As we write this editors' note 2015 is coming to an end. It has been a stellar year for Cigar Aficionado, with some of the most impressive subjects ever to grace our covers: Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman, Vince Vaughn, Jon Voight and the incomparable Robert De Niro. At the same time, Cuba, the birthplace of the cigar world, is in the midst of great change. The reality of open visitation for all of our readers—not just a few—is closer than ever. In November we held our 20th annual Big Smoke in Las Vegas, attended by more than 4,000 people from around the United States and the globe. And we have chosen a superb Cigar of the Year.
Yet there is trouble in the air. On November 13, a group of terrorists from the organization ISIS launched a series of coordinated attacks on innocent civilians in the streets of Paris, killing 130. In December, a husband and wife opened fire with assault rifles in San Bernardino, California, transforming a holiday party into a bloodbath. While it was unclear at the time of our writing whether the shooters were members of a terrorist group, the FBI had declared the attack an act of terrorism, and evidence suggested that the shooters had at least been inspired by, if not directed by, terrorist organizations.
Sadly, these attacks are not isolated, nor are they stopping. Each incident serves as a harsh reminder of the increasingly dangerous world in which we live.
For expert analysis of this serious subject we turned to Rep. Peter King of New York's second congressional district. Rep. King is a 12-term veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives with a long and impressive résumé. He is a former chairman and a current member of the Homeland Security Committee. We asked Rep. King to share his insight and opinion on the threats facing the United States in a special report. It's an important read, one that looks at the actions of ISIS and other organizations and the threats they face to the United States of America.
These are difficult times, and it's important that we stand tall in the face of such dangers. We must be bold and confront those who wish us—and our loved ones—harm. We can't back down from these threats and we certainly can't ignore them. Wishing them away won't keep us safe.
That said, we must not forget our core values, and cannot surrender to fear. We have persevered as a people by holding strong to our dignity and our beliefs. We cannot allow the actions of a barbaric few to change who we are. It's important that our leaders keep us safe, and it's also important that our leaders preserve our humanity.
We wish all of you a happy, healthy and safe new year.