Politics

The Mistake Trump's VP Pick Made in His Remarks on the France Attack

Following the truck attack in Nice, France, that killed 84 people and critically injured 52 more, the leading contenders to become Donald Trump's running mate rushed to make their stances known.

Some pundits noted that the heated rhetoric seemed like a last-minute audition to become Trump's VP pick.

The eventual winner of the contest was Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who also weighed in as details about the attack were still emerging.

mike-pence

Setting aside the fact that no known terror organizations had claimed responsibility for the killings at the time of Pence's comments, his rhetoric obscures the most common victims of these sort of attacks.

Although terrorism is a threat to the so-called Western world, it's more of a threat to the Islamic world, according to the Global Terrorism Index, which tracks the countries most affected by terrorist acts. Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria, respectively, have the most incidents of terror. France is ranked 36, one spot behind the United States.

Acknowledging this doesn't make the deaths of civilians in France any less tragic, nor does it diminish the threat posed by terrorism, but it does explain a suspicion held by many Americans that politicians are exploiting fear and vulnerability for political gain.

In the wake of a terrorist attack in the Western world, lawmakers often respond by calling for immigration and travel bans, like they did following the attacks in Paris and Brussels. But the far more common instances of terrorism occur in countries that are not part of the Western world, and their victims are predominantly Muslims.

Comments like the ones made by Pence and Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Flynn have consequences.

As ATTN: previously reported, 28 mosques in the United States were attacked in the five months between the San Bernardino shooting and April 28 of this year.

Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, commented on the phenomenon at a White House address last year, according to NBC News:

"Similar to what we saw after 9/11, in recent weeks following the terrible and tragic attacks in San Bernardino and Paris — and amidst a ratcheting up of divisive rhetoric around religious intolerance — community members and advocates have reported an uptick in hate-related incidents targeting Muslim Americans, as well as those perceived, rightly or wrongly, as being Muslim."