Case in point: the recent attempt in Roanoke, Virginia, by three young African teens and one citizen to kidnap wives of wealthy American men for ransom.
The kidnap gang consisted of Luke Musa Elbino (age 19, from Sudan), Joshua Kasongo (19, from Rwanda), Mohammed Hussein Guhad (19, from Somalia) and Anthony Eugene Muse (18, of Roanoke), a local who was willing to use his granny's rural trailer for stashing their victims. [Vdare.com note: From his photograph, Mr. Muse seems to be a regular African-American, I.E. someone whose ancestors have been in this country since before the Civil War.]
Kasongo is listed as a Roanoke County firefighter (a job Americans won't do?) and Elbino was a student at a community college. Anthony Muse and Mohammed Guhad were students at Roanoke's Patrick Henry High School ("Home of the Patriots"!).
The plot began to come apart on April 6, when the Africans tried to muscle their way into the home of George and Audrey Levicki. The gang posed as Red Cross volunteers doing a door-to-door survey. They had phoned to make sure that Mr. Levicki, CEO of Delta Dental of Virginia, was not there. The kidnappers had researched possible victims on the internet to find wealthy people and had driven around the area looking for big expensive houses.
The scheme fell apart when Mrs. Levicki slammed the door shut on one of the Africans as he tried to push his way in. The gang then jumped into a waiting car to escape, but they were noticed by an alert neighbor who followed until police appeared. (Read the original crime report on WSLS.com.)
As described by the US Attorney's Office, [PDF]one task of Mohammed Guhad was to assemble various useful items, "including but not limited to duct tape, rope, gloves, disguises and handcuffs". Elbino used his laptop for victim research and Kasongo was assigned the task of ransom negotiation. Anthony Muse supplied a .32 handgun, but it was not carried during the crime.
The Africans were first charged with breaking and entering, but in time they admitted conspiring to kidnap Audrey Levicki and hold her in a hidden location until her husband ponied up $1-2 million.
The would-be kidnappers had cased another prosperous neighborhood the previous month, but neighbors became suspicious when a carload of young fellows clearly not from the area were taking an undue interest.
An unidentified woman described the gang spying on her with obvious ill intent in March [UPDATED: Three kidnapping suspects plead not guilty, WDBJ7, Roanoke, May 9, 2009].
"She was a target, but never actually approached by the suspects and Friday she shared her thoughts about the plot, the suspects, and her future…
"Back in March, she noticed a car outside her home for two days straight.
News7's Justin McLeod: How long were they there generally?
Victim: About an hour each day.
News7's Justin McLeod: And you were telling me you actually looked out the window?
Victim: I pulled the window blind up and clear as day when you look at that from the outside, they saw me see them.
"She called police but it wasn't until several weeks later that she found out she was part of a kidnapping plot."
Stupid criminals are still dangerous, just more likely to get caught. And kidnapping is not only a very cruel crime, but one unlikely to be carried off successfully. Curiously, the Africans were smart enough to research potential victims using the internet, but not sufficiently bright to hide their intentions.
When the accused were brought before Judge Michael Urbanski, he commented on the "irony" of the situation:
"Over and over Thursday, the federal judge commented on the irony of the case before him: the children of refugee families who had fled terror and strife in Africa, now accused of a kidnapping plot." [Emphasis added][Judge denies 3 teens bond in kidnapping case, By Mike Gangloff, Roanoke Times, May 15, 2009]
"Irony"? This situation is not ironic at all. Even when people try to escape violence by leaving the scene, it has become imprinted in their experience. Many bring it with them as immigrants. In a similar way, children of alcoholics can hate booze, but often end up with a drinking problem themselves.
If anything, the case shows the young men brought African values with them. Somalia in particular has been a kidnap center for years and only lately has expanded into seafaring versions, where the activity is called piracy.
Young refugees often appear to accept an American lifestyle. But that acculturation may be style only, a shallow sort of assimilation where the exteriors look right, but there is no deep understanding of the foundational structure, beliefs and responsibility that underlie American freedoms.
Another example of that syndrome: Shirwa Ahmed, the Somali refugee from Minnesota who blew up himself and dozens of others in a suicide bombing in Mogadishu last year. As a young man in Minneapolis, he had friends, dated girls, shot hoops and wore hip-hop clothing. One friend recalled Ahmed condemning suicide bombing as un-Islamic.
But somewhere along the line, Ahmed's mind became infected with the murderous jihad ideology. Whatever he learned in school and absorbed from American society as a whole, it wasn't strong enough to defeat in his mind the Islamic agenda of totalitarianism and religious violence. An investigation of his background, The making of a Minnesota suicide bomber [By Richard Meryhew, Allie Shah And James Walsh, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, May 6, 2009], is fascinating reading—even if Ahmed was only a "Minnesota" bomber to the MSM.
We don't know much about the Africans in the Virginia kidnapping, other than they weren't dropouts and they had no previous arrests. The mug shots look plenty menacing but one series of non-criminal pictures are not.
Yet the Africans thought that violently snatching and imprisoning a woman against her will was a fine way to make some easy money. Did it not occur to any of them that violating Audrey Levicki's freedom was immoral as well as illegal? Or did her lesser status as a female in African culture make her anguish less important?
No crime is more sociopathic than kidnapping. Murder is more immediately hostile, but at least the outcome is known. With criminal kidnapping, the family is literally tortured by not knowing whether their loved one is dead or alive. Sometimes the victim is murdered—like Mexican teen Silvia Vargas or the Lindbergh baby from an earlier era—but the parents may not learn of the death for years.
Hopefully there will be a trial rather than a plea deal, so we can learn more about psychological backgrounds of the African kidnap gang: whether they were war-damaged refugee children with dangerous imprinting of violence, or were just ordinary thugs from the brutal cultures of Sudan, Rwanda and Somalia.
There is a growing list of victims, like Marilyn Bethell of Aurora, Illinois, who was murdered in 2005 by a young Sudanese refugee whose life in America was one long rap sheet.
More fortunate were the Salt Lake City school kids who survived their run in with a depressed Sudanese refugee who tried to run them down with his car in early May. Still, Salt Lake experienced an earlier deadly refugee rampage in 2007 when an 18-year-old Bosnian, Suleiman Talovic, shot and killed six people at a mall.
It is a really bad idea to welcome psychologically distressed, culturally maladjusted people at any time—and doubly so when there are no jobs to keep them busy. Refugees are high maintenance, and they do not appear to be getting the attention they need.
Either the well-paid refugee experts should help them more, instead of dumping them on the American taxpayer, or Washington should bring in a lot fewer refugees, as in zero.
Or, ideally, both.
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She reflects often on Robert Frost's definition of a liberal, namely someone "too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel".