Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fort Hood and Remembering the Snipers

After the last few days of the Fort Hood horror, and its aftermath, it's a good thing to put things in proper perspective. It may not help the victims' families, but it may do a bit of good for the rest of us. Goddess knows we could use it.

And, fortunately for us all, this has been a week for synchronicity. As much as I hate resorting to new age babble amongst adults, there is some truth in the notion that, at certain times, the universe smacks you upside the head with several different, yet related things -- signs -- in order to help point you in the direction you should be going, or away from a pitfall.

Like Mel Gibson in a house filled with half-drunk glasses of water, we are being bombarded with signs.

Flash back seven years when America was under attack, once again, by Islamic terrorists. Remember the snipers? Remember when we were told that Al-Qaeda was lurking with a gun in hand, shooting folks? Remember how just about everyone with an opinion was out there, waving it in the air, and telling us what was happening, and why - some theories more ludicrous than others?

Well, it turned out that it wasn't Al-Qaeda. It was a disturbed man with an even more disturbed, underage accomplace. They weren't exactly the foreigners we were looking for. They weren't exactly the Muslims we expected, either.

Everything we thought we knew was wrong.

As of this writing, that man's attempt to have his execution stopped has been denied by the Suprene Court. Unless the Governor shows him clemency, he's on his way to the hereafter by way of a lethal injection.

Also as of this writing, the people who were wrong about what was going on have yet to apologize for their shaky theories, fear-mongering, and sorry attempts to use the fear we felt to catapult themselves into the limelight.

If anything, they went on their way insisting that they were right all along, even if they weren't. Call it the Joseph "Mr. Mustache" Farah school of bad journalism - practices he's happily continued, as the Orly Taitz imbroglio has proven.

Flash forward to another man with a gun -- Scott Roeder, who has, according to the news, just confessed to killing abortion provider George Tiller. And he has no regrets whatsoever -- after all, "preborn children were in imminent danger," which makes shooting an unarmed man a-ok in the world of anti-abortion zealots, and their defenders.

Disgusting, yes. But this is also a sign.

When I was speaking of the capture of the then-suspected snipers for The American Partisan, I said:

But that's all a bit secondary to the real point. I don't care what the suspects looked like, who they prayed to, or what was going through the suspects' heads when they were on their damned who rides. I care about their actions, and I think I have the right to call them evil.

And do you know what? Evil isn't a phenotype or a census tag. It isn't a race, a religion, a philosophy or a country of origin - nothing that simple or clear-cut.

Evil is a state of mind: the willingness to ignore the fact that others matter, too, while benefiting yourself. It can be as simple as taking the money from someone's lost wallet, and it can be as elaborate as 9/11, the Holocaust or Stalin's reign of terror. It can come from any hand, any face, any background and at any time.

And woe be to those who forget this, for their predictions about what evil will come, and who will do it, will often have about as much accuracy as Criswell.

I stand by those words even now. Now that people are banging the drums of islamophobia again. Now that there are calls for the discharge of Muslims from the armed forces again. Now that we're all flipping out over what to do next, or what's the best way to handle this matter.

Evil is not your religion, race, or country of origin. Evil is what you do. Period.

The best way to handle this is the way we should always handle these matters. Investigate the situation and then hold those responsible accountable for their actions. So if the suspect is, indeed, guilty of these killings, then he should be held accountable.

We should not tar all Muslims serving in the Armed Forces with his brush, any more than we should tar all members of the Nation of Islam with John Muhammad, or all anti-abortion activists with Scott Roeder. We should consider patterns and possible connections, yes, but one should not accuse an overall group based on the actions of the few, or the one.

In the days to come we will hear a lot from the "Experts" on what we should do next. Just remember that some of these exact same "experts" had us looking all over for the wrong targets when the beltway snipers were on the loose.


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