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Monday, February 20, 2017

The Writer's Life 2/20 - Both Sides Now

My cable package does not include Fox News, so I never get the opportunity to check in there. Along with, it seems to be the only place willing to defend President Trump, who has caught flack from the mainstream media for his "last night in Sweden" comment. He was referring to a Tucker Carlson report that aired on the channel liberals love to hate. Part of it was devoted to police investigator Peter Springare, who in a Facebook post that went viral, described the events of a five-day period: five rapes, three assaults, a pair of extortions, blackmail, an attempted murder, violence against police and a robbery. All but one of the suspects was from a Muslim-majority country – Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Turkey. Springare was briefly investigated for possible hate crime incitement based on the post. Last month the police chief for the southern city of Malmo issued a plea for help curtailing a plague of attempted murders, beatings and rapes. About 32% of that city's occupants are migrants, although it is not clear what role they play in the crime wave. Malmo had 52 hand grenade attacks in 2016. Nationwide, the terror threat level is at “elevated” and police believe at least 300 Swedish nationals have traveled to Syria and Iraq for jihadi training. On Feb. 11, a Swede and a Dane were arrested in Turkey, suspected of plotting to carry out attacks in Europe. Tofik Saleh, a 38-year-old Swedish citizen of Iraqi origin, had been training with ISIS since 2014. On the same day Springare posted his screed, a Swedish court turned over evidence to Belgium – seized in Malmo – in connection with the 2016 Brussels terror attacks. Sweden has taken in 650,000 asylum-seekers during the past 15 years, including 163,000 in 2015. Of those, 35,000 were unaccompanied children, or at least claimed to be. The children, mostly males from Afghanistan and Somalia, are identified only as minors by the age on the application. The only time one is rejected is when it’s “obviously” untrue, though there’s no clear definition of “obviously.” Of course, many may not be up to mischief but are simply trying to avoid deportation. Carlson warned this mass influx of migrants, many of whom are uneducated and jobless, has begun to alter the face and crime rates of countries such as Sweden. I've never been to Malmo, and I don't know anyone who lives there, so I have no idea if conditions are exaggerated, but the views of all sides should be heard - both sides now, as Joni Mitchell wrote. I hate arguing politics, but I just couldn't let this one go. I copied most of the above from the Fox News website, and edited it heavily.

Sign of the times: According to a brief piece in today's NY Post, a marijuana shop in Parachute, Colorado will have a drive through window when it opens in March. It shouldn't surprise anyone.

It was another gorgeous, late-spring-like day. My thanks to the mom who bought five young adult books for her two sons. The oldest, a seventh-grader, is reading at college level. I recommended three I'd seen on a list dedicated to  Black History Month: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis, and Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. They came early in the session and were the only buyers. She gave me double what I asked, bless her heart. The oddest aspect of the day was the failure of the books in Russian to attract any interest.
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