America is sad and angry again this morning as the details from another terror attack on our soil become clearer. The details, while new, paint a depressingly familiar picture of evil. On a bright and clear Halloween afternoon, Sayfullo Saipov drove a rented truck onto a bike path in New York City with the apparent intent of killing as many people as possible. As of this writing, 8 are dead and 11 injured. Mr. Saipov was shot and captured. He yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great in Arabic) before he was shot, left a note at the scene praising ISIS and appears to have followed a process and route suggested by ISIS’s social media pages.
The attacker is an Uzbek national who validly entered the U.S. as part of a process known as the Diversity Visa program. Under this program, the U.S. runs a lottery that favors immigrants from countries that have had relatively low previous immigration to the U.S. 50,000 immigrants per year are granted entry into the U.S. under the program.
There a few points that jump out immediately. First, the heart of man is full of evil. Mr. Saipov was admitted into this country in good faith and was free to worship, marry and live in the manner of his choosing. America asked very little of Mr. Saipov, and provided him with unlimited opportunity. In return, Mr. Saipov chose to kill without personal provocation and indiscriminately. One is left with a feeling of despair and dread.
Second, it appears that we’ll need to reconsider the Diversity Visa program. Intuitively, it makes sense that “under-represented” countries are likely to house more people with intrinsic hostility to America than countries with whom we have more in common. That is obviously a massive generalization, and potentially unfair, but the risks associated with the Jihadi threat are real enough to justify a significant level of caution. We here at the Shire are generally pro-immigrant, but strong and sensible security procedures are obviously necessary in our dangerous world. It seems to us that a program that seeks to favor immigrants with relatively few ties to America is a luxury that we can no longer afford.
We should also pause to recognize the actions of NYPD Police Officer Ryan Nash. Officer Nash, a 28 year-old five year veteran of the force, was the first police officer on the
scene, ran towards Mr. Saipov (who was brandishing two weapons) and shot him before he could cause more harm. Officer Nash’s bravery is a reminder to all of us of the tremendous work that police do in the face of great danger. While certain officers undoubtedly make mistakes or intentionally do terrible things, the overwhelming majority are like Officer Nash — courageously working every day for our safety. They deserve our thanks, support and prayers.
Finally, our thoughts and prayers are with families mourning their loved ones and for the injured as they recover. We cannot imagine their pain, but pray that a loving God will comfort them in their time of need. We also encourage their families and friends to reach out and offer all possible support to them. We are hopeful enough to believe that this will happen.