(CNN)The mowing down of dozens of men, women and children in Nice on Thursday was a gruesome and barbaric act. And it again prompts the question: How can we detect such a terrorist in the future?
French authorities say the attacker appears not to have had a record of affiliation or even interest in Islamist groups like ISIS. He was not, at least from what we currently know, religious, had no known record of attending a mosque or religious institution of any kind, and was not thought to be a practicing Muslim by those who knew him. (He did, however, reportedly have a long history of psychological troubles.)
But why does France have this pool of radicalized people?
Never mind that applying religious tests violates the First Amendment. Never mind that punishing people for what they believe in also violates the First Amendment. Never mind that there is actually no provision to strip American citizens of their citizenship. Never mind that it’s not clear where you would deport American citizens to, since they aren’t usually citizens of any other country.
Never mind, in other words, that the idea is immoral, illegal, unconstitutional and unworkable. It’s stupid. Let’s say the American government were to send FBI agents door to door, round up all Muslims, and ask them whether they believe in Shariah. I’m going to guess that the ISIS trained would-be terrorists among them — the ones carefully evading scrutiny and plotting attacks — would say, “No!” Then what would you do Mr. Gingrich?
In fact, Gingrich’s idea is not an actual policy proposal but rather a way to push emotional buttons. People were outraged and Gingrich wanted to feed and capitalize on that outrage. This is the opposite of leadership. It’s demagoguery of the first order.
It’s a dangerous and complicated world out there. Let’s hope that over the next few days in Cleveland, at the Republican National Convention, we hear from some people who actually understand this complexity, can stop the pandering and bigotry, and get serious.
Pandering, bigotry won’t solve extremist threat