Orlando: Terrorism and Media Confusion

I share the sorrow, outrage and concern of the nation on the infamous event of this week. It was not the first, and will not be the last. It is said to be the largest lone-wolf massacre to which propaganda from so-called ISIS  has been linked, but it was not the largest. We won’t forget the Oklahoma City bombing, a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, nor the Twin Towers attack on 9/11/2001. Unsurprisingly, the nature of terrorism and the Orlando terrorist has been a subject of great speculation on Facebook this week. The killer could have turned to professional help and counseling, but he chose to turn against the world’s innocents instead. Our thoughts:

Media confusion: “Did Islamic State claim responsibility for latest attacks too soon?”
 
Re: “I’m wondering now if this was not really a terror thing but a combination of things played out by a truly troubled soul who just happened to be a Muslim and he adopted that mantra.
Me:
His ex-wife said he turned mean and crazy after -> becoming radicalized by personal contacts and “Islamic State” content on the web. A nut case may have more than one reason for turning killer.
It was a terror thing. The other things killed no one.

All good points you raise, but yes, people need to understand that it really was a terror thing. The other factors, known or conjectured, include: religious conflicts, sexual identity issues, psychotic behavior including wife beating and verbal abuse, and probable rejection issues at Plunge and on the gay dating sites for all of his obvious psych issues.

I’m asking your help in stressing that none of these “other things” in any way ameliorate, mitigate, dilute or minimize the terrorism aspect, as has been so often implied in media coverage. They do not change the fact that he murdered forty-nine people. As I said, the non-violent psychological aspects of his many problems did not harm anyone. And I know you already know that. No, it is not simple, but when you rank the laundry list by impact, as callous as this sounds, only one of them affects the country. He turned killer.
What I see on the media suggests the problem is that people tend to confuse and intermix the crime and the motivation. In criminal court, the crime is the crime, unless there are applicable and predefined special cases like insanity. Motivation is sometimes but not always considered in determining the severity of the sentence if there is a conviction. Societally, I think that’s a good way to look at it too.
A much simpler case, something that happens somewhere every day: a person has way too much to drink and is verbally rude and abusive at a party. People say, “That’s the liquor talking.” Trust me, it’s not.
More on media confusion: “Did Islamic State claim responsibility for latest attacks too soon?” We need to STOP glorifying the terrorist by sanctioning some question of “who was responsible” for an act of terrorism or claimed to be. The individual committing it is responsible. Instead of leaving open the notion that lone wolf terrorists are superheroes making a statement for God or Allah (which they are not), we need to start presenting them to the public as the highly screwed up mental cases they really were.
As I think more about the “claiming responsibility thing” I see it as presumptuous, and even preposterous. I have never been a fan of “shaming,” but perhaps this is a case where it’s appropriate.

Go out in a blaze of gunfire, see your every dirty little secret splashed across front pages, your family hurt and disgraced by you. See whatever dignity and tortured conflicts you had publicly ignored, deprecated and even trivialized, for you chose to turn into the worst animal of all. Whether a crazed so-called “Islamic” terrorist, or those Ku Klux Klan creatures who firebombed the church in Birmingham in 1964, murdering nine innocent and defenseless little girls, you are a terrorist who decided to take down the innocent as you turned away from the human race.
~~ Alex, June 15, 2016

 

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Charlie Hebdo

The terrorists who assassinated staff at the offices of the satirical Parisian magazine “Charlie Hebdo” also attempted a hostage situation at a kosher supermarket outside Paris, where they were shot dead by police within the last few hours.

Much attention has rightly been paid to the acts of terror themselves, and to the increasing threat to free speech in Europe and beyond, and to the absolute necessity of fighting by whatever means, if necessary, to preserve that right. But there is a finer shade of question to these awful events, France’s “911,” which as yet has received scant examination.

We must ask ourselves what we might expect if a satirical cartoon “intended to highlight public issues” ridiculed and disgraced the Christian Jesus with a humiliating and mildly pornographic image. In some parts of Europe and America, the lynch mobs would be still be assembling. It’s not a question of free speech – of course we are free to speak plainly in the western world – it’s a question of matching the message to the issues. While I admire Charlie Hebdo’s courage in the abstract, their implementation was very junior-high-school and puerile. It was a gratuitous slap in the face to the majority of 1.6 billion Muslims in the world who live in peace for much the same values as we do. None of this in any way mitigates or ameliorates the terrorist attack of Charlie Hebdo offices, and I am glad those terrorists were shot dead. But it is worth thinking about.

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