A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Let’s not be afraid

Written November 18th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
No one will ever mistake Albany's Third Avenue for a street in Paris, where people are carrying on as usual.

No one would istake Albany’s Third Avenue for a street in Paris, where people are carrying on as usual.

It would not be surprising if some of us are getting nervous about terrorism, given that since last Friday the cable news channels have been feeding us Islamic State video warnings around the clock. So let’s follow the example of customers at a Paris cafe.

The Parisians told a PBS interviewer on Wednesday they would carry on as usual and were not afraid. Then they went back to sipping their drinks.

Also on PBS, on Tuesday, we got the jaw-dropping report by an Afghan photojournalist who had gained access to an Afghan village taken over by Islamic State fighters. (They had blown up a number of village elders, letting everyone know they were more brutal and cruel than the Taliban, whom they had replaced.)

In the village school, viewers of OPB watched little boys being instructed in jihad, complete with Kalashnikovs and hand grenades. What is the goal of jihad, the instructor asked. Answer: Spreading Islam to the entire world. And what’s the gun for? To hit infidels in the head. Even those 5- and 6-year-olds in the Afghan outback will soon realize that their teachers are nuts. Still, it looks as though there is a lot a trouble ahead, for many years.

In Oregon, we are far from the action. But it’s worth remembering that just a few years ago, an impressionable young man who had spent time in Corvallis was ready to set off a bomb at a Portland tree-lighting ceremony. That plot was enabled and then foiled by the FBI. But the would-be bomber had been a willing terrorist, and he was convicted in federal court.

Despite the implications of that case, Oregonians have not been intimidated. They have not shied away from mass gatherings since. There’s no reason to do so now. It’s always wise to be watch out for potential threats, but there’s no reason to crawl into a hole and refuse to come out.

As for refugees from the Middle East or South Asia, Gov. Kate Brown says Oregon will accept some, while governors in many other states have said they won’t. I don’t know that governors have any say at all in who settles where. But if nothing else, Brown is setting a good example in showing that she is not afraid. (hh)

18 responses to “Let’s not be afraid”

  1. Bob Woods says:

    The Frontline report on OPB also made it very clear that those Afgan ISIS fighters were Taliban fighters who just signed up with a different team.

    It’s the same folks it’s always been.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “It’s always wise to be watch out for potential threats, but there’s no reason to crawl into a hole and refuse to come out.”

    You’ll give yourself ulcers over-fearing everything that can possibly harm you. Common sense does apply…

    “As for refugees from the Middle East or South Asia, Gov. Kate Brown says Oregon will accept some, while governors in many other states have said they won’t. I don’t know that governors have any say at all in who settles where. But if nothing else, Brown is setting a good example in showing that she is not afraid.”

    Kudos to the Gov. for using common sense.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      I like the “common sense” applied by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. We shouldn’t accept the able-bodied male refugees. They should stay in Syria and fight for their country.

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    This is a poorly thought out opinion.

    I will grant you that oftentimes being rational is at odds with the emotion of fear.

    But is it really your contention that we “not be afraid” in the face of a real threat? Fear is the natural reponse to being the prey of a killer.

    Tell us to calm our fears. Tell us to not overreact to our fears. Tell us to be brave and vigilant in the face of our fears.

    But don’t tell us to “not be afraid.” Denial is just as irrational as crawling into a hole and refusing to come out.

  4. tom cordier says:

    I was agreeing with the article until you compliment Gov.Brown for agreeing to accept
    refugees with no vetting as an act of courage. The FBI Dir says they do not have a capacity to vet. What Brown has done is based only on political correctness of Obama administration–which is the definition of no courage at all.

  5. James Carrick says:

    I have no fear of refugees, per se’. What I DO FEAR is the Obama administration’s false confidence in their vetting process, particularly in light of what the FBI Director Comey has said recently “a number of people who were of serious concern” slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting,”

    “Although Comey said the process has since “improved dramatically,” Syrian refugees will be even harder to check because, unlike in Iraq, U.S. soldiers have not been on the ground collecting information on the local population. “If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our data,” he said. “I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated with this.” [Washington Post]

    It’s also worth noting that many of the pictures I see of these refugees are dominated by young men of “military” age, NOT the “women and children” Obama said Republicans are afraid of…….

    I don’t trust Obama as far as I can toss an elephant…..about anything.

  6. tom cordier says:

    I agree with James. After years of this deception, the new Speaker should move to impeach

  7. Bob Woods says:

    A lot of “cherry picking” and false information in some of these posts. Read for yourself how the vetting process works from reputable news organizations:


    Now also remember that there are a lot of places that US citizens can travel to without a via, and countries whose citizens don’t need a visa to travel to the US for 90 days or less, as long as they don’t show up on the terrorist watch list:

    Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom,

    Yes, those French citizens who killed those folks could have jumped on an plane and flown here any day of the week as long as their names weren’t on the terrorist watch list.

    Fear leads to bad decisions, and there are a lot of folks who stir up fear because it gives them some advantage.

    Paranoia strikes deep,
    Into your life it will creep,
    It starts when you’re always afraid,
    You step out of line, the man come and take you away…

    FDR had it EXACTLY right: “The only thing we need to fear, is fear itself.”

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Such nonsense. Fear is not a single concept. It resides on a continuum – from healthy apprehension to terror.

      It is telling that you chose the extreme end of the spectrum to support your argument.

      • Bob Woods says:

        “you chose the extreme end of the spectrum to support your argument”

        I guess quoting FDR and lyrics from the Buffalo Springfield constitutes extreme for a guy who trembles every time the City Council puts out an agenda.

        Of course Ben Carson talking about refugees as “rabid dogs” today and Trump willing to consider putting all Americans who are Muslims in a watch-list database is undoubtedly your idea of “prudent fear” and thoughtful good government.

    • Al Nyman says:

      Wasn’t it FDR who put all Japanese residents of the US in concentration camps during WWII. I guess he must have been paranoid Bob.

    • James Carrick says:

      A couple of points in rebuttal:

      FDR never faced an enemy we didn’t declare war against, and he never faced an enemy that wasn’t a sovereign nation. This current is ideology based, a different animal altogether. In FDR’s case it was easy. German nationals were under INTENSE SCRUTINY and US citizens of Japanese descent were rounded up and put in camps. The ACLU might not have liked it but the American public was OVERWHELMING in it’s support for the measures FDR put in place.

      The action taken against Japanese Americans is now regarded as unconstitutional, and any extra scrutiny toward Syrian refugees will still pale in comparison to what German nationals faced in the 40’s. The House has the votes to override a veto (see below) but Harry Reid says the Senate will uphold a veto. Or Obama will use his “pen and phone” and issue an executive order, which I suspect would be overturned by the SCOTUS should it go that far. Don’t even get me started on Reid. The man’s a traitor IMO.

      In your CNN link, FBI director Comey is quoted as saying “If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.”

      Your PBS link contained this: “The White House on Wednesday threatened to veto any legislation to toughen the screening process for Syrian refugees.”

      It’s my opinion that the ONLY PRUDENT thing to do is to scrutinize each Syrian applicant with a microscope….NOT because Syrians are bad people (they’re not) but because of the current situation and the enemies we face which have SWORN to kill us simply for our beliefs. Let’s not fall victim to an enemy that is more than smart enough to disguise some of their “soldiers” within a family unit. ISIS has proven time and again they’re not stupid.

      I’m a big Stephen Stills fan. We’re a long way from paranoia Stephen Stills wrote about in the song you quote from, which itself was not even an anti war song as many people mistakenly believe.

      From Wikipedia: “Stills was inspired to write the track because of the “Sunset Strip riots” in November 1966. Local residents and businesses had become increasingly annoyed by late-night traffic congestion caused by crowds of young people going to clubs and music venues along the Strip. In response they lobbied the city to pass local ordinances that stopped loitering and enforced a strict curfew on the Strip after 10pm. However young music fans felt the new laws were an infringement of their civil rights.” For more info, here’s the link:


      I really don’t find any false information in posts before yours. I guess you’ll need to be more specific. Opinions are opinions, so they don’t count.

      Finally, Gordon’s observation of Chris Matthews quote bears repeating: “They should stay in Syria and fight for their country.” As much as it pains me to say it…Matthews
      is spot on with that idea.

  8. Bob Woods says:

    More news from the Cato Institute conservative think tank: Military Action Alone Can’t Stop ISIS

    And just to make Gordon happy this is also from the Cato Institute: Syrian Refugees Don’t Pose a Serious Security Threat

    Gee, when the left and the right agree, why are the fear pandering politicians spouting all tis fear?

    CRASS POLITICS – driving a wedge between the American people just to get elected.

  9. Oldtimer says:

    There are extremely rich countries in the Middle East. This affects their own regimes. So why are we involved? Really? We are pawns in their game. Over and over we help only to create new more powerful enemies. An old joke was a poor country should go to war with the United States and lose. They’d then become rich with post war aid. We can’t or wouldn’t even protect our Ambassador to Libya. We let him get killed and then our government leaders evaded any blame at all. Saddam was our puppet to balance Iran overthrowing the Shaw our friend and maybe puppet. Saddam was bad but did keep peace far better than what Iraq has now. Christians fled to Syria to stay alive. The leader of Syria was bad but far less than the newly created ISIS or IS or ISL. Our actions and or inaction’s helped create ISIS. Let Abu Dabi, The UAE. Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait take over. Or maybe now the Russians. We can stay sitting still and argue whether or not to allow displaced people (most all are very good people) to imigrate.

  10. Dick Olsen says:

    I’d like to see us welcome refugee families here if and only if the males agree to join our armed forces and go back to Syria to win back their country. The women and children could be cared for in communities where they could learn our values and finally go home to a peaceful country.

  11. tom cordier says:

    I agree with Dick good idea


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