A curious, fateful coincidence links the alleged shooter at Naval Air Station Pensacola and one of the three U.S. Navy sailors he killed: they both shared the same first name, “Mohammed.”
Only one of those deserves to be remembered by his full name and rank: Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham.
The other “Mohammed” was a a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force who was supposed to be training at the naval aviation school, alongside other students from abroad. He had reportedly posted a screed on Twitter before carrying out the shooting, allegedly accusing America of crimes against Muslims.
Airman Haitham was living proof of the opposite — that America welcomes Muslims who share America’s values and are prepared to defend them.
He died, according to the Navy, in trying to save others from the gunfire.
The Navy said in a statement:
The Sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil. When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives. If not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been far worse.
The other “Mohammed” believed the lies that circulate within radical Islamist circles — and college campuses: that America is an evil, oppressive place; that America is the cause of suffering, among Muslims and others worldwide; that America must be destroyed through subterfuge and, if necessary, violence.
Airman Mohammed Haitham will be remembered for showing the opposite. He was the best of America, a Muslim patriot. He did not die in vain.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.