Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?

blind men elephant

We know that Omar Mateen planned an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. We know he used a pistol and an AR-15 rifle—which he purchased legally– to shoot over a hundred people, leaving  50 people dead and 53 injured. We know he was homophobic, that the FBI interviewed him three times,  and that he had pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State as his deadly assault began. We know that  his father is a pro-Taliban, anti-American activist. We know that the shooter’s  co-workers noticed that he was unstable, but that his bosses were reluctant to take any action for fear of appearing “racist.” We will Mateen’s ex-wife says he was prone to violence and that she believes he was mentally ill.

We will undoubtedly learn more. Still, that’s a lot of data. Isn’t it possible to objectively, dispassionately weigh and measure causes and effects and come to fair and reasonable conclusions that can guide policy without partisan gridlock?

It is possible to at least try, but so far, pundits, elected officials and activists aren’t trying. They are allowing confirmation bias to dominate their thoughts; what matters isn’t what caused this tragedy, but what they want to believe caused it.

To arch conservative pundit Michael Walsh, for example, the problem is that the United States allows Afghanis and Muslims to be citizens:

Ah, Afghanistan, the land of sexually primitive boy-molesters who channel their aggression into wife-beating and mass murder…That’s par for the course for marriages to Muslims, as many real American women who’ve married one of them knows. Flowers, limos, candy… and the second after the vows, domestic prison and beatings for life or until they can escape….The Florida shooter is Exhibit A why the notion of “birthright citizenship” — he was an Afghan Muslim who by sheer chance was born in New York — needs to be drastically curtailed in light of changed circumstances.

ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio, however, assigned the blame to Christian conservatives. “You know what is gross — your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate,” he tweeted. “The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this,” Strangio then tweeted. “No.”

He wasn’t the only ACLU lawyer who took this opportunity to blame Christians for the murderous act of an ISIS-embracing Muslim. “Remember when you co-sponsored extreme, anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act?” the ACLU’s Eunice Rho tweeted at Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and other Republicans.

Sitora Yusufiy,  Mateen’s ex-wife, insisted during a press conference that the episode was all about mental illness, and his religion had nothing to do with it. (She did not explain why she just ran away from her repeatedly abusive husband, and did not press charges that might have made it harder for him to buy a gun.) Her fiancé at her side, meanwhile, lectured us about how the massacre was simply “hate,”  a common theme during the day. I must have missed all of those shootings where the killer liked and respected his victims. “I asked everyone to forgive everybody,” he said. “Let’s not make this another reason to invade Afghanistan.”

The Tonys last night simplified the episode further: the cast of “Hamilton”struck the prop guns in its Tony Awards performance , after announcing that it would mime shooting muskets during its performance of ‘Yorktown (World Turned Upside Down),’ about the famous battle.  What is this supposed to communicate, exactly? What kind of primitive thinking leads to such a decision? How does the use of muskets to obtain our nation’s independence in any way relate to a terrorist attack on a gay night club? What kind of trigger-warning craving audience member would make such a connection? Or is this just blatant, anti-Second Amendment grandstanding?

Of course it is.

Ideally,  this would be the perfect opportunity for a mature, rational, unbiased leader to stop playing politics and frame the issues fairly and thoroughly. Unfortunately, the only leader we have is Barack Obama. Despite the fact that Mateen declared his support of ISIS as he was beginning the attack, and despite the fact that ISIS immediately claimed credit for his actions, all Obama would say was that “we have no definitive assessment on the motivation” of Omar Mateen but that “we know he was a person filled with hate.”

Asks conservative columnist John Podhoretz (Full disclosure: I know John, and he was once on my theater company’s board):

“So I guess the president thinks Mateen didn’t mean it?”

No, Obama just refuses to be honest with himself and the nation that Jihadist terrorist groups and radical Islamists are a serious problem. His speech completely ignored the ISIS, Afghanistan and Islam factors in the event, but immediately renewed his attack on the Second Amendment, saying,

“This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

This is the usual deceit. Mateen had no record, and was as entitled to buy a gun as I am. When the President says it shouldn’t be “easy” to buy a gun, he means it should be hard. The Supreme Court has decreed in many contexts that it shouldn’t be hard for a citizen to exercise a right, and Obama’s Justice Department says so too, when it likes a right.

I want to live in a country where my rights aren’t taken away by the government because someone else abuses them.

Preventing mass shootings by citizens aligned with terrorist groups espousing radical theology is a complex and difficult challenge. Our only hope of solving the problem lies in examining all the issues and factors, not cherry-picking one or another to boost an ideological agenda item. That, however requires honesty, integrity and fairness, and those qualities appear to be in short supply, no matter where we look.

It is like the fable of the blind men and the elephant, but worse. The blind men misunderstood the elephant because they didn’t know that they were touching only one part of the beast. The partisan combatants warping the analysis of the Orlando shooting, however, know there is more to consider to get an accurate sense of the whole. They just don’t care.

167 thoughts on “Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?

  1. “(She did not explain why she just ran away from her repeatedly abusive husband, and did not press charges that might have made it harder for him to buy a gun.) ”

    Let’s be clear: she is in no way responsible for his actions Sunday morning.

    • No way? Would you really go this far? We are arguing that certain people shouldn’t be able to get guns, and that domestic abusers especially should be restricted and have alarms go off on gun checks. This man habitually beat her, and no charge indicated it. That he want on to shoot over a hundred people was completely unpredictable, but how about if he beat his next girl friend to death? Would she be accountable then? A little bit?

      We can’t address and stop domestic abusers if their victims would report them. The fact that this just lets them get guns easily is part of the problem.

      • Yes, I would really go that far.

        I didn’t press charges against either of the men who raped me. I am not responsible for anything horrible — or anything wonderful — they do with the rest of their lives. Not one damned thing. And, yes, I *did* go to the police. I was encouraged to *not* file charges because the case would be difficult to prosecute.

        • I just fundamentally disagree. As citizens and/or victims, we have clear obligations to report crime, and the more serious, the greater the obligation. I will assume you made a difficult decision after balancing many factors, and I won’t second guess that. Your blanket statement, however, suggests that no citizen who knows another is dangerous has any responsibility if their non- execution of a duty of citizenship—reporting to authorities—results in more innocent people being harmed. I don’t think that statement can be defended logically or ethically.

        • See, I disagree. I think that victims do have an obligation to step forward… Not necessarily to try their abuser in the court of public opinion or give MSNBC interviews, but to at least file a police report. Maybe the police don’t have enough to go on, maybe the system ends up failing, that’s a risk… But if we know someone is a rapist or an abuser, and we remain silent, then nothing ever gets done, does it?

            • It happens, it’s unfortunate. Now, this is a developing story, so as we learn more, things might change, but I was almost certain I’ve read somewhere that she said that she had not gone to the police.

              Regardless: The `statement was: ‘she is in no way responsible for his actions Sunday morning’

              To which I would argue that morally, if not legally, she had a duty to report, and get the hell out, and if she did that (which is not in evidence), then at least she tried. If no such attempt was made, I think ‘no way responsible’ is too lenient. It’s a subjective position, but one I’ll gladly defend.

    • Wendy A F G Stengel,
      Apathy (lack of enough moral concern to do something about it) towards illegal or immoral activity allows the activity to continue, period! In the minds of some offenders, apathy actually condones their activity; why should they bother to stop their activity if no one is gonna do anything about it.

      Responsible adults don’t raise children by “ignoring” things their children are doing and responsible moral people don’t ignore criminal activity and just allow criminals to continue.

      Sitora Yusufiy is responsible for her actions, or the lack thereof. The lack of Sitora taking action against her abusive husband most certainly indirectly contributed in his continued ability to legally purchase firearms, that is a fact; however, it does not mean that he would not have got the firearms illegally and done the same thing. Sitora Yusufiy’s lack of action “contributed” to the act as it unfolded, even if it was only a minuscule contribution.

      You can try and rationalize it away all you want; but, both taking action and not taking action have consequences, some direct and some indirect. ALL choices have consequences, without exception.

    • FYI

      Its now being reported that she knew of the attack beforehand, even drove him by there to case the place, and tried to talk him out of it. If this is true then she damn sure is reasonable for it.

  2. Well, an individual from a culture that does not see a separation between the religious and the political, followed a religiously derived imperative that, given the cultural context was accepted as a very real endorsement of public and politically justifiable action. He acted believing quite thoroughly that his own faith justified the action and was willing to accept the consequences within a culture that does acknowledge the necessary separation…

    Of course the individual in question was acting on hate, but that hate was a direct inculcation of the originating culture. So yes, the originating culture is source of concern as well. Whereas some religions may teach their adherents not to approve of certain conduct, those same religions also teach that the individual believer or even a corporate gathering of the same do not possess the right to murder those engaging in the disapproved conduct. Not so in the culture whence this monster derived- nay, his hatred is not only sown and fertilized in the culture, specific murderous action directed at those he is taught to hate is mandated.

    Until we can accept that our own realized separation of the political and the religious life leading also to a protection of free exercise of the religious CANNOT operate inclusively of cultures that do not also accept the separation, we’ll continue to endure this.

  3. Objective analysis? Yes, there will be some, but given the zeitgeist you’re probably not going to see much of it. Even though it’s needed more than ever here.

    This attack landed perfectly at the intersection of three major societal fault lines: gun rights, LGBT rights and the debate over radical Islam and the US role it controlling it. I doubt the shithead who pulled it off was smart enough to realize all of that, but if one wanted to create a divisive incident one would be hard pressed to come up with a more diabolically ingenious scheme.

    The great tragedy is that those with strong views on any, some or all of those issues will almost certainly spin it according to their own beliefs (cue the Westboro Baptist Church). Obama came out of the gates well yesterday, but within a few moments – entirely predictably – was advancing the ludicrous premise that the need for better gun control laws was clearly demonstrated by this attack. I can’t even count the number of progressive friends who are today sharing a stupid meme based on that premise courtesy of Occupy Democrats. Apparently, these people never heard of truck bombs.

    Today, we learned that a branch of Planned Parenthood blamed the attack on “toxic masculinity,” whatever the hell that is.

    And so forth. There WILL be objective analysis from some quarters, of that I’m certain. But the partisan news sources – and the growing scourge that is mindless meme repetition on social media – will likely drown it out.

    More proof (as if we needed it, given the presumptive presidential nominees) that the United States is in really deep shit.

    • Speaking of those fault lines…

      If there was a bright line distinction anywhere that one could reasonably assume the homosexual community and the anti-gun community could be assumed to fall in the same camp, I’d say today, gun sellers are probably witnessing an exponential increase of sales to a particular demographic that likely realizes now that nothing is going to stop a truly depraved hate monger from killing them.

    • Arthur in Maine: “This attack landed perfectly at the intersection of three major societal fault lines: gun rights, LGBT rights and the debate over radical Islam and the US role it controlling it. I doubt the shithead who pulled it off was smart enough to realize all of that, but if one wanted to create a divisive incident one would be hard pressed to come up with a more diabolically ingenious scheme.”
      ______________________________________

      You bring up a really interesting question – nearly impossible to speak on – that has to do with ‘providence’. I only wish to note it. I do not think it can be conversed rationally (because it is not rational in and of itself). But it must be taken into consideration that there are huge groups of people – literally billions – who have an active sense about ‘providence’ (the author of events). If the present has meaning, what is its meaning? How one answers that question will say a trmendous amount about oneself.

      There is also a general conflict – if you will permit this observation – between an entire ‘progressive’ set of people who envision a pacified, conflict-free reality, if only their policies and their ideas become dominant.

      So, there are numerous poles and factions in our world that will look at this event and events like it, and make interpretations.

      I’d make an effort to expand your list. I don’t mean to generalize irrationally. But since you mentioned ‘major social fault-lines’ I think it is worthwhile to attempt to identify and name as many of them as possible, even though some of them do not seem to bear on this speccific incident. In order to understand the present, one has to be attuned to all the forces and factors that go into creating it.

      1) Gun rights

      2) LGBT tolerance/intolerance

      3) Radical Islam and jihad

      4) Our own (US) invasion and attacking of numerous countries in the Middle East with a terribly high death count, wounding, etc. One of the Pauls said ‘We went over there, so they came over here’. I don’t want to make too much of this given that this fellow was from ‘here’. But it seems he ‘responded to a call’ as it were.

      5) The issue of a vast military force and an economy linked to a ‘Pentagon system’ (i.e. War-production and militarism as a mode of life). A generation of people influenced and/or scarred by war.

      6) The place for and the role of a specific form of nationalism, i.e. a protective general nationalism as for example in Europe and those factions that wish to bring in more immigrants and those who resist this.

      7) Conflict and enmity over how the world, and how *things* are to be interpreted. When one person looks at the world and his view is totally different from another person.

    • Thank you, Arthur in Maine.

      And the “toxic masculinity” quote makes a fourth major societal fault, by definition implying that feminism, in its most egregious fashion must take an adversarial stance. (Would the obverse of that be “toxic femininity?” … the idea is sickeningly saccharine).

    • The most sensible plan is to continue to define the ‘fault-lines’. The event will not be able to be *seen* and understood until it is clearly defined.

      So, another clarification, another reclassification. And one will have to keep performing this clarifying act:

      Here goes …

      Gun-rights and even the LGBT issue is NOT the issue, or not the real issue. The man who did this is of Afghan parentage and he and his parents came into the country as a result of – is this so? – immigration policies that were reformulated by the 1965 Hart-Celler Act (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_Nationality_Act_of_1965).

      This Act was an ideological projection of value and, if I have read correctly, arose directly out of the Civil Rights Era. These policies are the children of a left-leaning and a Marxian school of thought which was introduced and in a host of ways has transformed the US through processes of demoralization and undermining of traditional social values. Essentially, that which made America America.

      If it is true that this man’s father is a pro-Taliban activist of one sort or another, it indicates in a crucial sense the lack of a ‘bond’ as it were with the US in a foundational sense. While living here and prospering here – having been invited into the country by the radical Left which sought, openly, to undermine the ‘whiteness’ and also the Christian-ness of the host country – he engendered a child who, at a point in time, chose to realign his allegience back to his true origins, his ‘spiritual fathers’ one might say.

      Who knows precisely why he consciously chose a gay venue. But for the Islamic Jihadis the homosexual factor in its critique of the West is just one factor among many. He could have chosen a Gay club or a sport’s event or any number of events. If this is so then to focus too much on the targeting of a homosexual venue is a mistake, of perception and interpretation.

      So, if the effort to understand Our Present is taken as the most important – and yet a daunting – task, this task is one that requires penetrating insight and analysis that extends beyond the superficial.

      Back to ‘fault-lines’. My theory is that Trump is representing, yet rather ‘unconsciously’ (I mean he is not a conscious phenomenon and he may not know, not exactly, what he himself represents)(or perhaps he does, I do not know), the submerged white populus of the United States which, through governmental and policy decisions, is actively being reduced in power, in population, and as a social and civic force. Therefor, one must notice that there are new and major ethnic blocks which, as it happens, is the political base of the Democratic Party: Hispanics and Blacks are the major blocks. But what of a general introduction of non-European (and non-Mediterranean) ethnic groups? Do they align with the Democratic Party generally or with the conservative, Republican or traditional Christian faction of the country? Why are they here? To what purpose? Thus in Europe now, and it is beginning to coalesce here in the US, there is a political and ideological faction that is asking this question. Essentially, they are asking Who sold me out? If this is so, it points to Trump as a phenomenon to be considered, pondered, analyzed, and to be deciphered.

      Strangely enough – yet also frighteningly enough – Donald Trump nails the issue. I cannot myself say that he is ‘right’ (because I like anyone do not have absolute interpretive power or capability) but he nails and frames the issue in a way that cuts through all the superficial surface.

      But what he speaks about, and what he represents at a somatic (body) level, and what he gives a voice to, is essentially a white identarian ‘self’. And insofar as this is so he strikes terror into the NY intellectual class, and the Marxian Left, and the Academic Left, whose poicies have opened the door to massive immigration by people incompatable with the Republic, and whose allegience at fundamental levels cannot be to that Republic, if that Republic is defined as the product of and the outcome of a specific people. The Left it seems goes into convulsions if you say something like this (hello Chris!). According to their narratives this CANNOT be true. These are not untruths they are anti-truths.

      We live in a culture which has been torn at fundamental levels with strife. We are a country that has been undermined through a specific – and I ask if it is intentional or accidental? – undermining process. A Grammar of Self-Intolerance has become the ‘language’ of our society.

      My analysis, the one offered here, is intensely more problematic than any other analysis that I have noticed offered in this thread. I suggest that it goes right to a core, but it is a core that cannot be openly discussed. If it cannot be understood it cannot be discussed, and it will never be discussed unless it is understood.

      The ‘fault-lines’ visible here, in my view, will eventually lead to the restructuring of the country. Might be a civil conflict, might be a civil war. It might be a democratic left-leaning national government which assumes dictatorial powers (as seems to be in the wings), but the ethnic lines will be the main lines, and may be the fracture lines and not just the ‘fault-lines’.

      The ‘Right-wing’ as we know it is collapsing and will continue to collapse. It is now and it will continue to merge, more or less, with the dominant Left-wing. This Right and this Left will team together against this social misfit, this recrudescence, of an America that is no more, the America that has been consciously destroyed through a conscious and intentional Marxian project. (That will have to be repeated time and time again: A Conscious and Intentional Marxian Project. Feel quite free to write it on your wall). That is the face of Trump. It is a really ugly face! It would be so much better if Trump were a handsome man, a charming man. Yet he is sort of a walking talking cripple. I suggest that he is the former and damaged body of Olde Americanism that WILL resurrect. I suppose he will become beautiful, or differented ‘faces’ will aggregate with his. ‘Trump’ though needs to become more articulate, more ideologically prepared, and so do those who *hear* him.

      (I have no idea if this aesthetic turn of analysis of the social-psychological analysis is true or accurate, but I think it is interesting).

      • “Why do millions of White people commit themselves to the idea of fighting racism, that is to say opposing White ethnocentrism? I believe the answer is extremely simple – the social superorganism of our anti-white elite and their collaborators, or ‘society’, is telling them to do so through a mixture of what are sometimes centrally directed signals but more widely speaking attitudes and moods coming from a range of sources considered legitimate. Ultimately, what we call it doesn’t matter – it doesn’t care. What matters is understanding that whatever it is or was, it works against us. It is not a coincidence that indigenous nationalism is suppressed and vitriolically counter-signalled in most Western countries”.

        This analysis worls if one accepts the rather paranoid notion that American is ‘occupied’ by a ‘foreign power’. A junta, as it were, with links and ties to a Multicultural Internationalism for whom the US as its ‘indigenous self’ is not only irrelevant but deemed an obstruction.

        In this sense ‘America’ is being dissolved right before our eyes. As in a hostile corporate take-over the new ownership will divide up the pieces and sll them off. If there is – however loosely- a ‘ruling junta’ now in power in American and also in Western Europe, and if these factions and interests operate in cooperation with each other, as seems to be the case, this recrudescence of indigenous nationalism, both in Europe with the villified ‘far-right parties’ (see yesterday’s NYTs for the Villification List) and also, germinally, in the US, I would suggest that waking up is the same as clarifying interpretation of The Present. It means looking at a very different set of causes and a whole other general causality … to then construct a new and better-functioning understanding of *what is going on* and Why.

        These are bold and dangerous ideological moves. Hearing them – isn’t it true? – waves of resistance rise up. These are areas of unthinkable thought and if they cannot be suppressed by rejection and ridicule, might be silenced through pathologizing them (as the Times so clearly does!)

        Interesting times we live in, eh?

        • “Why do millions of White people commit themselves to the idea of fighting racism, that is to say opposing White ethnocentrism?”

          Because it’s the right thing to do.

          (Btw, am I the only one who has been reading Alizia’s most recent rants about why she is a white supremacist? It’s like she’s finally revealing who she is and what she has always meant behind all the purple prose, and no one else is paying attention.)

          • Grey or steel prose. My viewpoints are very very different than yours, this is true. But your labels are your own. From the beginning of my time here I have clearly identified my general interest. I see race, ethnicity and culture as being linked. And I honor the right of any people, and any ethnicity and culture, to hold to their own definitions.

            What you cannot understand Chris is how your understanding of ‘fighting racism’ is conected to a complex ideological program with numerous other dimensions and ramifications. I define myself as a ‘race realist’ (defining and understanding what race and culture are in real and clear terms) and a Eurocentrist. That is as far as I go, personally. Yet I am aware that others go toward ‘white nationalism’: a specific nation or an ethnostate. For example, in the quote above to which I commented.

            I am interested, and many people I know and admire, are interested in expanding the conversation or to put it another way to bringing the conversation to a ‘meta’ level.

            The large question is ‘Can anyone analyze the Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively’. It is a super-interesting question because the whole idea of ‘objectivity’ is – often – one that hinges in pure subjectivity. Someone mentioned ‘fault-lines’ and I am doing my part to expand the notion of ‘fault-lines’, to at the very least lay on the table what *really* is going on, and why.

            I take two unpopular stances: One has to do with the US becoming a merchant of war and getting embroiled, up to the gills, in imperialistic projects. I take this tack not from a Marxist perspective but from an American Conservative perspective. This militarism, I would suggest, with all its ramifactions and effects, may be one factor in the destruction of the Republic. This runs counter to the standard conservative and Republican line.

            Another major feature of my thinking, the base of my critique, is as-against multiculturalism. Multiculturalism does not bring peace and harmony, it brings strife and conflict. It in and of itself is the problem. The forced blending of disparate races and cultures that are better off allowed to live and function within their difference and distinction. Thus I am taking a ‘diversity’ argument and adopting it, yet also turning it on its head.

            The ruling party, the ruling class as it were, could not care ‘cinco centavos o el culo de una rata’ for ‘diversity’ and racial and cultural blending in and of itself. It wants vast, weak, divided social groups to function for it as consumers. I wants to weaken any specific ‘identity’ so that all identity is eliminated. Identity is being phased out, which (if my view is correct) is a major pillar of Marxian projects generally.

            Thus, my arguments are not mean-spirited or destructive, they are realist and productive.

            I desire to live in a different world than you Chris, and founded on more original, more traditional, more realistic foundations. What you should note about yourself and your own arguments is how you are CERTAIN that you are *right*. There is no argument POSSIBLE against your viewpoint. You are God’s own in God’s own present. And you cannot see how you have adopted an absolutist metaphysic!

            My project is to ideologically undermine your certainties. And yet, in fact, I am myself uncertain. I probe and question: completely in harmony with sould philosophical and intellectual traditions. And you won’t even read a post of mine to the end. 😉

            • Yes, of course I am certain that racism and segregation are wrong. There is plenty of reason for that. It’s not like these ideologies have never been tried and found wanting. They were, and they failed. The dangers inherent in them are far greater than any dangers posed by multiculturalism and diversity. They lead to lynching, slavery and genocide. I have zero interest in racist and segregationist ideologies being tested here again, and anyone who advocates for them should be rejected and condemned in the strongest possible terms. I won’t compromise here, and in this case, that is a virtue.

              • You are wrong indeed when it comes to your sense of ramifications. No one – no philosopher, no opiner – of which I am aware and have read has EVER suggested those ends or outcomes. Very much the opposite. But it is very true that to regain the ideological ground on which to construct an ethnocentric platform requires turning gainst a veritable tide. It is also a fact that that ‘Tide’ is one that moves in a massive and a Marxian current. This is not exaggeration. To discern and to separate is part of the intellectual task.

                Again what I note in your attitude generally is one of *pronouncement*. You assume, automatically, that you know the truth, understand clearly what is right and wrong, such that you have no doubt at all that you know and can dictate to others what sort of social circumstance they MUST live in.

                And here I suggest that one take note: It is your views which in our present are being taken on and instituted by a multiculturalist militarist/industrialist power-structure. Vast interests combine, become normalized into state projects and supported by a PR/Propaganda industry. With a hop a skip and a jump we see how the state will be called upon to intervene in the creation of this blended multicultural world for which you offer ideological justification.

                I reject this as a network of lies and mis-truths. I seek to expose how it is such and why it is such. That is honest intellectual work of a sort that – to all appearances – you are incapable.

                My position – intellectually – has greater integrity that yours. And the opinions and ideas I am working with – I sugest – will start to appear more on the intellectual scene, as they are now in Europe. This amounts to literally turning the tide on a Marxian intellectual putsch and will take a generation, but it will happen.

                • “And the opinions and ideas I am working with – I sugest – will start to appear more on the intellectual scene, as they are now in Europe”

                  Well, I guess if you want to call gangs of skinheads beating up Muslim immigrants “the intellectual scene…”

                  • I think you do a disservice to the intellect when you exclusively function in and out of tropes. You always fail conversation because – once again – you are certain of the righteousness of your position.

                    I said no such thing, yet you can only hear that. If I say something – anything that you don’t like – you will reframe it and thus frame the entire discussion. This is underhanded. It is fallacious argumentation.

                    It is a trick of bad argumentation: Frame a topic or a concern with a specific label and get it to stick. I say I am Eurocentric and race realist (specific terms with their own meaning), and you frame this to be ‘racist’ and then a skinhead issue. I told you that I converted out of Judaism (and there is an ideological element) and I am described as a ‘possible antisemite’. I attemot to define myself to you, honestly, and you twist this for your own purposes, and then I have to argue against your false designation.

                    It is not right Chris.

                    The European Right has numerous philosophical exponents. The traditions have deep roots. Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler, Ernst Junger, Arthur Muller Van Den Bruck, Rene Guenon, Julius Evola, Alain de Benoist, Gaillaume Faye, Jonathan Bowden, and many many others.

                    And there are at least a dozen American philosophers that are exploring these areas and perspectives.

                    • “The European Right has numerous philosophical exponents. The traditions have deep roots. Carl Schmit…”

                      Literally the first name you could have chosen to represent the “intellectual” “race realist” movement in Europe, and you choose an actual, self-identified Nazi who burned Jewish books?

                      Holy crap. Get help.

                    • The roots of European nationalism, and Eurocentrism, opposition to Communism and Marxism, well as opposition to American mercantile forms, are various. And the roots of these ideas extend well back in time and in European thought. German nationalism, and Italian nationalism, have various intellectual roots. I mentioned a group of them, some of whom I have experience with, and some I do not, to indicate only that the philosophical trends that enter into Alt/Right ideology exist. I am neither justifying it (or them) or decrying it or them. I am noticing it, and I am attempting to clarify and articulate what in it I find interesting. As well I can say just as much about what I find un-sound or destructive. And intellectual freedom, and breadth of thinking, is supposed to do just that.

                      But this is not at all what you do Chris. You don’t see yourself as needing to. You are God’s own special ideological child.

                      I have on my desk and have read (3/4ths) of Claudia Koonz book ‘The Nazi Conscience’ (a mainstream and Nazi-critical study of Nazi ethics and self-justification). The Wiki page you accessed to see who Scmitt is cited her reference to an article he wrote in support of rising German nationalism which had, as all know, a strong anti-Jewish current.

                      Carl Scmitt, according to the accounts I have read, was a committed Catholic and, as with many Catholics then and still now, they tend to a Jewish critical position and also to antisemitism. Most all of our presidents, if the accounts I have read, have had Jewish-intolerant of Jewsih-suspicious attitudes. Antisemitism and ‘non-philo-Judaic’ attitudes are part-and-parcel of Christianity which is at its core an ‘antisemitic’ posture. There is no other way to interpet it. Just as Judaism and Jewsih scripture encapsulates an essential and very powerful and obvious anti-Jewish attitude, and structures this through its own narratives (such as in Dueteronomy and cruel prophecy out of the very moth of God against his own chosen) It is a rebellion and the forging of a new path away from Jewish religious concepts. To enter into and to understand the depth of this issue is a challenge. No help will come from minds that function like yours. Attaching shallow labels and tropes and rendering any level of examinination impossible and essentially illegal is a very bad intellectual habit. Yet it is common and ubiquitous. I choose to define an intellectual strategy in radical opposition to what I see you *peform*, like a trained monkey. You are very useful to me because, against your position, I am forced to articulate ideas.

                      Antisemitism and anti-Jewish attitudes (I make a distinction) are real. To understand antisemitism and a Jewsih-critical position requires a study of it. I have made that effort and for this reason I understand of what it consists. I’ll bet you that I understand it better than anyone writing on this blog right now.

                      There is no one of whom I am aware on the European Right who wishes to repeat or recreate a Nazi tyranny. The Nazi experience was a nightmare is the general concensus. But there are many who desire to comprehend Jewish presence in Europe, the Jewish Diaspora and its effects in Europe, and other questions that pertain to Jewish issues and influences in culture. As with all things there are positive aspects and there are negative aspects. Yet, and this is known, for various reasons it is not possible to define a Jewish critical position. I have said this before and repeat it: This is forbidden. If you say one incorrect thing you can be made to suffer very much for it. Myself, and I speak from my own position within that ethnicity, as well as one who has rejected it ideologically, I feel that this is not right. In fact, I notice many different things about it which, admittedly, are difficult to speak about. Like anyone I am not immune to the guilt-slinging.

                      These conversations and these topics have not gone away. On both the Right and the Left there are Jewish critical perspectives, and Israel-critical perspectives, and then Zionism-critical perspectives. There is a substantial critique of American Jews and the power of American Jews in American politics, and for example of the Jewish dimension in neoconservatism. If they cannot be spoken about, they invariably go underground. They submerge and become dark and strange. In my view then all of these issues and questions need to be brought to the surface. I have little discomfort speaking of them but I have had a good deal of practice!

                      So, in my view you have committed another intellectual injustice. Europe has been ‘antisemitic’ by your definition, and anti-Jewish attitudes have existed in Europe and indeed everywhere for all time. Many Jews have converted out of Judaism and have, themselves, developed critical postures. (And many Christians have converted in). Schmitt and numerous other intellectuals and philosophers – including Carl Jung at one time as one example – expressed Nazi sympathies (or more properly identified this upsurge as a manifestation of a powerful and meaningful Archetype). Many writers too like Knut Hamsun, TS Eliot, Celine obviously, Kingsley Adams, Ezra Pound to name just the better-known. I do not think it diminishes the idea-base of one such as Carl Schmitt and, hearing his name and knowing some aspect of his past (similar to Heidegger he did not, as we say today ‘recant’), I do not think it right and proper to recoil away as you do, as if one has mentioned The Evil One. Carl Schmitt is a very complex intellect and in his field is still resourced and considered important and relevant.

                      Once again you have indicated total unwillingness to encounter ideas, to deal with difficult topics fairly and upfrontly, and then your boring use of labels and tropes to shut down conversation continues unmodified …

                      How proud you must feel! 🙂

                • “You are wrong indeed when it comes to your sense of ramifications. No one – no philosopher, no opiner – of which I am aware and have read has EVER suggested those ends or outcomes. ”

                  They already occurred, blacks were enslaved and lynched in the not so distant past in the US. Surely you remember Apartheid? You cannot tell me that it would not happen, it has.

                  • I was referring to those philosophers alive now in Europe. Alain de Benoit for example. I’ve examined a good dealmof material by numerous ofmthese people and I do not enounter plans to enslave or lynch. Most of these folks are excusionists or separatists: very different.

                    Both the extreme Left and the extreme Right have their very dark shadows.

                    I cannot and do not say I have the key to solve the riddle or uncertainty about the European Right. But I see it as defensive largely. And the philosophy and ideology and praxis being explored are attempts to deal with a strange and questionable Marxian-Progressive vision of social organization. I suggest it is worthwhile to know what it is about. I have found that the core ideas lead to a reorganization of perception and new avenues of interpretation.

                    Can’t remember who the quote was by. Someone writing on the theme of ethnocentrism.

                    • “I was referring to those philosophers alive now in Europe. Alain de Benoit for example. I’ve examined a good dealmof material by numerous ofmthese people and I do not enounter plans to enslave or lynch. ”

                      ” You are wrong indeed when it comes to your sense of ramifications. No one – no philosopher, no opiner – of which I am aware and have read has EVER suggested those ends or outcomes. ”

                      ‘Those ends and outcomes’ have already occurred every time the races have been segregated, or one people or another has been declared inferior. There’s no reason to believe it would’t occur again. Whether it’s been suggested by your favorite philosopher or not is irrelevant.

                    • Crella wrote: “‘Those ends and outcomes’ have already occurred every time the races have been segregated, or one people or another has been declared inferior. There’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t occur again. Whether it’s been suggested by your favorite philosopher or not is irrelevant.”
                      _________________________________

                      A given culture, say for example English culture of the 17th Century, or French culture – there are many different examples – is by definition and as a fact a ‘cultural segregation’. For a people to be a people – excuse the tautology – they must be a people. I can make a most clear example to my own heritage and background. Jews are Jews because they ARE a people, and their peoplehood is based in a segregation. That Jews make this choice, that they hold to their very specific identarianism, that they choose to remain what they are (what they desire to be) and do this through time and as-against all obstacles? Naturally, you can have nothing to say against this. I know this is a topic that a Gentile is not allowed to have an opinion or to say anything at all but you don’t have to fear being chastized by me.

                      “Ethno-state for me, Multiculturalism for Thee”, is one of the ironical refrains I have heard from time to time in the Alt/Right. When one examines it, and when one breaks it down, one is forced to examine the question in more detail.

                      This is certainly not the place to talk about nor to debate eugenics, except to say that eugenics came on the scene not in Germany but in America. It is a natural and an inevitable result of the hard science of biology. That hard science is immune to your or my opinion. One can reduce this to the absurd: Just try to mate a Great Dane with a Chihuahua. Or marry Mozart to a Malasian jungle-dwelling peasant. You will certainly get progeny, but you will as certainly break a social, cultural and biological continuity. Now, these are hard truths, this I admit. Yet they are uncontestable, except and unless one is a committed Progressive social justice warrior! What one notices at that point is a moral value that is interjected into a natural truth or fact. This happens all the time. In short: We must admit there are differences between people, differences between quality of intellection, entire different foci in life and existence, and entirely different outcomes as a result of man’s choices.

                      You can clearly see what I am getting at, and I assume because you are rational that you get at least in part what I am trying to say. Much much more could be said though, yet it would turn into a pamphlet (and yet to counter the mis-ideas of the Present such pamplets are necessary, just not here).

                      By dis-allowing a given people to make the choice of who they desire to blend with, I suggest that you *do* a few things. One is you ‘go against nature’. You call forth an ‘imposition’ of a desired truth and attempt to force it on a natural and, I’d suggest, inevitable truth. These ‘imposition’s are usually driven by idealisms. Idealisms of this sort are problematic.

                      Multiculturalism is, as you may know or may not know, a political response, a cultural and economic response, formulated by the Marxian Left. I suggest this is a fact not a rhetorical parry on my part. The idea that you can reduce or even do away with social conflict by eliminating distinctions between specific people, by racial blending, is a Big Dream of the Marxian left. It is a communistic notion and – I further suggest – has dubious standing within occidental contexts. While I notice, and you certainly notice, the destruction of hierarchy in, say, the French Revolution, overall it is a fact that hierarchies are ‘necessary aspects’ of social life and social organization. But there is an extreme form of social levelling that is nor merely reformist but restructionist. And that is Marxian praxis. I cannot offer footnotes here but were you to look into it you would I think arrive at the same conclusions: Europe has been infected by Marxian ideology. And these notions of levelling function in all manner of different areas.

                      Multiculturalism is, in its essence, an articulation of Marxist practice. It insists and it establishes as social and political doctrine that distinction be eliminated and that a given people, as an example, cease to be that people if it is decided that they are problematical to the multicultural project. I don not have the energy, and this is not the platform, to debate this down to the last possible point. I can only make suggestions and indirect references.

                      I have become aware, and I am also drawn to support – and as you surely notice to explain and to defend – the ideas that allow a given people to define themselves and to defend themselves against a vast and very powerful multicultural project. What I desire to defend is, as you clearly see, and as does Chris, White culture, White community, White destiny. Europe in my view is not Africa, nor North Africa, nor the Middle East, nor China nor anything else but what it is. It gets to decide what it is and what it wishes to be, and I mean this at a biological as well as an ideological level. The so-called ‘extreme Right’ that the NYTs writes about in ominous tones is generally, and at its base, a self-preservation movement. To defend oneself is to define oneself.

                      Now, in the US there is another level of problem. You and I both clearly see it. You have made your choice, and you define your choice as is your right. I define and defend distinction, difference and hierarchy, as well as social power and economic power. I do not define a surrender of any of these to anyone nor for any purpose, either as idealistic choice or as a forced choice through propaganda or PR persuasion, or social coercion, or really anything else at all. I define and defend myself, that is my biological personage, my group, my region, my ancestry, my ideology and my religious orientation, as against any peculiar penetration of what I identify as ‘multicultural imposition’.

                      First, the restructuring of identity is required. That means reversing a ‘grammar of self-intolerance’. That is a significant work. It requires intellectual as well as emotional work.

                      What is ‘suggested by my favorite philosopher’ is an insistance that all things be reasoned through, and that all things can be reasoned through. One of my Fave Philosophers said ‘Ideas Have Consequences’ and suggested it is possible to discover and to notice how ideas shift by influence from other ideas and, sometimes, wrong turns are taken. Then, one has to go back through all the ideation and find out where one went off track.

                      Another post TLTR ( too long to read) but as I say and repeat: I am serious about my philosophy. I notice that many are not, that they spout predigested bits (Hello Chris). 😉

          • Chris said, “Btw, am I the only one who has been reading Alizia’s most recent rants about why she is a white supremacist? It’s like she’s finally revealing who she is and what she has always meant behind all the purple prose, and no one else is paying attention.”

            No Chris, you’re not the only one. Alizia has been called out by others for her racism. There has been some strong language directed at her racism. Here’s is one of those conversations in the blog A Brief Message From The Ethics Bunker

            Also, you’ve gotta remember that Alizia doesn’t understand the difference between genuinely intelligent articulation of ideas, fence post sitting randomness, or blovating manifestos; she’s turned out to be a troll infecting the threads with comments that are “TLTR ( too long to read)”. It’s getting to the point that any comment from Alizia (the blovating troll) is “TLTR” and certainly a waste of intellectual resources to try and decipher the “coded” meanings.

            Chris, there are some things in life that you just can’t fix.

            I chose to stop feeding the trolls.

            • I stopped reading her comments a couple of months ago…too much to slog through for too little meaning. I can expend effort chopping through the underbrush in the woods behind my house and at least get bamboo shoots and wild strawberries! I noticed the post today because I saw it quoted and became interested, but it’s the same thing over and over, she’s reading works by great intellectual minds and needs to try out her theories here.

              I should have stuck to my guns.

            • In an effort to have my description more accurately reflect my thoughts, what I wrote above “Alizia (the blovating troll)” would be better described as “Alizia TBRT (The Blovating Racist Troll)”

              Continued jet lag is making me a bit ornery.

              Have a nice day.

              • I know that my ideas, and certainly the length of my posts, are not appropriate for this Blog. I also admit to being a little obsessive. I get hooked into argumentation. There are other places for my writing though. I will just have to find them.

                I would appreciate your help Jack – to curtail the temptation – of banning my username however this is done.

                I do not think your overall readership is interested in my perspectives (obviously).

                I do appreciate the tolerance (as I have said before).

                • Alizia Tyler said, “I would appreciate your help Jack – to curtail the temptation – of banning my username however this is done.”

                  To my knowledge, no one has talked about banning your username. You are the one that has stated that you’re leaving but yet you’re still here; can’t you simply say what you mean and mean what you say?

                  I’ve said it before; don’t go away mad, just go away.

                  • Oh yes, I see that. I know that my ideas are too outlandish. I am not even slightly mad and can only say that I am appreciate that I have been tolerated.

                    I’ve unsubbed from all threads and from getting emails from this blog.

                    I know that your opinion is one that must be shared by many others and, as I say and mean, it is best for me to find other venues.

                    So, temptations I hope under control, this is my last post.

                    Good luck.

                    • Alizia Tyler said, “I know that your opinion is one that must be shared by many others…”

                      My opinion is my own; don’t assume that many others share it.

                      Alizia Tyler said, “So, temptations I hope under control, this is my last post.”

                      Don’t leave on my account, I’m just one person that’s encouraged you to do what you say you’re going to do. Leaving is YOUR choice; however, if your temptations draw you back into the heat of the kitchen, that too IS a choice.

                • Alizia, I too have trouble focusing on anything longer than a few graphs. However, I promise you, your intellect will be honored on medium.com. I am but a goofy clown on Medium, but there are many many heavy hitters like yourself. Please check it out at medium.com. And, please look me up at https://medium.com/@FarkleUp

                  • Aww, fuck. Am I too late? Anybody here got an email I can contact her? Yeah, I could never finish reading her posts, but I do believe she had something worthwhile to say, even if I couldn’t quite grok.

                    I want her to check out medium.com. She would do well there, I think.

                    • Hi there. Thanks for that. I have not given up on Ethics Alarms, and I am far too sensitive to negative comments and also when people think I am ‘troll’, so I tend to take it very personally. I am just going to take break. If I am REALLY going to embody regression I am going to have to study it better …

                      (Medium has an edit function which, for me, is a godsend. As anyone will attest).

                      Here is ny first and very very dark contribution over on Medium:

                      View at Medium.com

                      Just doing my part to kick at the hive of convention …

                      Thanks again for the recommendation!

  4. Didn’t have to wait long “If you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had,” Trump said in a CNN interview Monday morning.

      • Pulling out an additional gun from a concealed carrier in that close quarters chaos might not have been very effective, it really depends on the vantage point of the concealed carrier. My question is WHY didn’t people behind this gunman tackle him from behind and PILE on that bastard!!

        People have got to learn to fight for themselves and others in these kind of violent situations.

        Yea, that’s an old Army grunt talking, but it’s true.

        • Nightclubs tend to be dark and crowded. I remembet gping to the Jet nighclub on the Las Vegas Strip ( former Nevada Highwsy 6 and US 91) and it took me as much time yo walk to the other side of the room as it takes to drive from Vegas to Sloan.

        • Herd mentality. Once a group sets on a course of action, only the most well trained or strongest of willed with clarity of thought can usually break the mold of what the crowd is doing.

          It’s hard to arm-chair quarterback this one.

        • I don’t know about additional firearms in that scenario…depending on the establishment and if the laws are anything similar to Texas, if the establishment gains more than 51% of it’s revenue from alcohol sales, carrying of firearms is strictly prohibited.

  5. I’m so… tired. I called it… I called it all: Terrorist attack on American soil, big, guns, Trump’s gamble paid, Islam, ISIS, Allahu Akbar, gay people targeted for being gay. I’ve never been so depressed at being so right.

    Now cue the idiots on the left: GUN GUN GUN RAWGRRGHGHGH NRA RGRGRG Not MUSLIMS. Now que the idiots on the right: BAN ALL MUSLIMS. Cue the pundits standing on the backs of the dead. Cue the outrage, and the memes, the old tired discussions. The impotent calls for gun control, the equally impotent calls for protection. Let stand for…. Want to call it three weeks? Before we just go back to the normal flow? Maybe Trump will make a vagina joke, or call someone a dicknose.

    And the world keeps on a turning.

    I was thinking about this problem… The people who are calling for a ban on guns, they’re right… A ban on guns, if it could actually be enforced, would probably decrease the rate of these crimes. The ban all Muslim crowd is right too… If you could somehow accurately identify the group. But both of those ‘solutions’ are so far out to lunch and authoritarian that your average American just wouldn’t stand for it. And then once you recognise the extremes are untenable, and you move too more moderated measures, you immediately lower the efficacy of those measures. Gun control? Sure. Maybe the terrorists will go home if you annoy them with bureaucracy. Moratorium on visitors from the Middle East? What do you do about the extremists in your back yard?

    What I’ve settled on, and this might be defeatist, but what I’ve settled on is that this is the price we pay for freedom. 3000 gun deaths a year In a population of 350,000,000 is the cost of freedom, and objectively, it’s probably even a good trade, even if subjectively it tastes like ash.

    • “What I’ve settled on, and this might be defeatist, but what I’ve settled on is that this is the price we pay for freedom. 3000 gun deaths a year In a population of 350,000,000 is the cost of freedom, and objectively, it’s probably even a good trade, even if subjectively it tastes like ash.”

      That’s not defeatist. That’s realism. We can have messy liberty or we can have ‘tidy’ police state (though in reality it’s not only messy also, it’s ugly).

    • And to be clear, the USA is under no obligation to accept immigration from anywhere in order to be in accord with it’s stated values. In order for us to be aligned with our values, we merely must treat everyone equally under the law that we do choose to allow into the country.

      • No obligation, no… But plenty of precedent. And how do you tell if someone is Muslim or not? You ask them? What if they lie to you? Does this amount to thought crime? Do you ban the Koran in America? And hello internet, how do we scrub the terrorists off of you?

        Even taking it to a more defensible position: We will not accept immigrants, refugees, or visitors from nations with ISIS. It seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. How much business does America do with Middle Eastern nations?

        Having investigative forces less crippled by a doddering administration might help, but even then… You weigh security against freedom and I don’t even see it as a close call.

    • I think this is a great comment which I fully endorse from beginning to end.

      I would add that last year, drunk drivers were responsible for almost 10,000 deaths, despite all the laws, enforcement, and high-profile it has. We are talking about quite possibly the most preventable 10,000 deaths I can think of.

      So now, many in favor of gun control are talking about an “assault rifle” ban again. Leaving aside that actual assault rifles can’t be purchased by normal folks in the USA right now, and confining the argument to only guns that look like military weapons, according to the FBI’s 2014 crime stats, the total number of murders with rifles (248) and shotguns (262) have to make you wonder what all the fuss is about.

      Some will point out that there is an “unknown firearm” category that includes 2,052 homicides. I think it’s fair that we try to factor in the ones of those that are attributable to rifles and shotguns. To get there, we will make the reasonable assumption that the unknown weapons reflect the overall percentages. Long story short, that would add 63 additional deaths by rifle and 66 additional deaths by shotgun. All told, long guns accounted for 639 total murders in 2014, 7.9% of all murders and 11.5% of total murders by firearm.

      We can’t know the numbers of actual murders caused by “assault-style weapons,” but a logical conclusion would be under 300.

      So I find myself, once again, aghast at the rhetoric, and the focus of it. Theoretically, if we ban assault weapons, we save 300 lives. If we ban alcohol, a notoriously destructive substance that destroys far more lives than murders by any means via drunk driving alone, we’d save almost 10,000 lives per year (again, in theory).

      I’m not advocating banning either one, I’m just pointing out the bankruptcy of the “assault rifle” ban. It’s bizarre and indefensible.

      Like HT says, I think these lost lives represent the price of freedom, as bitter as it tastes.

    • But your last paragraph suggests that countries with stronger gun control laws are not “free.” I don’t agree with that.

      • Not “not free”, but “less free”. By definition, it should be inarguable.

        I don’t take nearly as hard a stance as some people here. Background checks, waiting periods, these aren’t bad ideas… But there’s a legitimate fear that bringing in these small measures will have opened the door for more stringent gun control. The NRA didn’t stop supporting background checks because they thought background checks were bad, they didn’t want to give the administration that opening.

        The left has completely lost legitimacy on this issue. Every time there’s any kind of shooting, the same calls are made, regardless of whether they would prevent the crime or not. Dylan Roof is probably the best recent example: legally purchased handgun with clips of 10 bullets or less. No criminal record, no history of mental illness. What “common sense” gun control would have stopped that? But that didn’t stop Obama from stepping up on his soapbox and lamenting the lack of gun control in America.

        The reason in America that it’s important to maintain the right to bear arms, more than anything else, is that it protects the other rights on that document. Both in a real, physical sense and in a less tangible sense: It is a constitutional right. You don’t want to give the government the ability to remove constitutional rights as a matter of statistics or whims.

        Without the second amendment, you ARE less free.

      • A little less than twenty years ago, there was a movie about a series of terrorist attacks in New York City. conventional law enforcement was not up to the task, so the Army was called in to put down the threat for good.

        We did, ion fact, use troops to suppress domestic terror.

        In a striking new book, After Appomattox, historian Gregory Downs chronicles the years of military occupation that followed Lee’s surrender to Grant in 1865 — a military occupation that was indispensable to the uprooting of slavery and the political empowerment of freed slaves. In the face of Southern white supremacist hostility, it was only the continuing presence of federal troops in the South that could break up remaining pockets of rebellion, establish the right of blacks to vote and seek election, void discriminatory laws, and unilaterally remove disloyal or racist sheriffs and judges from office.

        But there were far too few troops to do the job properly. With the end of battlefield fighting, pressure to “bring the boys home” was intense. By the end of 1866, fewer than 25,000 troops remained in the South — down from nearly 1 million at the time Lee surrendered. Meanwhile, a violent white insurgency was spreading, led by a Democratic Party terror group called the Ku Klux Klan. These insurgents “spread across the South,” Downs writes, “assassinating Republican leaders and intimidating black voters.”

        Where the US military held sway, Reconstruction legislatures made remarkable gains — funding schools and hospitals, reforming property and marriage laws, making possible the election to office of more than 1,500 black candidates. But those gains were swept away as it became clear that Washington would not deploy the troops necessary to crush the Klan terror. Public support for continuing the occupation evaporated. By the late 1870s, the troops were effectively gone. Southern Democrats moved ruthlessly to roll back the astonishing progress in black civil rights; in its place they imposed poll taxes, literacy tests, and racial segregation. “Without the fear of federal [military] power,” recounts Downs, “a new and bleak era of Jim Crow was dawning.”

        Think of what we could accomplish if we used the mightiest military force in the history of humanity. The modern U.S. Army is certainly more capable of putting down terror than their predecessors in the 1860’s.

  6. Did anyone honestly think that something like this wasn’t going to happen here?

    The real problem is that this event shows how vulnerable the general public is to a lone wolf ISIS murdering terrorist. The police, the government, and the the venues, cannot “protect” you, your family, and friends from these kind of events. Be cautious about events that draw lots of people in confined spaces and be ready to defend your and yours.

  7. It’s a shit storm of epic proportions and the splatter will hit everyone. Could not have come at a time when our country is less able to process and take action. Just when you think nothing could divide the country any further…

    Not being an attorney, an expert on Constitutional law, or a fan of guns I have a question: Rights are a wonderful thing, precious and worthy of protection and preservation – but what happens when it becomes obvious that a significant enough portion of the citizenry is unable to responsibly handle certain rights? Is there a tipping point where we take away a right of all because enough cannot handle the responsibility? Do we eliminate or significantly curtail the right or do we consider the results of the acts of the irresponsible an acceptable price to pay?

    I understand the “if you take away the guns, only the bad guys will have them” argument, but it is an inescapable fact that you are much less likely to be shot in 1st world countries that do not give their citizens this right. I suppose it can be argued that less guns in general circulation makes their access by criminals proportionately more difficult and costly. But it is much more difficult to take a right away from someone than it is if they never had the right to begin with.

    The need to identify people with mental health issues or political/religious extremism that may predispose them to these acts is often at odds with privacy rights and religious freedom. There is no easy answers.

    Whatever anyone wants to present as the “cause” of this tragedy – no one issue is an island. There are too many causative factors layered in the story that we can’t know what had major significance and what did not, especially this early in the investigation. And it is nearly impossible to keep our own biases out. What matters most is that we come away with a clear path to actions and policies that will help lessen or prevent repeats of these acts and others like them.

    I would like to personally comment on two issues brought up in the discussion:

    1. My step-daughter, my late husband’s daughter from his first marriage, is married to a muslim. He was born shortly after his parents came here from Iraq. She is a christian and they have two children together. The children are exposed and partake in both religions with the parent who partakes. So far their biggest hurdle has been the muslim dietary restrictions. The oldest girl just went to University, the youngest is in high school. Both children are extremely gifted musicians, intelligent and well rounded. Oddly they embrace both faiths in their own ways. As they have reached adulthood I have watched them both progress more toward a kind of intellectual agnosticism, but cultural love in traditions and ceremonies of both. My step-daughter was neither abused nor entrapped by her marriage. She had a voice in decisions and was loved and respected by not only her husband but his parents and his extended family. It is sad and unfortunate that my late husband’s Lutheran/Baptist family was not nearly as loving and accepting of him.

    2. While I can’t cite any statistics to support my belief, in my own observation and experience, a large portion of, if not most, domestic violence remains unreported. The reasons are vast and complex. The subject is worth it’s own column – too much to limit to a comment on another topic. In my case, I did report. My ex-husband pushed me against the counter and tried to choke me with the phone cord when he ripped the phone out of the wall after I tried to call 911. My daughter called from her room and he fled when he realized. They came, but because he was not there and not an imminent danger, they came hours later. The red marks on my neck were gone. He took his report and said they would be contacting my husband. In the mean time, he fled to his grandmother’s house, and scratched his own face. When he met with the cops, he told them I was the aggressor, that I had jumped on his back and scratched his face and the phone being pulled out was not him. He lied, they believed him because he had “visible injuries” and I did not. By the way, his mother is a police dispatcher and arranged for one of her friends to do the report on their end as he had fled to a different county. Nothing was done, and on the record it looks like I was the abuser. Asshole.
    Many times a woman just wants out with as little risk to herself and her family as possible and retaliation (of myriad sorts) is common. When there are children together she knows she will have to work with this man until the children are grown at least and prosecuting him will not make that process easier. Often if they will rely on child support they are hesitant to prosecute someone if it might interfere with their ability to be or continue to be employed. So many reasons.

    • 1. Is there a tipping point where we take away a right of all because enough cannot handle the responsibility? Do we eliminate or significantly curtail the right or do we consider the results of the acts of the irresponsible an acceptable price to pay?

      Nope. If that were the standard, Freedom of the press, speech and religion would have been gone long ago.

      2. In my experience, children raised under two religions almost always end up rejecting religion entirely. And why wouldn’t they—especially those two religions, which are contradictory.

      3. Just because reasons are non-ethical, that doesn’t make them invalid, easy to ignore or unimportant. Still, it is contradictory to say we have to reduce domestic violence and not admit that this requires victims to report. The same, obviously, is true of rape and sexual assault.

    • “[W]hat happens when it becomes obvious that a significant enough portion of the citizenry is unable to responsibly handle certain rights?”

      Nothing. Objectively.

      “Is there a tipping point where we take away a right of all because enough cannot handle the responsibility?”

      Nope.

      “Do we eliminate or significantly curtail the right or do we consider the results of the acts of the irresponsible an acceptable price to pay?”

      The second one, I think.

      What you have to discern, I think, is the difference between a right and a privilege. Rights are too important to be fucked up by stupid people. The right to free speech is Important. The right to protect yourself is Important. The right to legal representation is Important.

    • I have to say that I think that’s an unusual arrangement. Of all the instances I know of Christians marrying Muslims in the US, male or female, the spouse has had to convert. I’ve not seen children of such marriages raised in any other religion but Islam. Even in the international community in Japan, all the Japanese spouses have converted, all the kids go to mosque. I didn’t think it was allowed for the spouse not to convert…

      • I don’t know what is “usual” as they are the only muslim/christian couple I know. But they have handled it well, and aside from some friction over dietary restrictions, have done a superb job. Just like there is a range of fundamentalism in christianity, there is in islam as well. They give me hope that we can respect our differences and celebrate our commonalities.

        As to the dietary restrictions: The oldest, the girl, does not follow them and will happily eat anything. The youngest, the boy, tries to observe the restrictions, but is not strict about it. He might not eat a pork chop, but he would eat french fries cooked in lard. LOL, it reminds me of my dear friend, who is jewish but does not keep kosher strictly. She told me about her mom, who ate bacon and ham, and claimed they were okay because the word “pork” was not in their name!!

  8. 1. So you align yourself to my last statement “… or do we consider the results of the acts of the irresponsible an acceptable price to pay?”.

    2. They don’t reject either religion, they embrace both with love and enthusiasm. They are active in church and mosque. But I get the feeling that what they embrace is the “feelings” of belonging, family, tradition, support, fellowship, ceremony and stability they give them. To me they seem intellectually more agnostic, but neither would admit it. I just notice they discuss evolution, genetics, etc. in a scientific way, not tainted by either dogma.

    3. Not only does it require the victims to report, it requires the police and courts to act. I understand it can be very difficult to try to untangle a strangers personal relationship and make judgements in a half hour domestic violence call….but too often nothing helpful ever happens – from law enforcement, the courts, family court, or anger management counseling. If you want more women to speak up and report there has to be an effective and safe way for them to do it and not be left with a now even angrier abuser when nothing happens to stop it long term. I am reminded of Nicole Brown Simpson who called police many times, but nothing ever happened. Abusers are often charming and charismatic and talk their way out of a lot. Add to the problem women who will misuse accusations of abuse in order to extract their own revenge or gain power in custody or financial litigation.

    • 1. So you align yourself to my last statement “… or do we consider the results of the acts of the irresponsible an acceptable price to pay?”.

      It’s just true, that’s all. No aligning necessary.

      2. They don’t reject either religion, they embrace both with love and enthusiasm.

      Impossible…and as you said, they are embracing intellectual agnosticism. If they have a brain, they see that the two faiths are mutually exclusive. You can’t embrace a religion and one that will kill you for embracing it. The exercise just makes one cynical about religion generally.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      3. “Not only does it require the victims to report, it requires the police and courts to act.”

      And for there to be as few false reports as possible, with those doing so paying a high price.

      • Jack, it is a minority of (especially US) muslims who would kill you for not being a muslim or for rejecting the faith. Unfortunately it is just those muslims who get all of the attention. Nice people, tolerant mosques, and loving and supportive imams don’t make the news.

        • NOT WHAT I WROTE!!!!
          I was clearly referencing the religion itself as expressed in the Koran, which clearly directs that “infidels” be killed.

          Do NOT falsely put words in my mouth….especially those words.

          • Have you had a look at the Old Testament lately? It’s extremely violent. The roots are the same. Isaac or Ishmael. Just as modern christians choose how they interpret scripture and how it evolved from genesis to revelations, so do muslims. The quran can be cherry-picked, so can the bible. What matters is where the followers choose to place emphasis. How they embody and practice what their faiths offer. Religion is a tool. It can be an instrument of good or an instrument of evil, both are written in the dogma. It is how the tool is implemented that matters.

            • Just stop. Please. Don’t embarrass yourself. I know you’ve been privy to all the discussions ultimately following Islamic violence. I know you know this argument has been made before. I know you know it has been completely debunked before.

              Just stop.

              • Islam did prescribe penalties for various sins, but such penalities were to be enforced by an Islamic state. The caliphs did not authorize their general subject population- to do things like honor killings or- if for no other reason that if random subjects thought they can judge people as infidels, they may very well judge the caliph as an infidel.

            • You need to stop, or I’m going to take the time to actually respond to this retardation, and you aren’t going to like it. I don’t care what’s printed in which mouldy old book, the fact of the matter is that in 11 Muslim majority nations, I could be thrown off a building for being who I am, whereas in majority Christian nations, they might say mean things to me or deny me one of their sweet, sweet bigot cakes. Actions… Current actions, Violence… REAL violence, will always trump these sad sack historical arguments. If I was living during the inquisition, I might have a thing or two to say about it. I’m not. But I do live under the shadow of Muslim aggression and your stupidity will not change that.

              • The responses to Lisa have been deeply unfair, and are misinterpreting the entire context of this conversation.

                Lisa was responding specifically to Jack’s statement that “You can’t embrace a religion and one that will kill you for embracing it.” So Lisa responded that this doesn’t often happen, especially in the US, where I’m assuming the religious practices under discussion have occurred (thus rendering such practices entirely possible.)

                Jack did not rebut by pointing out the violence in Muslim majority countries, as later posters did; instead, he pointed to the Quran. Lisa’s point that there are similar calls to violence in the Old Testament is thus a perfectly valid rebuttal to that specific argument.It is not a moral equivalence between the currently levels of violence within Islam vs the current levels of violence within Christianity.

                I see this set-up all the time, though often it is one poster intentionally engaging in a circular argument:

                “The Quran says ______-!”
                “Ok, but so does the Bible.”
                “But Christians don’t kill as much as Muslims do!”
                “Ok, but you just said–”
                “You have to look at what they do, not what they say!”
                “Sure, but most Muslims don’t kill–”
                “But the Quran says they have to!”
                “…”

                I think in this case the responses were a matter of misunderstanding the context, but the pile-on was still unfair and unnecessary.

                • I just realised I’d misread Jack’s comment… And so while independently entirely accurate, my comments might not flow with the conversation.

                  Mutual exclusivity…. That’s what we’re really talking about. Can someone embrace both the followings of Jesus and Mohammed? Probably not, there are contradictions. But let’s say that you could. Let’s say that you could live without BOTH steak and bacon… (Poor people)… How would other adherents see it? Someone wearing a cross and a moon? Showing up for church while wearing a hijab? Driving to the mosque while female? In America, you’d probably be shunned… Maybe not by everyone, but by a healthy portion. In the 11 countries that kill gay people…. You’ll probably be killed for apostasy…. Maybe even more, sharia is weird that way.

              • The responses to Lisa here are entirely unfair and ignore the context of her argument.

                Lisa was responding to Jack’s statement that “You can’t embrace a religion and one that will kill you for embracing.” Lisa pointed out that this rarely happens, especially in the US. Jack did not rebut this by bringing up levels of Muslim violence around the world, he did so by appealing to the Quran. Thus Lisa’s point that the Old Testament contains the same appeals to violence was a completely valid rebuttal to Jack’s specific argument about the Quran. It was not a moral equivalence between violence within Islam and violence within Christianity.

                I see this set-up all the time, though usually it looks more like one person engaging in a circular argument:

                “The Quran says []!”
                “Ok, but so does the Bible.”
                “But Christians don’t kill people the way Muslims do!”
                “Sure, but you just said–”
                “You have to look at what they do, not just what they say!”
                “But most Muslims don’t do that.”
                “They have to! It’s in the Quran!”
                “…”

                I think in this case people just misunderstood the conversation, but the responses were still unfair.

                • Right, and I still think that “Queers for Palestine” are some of the dumbest human beings to walk the planet. “You can’t embrace a religion that would kill you for embracing it” is sound reasoning. And that sound reasoning isn’t interrupted by the fact that the kind of violence we’re talking about is relatively rare.

                  This is tortured logic. It’s like saying that white supremacists, real ones, that say awful things about black people, should be accepted by the black community so long as the supremacists don’t actually kill them. Christianity’s bigotry towards gay people and women pales in comparison to Islam’s, and I don’t think I have to particularly care for either, but if I had to pick one to actively resist, I think I’ll resist the one that has a history of chucking people like me off buildings, and forgo the sweet, sweet bigot cake.

                • You’re just making stuff up. The Bible does not urge Christians to kill those who are not Christians. Do you have even a passing familiarity with Jesus and the New Testament?

                  I said that the two religions were mutually exclusive, and they are. Lisa’s “but most Muslims don’t kill people” is a non- sequitur. If Captain Kirk gives a computer the Koran and the New Testament and says, “Here, follow both of these,” the computer shorts out. I said that doing the same with children makes them cynical about religion, which, by Lisa’s own account, the children she referenced now are (“intellectually agnostic” is the result of realizing that religions make no sense.)

                  • “You’re just making stuff up. The Bible does not urge Christians to kill those who are not Christians.”

                    Wrong.

                    Deuteronomy 17

                    If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

                    “Do you have even a passing familiarity with Jesus and the New Testament?”

                    Likely better than your familiarity with the Old Testament, given the above.

                    “If Captain Kirk gives a computer the Koran and the New Testament and says, “Here, follow both of these,” the computer shorts out.”

                    Happily, people are not computers, and can practice their religion(s) in whatever way they choose. And they do (pick and) choose. No one follows every single thing their holy book tells them to do, because every holy book contradicts itself. For example, there are passages in the Quran condemning murder and there are passages encouraging the killing of infidels. Every Muslim has a choice which view they are going to take as the comprehensive view of their religion. Most will rationalize away the more violent passages, just as Christians face the same choice in rationalizing their own contradictions.

                    Religion is a lot more than just what is written down; many beliefs in current mainstream Christianity are nowhere to be found in the Bible, while many commandments in the Bible (such as that women should wear head coverings in church and should never take authority over men–both found in the New Testament!) are completely ignored. Thus it is totally possible to follow both Islam and Christianity. You’d have to ignore some stuff. But you have to do that to follow either one exclusively, so what’s the difference?

                    • Not wrong. You have embarrassed yourself. “The Bible does not urge Christians to kill those who are not Christians” is unquestionably true. The Old Testament is not about Christianity. It pre-dates Christianity. I intentionally excluded the Old Testament, because Christianity, per Jesus, rejects passages such as that one. This is why Jesus was condemned as a heretic.

                    • Jack, the Old Testament is still considered part of the Bible, and is taught in Christian churches. Thus the statement “The Bible does not urge Christians to kill those who are not Christians” is factually incorrect. Yes, I’m aware of the role of the New Testament in amending the Old. But the Bible still says what it says.

                      My main point, though, is that scripture is irrelevant. After all, Jews still follow Deuteronomy, do they not? They have no New Testament overriding the commandments of the old. And yet Jews are not going around killing non-believers, because religion is more than just scripture.

                      So “the Quran commands believers to kill infidels” is not a strong argument. So does Jewish scripture. Let’s focus on what the believers of each actually do.

                    • Chris. A book cannot urge the killing of an entity that doesn’t exist when it is written. Ergo, no passage in the Old Testament refers to Christians.

                      Resorting to such a weak argument undermines your credibility.

                    • “Chris. A book cannot urge the killing of an entity that doesn’t exist when it is written. Ergo, no passage in the Old Testament refers to Christians.”

                      Fine. It refers to Jews, then. So Jews are told by their holy book to kill infidels, just as Muslims are.

                      Is that relevant? Not really; Jewish terrorist groups are not a big threat, while Islamic terrorist groups are. So it’s not the scripture’s fault. So bringing up the Quran is a red herring.

                      “Resorting to such a weak argument undermines your credibility.”

                      Likewise to your weak argument about scripture.

                    • The issue was someone being told to follow both Christianity and Islam. You don’t get to bring Judaism into the discussion, any more than Hinduism. My comments were specific to the religions mentioned.

                      You might have the integrity to just admit you were wrong, you know.

                    • “So “the Quran commands believers to kill infidels” is not a strong argument. So does Jewish scripture. Let’s focus on what the believers of each actually do.”

                      Is just painful spinning Chris. Do That. Focus on what the believers do. The worst Christianity has to offer right now are some obscure asshats that wave “God Hates Fags” signs. Juxtapose that with gay-murdering, woman-oppressing, minority-suppressing, child-raping, history-smashing Muslim adherents the world over, and I think you might come closer to experiencing an enlightenment.

            • The Old Testament was replaced by the New Testament, the New Covenant between God and Man. It is not to be obeyed. Those who quote it as a source to hate gays, etc don’t know their Bible so well. I’m no Biblical scholar, just a lapsed Catholic, but it was something drummed in enough in Sunday school that I still remember. The stuff you could cherry pick out of the Bible is no longer to be followed, we are to follow the New Testament.

              There is no such edict towards what’s written in the Quran, it’s all applicable.

              • The New Testament does condemn homosexuality, but only in the letters from Paul. In those same letters, Paul commands women to cover their heads in church and says they should never take authority over men.

                The fact that the former is still viewed as Word of God by mainstream Christianity while the latter is ignored shows that religious people can reconcile and rationalize anything.

                So why can’t someone have two religions? And why can’t Muslims ignore the bad parts of the Quran while celebrating the good? Isn’t that what we want them to do? Blanket condemnations of the Quran and Islam don’t seem productive to me–we’ll never get 2 billion people to abandon their religion, but we’d have better luck getting them to change and adapt it to current mores. That rarely happens by rewriting a book; it usually happens through reinterpreting it.

                • I’m afraid that I don’t know a lot about Judaism. My statement pertained to my own religious upbringing. I should have written it in a more concise manner.

  9. For the “gun-grabbers” in the audience (I’m not one) I’ll never understand your lazy way of discussing firearms. When I want to discuss a topic, I want to learn about it and use the proper terms. Then, I want to add value, so I think of workable solutions. Why is it that your group never brings anything to the table other than infringement worthy bans that violate the foundation of our nation and social contract? Why don’t you recognize the situation and use some counter-intuitive logic to make things better? Are you simply trying to break the system in order to make change rather than using the processes that exist? Please come up with some good ideas or give up this crusade.

    • Tim LeVier said, “For the “gun-grabbers” in the audience (I’m not one) I’ll never understand your lazy way of discussing firearms. When I want to discuss a topic, I want to learn about it and use the proper terms. “

      I’ve had that conversation many times with anti-gun crusaders; they have flat out refused to learn about firearms, I do mean refused.

      My opinion is that if they did learn about firearms they fear they couldn’t use the bulk of their emotion based arguments anymore or they’d become like the “gun-nuts” they oppose or both.

      • I used to own a hand gun. I knew how to use it. I used to enjoy target shooting. My oldest boy’s middle name is Remington. When people would ask me if he was named after the show “Remington Steele” I would reply “No – Remington, first in the field.” But I have seen too much of the damage firearms can cause. I lived through an abusive marriage or two when I didn’t want to worry about having that gun used against me. I have seen a lot of bad and little good come from them. I don’t fear guns, I just feel their proliferation in this country has been a destructive thing and that the negatives outweigh the positives.

        • This entire comment appears to me to be a total non sequitur. In the first place, and I know it’s been repeated to the point of a trite cliché, but it isn’t the guns that cause the damage, it’s the people who wield them. At what point do we focus on that? It seems so much easier to blame inanimate objects for the destruction and loss of life caused by their misuse, yet it is a logically and ethically bankrupt argument.

          I lived through an abusive marriage or two when I didn’t want to worry about having that gun used against me.

          Regrettable, to be sure, but I don’t want someone to be able to come into my house, brandish a weapon, and place me and my family at their mercy. That means your “wants” and mine are at loggerheads. It baffles me how you could be comfortable with the idea, but then again, I’m getting used to confusing, emotional arguments. I’m beginning to think that reason and logic have been banned as a tool of cogitation, and forcibly replaced by “feelz.” At best, both have fallen to an astonishing level of atrophy.

          don’t fear guns, I just feel their proliferation in this country has been a destructive thing and that the negatives outweigh the positives.

          Forgive me, but I am skeptical that you have carefully weighed the positives and negatives. I very much doubt you search the little-reported but quite substantial number of stories detailing how well-handled firearms save and protect lives in the hands of private citizens, and balance them against their misuse. I suspect that you internalize the tragedies like Columbine and Orlando and allow them to drive out the rest.

    • I would love to see the NRA and gun users and manufacturers embrace Smart technology that will help to ameliorate the death and injury rates but still allow responsible people to own guns if they so choose. Unfortunately, it seems that there is little room for compromise and discussion of ways to make guns safer or more difficult to use irresponsibly. While there is a lot of rhetoric on the left with different proposals ranging from repealing the 2nd Amendment all the way through tighter regulations for purchasing certain guns and better screenings for mental health issues, to Smart Gun technology, ad infinitum…the right seems pretty entrenched in an unwillingness to make any changes or concessions at all. I don’t believe this is what was envisioned when the 2nd Amendment was drafted.

      • I would love to see the NRA and gun users and manufacturers embrace Smart technology that will help to ameliorate the death and injury rates but still allow responsible people to own guns if they so choose.

        This is classic gun-hater’s fantasy. Guns are supposed to be able to protect you and harm those who would do you harm….and be ready when you need it. You cannot make a “safe” weapon. A gun that only can be used by one person means that a family member could not use it if necessary. No such measure is fool proof or hack-proof, and one that was wouldn’t be affordable. Which, is, many suspect, part of the plan.

        • Technology gets better every year. Is it better to just discard the idea, throw up your hands and say there is no way to make it better? So let’s just stubbornly hold to this path that leaves thousands dead and maimed each year and say the losses are acceptable? We make cars safer, but still usable, we can also recognize that less guns in a society means less guns available cheaply and easily for criminals as well.

          • What “path”? I can argue for a hundred reasons people decide to shoot people, and none of them involve gun technology. “Safe” gun technology already exists—it’s called knowing how to use your gun, keeping it away from kids, not leaving it loaded, and properly storing it. Making it more difficult for responsible citizens to afford and use their own guns is a disingenuous solution to crazy, criminal, irresponsible people misusing guns.

      • I would love to see you explain what a “smart technology” that will possibly help deal with these tragedies would ACTUALLY DO. At which point, we could engage in a discussion of the ways that technology either would not have actually helped, could have been subverted, is totally unfeasible, or would also subvert the rights and reasons a person might own a firearm. Perhaps you’ll have a brilliant idea for a piece of tech that doesn’t have one (or more) of the aforementioned problems… in which case, I will be fascinated.

        Sorry, but this so called “technology is the solution” argument has always frustrated me when I hear it, because everyone who advances it seems to assume that there is a magic technological attachment that can be mounted or built into a firearm, making it so that it can only be used in acceptable circumstances, against deserving targets, but good people. Unfortunately, real world technology isn’t capable of making those value judgments.

  10. This was radical Islamic terrorism. People dance around that more than the Wizarding World danced around the name Voldemort in the Harry Potter books and movies.

    • Why? I don’t get it. Why is any explanation better than the truth? Why can’t you call Islamic terrorism terrorism?

      • The choice to move away from calling terrorists “Islamic” or “Muslim” was made under the Bush administration, and was explained at the time. In addition to what valkygrrl says, foreign policy experts say those words legitimize the terrorists and given them more credibility in the eyes of some of the more radical Muslims. “Islamic” is what they want to be called. Refusing to call them that, and going as far as saying they don’t represent Islam, helps delegitimize them.

        I can understand disagreeing with this logic but I’d really like to see conservatives quit acting like it doesn’t exist, or that it hasn’t been public information for a decade, or that it’s just political correctness, or that there is just no way to understand why Obama never uses this phrase.

        • Oh, God. Almost 8 years after taking office, and this administration still ducks accountability by arguing that it’s all Bush’s fault. This is unprecedented in US history. Look: if Obama continues a policy, that’s his decision, and his policy.

          And 2016 isn’t 2001. Not even close. In foreign affairs, 15 years is an eternity.

          • Who said anything about “fault?” I think it’s a sensible policy, for the reasons explained above.

            Do you disagree? If so, why?

            • You can’t cure cancer without diagnosing cancer and you can’t cure cancer with antibiotics. Treating jihad like it’s some kind of civil right’s movement is getting people killed.

              Currently, I don’t think that Democrats or the media believe that the correlation between Islam and Islamic terrorism is anything but an odd statistical anomaly. They bend themselves into unrecognisable caricatures of humanity trying desperately to escape the obvious: Islam is a mother-lode of shitty ideas (perhaps just like other religions) and for some reason it’s adherents are more likely to act upon those shitty ideas than any other religious adherents on Earth.

              Less than three percent of Americans are Muslims. About half of all domestic mass-killings are done by Muslims. But the problem isn’t Islam, right?

        • Obama’s hands are tied because of a ‘choice’ GW made 15 years ago? It’s not legally binding, it’s one school of thought.

  11. For the same reason one’s careful about mentioning the Armenian genocide. Or one wanting business relations in Utah might avoid talking about the Mountains Meadow Massacre.

    At certain levels of government you need to have working relationships with people in other governments–Islamic governments–who will take umbrage at the words Islamic and terror put together.

    One can either pander to the people who for their own political reason WANT those words strung together and won’t accept a substitution like radical jihadi or you can get the point across without giving the diplomats one more problem to deal with when you actually want help going after the jihadi types.

    It is a simple practical way to grease the wheels of diplomacy. Or as a republican might call it, political correctness gone mad. Secretary Clinton is n’t looking for a way to make her life harder when she’s president. President Obama prefers not to make his life harder just to please a subset of people who he knows will always dislike him. Republicans have other priorities, fundamentalist Christians are part of their power base so they HAVE to say things to keep them happy. Something that can be interpreted as painting all Muslims in a bad light does that so it has been imprinted into the US right of center culture. You can’t think of why someone wouldn’t say it, everyone you know would say it except those crazy lefties who don’t really count because they’re just so wrong. I can’t see why you would say it if you can get the point across without damaging international relations because everyone i know understands the point except those crazy right-wingers who don’t really count because they’re just so wrong.

    And tomorrow or next week or next month you’ll make the same comment about how your way of saying it is so true and you just don’t get why others won’t do the same.

    You already knew the answer.

    • What? If they are radical Islamic terrorists, you call them that. It’s called transparency and truth. These same people want to call criminals “justice-involved individuals.” They call illegal immigrants “immigrants.” Is that diplomacy too? It’s misrepresenting reality to deceive the public and make them accept ideological policies based on bad information and half-truths. It’s Orwell. Your rationalization of it is pretty Orwellian too.

        • It’s obfuscation. If it isn’t, why use it? Jihad is a term for a holy war, and a Muslim holy war. If someone doesn’t know the Islamic connection, then the term is deceptive.

          • And if someone uses the word Islamic to suggest all Muslims are terrorists that’s better?

            But then again I suppose it would be for people who cozy up to the religious right.

              • I disagree with your assessment and even more so with your argument.

                It is not a straw-man it is the purpose of the word choice you’re supporting. You think I’m Orwellian in thought? Who has a vested interest in using the word Islamic here? What public relations specialist sat over the words and decided just which combo would work in implying something while allowing plausible deniability? Who added it to the talking points? Who decided to start pushing it so the rank and file would start pushing too?

                And choosing not the worst thing over a worse thing is acceptable unless you’d like to withdraw your arguments about why people should vote for Secretary Clinton over Donald Trump.

                • If the west can’t say to Islam and all its nations, “Sorry guys, we believe in the separation of church and state, it’s a central pillar of our civilization’s edifice. If you want to be part of the modern world, you need to re-think your position on that and other things such as human rights,” we might as well throw out the constitution right now and replace it with Sharia law. If we have to defer to their medieval belief system, we’re doomed. The modern world is too inter-connected.

                  • Oh goodie. We’re going to take a forceful stance with everyone that has a state religion. This is going to be fun.

                    We’re going after the Americans who don’t want to abode by the whole separation of church and state thing too right? I’m not signing on to your idea unless we really get to stick it to them too.

                    Not having representative chosen in free and fair elections is also a problem. Are we going to go after all the monarchies too? All the places that have outlawed one or more political parties?

                    • So what are you proposing? The Islamic State gets to continue murdering gay guys in Syria and Orlando? Because their views provide diversity? We return to the days when the exotic Middle East was just visited by Brit guys looking for little Arab boys to diddle? Build a wall around all these failed states? Stop Emirates and Qatar Airways from flying anywhere? Just sit on our hands and order flowers for the next time Anderson Cooper wants to cry on TV?

                    • Obama and HRC and Ben Rhoades are the smartest people in every room they’re in. Why can’t they come up with a solution? I didn’t go to an Ivy League College. They’re all brilliant and impeccably credentialed. They should be able to figure this out in their sleep.

                  • Other Bill:

                    “If the west can’t say to Islam and all its nations, “Sorry guys, we believe in the separation of church and state, it’s a central pillar of our civilization’s edifice. If you want to be part of the modern world, you need to re-think your position on that and other things such as human rights””

                    In what ways are we not already saying that?

                    • Are you fucking kidding me??? The current administration thinks saying Any Fucking Thing about Islam is bad diplomacy (to put it in the most favorable light). They’re not saying ANYTHING at all to these countries that are fostering and exporting this toxic, nasty ideology, never mind “Cut it the Fuck Out!”

                    • I don’t understand. What are we supposed to do, other than protect religious freedom at home? Should we invade more countries and do more “nation-building?” Restrict immigration because some immigrants might not believe in religious freedom? Who cares whether they believe in it, as long as we still enforce it?

                    • “What are we supposed to do, other than protect religious freedom at home?”

                      Educate.. Pointedly. Stop lying. Stop pandering.

                      “Should we invade more countries and do more “nation-building?””

                      Fewer, I’d think. And maybe stop giving money to people that don’t like us so much. Not “isolationism” necessarily; But let the failed states fail and support people who actually like us. Maybe close down some of the 50 odd military bases we maintain in Germany alone.

                      “Restrict immigration because some immigrants might not believe in religious freedom?”

                      Absolutely. I’ve never understood the drive to displace millions of people around the world. Even if you assume these people are moderates, all of them. which i think is stupid, but assuming: What are you going if not removing the moderation from the extremism? It has to be cheaper, less destructive and more constructive to empower the moderates at home than it is to ship them halfway across the world to a place where no one speak their language, they can’t read anything, a large portion of the population distrusts them, and the culture is completely alien. Restrict immigration? In half a heartbeat. And I’d feel good about it.

                      “Who cares whether they believe in it, as long as we still enforce it?”

                      Enforce… what? Exactly? Pre-Crime? No…. We have to wait for them to break laws. We have to wait for a Pulse massacre or a Cologne rape-mob. This hits me like a platitude. My position is “This is the price we pay for freedom”, how do you simultaneously argue that the price we pay is too high, and we should be prepared to pay a higher price?

                • It wasn’t just public relations people, valkygrrl, it was foreign policy and national security people: calling ISIS and others “Islamic” legitimizes them, while saying things like “they are not Islamic” deligitimizes them. It’s actually a strategy to weaken their power.

                  I don’t mind seeing people disagree with this strategy, but it bothers me when they pretend that this strategy doesn’t exist and it’s all about “political correctness,”that this strategy hasn’t been articulated to the public for nearly a decade, or that it started under Obama.

                  • Oh, please. You can’t possibly believe this. Calling a radical Islamic terrorist organization a radical Islamic terrorist organization when everyone in the world knows it is a radical Islamic terrorist organization and the group is destroying societies, culture and people, including forcing Christians to convert to, let’s see, oh yeah, ISLAM, will somehow legitimize them? In whose eyes? They care what we call them? Why don’t we officially call them the Poopiehead Dickfaces, then? That should really discredit them. Or let’s claim that nobody died in Orlando! How frustrating that will be!

                    The Obama administration is mislabeling ISIS in a dangerous, silly and cynical effort to pander to Muslim groups here and not to feed “anti-Muslim prejudice.” Obviously. And it says a great deal about the attitude the Obama administration has regarding transparency and truth.

                  • https://www.freewordcentre.com/explore/daesh-isis-media-alice-guthrie

                    Here’s an explanation of ‘Daesh.’ The perjorative term beleaguered Middle Easterners have coined for the Islamic State. The Islamic State’s immediate victims don’t seem to worried about mocking the Islamic State.

                    Are there really so many American Muslims registered to vote in the U.S? The left complains about Cuban refugees holding U.S. policy hostage, or AIPAC doing the same thing. Neither of those groups seem to have the influence of American Muslim voters. Amazing.

    • ” You can’t think of why someone wouldn’t say it, everyone you know would say it except those crazy lefties who don’t really count because they’re just so wrong. I can’t see why you would say it if you can get the point across without damaging international relations ”

      Wrong. ‘Everyone I know would say it’? Presumptive pigeon-holing on your part. I am asking why, when the killer called 911 to claim allegiance to ISIS mid-attack, when he yelled that he was affiliated with ISIS at the scene, is the NRA and gay marriage opponents are being blamed? Assumptions without proof and baseless Muslim bashing are of course, wrong, but why not call these attacks what they are? Facebook and personal blogs are hardly the halls of international diplomacy. Since the shooting occurred social media and blogs have been filled with comments and articles about how people opposed to gay marriage and shared bathrooms are responsible for this attack, this Muslim man who hated gays was made to hate gays by anti-LBGT activism, and NOT by his own religion, which demands death for homosexuals. Really!? Does vitriol against Christians strike you as just as wrong?

      ” won’t accept a substitution like radical jihadi ”

      Yes, you’ve mentioned more than once on this thread that ‘radical jihadi’ is better. Just semantics, as far as I can see.

      And tomorrow or next week or next month you’ll make the same comment about how your way of saying it is so true and you just don’t get why others won’t do the same. But that’s ok, because it’s you.

  12. When I saw the news breaking on this catastrophe, I thought, “Uh oh. How’s this going to work out? Two of the left’s favorites just crashed into each other: Gays and the Religion of Peace.” But the left simply said, “No problem. This wasn’t Islamic terrorism, it was anti-gay animus during Gay Pride month and on the anniversary of the Obergfell decision coming down! Presto chango! We’re all guilty! And oh by the way, it’s the gun, not the shooter. In Europe, they ban civilian ownership of guns. That way bad guys can’t get guns, you know, unless they live in Brussels and buy AK-47s on the black market. But that’s really hard, so never mind that. Let’s just not mention Paris.”

    However many billions of muslims there are in the world, the problem is their religion does not believe in the separation of church and state, which is the fundamental foundation of western democracy. In our now connected world, if anybody doesn’t see this as a fundamental, existential problem, they’re clueless.

    • In Europe, they ban civilian ownership of guns. That way bad guys can’t get guns, you know, unless they live in Brussels and buy AK-47s on the black market. But that’s really hard, so never mind that. Let’s just not mention Paris.”

      they never bring up Mexico.

      • Mexico is perfect. It’s diverse by definition since it’s majority Hispanic. Everybody loves Mexico. Who would ever want to leave there? But if there is anything bad going on in Mexico, those bad things are all caused by the United States. Claro?

  13. I was just waiting for the article asking if no one could objectively analyze the shooting, because of everyone’s already preconceived biases to get to involving Obama of course. I guess the answered was proved correct, no one! *grin*

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