In this country there’s an ongoing and often intense debate over the semantics of what we should call those who commit horrific acts of violence. We’ve seen endless (and mostly pointless) back and forth discussions between liberals and conservatives based almost entirely on which particular adjective we should be using when talking about a mass murderer.
Conservatives idiotically insist that we cannot even begin to fight terrorism unless we’re willing to say “Islamic radical.” Meanwhile, many liberals jump at the chance to label any white male who commits an act of violence a “Christian terrorist,” even if there’s no sign that religion played any part in their violent crime.
The moment news breaks about another mass shooting, the Internet explodes with petty arguments between liberals and conservatives, desperately trying to “win” the battle of assumptions.
Are there Islamic radicals? Yes. Are there Christian radicals? Yes. But guess what? There are many other kinds of radicals in the world, too.
Is the Planned Parenthood shooter a “Christian radical”? Sure, there have been some reports that indicate he had some rather far-fetched religious beliefs. But I’ve met people who are rabidly anti-abortion who aren’t exactly religious. It’s possible for someone to be an anti-abortion radical without being a “Christian” radical.
Now based on evidence it seems that the San Bernardino killers could have been “radicalized Muslims” who were planning on doing something for a while. Whether or not something workplace-related set them off is still being investigated.
The truth is, most of those who commit mass murder in this country aren’t tied to any particular sect of radicalization at all – they’re crazy. Something pushed them over the edge, though often we have no idea exactly what. Then again, that’s the nature of insanity… action or belief without a rational reason.
How about this, let’s just call these people what they are: Crazy radicals.
These arguments over semantics relating to adjectives are honestly nothing but pointless fodder for those who seem to care more about winning an argument (or scoring political points in the case of politicians) than addressing these issues themselves.
Are there certain areas of society that seem to produce more violent radicals than others? Yes. But don’t tell me that anti-government radicals (many of whom think a violent overthrow of our government is not only acceptable, but likely in the near future) can’t be every bit as dangerous as a religious fanatic who’s acting based on their religious beliefs.
Or what about bigots like these fools who seem itching to get into some sort of violent gun battle with Muslims?
Ironically, anti-government radicals and Islamic radicals are typically on the same side when it comes to how they feel about the U.S. government. And I hate to break it to conservatives, but there are a whole lot more anti-government radicals in this country armed and preparing for a “second revolution” to take down the government than there are radical Muslims.
Religion just happens to be the most common tool used to drive violent behavior because it’s the easiest way to manipulate people into acting against their own self interests. Human history is littered with example after example of atrocities carried out “in the name of religion” – all religions.
Hell, in this country alone millions upon millions of Americans vote against their own interests all the time because the GOP has managed to wrap religion in with politics. Poor people, dependent on the government, voting for politicians who want to cut or gut their benefits, ignorantly proclaiming that “they don’t need the government.”
So, in the name of all of our own sanity, we should really come to an agreement. No matter the mechanism these insane people used to justify these mass shootings, at the end of the day, all of these mass murderers are monsters who’ve distorted something to justify their barbaric acts of violence.