The leftier parts of the news-blogosphere complex have been drippping with memes and one of 'em is, "Look, there those white folks go again, a white man commits an act of terrorism and they call him 'crazy' instead."
It is, of course, inflammatory, and not at all in line with general trend of public reaction in Charleston; but it's also at least partially accurate, just misinterpreted: it's a distancing thing. Guy looks like my son or brother, goes and does something like that? Nobody I know would do that -- unless they were crazy. And so people who look like the killer say, "He must be crazy." It's not an excuse. They're trying to say, "I'm repelled by his actions. I'm not like that."
Crazy? You don't have to be sane to be a terrorist. Conversely, while the kind of horribly cold calculation involved in sitting through a Bible Study class in order to commit multiple murders certainly seems insane, the twisted little weasel who did so may or may not meet legal or medical definitions of "insanity." It does not reduce the outrageousness of his actions.
It was an act of terror. --A particularly ineffective one. And we can take the wind right of the sails of any would-be cheerleaders or copycats by ensuring it does not provoke greater polarization or violent reaction, because a big, divisive reaction is what terrorists want: terrorism attempts to leverage public opinion and official reaction as a force multiplier.
Don't let any fast-talker divide you from your fellow, peaceable humans. Yeah, there's still a lot wrong with the way people treat one another; read history and you'll see we really are doing better now than we have in the past. We haven't built Utopia yet and we're unlikely to, but civil amity is not losing ground, despite the noise-level in social media, despite the jaywalkers who swear at you in your car, despite the pushy drivers who won't let you cross the street. Hateful bastards may always be among us, but they get less and less traction over time.
4 weeks ago