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.
Empathy for foreigners is not some warm and cuddly virtue; it lies at the heart of a realistic and granular understanding of foreign nations, peoples and what drives them. The U.S., highly nationalistic at home, is singularly disinclined to understand or care about nationalistic impulses in other countries. This may be an operational hazard of great power, the belief that it is only what we do that really matters in the end. We have helped create the conditions for our dangerous isolation; that in turn has led to wishful thinking and eventually to existence in our own American fantasyland and self-referential press about how we can control things.