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Friday, December 04, 2015

BLAMING THE GROUP, OR NOT


"I'm sick of these white male NRA Republicans and their mass shootings beca... um, Sayeed Farook? Hey, let's not vilify an entire group."
-Jon Gabriel

Every time something awful happens, particularly some shooting or terrorist event, the same tired arguments come up.  Gun control, who's to blame, gun free zones, on and on.  Leftists tried to attack prayer and God this time around to freshen things up, but that didn't take hold.  But the one that comes up the most with the least real consideration is the "mass blame" one.
You know how it goes.  The quote at the top is a sarcastic example of how it works.  What group gets blamed or not blamed for an event has a lot to do with who they are and what the blamer's politics are.  And too often, blame will shift suddenly in the middle of coverage of an event based on what is revealed over time.
This time, pundits on cable news speculated that this could be a right-wing group or anti-government militia, for example, then had to pull back on the group blame as the names of the suspects were revealed.  "Black Lives Matter" activists (in quotes because they are very selective about which black lives seem to matter to them) blamed white people.  Bill Nye with his bowtie apparently tied too tightly blamed Global Warming for the Paris attacks.  One CNN analyst suggested that perhaps post-partum depression triggered the female terrorist's attack.
Even what the event is called changes based on the politics.  A shooting in a mini mall in Colorado Springs is instantly declared the "Planned Parenthood" shooting.  The killings in San Berardino are considered a "mass shooting" instead of a terrorist attack - a fact that would probably be different had the pipe bombs the terrorists planted gone off.
Something to consider is that this choice of naming is very selective.  The same people who insist we must not blame all Muslims for the repeated murders and terrorist attacks by Muslims will then declare NRA and gun advocates responsible for the deeds of others.  Conversely, the same people who blame Islam for the terrorist acts of some Muslims declare the NRA and gun advocates utterly blameless.
And the reasoning behind this is driven primarily by who this hurts and what effect it has on politics and desired policy.  It has almost nothing to do with the facts or how logical it is, patterns, or reason.
For example, the NRA has been completely opposed to illegal use of guns, murder, mass shootings, and criminal activity every single day of its existence.  It fights for classes on gun safety, higher penalties for the use of guns in crimes, and condemns in its writings and public statements any actions misusing guns.
Islam, on the other hand... not so much.  Even the most moderate and restrained Islamic groups believe that holy war against the unbeliever is called for in the Koran for at least some reasons, and that killing people who are not Muslims is not as significant as killing a Muslim.  Some groups make statements condemning these events, but their scriptures are often supportive of them.
And while the NRA fights to keep guns as free and easy to get as possible, at no point has anyone ever gone on a shooting rampage while yelling NRA slogans.  The NRA is hardly blameless in all of its actions, but they've done nothing to even indirectly encourage or call people to go on a murderous rampage.
But Islam is full of clerics and mullahs who do just that, specifically, directly, and repeatedly calling for the death of the unbeliever and for Muslims to rise up and destroy entire peoples.
Does this mean all Muslims are one step away from terrorism?  Absolutely not - the great majority of Muslims oppose terrorism and sympathize with the victims.  And while some are not particularly upset with these events and terrorist strikes, they personally would not ever do such a thing.
But it does mean that it is irrational and ridiculous to try so hard to not associate Muslim terrorist actions with Islam.  If we kept having worldwide horrific atrocities committed by people who claimed to be, I don't know, Amish, then we'd definitely have reason to look with suspicion, alarm, and concern upon the Amish.  I mean if every time there was a barn raising, they cut the head off 15 men then raped their wives and daughters... would it not be rational to assume there's a problem with the Amish?

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