The bad American

Like many of you, I was shocked — shocked — to learn that the treacherous Fort Hood murderer was a disgruntled Muslim, it being a religion of peace and all, but the world is filled with insanity. Even stranger was his connection to Virginia Tech, whose community is understandably bristly at the observation that its production of mass murderers per full-time student is a bit higher than the average from other universities outside Saudi Arabia.

The most surreal moment of early news coverage had to be the televised phone call with the killer’s cousin, who insisted that Hasan, his 55 unfortunate casualties aside, is a “good American.” Now, I know I can be overly picky when it comes to words, but I think that when you take up a gun and begin executing your fellow soldiers, all of whom by not being bloody turncoats are your moral and spiritual betters, you lose the good citizenship award. Maybe Hasan had perfect attendance at his crappy little bureaucratic pscyhobabble job, and so he can still make the honor roll on that count, but no, you don’t get to call him a good American. A dead American, if the wheels of justice turn true, but not a good one.

This seems to be the thing with family members of scoundrels who get themselves into the news, where they insist that the murderer/rapist/spy/all-around thug is in fact a decent humanitarian who just happened to make a bad choice. Just once before I die, I’d like to hear such a family member hold a press conference to announce that his accused brethren is a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted worm, that hanging’s too good for him, and burning’s too good for him, and that he should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive. To borrow quite literally from that great American cinema classic, Heavy Metal.

All of which is to say that increasingly when I bother to watch the news I come away feeling like the world is not en route to hell, but has already arrived at the bottom floor.

Comments

  1. MMM

    “All of which is to say that increasingly when I bother to watch the news I come away feeling like the world is not en route to hell, but has already arrived at the bottom floor.”

    I know you’re not surprised by this.

  2. RockThrowingPeasant

    I will not say, “The less said about him, the better!” because it’s an issue we must address (radicalization of Islam in America). In the prison system, a system I am very familiar with through work, officials dance around the radical nature of Islam inside the walls and have resorted to code words because, although they live in the PC world of government, they also have real-world safety and security considerations that can’t be ignored.

    It was an act of treason. No other word fits. A treasonous American is not what I’d term a “good American.”

    Tomorrow is a day to thank all that served in our armed forces. Thank them and pray for them. If you can, make it to a Legion or VFW by 11 o’clock (11th month, 11th day, 11th hour). I’m going to spend some time during Veterans Day at my Legion and VFW with my family. There will be ceremony, food, libation, ribbing and backslaps.

    On Thursday, I’ll put Hasan back on my mind.

  3. Jonny

    I agree with you in that Hasan cannot, by any stretch of the imagination at this point in time, be considered a “good American.” However, I think that, at this time, it is premature to blame the shooting on Islam, either explicitly or implicitly. Those who gather themselves under the banner of Islam certainly have a fair share of gun-toting militants, but, then again, so do those who gather themselves under the banner of Christ, whether sword-toting Crusaders centuries ago or gun-firing anti-abortion fanatics months ago. Time will only tell (and probably not even then) what Dr. Hasan’s motives, if any, were.

    Perhaps we should be inquiring as to who will throw the first stone at Dr. Hasan to create “justice?” I can guarantee you that I am not qualified.

  4. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    Jonny,
    I disagree with you in this respect, that while all religions have murderers who use their texts to justify their actions, bloodshed appears to be an implicit part of Islam’s mandate for spreading its teaching, whereas Orthodox Christianity rejects slaughter as a means of obtaining submission to God. Not that I’m an expert on either religion.

  5. Jonny

    I’m no expert on either religion, either, but have general sense of some of their histories. I do agree that Islam fundamentally relies on force (which must be distinguished from bloodshed) to spread its teaching. This said, pre-Crusade Christianity does have a history of relatively peaceful coexistence with Islam. For example, St. John of Damascus and his father were Chief Administrators to the Muslim Caliph of Damascus and were charged with the full administration of the Christian community, there. Instances of conversion at swordpoint were relatively rare back then. Conversions from Islam to Christianity have always been dealt with violently, but, then again, I’m not sure the record of Christianity, at least in the West, provides any sort of gold standard for dealing with heresy, let alone apostasy. Their treatment of “infidels” today, even “infidels” they like, is pretty marginal (nothing like a religion that encourages men to spit upon women who don’t have their heads covered or one which oppresses its own women and encourages licentiousness among its men). I would observe that the West’s dealings with Islam have been escalating ever more into the violent sphere, a violence that is justified on the basis of Islamic “holy” texts. I’m no defender of Islam (in fact, you know me to be quite the opposite), but I am an advocate of objective analysis and concerned that the equation “Muslim=terrorist” does not become a mindlessly repeated mantra. Let us not forget, too, that the West bears some responsibility for stoking the flames of Islamic terrorism; unremitting and unapologetic Western support for Israel’s depradations against both Christians and Muslims have earned the US plenty of rightful blame.

    I must say that reports like these are quite disturbing: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20091111/us_time/08599193757400 Initially, I was inclined to think the guy might have just snapped mentally. If this info is borne out, violent Islamic beliefs are likely to prove proximate cause for his ungodly actions at Fort Hood. It will be interesting to see how the “facts” are spun to us; it’s really disconcerting to realize that we’ll probably not know the real facts in any case.

  6. RockThrowingPeasant

    I can’t remember where I’d read it, but there was an article that dealt with the “violence in religion” topic. An interesting distinction (that can use more attention) is whether a religion is descriptive of violence in the holy works or prescriptive of violence. Do they talk about the violence or do they call on the followers to use it as a means to an end.

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