How was the immigration of Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa supposed to benefit an average Coloradan?

According to Wikipedia, Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa immigrated to the U.S. in 2002, complained that non-Muslims were unreasonably subject to “Islamophobia”, and killed 10 of his fellow Americans in a Boulder, Colorado supermarket in 2021.

Why did it make sense to admit Mr. Al-Issa as an immigrant in 2002? Housing in Colorado already cost more than Coloradans could afford: “Denver originally adopted an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance (IHO) in 2002, requiring for-sale developers building more than 30 units to set aside 10% as affordable to moderate-income households” ( Mr. Al-Issa would require 13 years of K-12 school, nominally costing taxpayers roughly $130,000, but the headline “per-pupil spending” numbers don’t include capital costs, e.g., for school construction. Arvada, Colorado, where Mr. Al-Issa lived, was considered to have “overcrowded” schools and therefore taxpayers also had to work extra hours to pay for new school buildings. Taxpayers without children would have had to pay for various tax credits and other government subsidies that are provided to non-welfare parents in the U.S. So let’s say that the expected cost would have been at least $250,000 by the time Mr. Al-Issa reached age 18.

At this point, would we have expected Mr. Al-Issa to earn more than a median income? Presumably that is the best assumption about someone for whom minimal information is available. We can expect the average person to be average. But already in 2002 the average (median earner) person in Colorado couldn’t afford the basics of life (housing, health insurance, etc.) without a government-run program of assistance, such as the above-mentioned affordable housing scheme.

For a working class taxpayer, wouldn’t Mr. Al-Issa’s presence in the U.S. have led to higher rents (more competition for scarce housing), worse traffic (if Mr. Al-Issa had gotten a job and commuted to work), and higher taxes (to pay for the subsidies that a median earner would require).

Maybe Mr. Al-Issa’s immigration could benefit the Colorado elites, as pointed out by Harvard professor George Borjas. A Colorado owner of apartment buildings or real estate could benefit from a larger population generating demand for housing. An upper-income Coloradan could benefit from the availability of labor at lower prices due to Mr. Al-Issa offering his services, e.g., as an Uber driver. A Colorado government worker, e.g., teacher, police officer, prison official, firefighter, or bureaucrat, could benefit from a larger population and resulting increased hiring by the government, thus generating opportunities for promotion.

But how did the elites sell so many non-elites on this kind of immigration? (55 percent of Coloradans voted for Joe Biden and therefore additional low-skill immigration)

(Separately, what will taxpayers spend to prosecute and imprison Mr. Al-Issa? Colorado has no death penalty. Mr. Al-Issa could easily live to 100, so that’s 79 years of incarceration, state-funded prison health care, etc.)

Readers: If Mr. Al-Issa hadn’t committed 10 murders, but instead had turned out to be a median wage earner, how would that have made the other median wage earners in Colorado better off?

(At first glance the above seems like a stupid question. The best expectation for a native-born baby is that he/she/ze/they will become a median earner. We don’t say that we’re worse off when a baby is born within our own family, right? The difference is that parents experience a lot of joy from having their own children in the house (except for, at worst, 95 percent of the time!). We value our children even if they never earn a dime, which would offset to some extent the loss to other taxpayers from having to support our children in means-tested housing, on means-tested health insurance, and shopping for food via EBT/SNAP.)

From a 2018 trip to Colorado, where stores began selling marijuana in 2014


45 thoughts on “How was the immigration of Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa supposed to benefit an average Coloradan?

    • Starting several restaurants does not mean contributing to municipal, state or federal treasuries. Often small businesses are exempt from taxation for the first several years and it is hard to generate flows to make profit, not that the owners try to show any. There is a cottage “industry” of applying for federal and state loans online to start businesses as restaurants that never show profit. They could hire people in the community but most likely they kept it inside the family. $13 sandwich from the post does not show that the businesses brought economic success to Colorado residents. Maybe without them it was more expensive? I doubt it but it could happen.
      However jut economic calculation is somewhat misguided here. Middle East is an example of a historic economic compromise and I do not think that Americans would consciously ant to emulate Middle Eastern lifestyle.
      Steve Job’s Syria – born parent was a Ph D. student, in right tail of Gaussian for all immigrants (and native Americans), and he put his son for adoption and kept his daughter, not exactly traditional Middle Eastern behavior.

    • Egyptian immigrant Mohamed M. Atalla was the co-inventor of MOSFET (his co-inventor was a Korean immigrant). In case you are not familiar with MOSFET:
      The MOSFET is the most widely manufactured device in history. The MOSFET generates annual sales of $295 billion as of 2015. Between 1960 and 2018, an estimated total of 13 sextillion MOS transistors have been manufactured, accounting for at least 99.9% of all transistors. Digital integrated circuits such as microprocessors and memory devices contain thousands to billions of integrated MOSFETs on each device, providing the basic switching functions required to implement logic gates and data storage.

    • Patrick, your last comment again is about a graduate student from Egypt, not exactly about someone re-settled in Colorado.
      You could use your examples of Jobs and Mohamed M. Atalla to push for Trump-like common sense immigration reform.
      Kudos to Mohamed M. Atalla and his contribution, although you somewhat overstate the contribution, although it is really huge.
      There is a big difference between a 1960th transistor and modern microchip with at least billions of CMOS gates.
      Should you credit entire semiconductor and silicon wafer industry to original inventor of transistor Julius Edgar Lilienfeld ?
      Wikipedia contains highly doubtful mention that somehow rest of Silicon Valley did not know about his American patents US1745175A Method and apparatus for controlling electric currents and US1900018A Device for controlling electric current

    • Anonymous: I think Patrick is working within an established elite tradition. People whom Professor Borjas say benefit financially from low-skill immigration will cite, as examples of typical (median) immigrants those who arrived in the U.S. with a science or engineering degree or, sometimes, with a Nobel Prize (e.g., Albert Einstein, Physics Ph.D. in 1905, Nobel in 1921, moved to U.S. in 1933).

      So… in response to a post that asks what was supposed to happen to a median (typical) immigrant, Patrick cites a person who was involved in the development of the modern semiconductor MOSFET (though the actual “invention” should be credited to (who received a patent on the idea)).

    • What’s True
      The Boulder shooting suspect was born in Syria in 1999, and emigrated with his family to the United States in 2002. However…

      What’s False
      They did not move to the U.S. due to Obama-era asylum policies, as they arrived in 2002, many years before Obama became president.

      What’s Undetermined
      We do not know the full details surrounding Alissa’s family’s emigration to the U.S. in 2002.

    • Patrick: Thanks for this information. If Mr. Al-Issa does turn out to have had any mental health issues, I have no doubt that being assigned a transgender-ish pronoun of “they”, as the reference you cite does, will make him feel better. Perhaps we will learn that Mr. Al-Issa waged his assault on the supermarket customers as a way of raising awareness of the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+.

    • IF our government was enforcing our immigration laws (see my other post), Al-Issa would have been better integrated with our American society and this shooting could have been avoid.

      This from the link that @Patrick provided:

      “There were children playing everywhere, and the younger generation who grew up in the United States would translate for their mother, who did not speak English. Ms. Archuleta said she remembered Ahmad Alissa as quiet and verging on antisocial.”

      See how the mother doesn’t speak English even after being in the USA for 18 damn years?!!

    • anonymous “Steve Job’s Syria – born parent was a Ph D. student, in right tail of Gaussian for all immigrants (and native Americans)”
      philg: “I think Patrick is working within an established elite tradition. …”

      philg’s original post and many of the other comments have a major focus on Al-Issa, an individual at the extreme negative tail of the distribution. Why is it that the extreme negative tail should receive great significance while the extreme positive tail should be thrown out (according to anonymous and philg, if I am interpreting them correctly)?

    • Patrick: my original post was NOT about how Mr. Al-Issa did turn out (a lifetime prisoner of the state), but how he could have been expected to turn out back in 2002. I posited an expectation of a median earner and asked how one more median earner, who needed a taxpayer-funded education before starting, could be an asset in a state where housing was already unaffordable to median earners.

    • “Patrick: my original post was NOT about how Mr. Al-Issa did turn out (a lifetime prisoner of the state), but how he could have been expected to turn out back in 2002. I posited an expectation of a median earner and asked how one more median earner, who needed a taxpayer-funded education before starting, could be an asset in a state where housing was already unaffordable to median earners.”

      Great! So the answer now seems pretty clear. Migrants to Colorado in 2002 who happened to be immigrants from Syria could be expected to make a greater contribution (in excess of 10% as measured by median household income) than migrants who were born in the United States.

      So to the extent Colorado admits any migrants at all, they should give preference to Syrian immigrants over the U.S. born, if household income and the consequent taxes paid to support Colorado infrastructure are the decisive factor.

      Of course Coloradans may well prefer no net migration from any source, for a variety of reasons.

      By the way Philip, you mentioned Al-Issa by name 14 times in your original post and repeatedly in your comments since. If the issue was just migration to Colorado in 2002, that seems a little excessive, no? What’s the point of hammering in Al-Issa’s name like that? It could be a rhetorical device I suppose, but I would hardly expect that type of manipulation and trickery from our esteemed host!

    • philg: “Patrick cites a person who was involved in the development of the modern semiconductor MOSFET (though the actual “invention” should be credited to (who received a patent on the idea)).”

      According to the wikipedia article you provided Lilienfeld’s patent was for FETs. However FETs made very little impact on industry until the subsequent development of MOSFETs co-invented by the Egyptian-American immigrant Mohamed M. Atalla .

      Technical and scientific progress tends to be incremental and cumulative.

      “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
      — I. Newton

      Patrick, I mentioned Julius Edgar Lilienfeld because you credit all silicon industry to MOSEFET development. No mentioning Shockley, Brattain, Bardeen, group of engineering assistants hand-picked by Shockley who later started Fairchild Semiconductor (where Atalla was hired, for a position not related to MOSFET or anything microchip) no Intel, AMD etc… At least after patriarchal Lilienfeld example you agreed that development is incremental, no trillion $$ industry credit to him. As someone who tinkered with transistor/diode/resister/capacitor circuit boards back in late 70ths to mid 80ths and tried to create a basic microchip wafer for fun I very well know the difference between MOSFET transistor from 1959 and more modern printed circuit boards and microchips. Industry took off in 1950th because of pervasive computing / competition in computer making. I played with lamp transistors too, they were highly evolved but there were limits to their miniaturization and reliability and thermal when used in massive arrays. Market demand played a huge role here.
      I just happened to interest how it started as I accidentally brash – met with one of late Fairchild Semiconductor founders and had heard some Silicon Valley stories.

    • Patrick: So I asked in the original post how the addition of a median earner would benefit existing median earners in Colorado, given that these median earners already struggle to afford what we consider the basics (and therefore qualify for taxpayer-funded subsidies). Now you tell us that we should actually have expected Mr. Al-Issa to have been a BELOW median earner.

      We can thus rephrase the question… if median earners need help from the government, as they do in Colorado, how would they become better off as a result of the immigration of someone who was expected to be a BELOW median earner?

    • philg: This is hopefully a better income comparison than I found before.
      The median household income figure, ($62,637) for Syrian immigrants was from 2006-2010. Here are the quintile incomes by year for all U.S. households. The Syrian median figure was higher than the 60th percentile for all households for each year from 2006-2010 except for 2008, when it was $62,725. The 50th percentile of Syrian households was higher than or very close to the 60th percentile of all households.

      Table H-1. Income Limits for Each Fifth and Top 5 Percent of All Households: 1967 to 2019
      Households as of March of the following year.
      Current Dollars
      Upper limit of each fifth (dollars)
      Year Third
      2010 61,500
      2009 61,801
      2008 62,725
      2007 62,000
      2006 60,000

      Syrian immigrate incomes found here:

    • Thanks for the numbers, but again, they show that, as of 2002 when he was admitted to the U.S., the best guess as to Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa’s future income was that he would earn at roughly the median. So I’ll ask again… in a world where Mr. Al-Issa didn’t do anything unusual (e.g., kill 10 people at a supermarket) how would his presence in Colorado have made the typical pre-2002 resident of Colorado’s life better?

    • philg: that is a rather subjective question and different Coloradans might have different takes. My sister happens to be a current resident of Colorado and has lived there on and off for over 40 years. I sent her a link to your post, but she turns out to be preoccupied with other pressing matters at the moment, so I’m not sure when she’ll get back to me on that.

      Individual opinions aside, how do you answer any subjective question like that? Unless some professional polling organization happened to conduct a “scientific” poll which asked that exact question? Even then there’s usually plenty to quibble about in terms of methodology.

    • quoting philg: “how would his presence in Colorado have made the typical pre-2002 resident of Colorado’s life better?”

      How would more recent migrants to Colorado have made the typical pre-1980 resident of Colorado (like my sister) life better?
      I visited my sister in Colorado back in 70s. It was extremely nice and uncrowded back then.
      But why stop there? How would 1970s migrants to Colorado (like my sister) have made the typical pre-1970 resident of Colorado life better? Development was already starting in 70s when I visited. It was probably even more pleasant in the 60s.

    • @Patrick, My father has a small garden in his backyard. Each spring he will plant various vegetable seeds and through out the summer and into the fall we enjoy his hard work. Over the years the garden grew and developed which is nice and grate, we got more and more out of it. Also over the years my father at times mixed different seeds together in the same area of the garden. Guess what? Some seeds did not work out well with others and it was a total waist. Has my father done his homework or known better, he would not have planted those 2 incompatible seeds in the same area OR he could have figured out how to adopt and integrate the two seeds together.

      Immigration is the same. When you bring over immigrants, you better make sure whoever is coming over will *integrate* with your existing society, will add value to your existing “garden”. If not, your garden is doomed.

      As a point in case, see my other post on this topic where I showed that the mother of Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, after being 18, yes 18 damn years in the USA she still doesn’t speak English. Has she taken it upon herself to learn English, to adopt to the life of the USA — the country that she immigrated to, to better he life and her kids — be it Ahmad is mentality sick or not, chances are good this tragedy would have been avoided.

    • Philip chose to mention the relative income of Syrian immigrants when it appear unfavorable in three different comments, but dismissed the difference when later it turned out to favorable.

      philg: “Now you tell us that we should actually have expected Mr. Al-Issa to have been a BELOW median earner.
      We can thus rephrase the question… if median earners need help from the government, as they do in Colorado, how would they become better off as a result of the immigration of someone who was expected to be a BELOW median earner?”

      — capitalization is philg’s

      philg: “Patrick: In a post regarding an immigrant who could be expected to have a median income (or, as you say, a below median income due to his status as a Syrian immigrant),”

      philg: “(or at the below-median income cited by Patrick for a Syrian-American)?”

      However when it turned out Syrian immigrants earn above median income, philg seemed to dismiss that as insignificant:

      philg: “Thanks for the numbers, but again, they show that, as of 2002 when he was admitted to the U.S., the best guess as to Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa’s future income was that he would earn at roughly the median. So I’ll ask again… in a world where Mr. Al-Issa didn’t do anything unusual (e.g., kill 10 people at a supermarket) how would his presence in Colorado have made the typical pre-2002 resident of Colorado’s life better?”

      The numerical difference that philg found significant in my earlier comment was less than 10%. It’s not so easy to compare the numbers in my later comment, but with a little numerical reasoning the details of which I will spare you (but which I’m confident philg is quite capable of haha) the estimated difference is in excess of 10%.

    • George A, I have a friend in Rome (he’s originally from New Zealand) who has lived there full-time for 14 years and raised his daughter there. He has learned very little Italian while his Japanese wife speaks it well. My Polish grandmother came to America in her early twenties. She lived to 97 and never spoke a useful amount of English and her thick accent was impossible to understand when she tried. Her sister who arrived from Poland at the same time spoke English without an accent.

      Old joke:
      Q: “What do you call a person who speaks two languages”
      A: “Bilingual”
      Q: “What do you call a person who speaks three languages??”
      A: “Trilingual”
      Q: “What do you call someone who speaks just one language?”
      A: “An American”

      Old story possibly a fable. When an Arkansas high school principal was asked why his school did not offer foreign languages he replied “If English was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for my students”.

      Americans are notorious worldwide for moving to other countries and learning nothing about the language or culture.

    • @Patrick,

      As you have seen in my other posts on this topic, I am myself an immigrant, from Syria. So I hope you will accept that I have a bit more experience in this area than you and most posters on this topic. Furthermore, I have helped 2 other family members and friend of friends with their immigration paper work as well as K1 fiancé visa, of at least 1/2 a dozen (you don’t need a lawyer to do the paperwork as long as you follow the instructions given to the book).

      You picked on the language example that I gave but you ignored or overlooked the *integration* part, which is the key point and the most important thing here.

      The no speaking English examples you gave are not apples-to-apples comparison. Those folks that you mentioned, they all immigrated from countries with very similar cultural background believes. They will mix very well into the American way of life without much of any difficulty.

      As first hand examples, I know several members at my Church who will not accept some American tradition. Halloween? That’s evils thinking and did not let their kids participate in it at school. Thanksgiving turkey? That’s too American, we will have our traditional Middle East food on Thanksgiving. High school prom? No way, my daughter will never dress like that alone or be with some boy. I think you got the idea and I’m also sure you see how the kids get isolated. Now take this an see how a non-Christen, from the Middle East, in American will accept the above.

      Another first hand example, a friend, again from my Church, immigrated to Boston about 20 years ago. He is a dentist in Syria and soon after arrival and getting his license opened an office in Boston. As you would imagen, he already spoke English on arrival. Around 2004/5 he already 3 kids born here in America. In 2010, when his kids were aged between 11 and 7, he and his wife decided to immigrate back to Syria. Why? Life is a lot easier in Syria, less work, more fun (which is true if you have the money and you have a title such as Dr.). Any other reason? Yes, I don’t want my kids to be too Americanized. Sadly, as you may know, in 2011 the Syrian civil war started, and in 2013, he was back in Boston from Aleppo.

      After writing all this, I hope I made a case to show that *integration*, *integration* and *INTEGRATION*, is the key. To live in American, to improve yourself and your family, to add value to fellow Americans, and to not be a drag on other Americans, you have to work toward accepting that this is a new life, the American way life.

      This is why there is an immigration process. It was designed to make sure whoever immigrates to America, will add value and *integrate*. This is why immigrating to Canada is far harder; check out their immigration requirement and and get back to me.

      Finally, there is an old joke used in the Middle East:
      Q: Where do you find do$$ar in American?
      A: They grow on tree, easy to find an grab which is why the US do$$ar is in green color.

  1. Another distinguished Arab-American is Elias Zerhouni, born in Algeria and educated there through his M.D.

    Zerhouni is a highly published scientist in his field, inventor, and entrepreneur. His work led to advances in Computed Tomography (CAT scanning) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that resulted in over 200 peer reviewed publications and 8 patents. Partly based on this research and research and subsequent inventions, Zerhouni founded or co-founded five start-up companies.
    Zerhouni was appointed Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by President George W. Bush. Confirmed by the Senate in April 2002, he served until October 2008

    • Kudos Patric for highlighting contribution of another Middle – East born scientist. But it is no US immigration resettlement program success.

    • “Just 324 Syrian refugees were resettled in Colorado in the last 40 years, according to data from the Colorado Department of Human Services.”

      On a now-deactivated Facebook page, Mr. Alissa said he had moved to the United States in 2002, years before a vicious civil war turned millions of Syrians into refugees.

      “The suspected shooter was born in Syria, but the best available information shows he did not move to the U.S. during the Obama administration. It’s unclear if he immigrated as a refugee.”

    • Patrick: In a post regarding an immigrant who could be expected to have a median income (or, as you say, a below median income due to his status as a Syrian immigrant), what is the relevance of the success achieved by someone who immigrated to the United States as a fully trained and degreed medical doctor?

      (Interestingly, however, all of the MDs whom I’ve talked to who are passionate supporters of low-skill immigration (more Medicaid customers!) turn out to be opposed to the admission of foreign-born MDs and/or allowing foreign-trained MDs to practice. A physician who was a top specialist in a country with superior medical outcomes to the U.S. and who speaks fluent English should not be allowed to practice in the U.S., according to those otherwise-pro-immigration MDs.)

    • philg: couldn’t you also make the same argument for Colorado to exclude immigrants from Texas?

      Here are some numbers for foreign immigration to Colorado.

      Old joke in Colorado:
      “What’s the difference between a developer and and an environmentalist?”
      “The developer built his cabin in the mountains this year, the environmentalist built his cabin last year.”

    • Patrick: I think that the same question applies for migrants from state to state. People seem to have an intuitive understanding that Californians showing up, for example, is not helpful to the working class and middle class of a recipient state. The extra demand for housing is great for those who own a lot of real estate, but harms those who rent. The extra demand for health care services benefits the above-median earners working in a hospital system while it may harm working class patients who now have to wait an extra few months to see a specialist. But whatever is left of the Constitution would make it tough to prevent people from moving state to state whereas there are no limits on how many (or how few) low-skill migrants can or should be admitted.

      (Separately, I think that people who move from state to state tend to be above-median earners. Imagine that you waited 10 years to get into public housing in Cambridge, Maskachusetts or San Francisco, for example. You make sure that your earnings are never above the threshold that would disqualify you for free rent, free health insurance, free food, and a free smartphone. So you’re a below-median earner. It would be highly irrational for you to move to New York City and be homeless for 10 years while waiting to get into public housing in NYC.)

  2. The most interesting and under-investigated questions I have about Aliwi Al-Issa concern his mental health status, including his apparent longstanding paranoia and all of his complaints about imaginary people watching him, chasing him, and trying to kill him. Those were noted by his high school wrestling teammates and members of his own family. Despite his family’s apparently financial well-being, I really think his mental state going well back into high school is an enormous question. He sounds to me a lot like a undiagnosed and untreated paranoid schizophrenic. I think two things: His coaches and teammates and his high school may well have suspected something was wrong, but decided to try to just get him through school without incident so that he would become someone else’s problem. Perhaps they were afraid of being accused of Islamophobia if they attempted a more serious intervention.

    On his family’s side, they may not have wanted anything to do with the mental health system for many reasons, including the stigma, but also many other things. They may have thought that he would just “grow out of it.”

    I would be very surprised indeed if a thorough and competent psychological examination does not result in a diagnosis of severe impairment. And I’ll bet lots of people knew.

    Alissa had become increasingly “paranoid” around 2014, believing he was being followed and chased, according to his brother. At one point, the young man covered the camera on his computer with duct tape so he could not be seen, said the brother, who lives with Alissa.
    “He always suspected someone was behind him, someone was chasing him,” Ali Alissa said.
    “We kept a close eye on him when he was in high school. He would say, ‘Someone is chasing me, someone is investigating me.’ And we’re like, ‘Come on man. There’s nothing.’ … He was just closing into himself,” the brother added.

    People at school noticed:

    ‘He was kind of scary to be around. His senior year, during the wrestle-offs to see who makes varsity, he actually lost his match and quit the team and yelled out in the wrestling room that he was, like, going to kill everybody.

    ‘Nobody believed him. We were just all kind of freaked out by it, but nobody did anything about it,’ Dayton Marvel said. Another, Angel Hernandez, recalled an incident where another wrestler teased him for losing and he just ‘started punching him’.

    ‘He was always talking about (how) people were looking at him and there was no one ever where he was pointing people out. We always thought he was messing around with us or something.’

    Other accounts from his own family members tell stories of him basically hallucinating imaginary people who *were not there*.

    • Alex: If it turns out that Mr. Al-Issa has a mental health problem that will be sad, of course. But the original post is about what would have happened if he’d been typical, i.e., mentally healthy and earning at the median. Median mental health and median income is a reasonable best case outcome that we could have hoped for in 2002 when Mr. Al-Issa was admitted to the U.S. How would a working class Coloradan have experienced an improved life as a result of Mr. Al-Issa coming to the U.S., not having any mental health issues, and working at the median income for an American (or at the below-median income cited by Patrick for a Syrian-American)?

    • @Philg: I should have said it more clearly. My tangential answer was based on my conclusion that your analysis was correct and nothing more needed to be said in that regard! And now, of course, Mr. Al-Issa will never be a median wage earner so that he can help the taxpayers of Colorado recoup even a tiny fraction of what it has cost them. Not to mention all of the people he killed.

      But it is worth considering, because we seem to estimate the incidence of severe mental illness developing among our immigrant population as negligible for the purposes of arguing in favor of more of it. I wonder if a lot more of them than is being accounted for have severe mental/cognitive/emotional problems than we are (not) counting.

    • Alex: Yes, a good point. We preferentially admit people who say that they were gang-raped, tortured, etc. Yet we also agree that rolling around on a suburban bed with Brett Kavanaugh permanently damages a person’s mental health. (we #BelieveSurvivors so we can be sure that this incident actually did occur)

    • @Alex,
      In my opinion, the mental health story is just a cover-up. It’s a made-up narrative to drive attention from something else. something more sinister.
      It’s about the ideology, if you don’t heed to it, then you know what’s going to happen.
      USA – please be careful whom you import into your country. That’s all I can say.

    • @disevad:

      It could be. These are newspaper reports, after all, statements from people who knew him in high school, and his family members. Of course, being a paranoid schizophrenic is not mutually-exclusive with committing such an act for other reasons as well.

      It’s interesting. In the aftermath of the Georgia massage parlor shootings, the entire United States (including NPR and practically every other media outlet) were determined to frame that act as a hate crime of a white man against Asian Americans, discounting his stated story that he suffered from sex addiction and did it to assuage his terrible feelings of guilt, not because of any racial motivation. However, two of his roommates in transitional housing corroborated that story on the 17th. He was in transitional housing; he was being treated for sex addiction, and whenever he relapsed, it had sent him into periods of deep depression, purportedly because of his Christian faith:

      “Robert Aaron Long, the 21-year-old suspect charged with eight counts of murder after three shootings Tuesday at Atlanta-area spas, had been in rehab for sex addiction and was wracked with guilt about his sexual urges, according to two people who lived with him in transitional housing.”

      “Long was deeply religious and could not control his desire to visit massage parlors and engage in sexual acts, something that sent him into deep bouts of depression, said Tyler Bayless, who lived with Long for six months in 2019 and 2020 at Maverick Recovery Center in Roswell, Georgia. Long would frequently relapse, then express guilt because of his Christian faith, Bayless said.”

      “”He would say, ‘I’ve done it again’ and it just ate away at him,” Bayless said. “He felt absolutely merciless remorse.”

      Especially after his relapses, Long would spend hours in prayer, Bayless said. In weekly therapy sessions he would confess his indiscretions and say how guilty he felt about what he had done.”

      I remember the morning the story broke. I was listening to NPR and the commentators had already completely discarded the idea that this was anything other than a hate crime against Asian Americans. In fact, they didn’t know the details of his transitional housing or his sex addiction treatment, they scoffed at his motives as being “anti-pornography” and went right back to drilling into the “Hate Crimes against Asian Americans” as the narrative – since it had been decided by the media that was how the story was going going to be told, no matter what!

      So, lots of people have their reasons for attempting to control the narratives. The truth is elusive and usually takes a long time to emerge, if it ever does. But in this case, I see no reason for his former high school teammates to lie about his instability and confabulations. Let’s hope we find out!

    • @disevad, @Philg:

      Somewhat related: MTV admits it doesn’t do a very good job of handling mental health issues in its programming. No word on whether they’ll admit they’ve been pumping increasingly potent and untreated raw sewage into America’s households, aimed mostly at young people, for the past 40 years without the tiniest iota of regret or second thoughts, because presenting crazy people as characters and even role models is fabulously lucrative.

    • Alex, mental health is very important but it can not be used as an explanation for planned crime – buying firearm, probably lying on application about past misdemeanor, driving to another town and targeting some specific store there,
      There is no reason to demonize schizophrenics. There are hundreds of thousands or millions of them in this country and this would be a first mass shooting by one if it is the case.
      I am no doctor but for 14 years my close neighbor was a certified schizophrenic who was treated but the treatment did not work well for him. His behavior was completely different then one described in Al-Issa case. He was a tall wide-shouldered guy who roamed streets and dark entryways, screamed something crazy, mostly about sex ruling the society, sometimes almost in people faces. His remarks were off the mark as related to people he screamed at but on the mark for some party promotions in local municipality. He was clearly a tormented soul and it was very sad because he was intelligent dude from a nice family and his family suffered dearly but did not give up on him. He had no friends / girlfriend/ wife and was remote from his birth family who nerveless cared for him . He was not hospitalized by the state because he worked at a demanding workplace and he was one of the best there and his boss wrote petitions and good references fro him to medical institutions. In all 14 years he never touched anyone, also he was bigger then 95% of the people out there. Not exactly behavior described in Al-Issa case.
      I can see how a schizophrenic can push someone onto a roadway in a feat of rage but planning a mass-murder does not seem one of the traits of the malady.

  3. As an immigrant myself, from Aleppo, Syria, who immigrated legally to the USA with my family, back in 1981 (it took us 4 years of processing and wait) and someone who knows about many folks and families who immigrated over the years (and helped a few), let me tell you a bit about the immigration process which is still true to this day as it was back in the 80’s, 70’s and even before.

    We have laws on the book for immigrants to immigrate and live permanently as citizen. It all starts with applying [1] to immigrate. Once you application is approved, you will then go through an investigation [2] and interview process [3]. Before you are granted a temporary immigration visa, you must provide an affidavit of support [4]. Once you have your visa, then you can arrived to the USA and is granted a temporary green card [5]. After living in the USA for 5 years, you can apply for citizenship [6]. And when you apply for citizenship, you must pass background check [7] and interview tests [8]. And finally, it should be noted that a green card is not permanent [9], you need to reapply if you don’t become a citizen.

    Sadly, those laws have been ignored over the years. For example, back in 1986 it took my parents multiple interview to pass the citizenship tests (the interview officer rejected them because they didn’t know enough English writing and / or US laws and history such as who was the president during WWII). About 3 years ago, my uncle who arrived in 2005, applied for and was granted citizenship on his first interview — he doesn’t know much of any English (can only write his name and address) and will not be able to make it on his own if he is in the E.R. (he needs a translator). If that’s not enough, he got free housing and State paid medical expanses as within few months after his arrival (still does to this day). As such he gets better benefit and no lower cost for medical than my parents do (they are retried) who have lived, worked and paid taxes since 1981!

    Now this is one example, off a close family member. I know first hand of at least dozen of such cases (not family member) and I know family members and friends that know of such cases as well. Many recent immigrant don’t bother to learn English, follow the laws, or integrate with USA way of life. This is mostly true for those who come from the Middle East, African and South America — I have seen it first hand and it is not just the older parents (even those who are in their 20’s or 30’s) it is also the case for their kids.

    So, next time you see the MSM and FB feeding you sorry stories about immigrants and how hard it is for them, please think again. It used to be that we had accepted immigrant on conditions to better this country, but that’s no longer the case.

    [1] Apply for an Immigrant Visa — ​
    [2] Background Checks —
    [3] Prepare for the Interview —
    [4] Affidavit of Support —
    [5] Conditional Permanent Residence —
    [6] Citizenship Filing —
    [7] Background Check —
    [8] Citizenship Test —
    [9] Green card —

  4. @Patrick: Al-Issa’s family immigrated from Syria and started several restaurants, they seemed to be doing well economically:

    Family-run restaurants are notorious tax-avoiders. I wonder how much of the Al-Issa family’s wealth has been due to tax avoidance/tax fraud – sales, income, unemployment – and other scams – EBT, and PPP and SBA grants and loans.

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