There are voices in the past few days, mainly from the far right, that are blaming “political correctness” for not promptly linking the Fort Hood shooting by a Muslim American to Islamic extremism. As I have already argued, we always come up with some inane excuse to push under the rug the All American shooting spree.
In today’s New York Times, David Brooks – the soft spoken, moderate conservative yet unapologetic war-monger – seems to come up with the same conclusion even though he is trying to blame the shooting on Islamic extremism. He writes,
This narrative [of Islamic violence] is embraced by a small minority. But it has caused incredible amounts of suffering within the Muslim world, in Israel, in the U.S. and elsewhere. With their suicide bombings and terrorist acts, adherents to this narrative have made themselves central to global politics. They are the ones who go into crowded rooms, shout “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” and then start murdering. [Emphasis added]
Get rid of the “God is Great” part and what should we call that varied class of Americans who regularly do the exact the same? Brooks could be speaking about Americans. He continues,
The conversation in the first few days after the massacre was well intentioned, but it suggested a willful flight from reality. It ignored the fact that the war narrative of the struggle against Islam is the central feature of American foreign policy. It ignored the fact that this narrative can be embraced by a self-radicalizing individual in the U.S. as much as by groups in Tehran, Gaza or Kandahar.
It denied, before the evidence was in, the possibility of evil. It sought to reduce a heinous act to social maladjustment. It wasn’t the reaction of a morally or politically serious nation. [Emphasis added]
Brooks has made my point. We always reduce the heinous act of the great American shooting spree to social maladjustment. We talk, just as we did here, about early warning signs, but we never seriously discuss why going postal is such a frequent occurrence in American life or why we allow people such easy access to deadly weapons. Addressing our gun laws or questioning our character would be “political incorrect” and put our exceptionalism into question.
So, Mr. Brooks, when have we ever reacted after shooting spree as a “morally or politically serious nation”?
Finally, it would be ironic if it takes a Muslim American acting like an All American to finally change the way the pro-gun absolutists view easy, quick and unhindered access to weapons. The argument, as used after the Virgina Tech shooting, that more guns will protect us from guns doesn’t hold weight when the shooting occurs on the largest military base of the most militarized nation on the planet.