Saturday, December 05, 2015

No More Thoughts and Prayers

In my view, two things made the mass shootings in Colorado Springs and San Bernadino possible: (i) religious based hatred and (ii) the ease with which military style weapons can be secured by individuals.   The latter could be addressed with some ease if American politicians had a spine like was done in Australia when over 650,000 weapons were confiscated after a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 35 people and wounded another 28 Instead of meaning action like this, we get blather about "thoughts and prayers" from politicians who make tawdry whores look virtuous. Making this worse is that most of these politicians claim to be "pro-life" when in fact they support a culture of death and gun violence.  The second causation is more difficult to address because most Americans refuse to acknowledge that the Bible, just like the Koran, can be used to justify almost any kind of violence and evil.  Both books promote evil and the public needs to open their eyes and face this truth.  A column in the New York Times looks at the hypocrisy of bloviating politicians - most Republicans - and the evil influence of religion.  Here are highlights:  
We never had enough time to rationalize, in the uniquely American way, why that middle-aged white man killed a cop, a mother of two and an Iraq war veteran in Colorado Springs, when the latest slaughter of human life intruded. He was — what, pro-life? Screaming something about “baby parts” while he unloaded in a Planned Parenthood clinic?
In Colorado Springs, the man arrested in the killings, Robert L. Dear Jr., fit a profile. Here was another bearded introvert who lived at the edge of modernity, his head stuffed full of hate and half-truths. “He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic,” his ex-wife wrote in a court document. “He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.” And of course, he had a semiautomatic rifle to go with his delusions.
How did this malcontent become a domestic terrorist? We’ll never know for sure if his withdrawal — to a shack in the South, then a trailer in Colorado — led him further down the path to savagery. But we do know that isolation can breed ignorance. And when people with abhorrent views are not challenged, their hatred only hardens.

But what about San Bernardino? A young man and his wife drop off their 6-month-old baby at Grandma’s, and then go mow down a room full of people at a workplace holiday luncheon. . . .
On the surface, the homicidal couple were living the American dream. One, the son of immigrants, with a degree from a California state college, the other, his bride from overseas. Had a good job. But this suburban couple was making pipe bombs and assembling an arsenal to murder people in the country that took them both in, educated one of them, provided him with a good job. The surface life was a mirage.

When we heard the identity of the homicidal couple, Syed Rizwan Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, another explanation immediately came to mind. They’re Muslim. Too much of the most deadly, inexplicable violence in the world today is committed in the name of this religion, and its strain of radical Islam. The shooters are people like Farook, kneeling at prayer in the back of the mosque, kindly and devout. Oh, we never suspected a thing, the imam says. The explanation is tiresome, and increasingly implausible.

We all know the ritual by now. Politicians of one cowardly type will say their “thoughts and prayers” are with you. What garbage. Better to say nothing at all.

And politicians of another cowardly type will refuse to see that hundreds, maybe thousands of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims find justification for mass murder of innocent people in their holy book.

“Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage,” tweeted Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing — again.”

[W]e’ll hope that it doesn’t happen again tomorrow. But it will happen tomorrow — on average, one multiple-victim shooting a day. Every day. It will make sense in the only country where mass killings make sense.

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