minneapolis after shooting five people demonstrating peacefully for Black Lives Matter.
Mother Jones magazine also notes that mass shootings in America are committed by white men. In an extensive review of shootings in the US, it was found that 64 percent of mass shootings were committed by white men.
From the Migration Policy Institute report: “The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001,” a report by the institute said. “In those 14 years, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities — and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.”
Rawlings told MSNBC: “This is a big issue, and we as a nation must step up and make sure we are secure — but we must not do things that change the soul of who are are. We’ve got to use the words carefully to show [Muslim Syrian refugees] that we care about them. ISIS is no more Islamic than the Nazi senior staff was Christian.”
Still, there is a massive outcry to keep Syrian refugees out of the US, especially since the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, even though no Syrian nationals have as yet been connected to the attacks (although one terrorist may have been — it is as yet unproven — a Syrian soldier, he and another — of the are believed to have implanted themselves among Syrian refugees to enter France). Just last week, newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Ryan led a successful House of Representatives vote to suspend President Barack Obama’s call to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to migrate to the US to 10,000 for the fiscal year (which ends in October 2017). This, even given the rigorous 18-month process (on average) for a refugee to apply and be granted refugee status, plus additional screening for those applying who are native to Syria.