Friday, December 04, 2015

GOP Is Relieved Shooter Is Muslim - But They Shouldn't Be

(This image of an armed right-winger Patrolling outside a Texas mosque was found at Alternate.)

The Republicans were strangely silent last week after the Colorado Springs shooting. That was a right-wing christian terrorist -- something the GOP is loathe to even admit exists (although they do the majority of terrorist killings in this country). But today, they are breathing a sigh of relief, because the shooter in San Bernardino has turned out to be a muslim (and may even have ties to radical elements).

And yesterday, they were already ramping up their rhetoric against "radical islamic terrorists". They think the fact that this shooter was muslim relieves them of any responsibility for this shooting (unlike the right-wing terrorists who are encouraged to do their dirty work by the rhetoric of GOP officials and candidates). I think they are wrong.

I think they must still accept a good share of the blame. In fact, I think the right-wingers in this country are the best recruiters that ISIS has in the United States.

That may sound wrong to you, but think of what causes young muslims to become radicalized and drift toward ISIS. It is those most disaffected (just like in other Western countries) -- those without a path to realize the American Dream for themselves, and the families they dream of having. And who is doing their best to block that path to the American Dream? The Republican officials, and their right-wing base.

Republican officials have been demonizing muslims since the 9/11 tragedy, in spite of the fact that nearly all American muslims (and muslims worldwide) were just as horrified at that tragedy as others were. The blame all muslims as being responsible for terrorism, They encourage the profiling of muslims by policing agencies. And some candidates are carrying it even further -- asking for registration of all muslims, calling for closing down their mosques, wanting to deny them entry into this country (even thoroughly-vetted refugees fleeing violence), and saying muslims should not be elected to public office.

And it's not just the GOP officials and candidates. Their bigoted base is just as bad, if not worse. They have held armed protests outside mosques, patrolled outside mosques with weapons showing, and have even defaced and fire-bombed mosques. They have made it clear they hate muslims and don't want them in this country.

I ask -- how would that make you feel if you were muslim? Wouldn't you feel disaffected and discriminated against? Is it unreasonable to assume this would drive young disaffected muslims toward radicalization (out of self-defense if nothing else)?  I think the answer is obvious. It would not be a reach for young muslims to think they will be denied opportunity, and that Americans (and the government) will not give them an even break.

Those are sins of commission, and the GOP is guilty of them. But they are also committing sins of omission. They have failed to take any action to prevent mass shootings in this country (which exceed one mass shooting each day). In fact they have blocked any attempts to decrease the number of mass shootings. They continue to make it easy for any terrorist (or criminal or dangerous psychotic) to legally buy any kind of gun they want legally -- including assault weapons.

The only solutions offered by Republicans are more prayers and a widening of war in Iraq/Syria. Sadly, neither will prevent terrorism in this country (by muslim or christian terrorists), and they certainly won't reduce the increasing number of mass shootings plaguing the country.

The Republicans are guilty of promoting terrorism and mass shootings in the United States -- through both commission and omission. They should be ashamed of themselves, but unfortunately, I don't think they are capable of feeling shame -- only self-interest and greed.

(Cartoon image is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

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