Just hours before a court hearing for an 18-year-old Muslim named Zakaryia Abdin, who grew up and went to school in York, the York City Council met Tuesday night.
Abdin was set to face a federal judge Wednesday, after being arrested by the FBI for trying to join ISIS. But ISIS was not on the agenda Tuesday in York. Abdin was not on the agenda. Fear, death, murder, were not.
But the mayor of York, Eddie Lee, put it on the agenda. The other council members put it on the agenda. The people put it on the agenda.
And when it was brought up, the people of York, in a standing-room-only meeting, stood up. They clapped. It started slow, and spread, to the whole room.
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An ovation for the York Police Department.
They clapped because the teen, now in federal custody, was first caught in 2015 by York police detectives, who said they learned the teen wanted to rob a gun store and kill American soldiers. York police foiled that plot. They put that teen in jail.
They are officers of a 30-plus person police force in a small city of 8,000 people.
The public clapped louder.
Their guys had done it.
“We at our meeting recognized the outstanding work that the police department in York gave our citizens of this city and county when this person, who does not love America as we all do, wanted to harm Americans,” said Lee. “Our officers were the front-line warriors in the war on terror. The war on terror came to York, and our police went to battle.
“And they won.”
The clapping got louder.
Abdin pleaded guilty in 2015 to a gun charge, not a federal charge, because he was a juvenile. He was paroled by the South Carolina juvenile parole board in May 2016. But he plotted a massacre again, the FBI says.
But before state officials paroled Abdin, before the federal government decided in 2015 not to prosecute him, York police said the town’s citizens were worth their best. So they gave it. They caught Abdin.
York police and York County deputies begged the parole board to keep Abdin in prison. Their worst fears were realized Thursday, when the FBI arrested Abdin for the same type of plot to kill Americans that he had planned in York.
Not one person in York was harmed.
So the citizens jammed in York City Hall cheered.
York Police Chief Andy Robinson and others were thanked Tuesday for their work in catching the teen before anyone was hurt.
Police Capt. Brian Trail said he was thankful for the support of the people of York.
The meeting went on. Everybody left, safe, to go home to their families.
The cops stayed and watched York’s public leave, to make sure everybody was fine.
That’s what terrorism really means in small York. A safe and thankful public, and cops who cared enough to protect them.