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Suspect In New York City, New Jersey Bombings Captured By Police

NYC Ezplosion

Less than forty-eight hours after an explosion rocked the New York City neighborhood of Chelsea, police have a suspect in custody who is believed to be responsible for making and planting the bombs:

The man believed to be responsible for the explosion in Manhattan on Saturday night and an earlier bombing in New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was taken into custody on Monday after he was wounded by gunfire in an encounter with the police, according to law enforcement officials.

The dramatic episode on a rain-soaked street in Linden, N.J., came after the police issued a cellphone alert to millions of residents in the area telling them to be on the lookout for the suspect, who was described as “armed and dangerous.”

Photos from the scene showed a man believed to be Mr. Rahami lying on the sidewalk, hands cuffed behind his back and his shirt pulled up exposing his stomach and chest, with a police officer standing over him.

Witnesses said they saw police shoot at a man who was running away. One person who was too rattled to give his name said the victim appeared to have been shot more than once and was “still twitching.”

He also said it appeared a police officer was shot.

“Lotta’ lotta’ gunfire,” said Derek Pelligra, manager of Linden Auto Body.

Mr. Rahami, 28, was identified on surveillance video planting the bombs in Chelsea, both the device that exploded and another that did not detonate a few blocks away. He was described as a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent who had been living with his family in Elizabeth, N.J.

It remained unclear there were other suspects who the police were searching for in the connection with the bombing.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who said on Sunday that the attack did not appear to have a link to international terrorism, said new evidence might change that thinking.

“I would not be surprised if we did have a foreign connection to the act,” he said on CNN on Monday morning.

Mr. Rahami was born on Jan. 23, 1988, in Afghanistan. His last known address was in Elizabeth, N.J. He is described as about 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 200 pounds. Mr. Rahami has brown hair, brown eyes and brown facial hair.

A law enforcement official, who agreed to speak about the investigation only on the condition of anonymity, said they had conclusive evidence that Mr. Rahami was connected not just to the Manhattan explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood, but also to a bombing that took place earlier on Saturday on the Jersey Shore.

The city’s police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, directed the entire patrol force of the New York Police Department — 36,000 officers — to step up their vigilance and be on the alert for Mr. Rahami.

Dozens of officers and federal agents were zeroing in on locations in New Jersey. At the same time, more than 1,000 officers from the city police force’s Critical Response Command and Emergency Service Unit were working to secure New York City landmarks, commuter hubs and other sensitive sites.

Prior to the shootout that led to his capture, Rahmani was identified off of video that showed him near the scene of the bombing in New York City and New Jersey prior to the time that they happened. Additionally, officers were apparently able to tie the Chelsea bombings to the device that had exploded much earlier in the day in Seaside Park, New Jersey  based on similar components used in constructing the various devices as well as fingerprints reportedly found on at least one of the devices. What’s unknown at this point is whether Rahami had any communications with terrorist elements outside the country, whether he had any accomplices in carrying out his attacks,  or why he chose the targets he did. The Seaside Park device was placed near the start of a 5K race designed to benefit members of the military and their families so perhaps that target is easy to understand. The remaining devices, though, were placed in seemingly random locations in New York City and Elizabeth, New Jersey and several of them didn’t even detonate, which suggests that Rahami was acting alone. Also tending to undercut the idea that this guy was highly trained was the fact that he was caught one town over from where he lived and that police were alerted to his location by a business owner who saw someone sleeping in the doorway of a local business who turned out to be Rahami. After a shootout, Rahmi was injured and taken into custody.

There’s still much to learn about this case, most specifically Rahmi’s motivation, but it isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to say that this guy was influenced in some way by radical Islamic jihadists such as al Qaeda or ISIS. There’s already some indication that the guy had built up years of resentment against people in general due to issues he was having in operating the fried chicken restaurant he helped run for his family, to the point where he sued the city for alleged civil rights violations due to the fact that it sought to enforce anti-nuisance laws against the business when its policy of being open around the clock caused disturbances in the neighborhood it’s located in to the point where the family filed a civil rights lawsuit at one point. Eventually, I’m sure we’ll hear about whether or not all of this led him to become radicalized somehow.

On a final note, it’s worth noting just how quickly this investigation moved to a successful conclusion. Rahami was taken into custody just a little more than 48 hours after the explosion in Seaside Park and 36 hours after the explosion in New York City. In that short period of time, authorities had been able to identify a suspect, track down his family, send out a bulletin to the entire tri-state area, and capture him when he was found mere miles from the house where he lived with his family. That’s some mighty good police work, and the NYPD, as well as the other law enforcement agencies in the area, deserve credit in pursuing the case and capturing him before he was able to cause any more harm.

 

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    Is it time for unfounded speculation as to the bomber and his motives?

    I’m going to claim that he is a member of a terrorist cell that consists of himself and four other people, all of whom are informants and agents for various conflicting law enforcement agencies.

    Also, he probably has a history of domestic violence, and practices Radical Islam with a copy of the Radical Koran.

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  2. Gavrilo says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m going to claim that he was a pathetic failure of a man and a loser. Oh wait, that was your unfounded speculation in the other thread!

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  3. RWB says:

    “There’s still much to learn about this case, most specifically Rahmi’s motivation, but it isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to say that this guy was influenced in some way by radical Islamic jihadists such as al Qaeda or ISIS.”

    Why won’t you call the enemy by it’s real name, radical Wahhabi Islamic jihadists funded by Saudi Arabia

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  4. James Pearce says:

    @Gavrilo:

    I’m going to claim that he was a pathetic failure of a man and a loser.

    Not sure that’s exactly “unfounded speculation” at this point.

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  5. Gustopher says:

    @Gavrilo: we know he went to college for a few years, but got no degree, and that he clearly flunked basic wiring, so there is some foundation for calling him a pathetic failure of a man and a loser.

    And, I would expect you to be happy that I was referring to him as a Radical Islamic Terrorist, using the exact phrasing the right wing seems to think will do something (show them we aren’t afraid, ward off evil spirits, inspire Jesus to come down and smite their asses before turning the other cheek and smiling their asses again… or something)

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  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    Evidence that these bombings weren’t well planned
    https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160919/chelsea/thieves-helped-crack-chelsea-bombing-case-sources-say

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  7. bill says:

    that is some good police work- good thing they had a video of this guy or deblasio would have made them look for suspects of every type…..when anyone with a 3 digit iq figured it was someone like the guy they caught. next they’ll speculate as to why he’d do something like this…….yeah- the fried chicken place , that’s probably it.
    and that guy in minnesota that went on a stabbing spree….what could have caused that?! at least it had a happy ending.

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  8. Tony W says:

    Future CNN Headline:

    “In response to these bombings, President Trump ordered a wall be built around New York and New Jersey – paid for by Radical Islamic Terrorists”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Jack says:

    Libtard talking points in chronological order:

    “Don’t you racists bastards dare think this is Islamic.”

    “It looks to be Islamic but wipe that smirk off your racist faces.”

    “We’ve confirmed it’s Islamic, we’ll have to take away your guns.”

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  10. Tony W says:

    @Jack: Nobody here said any of those things, but I guess when you don’t have any facts you make up your own?

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  11. Gustopher says:

    I actually think one of the most important things we can to protect ourselves from stochastic terrorism (the lone wolf losers who are inspired by the media wing of ISIS and the like) is to mock them and show them to be the pathetic failures that they are.

    It’s a counterpoint to the “your life will have meaning and you’ll get your 72 virgins after you martyr yourself” to point out that the people who go down that path are almost invariably failures in life. The guy who shot up the gay nightclub was a wife beater and sexually confused. This guy can’t do wiring, dropped out of college and lived with his parents above a fried chicken place (not sure he still lived with his parents).

    I don’t want little Johnny Akmed thinking that the way out of his problems is to become a martyr — I want little Johnny Akmed to see the “martyrs” as sad pathetic tools used for someone else’s agenda.

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  12. James Pearce says:

    @bill:

    good thing they had a video of this guy or deblasio would have made them look for suspects of every type

    More Jay Leno jokes? Someone get bill a laugh track.

    @Jack: Never forget the true enemy, Jack: “Libtard talking points”

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  13. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s a counterpoint to the “your life will have meaning and you’ll get your 72 virgins after you martyr yourself” to point out that the people who go down that path are almost invariably failures in life.

    Considering we’re talking mostly about foreign-born millennials who grew up in the US, I don’t think they’re hearing too much “you life will have meaning and you’ll get your 72 virgins” talk. That will work on some goat herder in the Korangal, but it’s not going to work on anyone who spent more than a few days in an American high school.

    Might it be possible that these homegrown “lone wolf” terrorists are inspired not by Wahhabism or ISIS or even Al Qaeda. Might it be possible they’re inspired by their experiences here in the United States?

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  14. James Pearce says:

    Unfinished thought….

    “Might it be possible they’re inspired by their experiences here in the United States?”

    And if they are inspired by their experiences here in the US, would demeaning little Johnny Akmed be a smart idea?

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  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    @bill:

    when anyone with a 3 digit iq figured it was someone like the guy they caught. next they’ll speculate as to why he’d do something like this

    Unfortunately in this world we live in, my worst assumptions are almost always proven true.

    I assumed the person responsible for this was probably a male, was probably young, and was probably an American. And I was 100% correct

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  16. Thor thormussen says:

    that is some good police work- good thing they had a video of this guy or deblasio would have made them look for suspects of every type

    Recognized security expert Bruce Schneier says racial profiling decreases security and makes attacks easier. He makes a good argument. You can look it up on the internet for free.

    On the pro-profiling side, we have bill, who can’t even figure out punctuation.

    Ima go with Bruce on this one.

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  17. Bill says:

    My Filipino Sister-in-law moved to Manhattan last week. Her apartment is two blocks from the blast site.

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  18. Gustopher says:

    I’ve been enspammed. Foolishly tried to reply from my work computer, which OTB hates.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    I want little Johnny Akmed to see the “martyrs” as sad pathetic tools used for someone else’s agenda.

    Back in the heyday of skyjackings in the ’70s I said it was terrible tactics to treat the perps as the mightily feared worst of the worst. They should have been treated as pathetic loony toons and committed to mental facilities whenever possible. Nobody took my advice then. Nobody’s likely to take it now. Although thanks to the magic of the intertubes there’s actually a chance of someone being aware of my advice this time. No one in a position of authority, of course.

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  20. Gustopher says:

    @bill:

    anyone with a 3 digit iq figured it was someone like the guy they caught. next they’ll speculate as to why he’d do something like this

    I’m not sure what you mean by “like the guy they caught”.

    Young?
    Male?
    American?
    Immigrant?
    College dropout?
    Kind of husky?
    Smells of fried chicken?
    Not a certified electrician?
    Naturalized?
    New Jersey resident?

    I really don’t see much difference between this guy and white supremacists who left pipe bombs along the route of an MLK day parade in Spokane a few years ago.

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  21. Argon says:

    There’s still much to learn about this case, most specifically Rahmi’s motivation, but it isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to say …

    Blah, blah, blah.

    The dust will settle. We’ll know more soon enough. Watching the news regurgitate information continuously doesn’t help things to make sense any faster. They actually make it worse.

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  22. Tyrell says:

    Hillary has now called for “severe” background checks of immigrants. Trump of course has called for “extreme” . In a thesaurus those are probably synonyms and can be used interchangeably. I do not know exactly what they mean by those terms in connection to background investigations.
    I would use a variety of psychological tests, background checks, family history, criminal records, education backgrounds, library check outs, Internet history, and school conduct scores. A person with a nuclear engineering education – well I don’t know.
    Look at this: Chancellor Merkel loses big in elections. She has been trying to get a lot of the Syrian.refugees out. The Deutsch bank is very near collapse.
    Down here in the south country we are in an old fashioned gas shortage. It’s got me reminiscing about the ’70’s, Nixon. OPEC,
    and service stations. Come on down and join us, the weather is fine: very warm and humid. I just hope they get this mess fixed so I can get to the race this Sunday
    “Be sure with Pure”
    ” You can trust your car to the man who wears the star,
    the big, bright Texaco star!”
    “On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again”.
    (The incomparable Willie Nelson)

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  23. Bill says:

    @Gustopher: oh lord, the dreaded “white supremacist ” bs again. Talk about a nonexistent threat…
    So what’s the body count of the feared white supremacists these days vs. angry sheetheads?! Yeah, thought so.

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  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    Did that achieve a certain level of lyricism, or am I just high?

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  25. anjin-san says:

    @Bill:

    Why don’t you hide under the bed for the next month or so? Can’t be too careful…

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    Might it be possible that these homegrown “lone wolf” terrorists are inspired not by Wahhabism or ISIS or even Al Qaeda. Might it be possible they’re inspired by their experiences here in the United States?

    There are pathetic failures and emotionally disturbed people in give or take every demographic — @here for instance — and we don’t see those young men going on killing sprees or setting bombs. Not at the same rate.

    To really thrive, the violence needs both a fertile bed of crazy losers, and a radicalizing ideology that makes violence acceptable. Sometimes that ideology comes from the voices in their head, other times it comes from Bill O’Reilly repeating “Tiller The Baby Killer” over and over again, sometimes it comes from racism, and sometimes it comes from Wahabbism, ISIS and the like.

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @Bill: This weekend we had more unarmed black men killed by police than we had people killed by Radical Islamic Terrorists in this country.

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  28. rachel says:

    @Gustopher: Alas.

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  29. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “Did that achieve a certain level of lyricism, or am I just high?”

    The two are not mutually exclusive.

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  30. Kylopod says:

    @Bill:

    oh lord, the dreaded “white supremacist ” bs again. Talk about a nonexistent threat…

    “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/us/tally-of-attacks-in-us-challenges-perceptions-of-top-terror-threat.html

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  31. Thor thormussen says:

    This weekend we had more unarmed black men killed by police than we had people killed by Radical Islamic Terrorists in this country.

    I doubt bill thinks this is a problem.

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  32. Gavrilo says:

    @Kylopod:

    Nice try. That article was written before the San Bernardino and Orlando nightclub terrorist attacks. The actual numbers are 94 killed by radical Muslims and 48 killed by non-Muslim extremists.

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  33. Kylopod says:

    @Gavrilo: Point taken. But that doesn’t help Bill’s statement that white supremacist violence is a “nonexistent threat.” That’s what I was responding to.

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  34. anjin-san says:

    Did Trump personally take this guy into custody? I’ve heard that he is Batman when he is not campaigning…

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  35. michael reynolds says:

    I become irritated when we cannot talk about things openly.

    Yes, there is clearly, unmistakably, a problem with radicalized Muslims in the US. Can we stop insisting that’s not the case when it quite obviously is? Ignoring reality is supposed to be a right-wing thing, not a lefty thing.

    When you start tracking these things back you come again and again to two interesting, actionable facts:

    1) Imams in this country tend not to be native-born, they often come from very backward places, and they tend far too often to be supported by the Salafist ideological structure that props of the house of Saud. Imagine the Christian population if the clergy was dominated by members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

    2) People who travel from the US to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen or Syria without some identifiable need – a job – should be looked at very closely. Again and again we see cases of Americans going to imbibe the pure hate nectar from its sources. If you go to the tribal regions of Pakistan you’re not a tourist. Go to Jordan to see Petra or Egypt for the pyramids? You’re a tourist. Go to the Hajj in Mecca? Tourist. If you go to the FATA or Raqqah, you are a presumptive terrorist. If you decided to visit Berlin or Tokyo in 1943, or Moscow in 1958, or Quetta today, you are not a tourist, you are presumptive enemy of the United States.

    We should be able to start squeezing out Salafist Imams. We can and should start treating the Saudi house religion as a terrorist threat. All anti-western Sunni terrorism grows from Salafist teaching, and that comes from Saudi, and given the worldwide oil glut and the fact that American jets keep Saudi princes alive to drive their Bugattis, we should be able to severely limit the access of these poisonous propagandists to the US.

    And we should warn US citizens that travel to terrorist areas will mean heightened scrutiny on their return. Hajj? No problem. FATA of Pakistan? Problem. Muslim? No problem. Salafist Muslim? Problem. We are not at war with Islam, we are sure as hell at war with Salafism. In order to win that war in the least bloody way possible, we need the active support of Muslims to isolate Salafists and identify their radical recruits.

    This is not the Crusades, there is no profit for us in looking to broaden the fight from a portion of Islam to all of Islam as ‘conservatives’ seem determined to do. The people doing this are not Shiites. They are not mainstream Sunnis. They are a radical fringe of Islam, and only a fwcking moron thinks it’d be a great idea to go from a few million potential foes to a billion and a half. At the same time, there is no point in pretending that the problem doesn’t exist, or that religious choices are irrelevant to it.

    As frustrating as the issue is, George W. Bush and Barack Obama both concluded, correctly, that this must not become a religious war of Christians and Jews against Muslims. I think both men were too tolerant of the Saudis and their little hate cult. The Saudi royal family feeds Salafism because the Salafists give religious support to the Saudi tyranny. That is the original sin in this morality play. The Sauds fear that minus the Salafists they will lose their claim to legitimacy. All roads lead back to a tiny, corrupt gaggle of nasty old men in Riyadh determined to hold on to power. The corollary of the original sin, is the American addendum: we fear what will happen if the Sauds fall, so we cover up their crimes and pretend not to know from whence the trouble comes.

    This embrace of the Sauds needs to be wound down. Which is why, incidentally, it is a smart thing to look for deals with Iran, as Mr. Obama is doing to the usual chorus of brain-dead so-called conservatives denouncing him. It’s also why the sooner we can free ourselves and the world from oil, the better off we will all be, despite the inevitable brain-dead conservative hatred of all things renewable.

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  36. bill says:

    @Kylopod: lord, the nyt’s…..really? LOL…..i doubt those stats actually cover what people call “white supremacists” and probably reduces “muslim” crimes as “work related,etc.”.(the charleston kid, crazy yes, white supremacist no). even if it were marginally correct it doesn’t account for this years toll, which is what, over 100? sure, that’s just a couple of months in south chicago but at least it’s Americans killing each other for whatever reason.

    @anjin-san: yeah, i’d rather we stopped importing these wastes of skin. so back to reality, this sheethead was reported for being a terrorist by his own father 2 yrs ago, and he still got to wander among us . plus he was a dead beat dad- homophobe- American hating loser……not your average American by any means, or at least what they should be.

    @Neil Hudelson: and probably a democrat!

    side note- did y’all get really po’s by the guy who shot/killed that crazy muslim in minnesota?
    i mean he’s;
    – an ex-cop
    -white
    – had a chl and carried!
    – a good shot, no trial needed.
    – probably not a liberal.

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  37. Tyrell says:

    @michael reynolds: Can’t beat Wiilie.

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  38. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: The spewing of hatred to incite violence isn’t limited to the fringes of Islam — we have it homegrown on the fringe of the right (white supremacists, the sovereign citizen movement, Bill O’Reilly), and on the fringes of the left (but not very effectively).

    When I hear of a shooting, or a bombing, I’m not going to immediately assume which fringe inspired it — assuming it wasn’t just a crazy guy.

    We do have a particular problem with longstanding citizens of a Moslem background getting radicalized — generally when they are having other problems to begin with. Often it is young men who weee brought over by their parents when they were too young to have any say in the matter. Often after they have returned to their homeland for an extended period.

    We should be building models and profiling people based on their behavior. If you visit a region rife with terrorists and come back with a wide and stronger ties, that should warrant a second look. But we should be putting the same scrutiny on the folks on the right here, who are dabbling in white supremacy and the militia movement.

    You write that if someone goes to this area of Pakistan it’s a problem — but what kind of problem? What are the consequences, can we apply it to the scary white folks in Montana too, and do we protect the rights of those who don’t represent a threat?

    And I absolutely want to tie handling this to handling the right wing extremists — it’s how we ensure that it isn’t just a racist witch hunt.

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  39. An Interested Party says:

    …the charleston kid, crazy yes, white supremacist no…

    You sure are full of $hit..but we already knew that…

    …and probably a democrat!

    Yes, using that “logic” we can say that most Republicans are racists…like you…

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  40. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This is not the Crusades…

    The Crusades weren’t even the Crusades when you give them a closer look; they were a pretext for the Christian rulers of Europe to get rid of a passel of warring knights and noblemen.

    Policy opened [the kings and princes of Europe’s] eyes to the great advantages which would accrue to themselves by the absence of so many restless, intriguing, and bloodthirsty men, whose insolence it required more than the small power of royalty to restrain within due bounds.

    To allude to a recent quote:

    When [Western Europe] sen[t] its people, they [weren’t] sending their best.

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  41. Kylopod says:

    @bill:

    lord, the nyt’s…..really? LOL…..i doubt those stats actually cover what people call “white supremacists”

    I see you didn’t bother to click on the link. (That’s clear from the fact that you assume I was quoting a study by the NYT, rather than a summary of a study by another organization, which the article linked to and can be examined independently.) What’s fascinating to me is that your mind is so totally closed you refuse to even look at anything that might contradict your beliefs, and you assume off the bat that any such info must be wrong because you are literally incapable of comprehending the possibility that your beliefs might not be correct.

    The most amusing thing is how utterly oblivious you are to how bad a job you’re doing at defending your point of view.

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  42. C. Clavin says:

    Setting straight Trumps racist skittles rant.
    http://www.vox.com/2016/9/20/12986886/donald-trump-jr-terrorist-skittles-wrong

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  43. C. Clavin says:

    @Gustopher:

    We should be building models and profiling people based on their behavior. If you visit a region rife with terrorists and come back with a wide and stronger ties, that should warrant a second look.

    But that’s a very different thing than racial profiling…that’s profiling suspicious behavior, as you say.
    Very different from what the Republican party is suggesting today.

    But we should be putting the same scrutiny on the folks on the right here, who are dabbling in white supremacy and the militia movement.

    As long as it’s based on specific behaviors, yes.

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