For 25 percent of your grade this term, compare and contrast the following two true descriptions of the same thing.
The opening to the New York Times story:
A 25-year-old man in Rochester has been arrested and charged with preparing to stage a New Year’s Eve machete attack on diners at a local restaurant on behalf of the Islamic State. The man, Emanuel L. Lutchman, is accused of gathering knives, a machete, ski masks and zip ties as part of his plan to raid the restaurant and possibly kidnap someone, taking advantage of what a self-identified Islamic State member overseas described as his position “behind enemy lines.”
Mr. Lutchman appeared in federal court in Rochester on Thursday on a charge of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as he pursued a goal of joining the terrorist organization overseas. “This New Year’s Eve prosecution underscores the threat of ISIL even in upstate New York but demonstrates our determination to immediately stop any who would cause harm in its name,” William J. Hochul Jr., the United States attorney in Buffalo, said in a statement.
However, we learn later in the same article:
… [Lutchman] despite his not having enough money to buy basic weapons or much apparent expertise in carrying out an attack… The investigation relied on undercover informers, some of them paid by the government, who prodded Mr. Lutchman for details of his plan and said they would help him.
In part because he had no money, he said, Mr. Lutchman scaled back his plans, according to the complaint. On a drive with an informer, he pointed out a restaurant and bar in Rochester as a potential target of a knife attack, noting that his wife had a dagger and he knew someone who could sell him ski masks for five dollars.
Another informer urged him not to be discouraged, and that same day the informer and Mr. Lutchman went to a Walmart store in Rochester to buy supplies. They picked up two black ski masks, zip ties, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves, according to the complaint. The informer had to pay the $40 for them because Mr. Lutchman did not have money.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said in an interview that “the arrest of Emanuel Lutchman is an important reminder of the new normal of global terrorism.”
Now, who is the real threat to us?
Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.