Rep. Jane Harman posits link between Al Qaeda, Jared Loughner, Muslims, and gun violence 

In an op-ed delivered to Politico today, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA and a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee) makes the case that despite Tucson shooter Jared Loughner  being “a lone gunman who had lost all sense of reality” and “had no connection to the recent spate of Al Qaeda materials available on the Internet” we should enact gun control because of the Al Qaeda materials on the internet that Loughner could have accessed. Or something. It’s really hard to tell with all the contradictions and non sequiturs.  

Harman starts her scary rant by bringing up a book that Al Qaeda put on the internet detailing how to make bombs with common items from a market “all in the comfort of one’s home.”  She goes on to infer that people who are ”mentally disturbed and alienated” might make get hold of these materials.  Harman warns that the publisher of this book also made another edition “highlighting Washington, D.C., as a high-value target” which I’m sure is something that potential terrorists couldn’t figure out on their own.

It might come as a surprise to Harman, but Al Qaeda was not the first to put out knowledge of explosives. Anyone with half a brain and access to a basic chemistry book can make a bomb. If Harman is really so concerned about people gaining knowledge of these scientific  ideas perhaps she should call for a ban on chemistry class, the science channel, or the movie October Sky. Or perhaps we could put a ban on the materials used to make these explosive which include fruits with citrus and bleach. Clearly people don’t have a legitimate use for Oranges and clean white clothes.

 Not that it would matter. Gun control and bomb control are two completely different things, and I can’t remember the last time I saw an opportunity to buy a bomb at a store (unless you count all the fireworks that pop up in the capital near the 4th of July).

But if Al Qaeda isn’t scary enough, Harman decides to bring in that catchall of perceived evilness: Muslims.

“The likelihood of more online materials makes more urgent the need for early intervention, which might have saved the public from Loughner’s rampage. U.S. outreach is occurring in Muslim communities but needs to be nourished.”

So wait, now Loughner was a Muslim? Or is she simply confusing all Muslims with Al Qaeda. Harman follows up this sweeping generalization that all Muslims must be connected with to prevent terrorism with a condemnation on those who make sweeping generalizations of Muslims.

“Comments linking all American Muslims with the acts of a few — including recent converts and copycats — are distinctly unhelpful in generating cooperation and trust.”

Good advice.

Harman can’t seem to figure out what she’s trying to say. Was Loughner “a lone gunman who had lost all sense of reality?” Are Al Qaeda (aka ALL Muslims) really trying to take advantage of our gun laws by posting ways to make bombs on the internet?  How do gun laws even apply to bombs? To tell you the truth, I can’t really tell, and I don’t think Harman can either.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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