Thursday, January 15, 2015

Terrorist Attacks

Most of us have followed with horror and sadness the terrorist attacks in France.  I cannot imagine me personally feeling so strongly about a cause that I would murder strangers.

Anyway, these attacks garner huge amounts of attention, which is what the perps want.  Ion the meanwhile, here in the U.S., we have a rampant gun culture in which similar numbers of innocents are gunned down with frightening regularity by our own crazies...and yet we don't rise up and demand action (think of the Sandy Hook elementary school murders in CT, and how NOTHING has changed in the way of gun control).

Anyway, I defer to the always-good Digby who just wrote this:

I'm getting that strange feeling I had after 9/11 again when I nervously observed people I admired getting hysterical over the fact that religious extremists had launched a terrorist attack and conflated that act with something like World War II. That was an epic attack to be sure, but even so, it did not represent an existential threat to the most powerful nation on earth and the shrieking about the Clash of Civilizations was overwrought and destructive. Still, considering the events of the last few days it's understandable that people would be afraid. And unfortunately, it's entirely predictable that liberals who have tried to find a way these last few years to condemn extremism without alienating the vast majority of Muslims are being held up as appeasers who are selling out our Western values. That's just the way these things work. 

Our society is soaked in bloody mass violence. And yet each time it happens we go about our daily lives without succumbing to fear. This is not to say that intent doesn't matter, it does. Some people are crazy, some people are zealots, some people are misguided and some are just cruel and homicidal. But I would guess those designations apply just as well to the Islamic extremists who perpetrated that horrific mass killing in France as they do to our homegrown variety of mass killers. They are not super-villains with extraordinary power. They are weak, marginalized misfits who found a reason to act out their violent impulses. Rationally, the threat they pose is little different than the workplace killer who comes into an office and mows down his co-workers --- something that happens with frequency in America.

Again, the point of terrorism is to make us defeat ourselves. If we can deal with the fact that heavily armed lunatics walk America's streets every day ready to mow down strangers for any reason at all without losing our grip, we should be able to keep our heads about us when a bunch of misfit religious fanatics do the same thing.

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