Yelling Fire! in a crowded theater has long been a mainstay of Criminal Law 101. Its point pivots upon endangerment of people in public. The specific crime in question here is knowingly, or recklessly, yelling it in a theater where there is no fire. The resulting panic then all too often causes injuries to people, and sometimes deaths. Furthermore, the spoken—or shouted—word Fire! in this context is an example of speech that is not free, not protected, by our Constitution.
As it happens, on November 4, one day before the Fort Hood shooting, a Muslim in a shopping mall in sleepy suburban Pleasanton, California, accosted an Unbeliever, snapped off the crucifix that Unbeliever was wearing, then held a pen up in his fist above his head, shouting “Allah is power” and “Islam is great”. Shoppers nearby were understandably terrified, and one woman said she found a place to crouch down and hide. A day later, on November 5, the Fort Hood jihadist attended his mass murder with cries of “Allahu Akbar!”
The literate, normatively intelligent and aware Infidel in that shopping mall on November 4, suddenly beset with the spectacle of a Muslim menacing with a pen thus to vividly and dramatically communicate the logical transformation of those words of Jihad of the Pen (al-Jihad bil-Qalam) into a Jihad of the Sword (al-Jihad bil-Saif) while invoking Allah’s superiority, would not have to wait until a day or two later, reminded by the subsequent Fort Hood slaughter, to be reasonably alarmed at the takbir of that Muslim brandishing his pen like a sword. We have had years of attacks, and plots of attacks, by Muslims on American soil (as well as the soil of our neighbor Canada)—indeed, as Victor Hanson points out, one attack or foiled plot to attack every four months for the 98 months since 9/11—to justify our extreme apprehension of a Muslim who would vociferate his traditional Islamic war cry at any time or place.
So yes: Shouting Allahu Akbar! in a public place is comparable to shouting Fire!—though the analogy falters on two accounts, even assuming the Muslim shouting this intends no actual physical terror attack at the time:
1) We must reasonably suppose that no Muslim doing this is unaware of the effect this has on non-Muslims—namely, terrorizing them with the palpable prospect of a terror attack then and there commencing;
2) following on #1, the logic unfolds to answer the question of motive, and that we must reasonably suppose—in any given case that turns out not to be an actual terror attack—is not merely to terrorize a non-Muslim public with the appearance of a terror attack, but also, and more specifically, to conduct what is known as a dry run.
Any given occasion to terrorize Unbelievers in a public place, or even just to spook them with behavior and language that does not rise to blatant war cry but includes just enough Islamic indicators to arouse the anxiety of those Unbelievers, will provide the Muslim and/or Muslims involved with valuable intel about how Unbelievers respond, how lax the security measures are in any given public place, and how much a Muslim can get away with in any given circumstance—all calculated to help perfect the actual attack which as yet may be in the planning stage.
While it is reasonable to suppose that any given Muslim overtly demonstrating his truculent supremacism in public is not only intending to terrorize psychologically, but also likely is practicing a dry run, it behooves our reason to graduate further, to the next level: to treat any and all such Muslims—and/or any and all such Leftist agitprop including something as seemingly harmless as throwing pies at critics of Islam like Robert Spencer (about which I commented here)—as, in fact, right then and there, a deadly threat to bystanders, thus to be neutralized with deadly force immediately.
This is based on a microcosm of the problem of Muslims in general: Just as we have no reliably sufficient way to tell the difference between a dangerous Muslim and a harmless Muslim with regard to our collective safety, so too in the circumstance of the Muslim yelling Allahu Akbar! in a crowded theater, we have no way, at the time, to know he does not intend an actual physical terror attack on innocents in his vicinity. Indeed, we have rather good reason to suppose he does. And so we must be prepared to respond with proactive preventive measures.
All this presupposes, of course, the continued existence of innumerable Muslims in the midst of our societies. In lieu of a mass deportation of all Muslims from the West, and in the meantime before that eventuality in the likely rather distant future (50 to 100 years I estimate), whether we will see, in the years or decades ahead, an incremental increase in rational suspicion of the Muslims in our midst reflected officially in various forms of Muslim profiling, prejudicial treatment of Muslims, and various actions taken with awareness of the unique dangers posed by Muslims, is uncertain. It could well be that such slowly increasing suspicion will be the visible concrete indicators of the West waking up inch by inch, step by step, rather than undergoing some convulsive transformation after a long period of static PC MC entrenchment.
Even a gradational reorientation, however, will likely require various horrific shocks of more and more attacks, plots to attack, and shouts of jihadist fire by Muslims in the tunnel-visioned and hectic street theater of our lives, in order to continue to jump-start the West’s achingly retarded progress as it shakes off its PC MC numbness over the decades ahead.