Finest moment this isn't
Let’s start with Jay’s post. He quotes Dave Neiwert to claim that the this was “certain[ly]” a political statement:
What’s clear is that Hamilton fully intended to take as many people with him as possible; that’s why he began by targeting the dispatcher’s office, where he knew he would get police response. And considering his extremist background, it is certain this was intended as some kind of political statement. It was, by most definitions, an act of domestic terrorism.
It’s not certain. That’s a completely absurd statement. As Craig points out, that’s where the shooter’s wife works. It’s perfectly consistent with a personal rampage. It’s absolutely not anything approaching “certain.”
Jay then tries to spin the whole thing into a lesson that we should take Islamic terrorism less seriously:
Furthermore, 42% of Christians consider themselves “Christians first,” not “Americans first.”
And in a post today, Greenwald notes that Americans in general are much more likely to support the killing of civilians for political purposes (51%) than U.S. Muslims (13%) and even Iranians (16%).
Do I think that all American Christians are sadistic terrorists? Of course not. That would be a simplistic generalization based on a few isolated events. In other words, the same type of generalization that has created the idea of a worldwide “culture war” pitting “Islamicists” against “civilized nations.”
Yes, the most repressive regimes on the planet are Islamist and Islamist terrorist groups are by far the largest that are bent on attacking us. Just a few isolated incidents, ya see. No cause for alarm.
You can make the case that terrorism in general is over-hyped. It is, to some degree. But to inflate right-wing terrorism in the U.S. to anything approaching radical Islam is completely asinine. To say that Islamist thought is not in conflict with the values of civilized (I don’t like using that word here, but it works) nations (you know, human rights, liberty, democracy…) is extremely myopic.
Jay ends with some happy and useless platitudes about the fight against terrorism:
So let’s fight terrorism realistically. Through policing, not culture wars. Through prevention, not eradication. And, above all, let’s remember that the best path to fighting terror lies not through anger and authoritarianism, but with civility, diversity, and democracy.
Nonsense. Civility, diversity, and democracy have never stopped suicide terrorism. It’s been stopped by ending the conflicts at the root of it. Policing is nice, but it’s simply treading water. At least he gets points for being against authoritarianism. Curbing Islamism will take cultural reform in the Muslim world.
Now, Craig’s response. He rightly attacks the characterization of the Idaho incident. Actually, it’s a generally correct post. Except for one thing:
Now, apply Occam’s Razor to the situation. He was a violent guy with a history of domestic violence and animal cruelty. He killed his wife, and people who were associated with her. It just so happened that she worked at the courthouse. I’d put odds that if she worked at Pizza Hut, that’s where he would have gone instead of the courthouse.
But, that explanation does not fit with the left’s narrative, namely that right-wing extremists are a far worse danger than Islamists.
Where did that come from? Jay’s post? Nope. Hey, it was pulled out of thin air! It’s a fuckin’ miracle!
Another thing to note, acting like a violent asshole generally and making a violent political statement are not mutually exclusive courses of action. This could be an act of terrorism. Or it might not be. Who knows? I’ll just say that I doubt it. It is possible, however.
Let’s put it this way: yes, there are right-wing terrorists in this country. No, they shouldn’t be ignored. Yes, Islamists are a bigger threat. No, right-wing terrorism is not an equivalent danger to Islamism.
Was that so hard?