Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Recruitment Office Killing: Time to Take a Deep Breath

Yesterday, Abdulhakim Bledsoe, AKA Carlos Bledsoe, AKA Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, shot and killed an American soldier at an Army/Navy Career Center, and critically wounded another.

Private William Long is dead, Private Quinton Ezeagwula was wounded, and Abdulhakim etcetera apparently had a good reason for shooting them. From his point of view, at any rate.

"...Before the not guilty plea, authorities said Bledsoe waived his Miranda rights Monday and gave a video statement indicating that there were "political and religious" motives in the shooting.

"He 'stated that he was a practicing Muslim, that he was mad at the U.S. military because of what it had done to Muslims in the past,' homicide detective Tommy Hudson said in a police report...." (CNN)

Muslims are Murderers, Right?

Wrong. At least, I haven't found evidence that Islam is a 'seventh century death cult,' a monolithic threat to beer, bikinis, and the American way.

I don't approve of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other outfits whose goal is to make the world safe from men who wear trousers. And I regard the Saudi judicial system as a sort of sideshow: one that would be amusing, if the floggings weren't real.

But I don't think they're "Islam."

Any more than I think that Scott Roeder and the KKK are "Christianity."

I don't even think that religion in general is a bad thing. Which makes me very much not part of the "sophisticated" clique in American culture.

Bledsoe is a convert to Islam.

But not, I suspect, to the sort of Islam practiced in a Toronto Mosque, where Muslims are emulating Alcoholics Anonymous in their effort to 'detoxify' the minds of youngsters who absorbed the 'jihad' notions of Al Qaeda and company.

And, again I suspect, Bledsoe Muhammad Mujahid whatever isn't connected with the Islam practiced by the people behind posters made by The Subway Project.

Beware Assumptions About 'Those People'

I've written about this before: Replacing thought with assumptions is not a good idea. Assumptions may be convenient, allowing people to come to conclusions without the effort of thinking. But assumptions don't have a particularly good track record for accuracy.

In Iran, the 'usual suspects' are "arrogant powers" like the great Satan America. (May 30, 2009) This mindset can be embarrassing. Like the time Iran announced that it had prevented an attack by forcing down an American warplane. That wasn't American. And wasn't a military aircraft. (October 7, 2008)

Iran isn't the only place where assumptions sometimes take the place of thought. Quite a few people still think the "Ames Strain" of anthrax came from Ames, Iowa. (August 15, 2008)

More seriously, quite a few people in America appear convinced that victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on New York City deserved to die: because they were "little Eichmanns." (April 3, 2009)

As I wrote a few days ago: "One of the drawbacks, I think, of dominating a country's government, news media, educational institutions, and other information gatekeepers, is the tendency to start believing one's own propaganda." (May 29, 2009)

It's very easy to blame 'those people,' assuming that they embody all the vice and error of humanity. Since I'm a Catholic, I'm one of 'those people' in the eyes of many. That makes me a bit cautious when it comes to assumptions about other groups.

That doesn't mean that I approve of, or make excuses for the fellow with so many names. Going into a recruiting center and killing somebody is wrong.

And, when the victim is a member of the armed forces, stupid. People in the American military are dedicated to maintaining the freedoms enjoyed by Americans and those living in America: including the right to say that the American military is to blame for whatever's wrong at the moment.

Related posts: In the news:


L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

You are right equating islam to terrorism is wrong. But I think you are also right in saying that there are many kinds of Islam just like there are many kinds of christianity. However, I think muslim religious leaders must take some responsibility for the recent spurt in terrorism, because militant Islam has overpowered the real Islam.

You may find my terror series interesting.

Brian H. Gill said...

L. Venkata Subramaniam,

Thank you for your comment - and the link. I did, indeed, find your 'terror series' interesting. And, rather more detailed than is usual.

Thanks for the link.

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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.