But He’s Not a Muslim, So…


…therefore he isn’t a terrorist.

Yes, the accused shooter in the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting has been arrested, and though he’s a bit on he brown side, he’s not a Muslim, so this isn’t terrorism, right?

I mean, I hate that that’s the difference here, but I can’t think of any other. Had this man had an Arabic name, rather than a Hispanic one, we’d all be talking about ISIS and terrorism. Instead, he’s an American citizen, and a war veteran, so therefore this clearly isn’t terrorism, right?

If nothing else, this should prove that terrorism really is a subjective word, and really, a useless one. Does it really matter if the person who is shooting at you is doing so because he thinks Allah told him to or because the voices in the head say he should? Does it make any difference?

Actually, I’ll tell you one difference. Republicans will say that we shouldn’t overreact and impose more gun restrictions. Had he been a Muslim, they’d instead say we should have overreact and engage in more war, especially if the Republican in question was Trump.

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A Terrorist Attack You Didn’t Hear About


There was a terrorist attack in Israel the other day. You didn’t likely hear about it for two reasons: first off, because it was in Israel, and we kind of regard these things as “normal” there, unless it’s a really large attack. Second, the terrorist wasn’t a Muslim; he was a Jew.

Now to be quite honest, I won’t say that this was terrorism, though I can’t figure out why not. You have a man motivated by religious belief to stab six innocent people because of their homosexuality (real or perceived). If this happened in the USA against, say, a group of Christians and was done by a Muslim, well, do you think the media would call it anything other than terrorism?

This gets to something I said two years ago. “Terrorism” is basically a useless word that can mean whatever the media and government decides it means at any given point. It is, therefore, in society’s best interest to stop using it as soon as possible and simply stick with other words, like “criminal”.

Cracked Does it Again


Cracked.com has been a great source for a lot of amazing articles. That’s saying something, given that the site used to be affiliated with a magazine that’s best known for being Mad’s less interesting cousin. But since they turned into a web-only publication, they’ve churned out some amazing articles.

This week they released one called “Six Ways to Keep Terrorists from Ruining the World“. It’s an excellent article, and I’d like to talk about some of the points it raises.

We deal with terrorism in the stupidest way possible. We give-in to our baser instincts and respond to violence with even more violence. We have certainly killed many innocent people since 9/11, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we’ve killed ten times as many innocent people as we lost that day. The way to handle terrorism, or the possibility of terrorism, is with police work, and that should be done by the FBI and CIA. Oh, and it must be done without torture. Why?

Because every time we kill an innocent person, or torture someone, innocent or not, it makes us look bad. It’s great recruiting material for the terrorists. It means we responded in exactly the way they wanted us to.

We need to be strong. We need to be strong enough to stop responding with violence every time something bad happens to an American somewhere in the world, even if that “something bad” is an American getting their head sawed off on video. Even if it were a busload of Americans, and some of them were children, that wouldn’t justify us going in and killing even more people.

Let’s bear in mind that when Osama bin Laden was killed, it wasn’t with a tank. We didn’t send an entire division into his neighborhood. No, we used intelligence (not gathered with torture), police work, and a small team of people to go and kill him. That’s the sort of thing we need to do any time we have to respond to terrorism, though ideally I’d like to see terrorists captured rather than killed.

If we can start responding in that way, we can defuse much of the problem, save a lot of money, and stop killing people who don’t deserve to die.

A Perfect Response


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WWMD?


The recent attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo was motivated in part by a perceived insult to Islam and to the prophet Mohammad, a man who may be misquoted and misused just about as much as Jesus, though at least he’s more likely to have actually existed.

An interesting question for followers is Islam is this: how would your prophet have dealt with insults to his person, his standing, his holiness? Would he have ordered all involved to be stoned to death? Whipped? Simply disappeared?

Well, good news, you holy Joes out there. We can answer this!

The Qur’an records that he was called crazy, a victim of deception, a liar, and a fraud. Through this all, the Prophet Muhammad never retaliated or called for these people to be attacked, seized, or executed. This is because the Qur’an says to “overlook their annoying talk” and to “bear patiently what they say.” It instructs us to avoid the company of those who continue their derogatory attacks against Islam. There simply is no room in Islam for responding to mockery or blasphemy with violence.

I’m glad that’s settled. So, basically, if you’re some whacked-out Muslim who wants to go around and kill people for…well, whatever reason, don’t use, “They insulted Islam!” as an excuse.

Biting Us in the Ass


Remember the torture report and all the horrible things it turned out we did? Remember me saying that was going to come back to bite us in the ass? Guess what happened today?

A “radical cleric” named Anjem Choudary has posted up an op-ed for <em>USA Today</em> where he basically says that if you mock Mohammad or any other prophets (a group which includes, btw, Abraham, Moses and, yes, Jesus), then you deserve whatever happens to you

In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Actually, it is neither increasingly unstable nor insecure, and it’s worth noting that, at least as far as the USA is concerned, what instability and insecurity there is comes large from “the Muslim world”. But let’s ignore that nonsense for a moment and focus instead of what he says toward the end of his commentary.

The truth is that Western governments are content to sacrifice liberties and freedoms when being complicit to torture and rendition — or when restricting the freedom of movement of Muslims, under the guise of protecting national security.

Or to put it another way, “Chomp”. That’s the sound of our actions biting us on the ass. I also notice that one the one hand, he seems to be completely ok with the idea of Muslims taking violent action against people who “offend” their religion, but complains about countries subsequently viewing Muslims with greater suspicion. You can’t have it both ways, pal.

This guy is an ass-hat of the first order, and I hope he goes away soon. But…he is annoyingly correct that we haven’t as much of a leg to stand on as we used to, not now that we know we’ve used torture in the recent past and aren’t doing anything to come to terms with that fact.

Je Suis Charlie


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There was a terrorist attack in Paris today, and in many ways, it’s worse than 9/11. Not in the terms of people killed. No, we have “only” 12 people dead as opposed to 3,000 or so. Not in the terms of property loss or the likelihood of it starting a war. No, it’s worse than 9/11, and many other terrorist attacks, because this one actually is a direct attack on the concepts of freedom and free expression.

The attack in question was against the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine. Think of something like Mad, only more overtly political. Back a little bit ago they stirred up a bit of controversy by publishing some naughty cartoons with Mohammad posing nude, among other things.

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The insanely religious types out there responded about like you’d expect, with the site’s offices being firedbombed and their website being attacked. This all culminated in today’s attack, which left twelve people dead, including 10 employees of the magazine, and three gunmen and a driver on the run (and I’ll bet you they find them without shutting down all of Paris). While we don’t know for sure that the attackers were Muslim extremists, the fact that they were shouting “Allahu akbar!” (“God is great”, for the curious), seems to be a bit of a clue, though to be fair, it’s what I would do if I were pretending to be an Islamic militant.

This is, as I said, an attack on actual freedom and free expression. It’s a group of people saying, “You are not allowed to express an opinion I dislike, and I will kill you if you do.” It doesn’t get much more direct and basic than that, and free expression of opinions is the primary cornerstone of a free society. You literally cannot have a free society without freedom of expression, and that’s what these assholes tried to stop today.

It is also an effort by one religious group to tell you that it isn’t enough for them to follow the rules of their religion; you must do so as well. This is like if a Jewish person told you every boy must be circumcised, or if a Hindu told you you weren’t allowed to eat meat anymore. In this case, it’s Muslim extremists telling you that not only are they not allowed to create depictions of their prophet, you also aren’t allowed.

This 1 weird painting, created by a Muslim...

This 1 weird painting, created by a Muslim…

These guys can go eat a bag of dicks. They’d be laughable if they weren’t going around killing people. I sincerely hope that they’re caught soon and spend a good long time in prison, and that Charlie Hebdo is back up and publishing soon, because the only way to fight back against terrorism like this is to go on like it never happened.

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