A new Westgate Mall-style terror attack may come home to the West … and for some, closer to home than others. The Somalian Islamist terror group al-Shabaab, which has recruited from the Somali ex-patriate community here in the Twin Cities, specifically threatened the Mall of America in a new video, highlighting the massacre at Nairobi’s Westgate as a model for their sympathizers to follow:
Well, golly. America’s largest shopping mall, a destination for international travelers and a place where thousands of people gather at any moment in time, has just been called out as a target. What kind of preparation has our government made to protect us? Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, says we should, um … be careful if we’re going to shop there:
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on Sunday warned the public to be “particularly careful” if they go to the Mall of America in Minnesota after a terrorist group released a video calling for attacks on it.
“I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Johnson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The Mall of America says that it has stepped up security in response to the threat in the video from the terrorist group al-Shabaab.
Appearing later on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Johnson made clear that the public should still feel free to go to the mall. “I’m not telling people to not to go to the mall,” he said. “I think there’s need to be awareness, there needs to be vigilance, and people need to be careful, obviously.”
Johnson actually did something close to a full Ginsburg yesterday, appearing on ABC’s This Week to outline the “new phase” of strategy against such threats, which includes working in communities to avoid “violent extremism”:
Be sure to stick around in this clip for Johnson’s defense of the “violent extremism” talking point, as if Jehovah’s Witnesses are among the threats facing the Mall of America. In this particular case, the threat’s pretty clear: a Somalian Islamist terror group linked to al-Qaeda has recruited Somali-Americans to join their network, dozens of whom can’t be found now, and they want to attack a high-profile target in the same “community.” The Somali ex-pat community has been cooperating with the FBI for years to get their sons back (against the wishes of CAIR), but so far they’ve come up short. This isn’t a lone-wolf threat as much as it is a re-infiltration threat. Somehow, Johnson never gets around to mentioning that.
Instead, the best Johnson can offer is for those of us in the Twin Cities to “be careful,” and “if you see something, say something” — a phrase that won’t cover accusations of intolerance and bigotry if people actually implement it.
The Mall of America announced that they have heightened security, in ways that will be visible in some ways and not so much in others:
The Mall of America has for years declared itself to be a “gun free zone,” a status allowed by state law in conjunction with its must-issue carry permit law. That is the MoA’s choice, and it’s their property. Somehow, though, I don’t think those signs in the mall will deter a Westgate-style assault if one occurs, while law-abiding citizens carrying legally could at least protect their own lives and a few others if such an attack took place. That may be a low-percentage event, but the likelihood of a bad outcome from allowing legal carry would be even lower (one non-justifiable homicide by a permit holder in more than a decade). If the Mall of America is serious about preparing for the threat, it would allow their customers to do the same.