SAN DIEGO, December 15, 2016 — Recently, a gathering of some 25 people took place in front of a library at Ohio State. The assembly was an organized response to some unexpected, horrific violence perpetrated more than a week earlier by 18-year-old Somali born Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a third-year Ohio State Logistics Management Major.
Of course, the incident being discussed at the assembly had long since made national news. Students in attendance were aware that the now deceased Artan had begun his offensive by mowing through a crowd of surprised people in a small Honda, people who had just abandoned a campus building due to a reported gas leak. This was followed by a butcher knife attack from the same man. Eleven individuals were wounded.
According to an official university statement, five of the victims were hit with the car, and five found themselves at the mercy of Artan’s knife, resulting in lacerations or stab wounds. One more was reported to have orthopedic injuries. At least five of the victims were Ohio State students, faculty, or staff.
None of these people died that day, but there might have been significant carnage had Artan not been stopped by the bullet of a campus police officer, one Alan Horujko, 28, who arrived at the area just in in the nick of time due to the gas leak report.
Law enforcement told reporters that Artan was a Somali refugee with permanent legal status.
Ohio State University Police Chief Craig Stone said Horujko gunned Artan down in under a minute when Artan refused to drop his knife and stop the attacks.
At first Officer Horujko was hailed as a hero who did a “fabulous job” according to OSU Department of Public Safety Director Monica Moll.
But we live in interesting times with new politically correct views of what constitutes heroism.
So what kinds of reflections were offered by students who gathered in front of Ohio State’s library in an attempt to process this painful event that brought national attention to their campus? Was this assembly an attempt to discuss or educate fellow students on the perils of terrorism at the hands of Radical Islam?
Before you answer, here’s a hint: This is a present day American university! The very notion of blaming Radical Islam instead of finding some other explanation is going to be a long shot at best. These days, students are taught to have more nuanced responses to the news of the day.
A better guess would be that of a protest demanding more gun control. Only one problem: This wasn’t a gun attack. It was a car attack followed by a knife attack.
Then again, the policeman did have a gun. He used it too! Not only did a human being die as a result of a gunshot, this Somalian “victim” was black.
Yes, that was the concern. OSU’s Coalition for Black Liberation sponsored this assembly, at which time the car/knife/shooting incident was embedded into a wider mix of names on a list identifying people of color who had been killed in the past two months at the hands of police officers.
According to Maryam Abidi, a fourth-year student:
“We broadened the scope of what today was supposed to be, to talk about the aftermath of what happened on the 28th — to talk about what it meant for that attack to happen and also for Ohio State to be a focal point for a lot of right-wing pundits, Islamophobia and xenophobia,”
A eulogy was offered by going down a list and reading names, ages and locations of death, for people who died at because of police. This was followed by a moment of silence.
“In some cases, the deceased may have committed acts of violence against others before they were killed. Perhaps they were domestic abusers, perhaps they threatened or killed others. This possibility is not something to shy away from. The protest against police brutality extends to the innocent and the guilty alike, because we know that no matter the crime, justice and due process don’t come from a cop’s bullet,” Abidi explained.
One would think that justice did come from a bullet in this particular case inasmuch as eleven people were saved, and matters might have been much worse had Officer Horujko not shown up. Nevertheless, Artan’s name made the “Black Lives Matter” cut and was featured prominently on the Coalition for Black Liberation’s list.
While people in attendance of the CFBL gathering made it clear that Artan’s actions should be condemned, they also saw his case as a sympathetic one, a case calling for special compassion.
After all, back in August, Artan said in an interview with Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern:
“I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads.”
The media? Was it the media that hit people with a car and stabbed people with a knife? Did Artan’s actions with his car and his knife do much to champion the “misunderstood plight of Muslims”?
The logic of this question rings like the understatement of the century. But once again, this was a modern, college campus; a place of higher learning:
“You can understand where an act of violence comes from without condoning that act of violence,” according to Associate English Professor Pranav Jani.
But the words getting the most attention are on a post from Ohio State University Assistant Director of Residence Life Stephanie Clemons Thompson who wrote the following Facebook entry:
“Abudl Razak Ali Artan was a BUCKEYE, a member of our family. If you think it is ok to celebrate his death and/or share pictures of his dead body and I see it in my timeline, I will unfriend you. I pray you find compassion for his life, as troubled as it clearly was. Think of the pain he must have been in to feel that his actions were the only solution. We must come together in this time of tragedy. #BuckeyeStrong #BlackLivesMatter #SayHisName”
It had to happen sooner or later: The crusade against “Islamophobia” and the Black Lives Matters movement are forming a happy marriage.
Only in politically correct America can people be more concerned with skin color than the actions and ideology of the person beneath the skin.
Only in present day academia can a gunshot be promptly condemned regardless of the shooter’s motive or the gunshot’s outcome. In this case, the motive was saving of lives. The outcome was the death of a terrorist caught in the act.
Those who wish to distance this latest surge of bloodshed from Radical Islam should know that the Islamic State described Abudl Razak Ali Artan as a fellow “soldier” according to ISIS linked Amaq News Agency.
Says Rita Katz, executive director of the SITE Intelligence Group:
“This posting does not necessarily mean that Abdul Razak Ali Artan acted at the behest of the terror group, which often claims responsibility for attacks in which it had no actual involvement.”
But Katz also went on to say, “The bloodshed in Columbus on Monday occurred after the Islamic State issued instructions this month about carrying out attacks using knives and vehicles.”
Facts can be stubborn in the face of political correctness. Then again, there’s always the popular wildcard which attempts to navigate the conversation another direction by reminding us that “even when we have undeniable cases of religiously motivated violence, we must still remember that Islam is actually a religion of peace, hijacked by a few troubled nutcases.”
Such a narrative continues to survive despite obvious verses to the contrary found in the Koran, verses taken very seriously by self-proclaimed Jihadists:
“Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home, an evil fate. (9:73).
“Mohammed is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to unbelievers but merciful to one another (48:29).
True, there are many Muslims today who speak against violence and choose not to interpret such verses literally. But the verses do exist and we cannot pretend that terrorists who recite the Koran are making up the words. As a matter of fact, the very founder of Islam, Mohammad himself, not only recited these commands (claiming to have heard them from Allah) he practiced them!
How else do you think Muslims conquered the Arabian Peninsula? By reaching across the aisle in a bi-partisan way like some modern politician or Trump style businessman? No, Mohammad used something else; the swords of soldiers who followed him.
Jihadist ambition not-withstanding, Americans are free constitutionally to accept or reject the Koran.
They are also free to reject the politically correct whitewashing of Jihadist terror.
This same choice to accept or reject applies to any collection of alleged scripture, including the Bible.
Ironically, it is a verse from the latter which seems to best describe modern, America where a heroic police officer is denounced and a terrorist invokes sympathy.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20 NIV).
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
The Washington Post, Fox News and Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, contributed to the hard news portions of this article.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and a columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net