A U.S sailor climbs down from a guard tower overlooking detainees at the U.S. military prison for 'enemy combatants' on October 28, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Lost in the hub-bub over Guantanamo detainees possibly coming to Illinois is the fact that Illinois already houses terrorists in its prisons.
That's right. According to the Chicago Tribune, there are already 35 inmates in Illinois who have been arrested on terrorism charges, including Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who attended terrorist training camps and met with alleged 9/11 organizers.
This fact throws into question certain political admonishments that have been bandied about saying that Illinois will be less safe if detainees come to Thomson Correctional Facility. Republican senate candidate Mark Kirk, for example, said that Illinois will become "ground zero for jihadist terrorist plots, recruitment and radicalization," if the state takes these prisoners.
Illinois has suffered not one terrorism attack since those 35 inmates were incarcerated.
But based on recent rhetoric, you'd think the Obama administration was handing them weapons and putting them in the middle of downtown Chicago.
Alas, the Thomson Correctional Facility—the potential site for Guantanamo detainees— is a state-of-the-art, super-maximum security prison -- a good place to hold prisoners.
That doesn't help allay the fears of U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, whose congressional district includes the Thomson prison.
There are over 2 million Muslims living in America. They reject Islamic extremism by larger margins than Muslims in other countries, and thousands of them serve in our military, fighting for our freedoms.
But Manzullo is a trusted representative, so his sweeping inflammatory generalization must be reliable, even if his statement was edited two days later.
Nevermind that no one has ever broken out of a super-maximum prison, or that Thomson could provide some much needed jobs, or that the state could use the revenue.
If we place these criminals in a heavily guarded prison, then the terrorists will have won.
Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.