Thursday, May 23, 2013

Using a Machete in a Global Civilization

You've probably read about this:
"Woolwich machete attack leaves man dead"
BBC News (May 22, 2013)

"A man has been killed in a machete attack and two suspects shot and wounded by police in Woolwich, south-east London.

"The Met Police said a murder inquiry was being led by its Counter Terrorism Command. Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would 'never buckle' in the face of terror attacks.

"Footage has emerged showing a man wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and making political statements.

"Police confirmed two men had been arrested in connection with the murder.

"There are unconfirmed reports that the dead man was a soldier...."
Those "unconfirmed reports" include at least two high-profile folks:
"...Both French President Francois Hollande and MP Nick Raynsford said the dead man had been a soldier at Woolwich barracks.

"The footage shown on the ITV website shows a man, speaking to the camera, saying: 'We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.'..."
(BBC News )
Back in my 'good old days,' the (alleged) soldier might have been killed by a 'peace activist' trying to shove peace down the bloodthirsty throats of the icky military-industrial complex. I don't miss the 'good old days,' and that's not quite another topic.

At least one of the chaps who killed the man are black, but their actions and arrest don't seem to be motivated by racism: another reason I don't miss the 'good old days.' They're in custody, I understand: and will probably be charged with a serious crime. They seem to have been motivated by sincere religious beliefs:

"...By Almighty Allah...."

"Cameron condemns brutal hacking death, says Britain stands firm"
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN (May 23, 2013)

"Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would be 'absolutely resolute' in the face of terrorism Thursday, as he vowed to track down those behind the brutal hacking death of a British soldier in London....

"...A video recorded by one of the two men immediately after the attack seemed to suggest a jihadist agenda.

" 'We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone,' said a meat cleaver-wielding man with bloody hands, speaking in what seems to be a London accent...."
Can't say that I blame BBC News for downplaying the Islamic angle here. Between legitimate concerns about the occasional murder and car bomb, it's quite possible that some old-school British residents are almost ready to solve the 'Muslim problem' the way the Ku Klux Klan tried to solve race relations here in America.

By the way, despite what I had to learn during indoctrination for being a teacher here: not all whites are racists. By the same token, not all blacks are stupid and lazy: and, in my considered opinion, not all Muslims are murderers looking for a victim.

I've corresponded with Muslims who seem to be at least as upset about terrorists with an 'Islamic' identity as I am. That's understandable, I think, since Islamic crazies tend to kill more Muslims than non-Muslims. Maybe it's easier to get at neighbors, maybe they're more upset about Muslims who don't live or worship the 'right' way, maybe they owe money to their victims: I really don't know.

Religion, Psychosis, and Violence

Again in my considered opinion, not all religious folks are crazy, not all crazy folks are 'religious,' and not all religious lunatics kill people. Some do, but they're not normal: in several senses of the term.

I've got more to say about religion, sanity, and lethal force. That's a bit off-topic, though. You'll find links to some of my take on what makes sense, and what doesn't, at the end of this post.

The 'Good Old Days'

Back when I was growing up, 'good old boys' thought telling the 'little woman' she was as smart as a man was a compliment. 'Nice' women were supposed to stay home, be improbably sweet 24/7, and act as if men were smarter and generally better than they were.

I didn't think that made sense, still don't, and think some of the social upheaval of the '60s was a long-overdue set of corrections to an ailing society.

Then, as now, some folks who are 'Christian' at the top of their lungs seem to believe that God hates the folks they hate, and wants everybody to be just like them: right down to musical preferences. They are not typical Christians. They're not even typical American Protestants: but they're the ones who tend to get noticed.

Folks who want America to be a WASP nest aren't the only ones who are uncomfortable with today's world.

Dealing With Today: Or Not

There are parts of the world where culture hadn't changed much since Abram moved out of Ur until a few generations back. The head of a house was a man, who could kill one of his women or children if they didn't behave 'properly,' and who lived with a comfortable assurance that all 'people' were like him.
He might have been aware that there were creatures off in some distant land that looked like him: but they weren't 'people,' not really. Not unless they agreed with him about everything he thought was important.

That was then, this is now.

Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, folks who follow other faiths, and those who wish religion wasn't so, are building a global civilization. I'm okay with that: but some folks aren't.

It's early days, but my guess is that the two chaps in England may have be at how non-Muslims - and quite a few Muslims, for that matter - reacted when religious crazies killed several thousand folks on September 11, 2001.

I understand nostalgia, and indulge in it now and then. But I also realize that it's no longer acceptable to use a machete for that sort of self-expression.

By the way, one reason I'm not horrified at the prospect of a global and diverse civilization is that I'm part of an outfit that was global and diverse before the current iteration of Western Civilization began. More about that in the second set of 'related post' links.

Related posts:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.