Keep Calm, Everyone

I don’t even have to look to know that right now the internet is exploding with speculation and finger-pointing with regard to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Whoever turns out to have done it, what we all ought keep in mind right now is that the purpose of terrorism is to cause terror. It’s to put fear in the hearts and minds not only of the immediate victims, but of everyone.

We can’t let that happen.

People make bad decisions when they’re afraid. Just look how far off the deep end we went here in the US after 9/11. We passed the Patriot Act and then started an unrelated war on the flimsiest of pretexts, a war where we lost our soul by torturing prisoners and that cleared the space for ISIS to come into being. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What happened is terrible. And I hope the French catch whoever did this. I think they will. They’ve closed the borders and President Hollande said they know who they’re looking for. And in spite of the American habit of bashing the French, they’re more than capable of handling this, and I have every faith that they will. As should you.

As the hours and days pass, we’ll learn what happened. Who did this and why. Until then, what’s important is to keep calm and not jump to conclusions. This is the world we live in now, and until we know more all there really is to do — unless you are actually in Paris — is to stand in sympathy and solidarity with our friends and allies on this tragic, tragic day.

Calling a Spade a Spade: Why the Charleston Murders Were a Terrorist Act

Plenty of ink has been spilled in the wake of the blood spilled by DSR (whom I shan’t dignify by further promoting his name) Wednesday night at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and while it may be that I likely won’t say anything that hasn’t been said elsewhere, and likely better, I think it’s worth saying what I have to say, both to add to the general chorus and because I am a white man, which might (might) make other white men marginally likelier to listen, or will at least make it more difficult to discount what I say on the basis of any kind of identity politics.

So, let’s start by calling a spade a spade*: Wednesday night’s murders were an act of racially-motivated terrorism, premeditated, abetted by a culture expressly formulated to preserve and promote violent white supremacy, committed with the express intent of catalyzing a race war.

Harsh language, it’s true. But any honest, good-faith examination of the facts and circumstances leads inevitably to that conclusion, so far as I can tell. Don’t believe me? Let’s unpack, then. Continue reading “Calling a Spade a Spade: Why the Charleston Murders Were a Terrorist Act”