It's all too predictable that some Muslims, as tragically disturbed and misguided as alleged Chapel Hill killer Craig Stephen Hicks seemingly is, will take matters into their own hands. That's one thing I'm afraid of. But I'm also afraid of the opposite -- that Muslim communities around the US will be terrorized into cowering timidity.
Just as the gruesome beheadings in Syria rallied a once war-weary public to support the deployment of US troops in both Iraq and Syria, the brutal assault at Charlie Hebdo could have the effect of convincing more Americans that US intelligence should keep the power they have in order to detect a similar act of violence.
The jihadist assaults in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket as well as two French police officers have sparked allegations of a failure by French intelligence and security agencies. Jihadists beyond the Middle East are also portrayed as coordinated by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A closer look suggests those assertions are at best speculation.
Thousands made it across the finish line, exhausted, though elated. And behind the scenes was an incredible demonstration of how a city like New York was able to deter acts of aggression and protect the runners, the spectators and the thousands of workers who helped pull off this major event without serious mishap.
The Fryberg and Zehaf-Bibeau cases may differ in detail and motivation, yet they both reflect societal problems whether they are concepts of misguided masculinity in which young men feel inhibited in expressing emotion or increased isolation and alienation as a result of prejudice against mental instability.
While the threat of ISIL is real, Muslims in America should not collectively pay the price every time an individual or group engages in political violence in the name of Islam. Overtly targeting Muslims only corroborates what many Americans have suspected for decades -- systemic bias against minorities infects law enforcement.
Critics have expressed legitimate concerns about U.S. conspiracy law, saying it's too easy to convict some people accused of low-level terrorist assistance and sentence them to hard time in highly restrictive prisons. But the claim that the U.S. prison system gives terrorists rights that ought to be reserved for U.S. citizens is simply impossible to support.