I am painfully aware of stereotypes. That doesn’t mean that I am immune to them. But I have no doubt that I am far more immune to them than the vast majority of people I interact with. So whenever I hear of a horrible crime, I always hope that the perpetrator is a white man (or woman, but that’s generally too much to ask for). When a murder suspect’s face is shown on the local news and it is black, I’m saddened. And I spent much of yesterday hoping that the San Bernardino shootings were a bunch of white guys who wanted to play at war.
It doesn’t matter to the victims. But it does matter to the society. And watching the reactions yesterday, I see we are a society cleaved in half. The liberal world was focused on guns and the easy access to them. It is an important issue. But we liberals have a real problem here. Events like this would not be stopped by any of the “common sense” gun control laws that the Democratic Party would propose. The difference on gun control between Bernie Sanders at his most conservative and Hillary Clinton at her most liberal is basically nothing. And it certainly isn’t anything that would have stopped yesterday.
But there are roughly 30 gun murders every day in the US — and twice as many gun suicides. But sadly, that is “dog bites man.” The news doesn’t care. Good God! The news doesn’t even care when shooting sprees don’t end in large numbers of dead. Every day is a good day to talk about gun violence. But if you do, there won’t be anyone listening to you. This is bad news for liberals. There is no time when anyone will listen to a discussion of the real problem. And even if they did, very few in America are open to what would need to be done to address it.
On the conservative side of things, everyone was talking terrorism. God, how I’ve come to hate that word! It’s just the newest racist word that anyone can use without being called on it. We pasty white Americans can’t use the n-word, but we sure can use the t-word. And do we ever! I heard someone talking about nuking ISIS. I guess that’s the new, “Fight ’em over there so we don’t have to fight ’em here.” Except that it is exactly the opposite.
Let’s suppose that these three mass murderers were aligned with ISIS. Let’s further suppose we could wipe out ISIS central command with nukes. Would this really cause resentful Muslims all over the world to just calm down? I don’t think so! I think doing something like that would greatly increase the number of attacks here at home. Nuking them would seem kind of like a trick — an unfair way of winning. Far better to show that ISIS is impotent in the normal ways of war. (It’s also true that the use of nukes wouldn’t be any better at defeating ISIS; it would just be better at killing more civilians.)
Martin Longman noted something really depressing:
Basically, this shooting is perfectly designed to make people lose their minds in fear around Muslims.
I guess that’s probably the point…
This has been the working theory of terrorist attacks in Europe: make the wider population hate the Muslim community. In so doing, give Muslims who just want to live their lives a very good excuse to lash out. In other words, manipulate the non-Muslim community into starting a war. It’s a brilliant strategy. It depends upon stereotypes and they are very dependable.
All Indians walk in single file; at least the only one I ever saw did; so let’s nuke ’em.