Ronnie Smith, killed in Benghazi

Americans received a painful reminder of the vulnerability of our fellow citizens abroad when a beloved young chemistry teacher was shot to death in Benghazi.

His name was Ronnie Smith. The 33-year-old Texan was killed during a morning jog that took him near the compound where US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed by Islamic terrorists on Sept. 11, 2012.

No one has claimed responsibility for shooting down Smith. But only days before the murder, an al Qaeda chief urged anti-American attacks in revenge for the recent capture of a terror suspect in Tripoli.

Smith, of course, chose to work in a dangerous part of a dangerous country. But that’s the point. Today Americans live and work all around this world. We can’t provide them all with a Marine guard. All we can do is ensure there will be swift and harsh consequences for those who harm an American citizen.

This, alas, is in sharp contrast to President Obama’s policy, which he outlined last May. In the president’s view, this is a matter of law enforcement. The type of threats we now face, he said, “closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

The problem with the law-enforcement approach is that it only reacts after the terrorist has struck. It does nothing to deter a terrorist from killing in the first place.

We mourn Ronnie Smith. We extend our condolences to his friends and family. And we hope that his murder may inspire our government to help make his fellow US ex-pats safer by exacting the highest price from those who murdered this innocent American in cold blood.

Filed under 12/6/13