In the movie Jeremiah Johnson, Robert Redford's mountain-man character has incurred the wrath of an Indian tribe, which sends solitary warriors to ambush him at varying intervals.
"Is it always like this?" asks a friend who witnesses one such assassination attempt. "One at a time?"
"Yep," Johnson says.
Is the Western world now living the life of Jeremiah Johnson?
It would seem so, after a Nigerian Muslim attempted to blow up an airliner flying into Detroit on Christmas -- and after an ax-wielding Muslim attacked a Danish cartoonist in his home on New Year's Day.
The attack on cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew the infamous Prophet Muhammad cartoons that stoked outrage in the Islamic world several years ago, was especially brazen. The would-be killer smashed through Westergaard's window and tried to hack him to death Friday night. Thankfully, Westergaard was able to summon police and dive into a secure "panic room," which the attacker could not penetrate. The attempted assassin was later wounded and arrested by police.
The assault on Westergaard, however, was no more brazen than the killing of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in 2004. He was shot and stabbed multiple times in broad daylight and nearly beheaded, and letters of Muslim rage were left stabbed to Van Gogh's chest.
An associate of Van Gogh's, Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- with whom Van Gogh made a film critical of Islam's treatment of women -- also has been threatened and is in hiding.
But you don't have to exercise your right to free speech to be targeted: Yemen has warned that hundreds more radical Muslims in that country alone are planning to attack innocents in the West.
Belatedly, U.S. authorities this week announced a new program of intense screening of U.S.-bound airline passengers from 14 terror-supporting states and "countries of interest." But news reports indicated no such enhanced screening Monday in several major foreign airports.
Until this point, the Obama administration has failed to demonstrate either minimal competence or rudimentary comprehension of the threat against the West. It has refused to concede that we're even engaged in a war on terror; the administration said -- before being shouted down -- that the system "worked" in the case of the Detroit airliner (when, in fact, ordinary citizens had to save the plane); and it seemed unwilling to admit the Fort Hood shootings were an act of Muslim terror.
It's not just the Obama administration, either. After the Detroit airliner attack, CNN's Larry King asked a guest: How do we know he wasn't just a crazy person (as opposed to part of a larger radical Muslim wave)? Well, gosh Larry -- maybe by looking at the historical evidence under our noses.
If Jeremiah Johnson had similarly failed to acknowledge reality, he would have been a dead man.