The innocent, sage and matchlessly kind Mrs. Northwester had been on the internet yesterday afternoon and had read something about the Fort Hood massacre. Word search the article for a belief system that begins with a capital 'I' and whose practitioners' title begins with a capital 'M' for immediate disappointment.
She remarked; deep-thinking and practical Left-liberal that she is that Nidal Malik Hasan seems to have done it because he was an American and Americans do that kind of thing. She went on to say that in a country as big as the States that contains many guns you'd expect a larger number of madmen using them - we discussed the whole teenage Goth angst high-school massacre thing. To be fair about it she brought up the Dunblane Massacre to prove we can all be at it, but her thought at first was that his religion, Islam, may have had little or nothing to do with it.
I explained that the killer is an Islamist who supported Islamic terrorism and who had been disciplined for preaching Islam at work and that he had published anti-American comments on the internet and praised Islamic terrorists. That was enough for her - Fair enough, he's probably a terrorist. But Mrs. Northwester is the fairest-minded and most logical person I know, and she doesn't let her politics get in the way of facts. This makes her rare as well as lovely.
However, there are many people with her ideological stance who do let their beliefs interfere with the facts and indeed it overcomes them. I don't know which on-line news report she was reading, (probably MSN news or Yahoo! News, given her surfing habits), but she had come away from it none the wiser compared to the way that my readers are wiser and wider read than the average person. Perhaps the on-line journalist concernedhad donethatwholeself-censorship thing.
Fast forward to the evening and a friend visited before to going out dancing with us. We discussed the massacre and I mentioned Mrs. NW's initial ignorance about the motives of the killer. I remarked that he had called out Allah Akbar as he did his killings, and after correcting my pronunciation to Allah Akbar my friend made a remark to the effect that that didn't necessarily prove that he was motivated by Islam. I replied that as he didn't cry out That's the difference at McDonald's you'll enjoy, he probably was motivated by something other than the love of American capitalism. He took the point (he's another fair-minded person who I trust even as I disagree with him), and I was able to go on with the instant-knowledge factoids I had gleaned in seconds from the dextrosphere. Again, Okay that seems to be the case.
But that's the narrative that we can absorb from the managed media and the reflex is the same: decent people who only want to live safely in a good and better world are for some reason unwilling to connect a 1,300-year-old ideology with these horrors. It isn't like they're commies and believe that the underlying structures of economic exploitation force Muslims to believe crazy things and kill us, or ultra-individualist anarchist libertarians who blame the Welfare State, high taxation and oppressive laws as motivations for criminality in the absence of better economic opportunities.
Liberals are kindly and sympathetic in that they look for what we might call 'human' or 'personal' motives for such atrocities, in an attempt at understanding and hopefuly some kind of cure or prevention for the future. But the political isn't always the personal in the sense of psychological traumas or individual disappointments and grudges - or the disgust at 'human rights violations' by the West. Major Hasan is a well-educated American citizen who had all the benefits and comforts that that great country churns out as it does cars and fridges and TVs. Some people just believe stuff because they've been taught it from birth and they respond to that belief by taking it to what they consider to be the logical conclusions.
That's the wall we on the Right need to climb or to knock down - we need to say it loud and clear and often that some peoples' heads are simply filled with ideas that tell them to kill certain kinds of people under certain kinds of circumstances, and no amount of prosperity or freedom or understanding or secure childhoods or vitamins or great sex will distract them from those ideas.