Monday, April 29, 2013

Newtown or Boston?

Jonathan Tobin has correctly pointed out the stark differences between the national debate that followed the Newtown massacre and the one that has followed the Boston terrorist attack.

In his words:

One crime was committed by a person motivated by no cause or political interest and driven only by personal demons. Another crime was committed by two people whose actions were clearly driven by their religious and political beliefs. Under these circumstances, which of these terrible tragedies do you think would be considered an incident that could only be properly understood as something that ought to spur the nation to specific political actions?

After Newtown, politicians rose up to attack the NRA. After Boston, politicians insisted that the Tsarneav brothers did not represent Islam.

To be fair, it is more likely that an American will suffer from gun violence than from a terrorist attack. More people have been killed through gun violence than have been slaughtered by Islamic terrorists… in America, that is.

So, one does understand why gun violence might appear to be a more pressing political issue.

But, as I have often pointed out, if the politicians really wanted to prevent events like the Newtown massacre, they would pass laws making it easier to commit psychotics to psychiatric facilities involuntarily.

At their best, the politicians are mumbling about providing more mental health care. They are not talking about involuntary commitment… a policy that would help to treat those afflicted with some forms of psychoses and would save many, many lives.

Obviously, these are not serious people.

The hubbub about the NRA also obscures the issue of who is committing the gun violence and where it is being committed. Politicians, especially those of a more progressive stripe refuse to see that Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago has been leading the nation in gun violence. No one mentions that it takes an especially inept and incompetent municipal administration to allow a city to descend into such a state.

The attack on the NRA has been designed to cover up the true causes of American gun violence. Left leaning politicians and media pundits throw up a smoke screen in order to obscure the role that policy decisions have played in Newtown, Aurora and Tucson. They have also deflected attention from the failure of Democratic mayors to impose law and order on local communities.

Tobin emphasizes that the Boston terrorist attack was not the act of a deranged psychotic. It was, he says: “the latest in a long string of terrorist acts motivated by Islamist hatred for the West and America….”

It is also fair to mention that when Muslims commit murder and mayhem in the name of their religion in America, the media and politicians try to ignore it. The Obama administration won’t even call it Islamic terrorism.

If we grant that there is more gun violence than Islamic terrorism in America, when you look beyond our shores, you see that Islam has fostered an enormous amount of terrorism around the world.

Last week, Bill O’Reilly was interviewing the national director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a notably pro-Islamist group.

When Nihad Awad tried to explain that Islam was a religion of peace, O’Reilly interrupted:

You not admitting that radical Islam drives worldwide terrorism puts you in the category where you have no credibility because the facts are the facts. Ninety percent of worldwide terrorism is radical Islam, period. … I don’t know what Islam means to you with all due respect. That’s not the topic.

O’Reilly continued:

I’m telling you that radical Islamists, under the banner of jihad, are causing the most intense terrorism the earth has ever seen and you are denying it. So either you are na├»ve or I mean, you are just way out of touch. Do you not have a television set?

Of course, no one believes that all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorism is being committed by Muslims. And it is being committed in the name of Islam.

Thus, it is incumbent on Muslim leaders to take responsibility and to correct what is wrong. They might follow the example set by the Tsarnaev uncle, Ruslan Tsarni and apologize to the victims of terror.

Uncle Ruslan is not a terrorist. He had renounced his brother’s family when it turned toward radical Islam. Yet, he felt it is duty to apologize on behalf of his family, even though he had no direct responsibility for the attack.

Uncle Ruslan did not share the guilt, but he was correct to say that he shared the shame for actions committed by members of his family and community.

It isn’t too difficult to understand why the politicians are so quick to blame the NRA for actions that have nothing to do with it, but so slow to even imply that Islam had anything to do with what happened at the Boston Marathon.

To state the obvious, there are a lot more Muslims in the world than there are NRA members.  And the Muslims are a lot more dangerous than are the members of the NRA.

In one sense this means that terrorism works. It provokes a fear of Islam, an Islamophobia, if you will. And this tells the terrorists that their actions have succeeded in eliciting respect for their religion.

How many people, after an act of Islamist terrorism rush out to express their great respect for Muslims? How many politicians are doing everything in their power to accommodate Islamic sensibilities? In so doing, they are feeding the beast.

Islamic terrorism is an effort to force people to respect Islam. People whose culture has failed at modernity and who risk being ignored, become central players in world history by committing acts of terrorism.

If your achievements do not command respect, then you can extort respect by deconstructing the successes of others. 

Islamists continue to perform acts of terrorism because, from their perspective, it’s working.


Anonymous said...

True terror begins at home. The American Left is afraid of the American Right... much more afraid of the Right than they are of any international threat. They are captivated by the exotic veneer of foreign cultures, as a sign of tolerance and open-mindedness. I have a friend who frequents her "Sufi teacher." When I respectfully remarked that Sufism an Islamic mystic tradition, she corrected me and said it was non-denominational... leaving me dumbstruck. Yet if you asked her about the 2012 election, she went on hysterically and vociferously about Rush Limbaugh and the "Republican war on women," plunged in deep fear.

This explains why the Left is more worried about Newtown than they are about Boston. The Left's sworn enemy is conservative ideology. Therefore, the Chechen brothers are misunderstood, or at least their situation is described as "complex." We are admonished to be more open-minded, to wait for the facts before we pass judgments. When we talk about psychotics with guns in Newtown, the remedy is always reflexive and instant: get rid of guns. That one would even need to discuss the subject is viewed as a symptom of psychosis. The Newtown shooter and his mother are caricatures of how all gun owners are.

There is something new and remarkable happening in American politics: our two-party system is becoming increasingly ideological. Social unity is fraying, and it's unclear what's going to keep it together. It's all about beneficence as a front for power and control, a way of expanding the state's market share of the economy. Washington, D.C. is the wealthiest metropolitan area in the United States. We now advertise on television how people can get Bridge cards. Our elites openly seek to maximize the impact of "sequestration." Our politicians who passed ObamaCare are now searching for ways to exempt themselves and their staffs from it, all while HHS just approved a $3 million PR campaign to help people understand what's so good about it. And all the political class and its media enablers are worried about is guns, guns, guns.

What Tobin points out in his article is how things are viewed differently. The mainstream news media chooses which stories to run, and their filter is Left-wing. For all their vaunted beliefs around privacy and individual choice, they seek to limit certain choices. This is because they do not trust the Right with guns. For them, the fact that Newtown was committed by a psychotic is not only germane, it's archetypal. They're not interested in the fix, they're interested in the opportunity. Guns must be confiscated, Second Amendment or not. Yet when it comes time to deal with these radicalized Muslim youths, we shut down the city of Boston, give prompt Miranda warnings and respect the accused's right to privacy about their use of public assistance benefits. Freedom of religion begins with the burkha and ends at the possibility of a graduation prayer. In their view, the Christian Right is an intolerant, immediate menace to American freedom. Islam is simply misunderstood. It's very convenient when you consider the ends they're pursuing. Relativism is a tool, not an end. The ends they seek aren't relative at all... they're absolute, and antithetical to the traditional American concept of freedom. Sound familiar?

So who wins in all this? The centralized power of the federal government. Only the federal government, in all its wisdom, can protect us from the Right and the Islamists. The media's treatment of Newtown and Boston shows us which threat is the greater priority.

Tolerance is worthless if you can only tolerate things that you like.


Sam L. said...

Fear, respect...they like fear. Gets a better response.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely the most offensive post I have read here, and I am so happy to never visit this repellant site again.

Anonymous said...

Psychiatrists should not have the quasi-judicial ability to commit anyone against his or her will. It violates the Constitutional right to liberty and due process of law. There would be less violence in the world if "experts" understood that applied coercion of others leads to more violence, not less of it, and involuntary commitment for one who has committed no crime, is a form of unjustified coercion.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 4/29/13 4:47 PM:

With all due respect, I think there would've been less violence if Mssrs. Jared Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho and Adam Lanza (Tucson, Virginia Tech and Newtown, respectively) had been committed before their crimes. They were all evaluated before becoming notorious shooters, and all were recommended for hospitalization, or involuntary committal was requested by a loved one. WIthout these atrocious crimes, we wouldn't be having such a wide gun confiscation and purchasing restriction conversation today.

I understand your concern about coercion and individual rights, but there needs to be balance in cases of extreme psychosis. If we allow clearly disturbed, dangerous people to carry on in open society, our cherished rights will be for naught.

I personally do not think the Framers or any sane person thought the Second Amendment applied to every single soul in the nation. Mentally disturbed or seriously deranged people should not be able to purchase or access a firearm. Such a prohibition is society protecting itself. If I have to give up my gun rights so that psychotics can roam the streets, that is a very strange proposition indeed. Mrs. Lanza ostensibly thought the same thing when she wanted her son committed, and I do not think that's an authority that is too much to ask of a psychiatrist and a judge or judicial panel.

A delusional psychotic acting out their fantasies with firearms violates my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

There would also be less violence if disturbed, violent people knew that their attempts at physical coercion (of any kind) would be met with swift retribution... up to, and including, involuntary committal for dangerous psychosis. Not thinking so is similar, by extension, to the thinking I mentioned above that more lawfully-procured and owned firearms leads to more crime. That is simply not the case. If you do not think that there would be less violence from such individuals if they faced the threat of committal, you are making the case that they need to be involuntarily committed because they are fully insane.


Stuart Schneiderman said...

Following up to Tip's remarks to Anon, no one was suggesting that psychiatrists be given the right to lock people up. Only a judge acting through a judicial proceeding can do that. Now, however, it has become extremely difficult.

Those who wish to prevent such atrocities from happening again should look closely at policies that have an excellent chance of being effective.

Dennis said...

I am not that sanguine that guns will kill more people is more of a problem than terrorists. Because of the administration's dithering the terrorists may soon have ready access to chemical and nuclear weapons. I suspect that at that point we will rue the day we elected this person. Does anyone seriously believe that terrorist will not use WMD's in this country?
Although we need to take some action to ensure people who actually represent a serious problem are evaluated, we need to place very stringent rules with times certain for those actions. It might even help if we stop using drugs to control the actions of people whose side effects, in many cases, are worse than the problem they were meant to address. Also the last thing we need is to commit someone who is eccentric or "marches to a different drummer."
What we need to be is constantly aware of is the problems that could bring about the destruction of a free society, an economy that grows, et al. A lot of these issues are secondary and are used to obfuscate.

Dennis said...


I have to admit that I was somewhat saddened at how easily Boston accepted a de facto martial law. What was worse is that much of what lead to the second terrorist being apprehended happened right after the lifting of that de facto martial law. When we trade freedom for safety and security we almost always get less of both. Trading Anti-fragility for fragility.
Worse yet we seem to be providing the wherewithal for terrorists to live comfortably in this country so that they have the time to work on plans, materials and the logistics required. It should not surprise anyone that a country willing to do such things so indiscriminately and then when the terrorists strike many will find any justification for how it was our fault will eventually allow it self to be destroyed.

Anonymous said...


I went to college in Boston. I also lived there two separate times afterwards. I know the city well, and its people. They fancy themselves as liberals, but they're the most conservative people I know of.

I was not too saddened by the de facto martial law, as I saw it as a logical step with wacko terrorists hiding out in a residential neighborhood like Watertown. I understand that you want people to be resilient, but one can be so proud in the face of this stuff that they end up becoming a bigger target. This thing that happened was not a regular, run-of-the-mill targeted IRA bomb in London, where people with a stiff upper lip could "keep calm and carry on." This was an unusual event, almost a dozen years after 9/11 during a holiday marathon race. All things considered, I thought law enforcement handled things remarkably well.

There is one hesitation I have, however. I am concerned about terrorists (either at large or through threats) shutting down metropolitan centers with their crazy antics. If that becomes a regular occurrence, we should do the "keep calm and carry on," along with the stiff upper lip and perhaps give the bird to these monsters and animals.

As I mentioned, the biggest thing that bothers me is that our authorities seem to have this preternatural fear of mob violence against Muslims. I think Americans have shown themselves to be remarkably tolerant of different people and measured in their appraisals of Muslims in the face of all this. When we do this teddy-bear handling of the Tsaraev's "privacy rights," we don't look very fair, do we? We reserve nasty pot-shots for domestic political enemies and then read polite Miranda warnings to terrorists. I think that goes beyond the whole "that's how it is within families" thing. I think it's a sign of a deeper sense of contempt, while paying honor to the rights of people who have no respect for yours: the terrorists.


Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 4/29/13 2:15 PM

I've been waiting to respond to you because I was wondering if you were going to follow-through on your threat to never come back. I'm okay with it if you don't.

That said, I'm not sure what you found so "offensive" here. Stuart quoted a mainstream journalist from a serious network reflecting a serious observation. Then Stuart expanded on this analysis, as he is wont to do. It's a blog. Or perhaps you were disgusted with the comment that I posted at 8:33 AM. I guess we'll never know.

It's sad when you won't take the time to just mention WHAT you found so offensive so that others can understand your indignation. Hell, we might even agree with you. I've surprised a lot of people by agreeing with some of the commenters on this site. Most people feel welcome. Some spit and hiss like little schoolchildren. But that's life, right?

I'm asking you to consider that, despite your anonymity, you sound like a fool and a bore when you post a comment like that. Just sayin', yo.


Dennis said...


I would suggest to you that the terrorists did win in that they forced Boston to accept a de facto martial law and change their daily living to fit. Boston has for a long time, though it's elites and its universities denigrated the very response of the police and emergency personnel's reactions.
I would posit that the lesson of Boston will not be lost on those who want to do damage and destroy what being an American is. The next time this happens, and it will, they have a good idea about how authorities will act and will stretch it out as long as possible to create the impression that we are no longer safe and that the government will ignore the Rights and protections of the Constitution.
I suspect we will agree to disagree, but I am thinking of this from a strategic and long term point of view.
One of the goals of most terrorism is to force the state to over react and to alienate it from its citizens. What the terrorists have done is what I would have done, if I desired to bring down a government with unlimited resources, and extrapolating from what Mao postulated years ago.
Also the idea that most of the citizens of a city, metropolitan area, et al don't have the intelligence to protect itself bothers me. If one cannot name the terrorist and what terrorism is then one cannot ultimately win against it.

Dennis said...

By the way I knew Boston pretty well when I was young. My wife is from close to there and I studied with John Coffee of the Boston Symphony. His offices were right across from Symphony Hall. After some time I used to go the John's house in Barnstable. We would spend most of the time taking my lesson in the cottage that set to the side of the main house while my wife talked to his wife. Great people.

Dennis said...