Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Regarding the Ottawa Shooting

The very shocking and tragic news of the shooting that  killed Cpl Nathan Cirillo has led to a heightened threat alert, coming fairly soon after another possibly-jihad-motivated death of a Canadian soldier, WO Patrice Vincent, in a hit-and-run incident.

It looks, to me, anyway, probable that the shooter, Michael Zahaf-Bibeau, was acting as a "lone wolf" in this scenario, and actually, some of what that last link suggests to me is that he was something like the DC sniper killers or Nidal Hassan--talking about jihad is something tangential to whatever motive really resulted in the rampage. It's like an excuse. There's Christian mass killers and killers of no particular obvious religious bent. It looks to me like sometimes, a person just has a predisposition to do some horrible thing, and they fill in the blanks with whatever mental salve lets them justify it.

Sometimes I think, as a species, our unique ability as reasoning animals is our ability to perform homicide with vast and colorful justifications for it. We do absurd things. Sometimes for religion--or something almost like it. Sometimes for other fantasies--weirder ones.

There may be some reactionaries who will look at this particular incident and single out the Muslim community or say it must be in sympathy with the current jihadist bogeyman of the moment, but frankly, I give a bit of credence to the people who knew this person and thought that he was mentally heading in a bad way--which is a thing that people actually can do. (I am also concerned about his mention of Shaytan--I tend to see "The Devil made me do it" as a universal permission-slip for the homicidally-tended.)  But I don't think these two incidents are a pattern, as such, for terrorism. They are more like the senseless, regular violence we see in the world today.

And no, this is not to excuse it at all.


mikey said...

It certainly strikes me as a distinction without a difference. So you have mentally ill people, some of whom come under the influence of a mythology in which the more fundamentalist interpretations actively call for violence and murder. If the theory is that people in a bad mental or emotional state can be 'triggered' by some particular event or rhetoric, then it actually IS the violence inherent in fundamentalist Islamic dogma that is the problem.

People can be bigoted. Facts cannot. And the fact is, right now fundamentalist Islamic dogma, supported by their own scriptures and enabled by a billion global believers is responsible for multiple wars, mass killings, egregious atrocities and threats of genocide...

Vixen Strangely said...

People have walked into schools, Christian Churches, shopping malls, movie theaters, and police stations with various ginned-up grudge mentalities fermented to a murderous extent and done explosive violence. I've seen where religious ideology can certainly foster an ethos where violence becomes the path, but I am not 100% on the idea that the path existing is to blame for the people taking it. There are a billion non-screwed-up in the head Muslims, some in countries where, frankly, I think I'd go off like unrefrigerated lunch meat.

The propaganda by ISIS seems to be working on shifty assholes like this shooter in Ottawa, that shiftless Nigerian bankers' son who tried to blow his junk up, Richard 'Hotfoot Harry' Reid--who does not look like Allah's gift to the faith, frankly--and dozens of addle-witted teens. Basically, the jihad scumbags are preying on junkforbrains. I contend it isn't "violence inherent in fundamentalist Islamic dogma" necessarily, because people can also decide that racism, conspiracy theories, video games, or even not getting laid are all really great reasons to fuck shit up.

Weak brains look for mental dope. Jihadism answers that need for certainty and romance and meaning, in the cheap way that fast food provides calories. A jihadi-come-lately isn't familiar with what "struggle" really is, though. They aren't rectified in the spirit of ijtihad and knowing the whole story of what deliberation needs to go into making extreme moral decisions.

The Caliphate that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is currently making a mockery of could be a system of tolerance, learning, and science. Other Islamic scholars have said as much. There are many, even fundamentalist Muslims, who are not in with this jihadist mess. Yeah, they may be pinning their idealism on a mythology, but at least they had a sense that murder isn't the right menu option.

I lean more strongly to the idea that there is a modern isolation and alienation, a kind of disruption in the connection of thinking of people as people, that renders "masses" into means to an end. I am, as a rationalist, committed to the idea that humanism can exist without any necessity of adherence to dogma (indeed--dogma is practically the enemy of it), but the peculiarity and irrationality of the world we live in and the needs and fears of people sometimes do require systems of thought to hang their sense of self on. Like a trestle for the developing mind.

I'm for alienating extremism and educating youth--even if in a religious context, to paths that encourage respect, human dignity, human rights, civil rights, and equality. Religions, granted, were generally fomented in times way less enlightened than ours. But to survive in an open society where exchange of ideas is always occurring, I think they have to embrace more egalitarian norms.

So my deal with religion isn't as combative as it could be--I'm just asking it to evolve. A thought system is built on memes--unsuccessful ones get dumped. So a successful system adapts.