If blowing up people is values, I’m not interested

April 20, 2013

The story of two brothers originally from Chechnya (within Russia), one who seemed to have assimilated and fit in nicely to contemporary American society, such as it is, and the other who tried but failed and dragged his younger sibling along with him to the cesspool of demented thinking and violence that is Jihad, militant Islamic fundamentalism (although many of the Islamic faith would no doubt disavow it as Islamic, at least one would hope):

That is the story of the violent and bizarre week in Boston that began with the lethal bomb blasts at the conclusion of the Boston Marathon and continued with a lockdown of a major city and gun battles with the culprits and more detonating of explosives, one brother being killed and a policeman killed too, as well as the three people killed and nearly 200 wounded in the original blasts, and ended with the capture of the other brother.

And with the details emerging, it seems at this time that the terrorism was not directly for some political aim, but more from youthful frustration and alienation (and that may be the case in most or much of the terrorism going on in the world). The older brother had complained in an earlier interview that he had no American friends. His younger sibling apparently did, or at least got along, but was drug down by his older brother.

It would be nice or convenient to find something to blame this all on and then do something about that something. The internet comes to mind, for that seems to be the tool that is used these days to spread terrible ideas. I’m using that tool right now — not to spread terrible ideas, though.

It is said that the older brother was caught up in Jihadist stuff on the internet, apparently turning to that as some kind of refuge when things did not work out for him. He had complained that Americans have no values. Well if blowing up people is values, then, personally, I’m not interested in such values.

He may have been correct on one level, though. Our society is lacking somewhat in what once were considered wholesome values and maybe lacking in a common purpose, something which helps a society function.

But, anyway, let’s give it to Boston and the law enforcement authorities there and the FBI for not fooling around. I mean shutting a whole town down so the bad guys had nowhere to hide or go. Now that is the way it should be and was done.

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What is the draw among youth toward Islamic fundamentalism/violence? The terrorists are not doing the work of God

April 19, 2013

UPDATE (4-19-13, 1700 hrs, PDT):

Now late in the day the word on the wire (to use an old term) is that the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing has been arrested, the first one being killed, along with the death of a policeman, and the deaths of three in the bombing earlier in the week, with nearly 200 wounded.

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And now today (Friday, April 19) there reportedly seems to be a Muslim or what I might call a pseudo Muslim connection with the deadly Boston Marathon bombing with the death of one of two suspects and a policeman in the Boston area. It has now been reported that authorities have identified the suspects (again one suspect now dead) as being from or near the disputed Russian territory of Chechnya where there has been an Islamic insurgency. They were reportedly raised in the U.S.

I know little of the religion of Islam, that is in any scholarly detail, but I have come to the conclusion that most or all terrorists are either being used by Islamic fundamentalists or have their own skewed interpretation of the religion (although many organized religions, including Christianity, have a history of violence conducted in their names).

As I recall, the initial reports in the bombing incident talked of a Saudi Arabian “person of interest”. Then that report was discredited and then one had to wonder if it was not the work of demented home-grown Timothy McVeigh-type terrorists. And now is appears it might have been the work of foreign students, the terrorists I believe described as brothers and students.

Well, the true details are emerging or will emerge. But what is this about the draw of Islamic fundamentalism/violence among youth? Is it some form of super frustration and identity crisis?

Religious leaders of all faiths need to step up and call for peace and denounce violence. They need to make it plain that those who carry out violence are doing so for their own purposes, not that of the religions and not in the name of God.

The following are my previous posts on the incident:

Update (4-18-13, late):

This Boston thing is crazy. I get home and read on the internet that a policeman has been shot and killed and that one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing has been arrested (and that may not be official yet as I write this but was reported in the Boston Globe). Not at all sure whether there was any connection to the policeman being killed or an earlier reported car jacking or reports of two men with a bomb to the Marathon bombing case. All very crazy and confusing. It is being reported that police were asking (telling?) people to turn off their cell phones — not sure what that was all about.

I make reference further down to a blast at a Texas fertilizer plant and speculate on whether there is any connection, but I read today that the plant near Waco, Texas had earlier been cited for safety violations.

Have to go to bed. Maybe it will all make sense in the morning. Oh, one more thing, just heard via internet Mitt Romney talking quite eloquently about the current situation and complimenting the president on remarks he made. Romney sounded compassionate, responsible, and gracious, and even human — too bad for him that he did not seem to have it all together for the election. I know I am going off the subject at hand, but it makes me think that maybe for his sake (not mine) he should have been his own man and not listened to handlers.

UPDATE (4-18-13):

And now this Thursday morning the news is that a fire and explosion in a Texas fertilizer plant has killed a yet unknown number of people and wounded many others and completely leveled the plant and damaged adjacent structures, this happening yesterday. Authorities are treating it as a  crime scene, although they do not know at this time whether it was an industrial accident or a deliberate act. So we are left to wonder if it has any connection to the bombing of the Boston Marathon this week where three people were killed and nearly 200 wounded.

Coincidentally I was listening to an audio book yesterday (being a truck driver I do this sometimes) and in the fiction story involving terrorists, one person opines that the real culprits behind terrorism are people or organizations who want power and use others as their dupes to do the dirty work. I suspect such is at least part of the story.

I along with most people, I am sure, am hoping that we are not in for a round of sustained domestic terror.

Also I have read some criticism of the news media for jumping the gun and erroneously reporting that a suspect in the Boston case had already been arrested and was to be arraigned yesterday (as of this writing no one has been arrested yet). My guess is that there were reports from some usually reliable sources in law enforcement and they may have in fact had someone in mind or maybe even questioned or detained someone and then things changed.  Added to this, what with the internet, there is a plethora of news sources or outlets but they are all feeding on each other and added to this, the standard media outlets are doing with fewer and fewer people and lower budgets so they have become more dependent upon repeating rumors rather than solid reporting.

When I studied journalism long ago we were taught that one should strive to be first with the news, but first and accurate. That is a dilemma, because if you are first, chances are bigger that there will be at least some inaccuracy, and yet there is no percentage in being second — it’s kind of like sports.

Update to the Update: And also word today that a 45-year-old man from Corinth, Mississippi has been arrested by the FBI in connection with the mailing of ricin (poison) laced letters to President Obama and at least one senator. There are always deranged and misled people out there ready to do harm. It’s a fact of life.

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I have no words of wisdom about the Boston Marathon bombing except nut case bombings seem to be contagious.

We have always had anarchists who for some reason think there is some reason or something to be gained from hurting innocent people.

I have not heard any word at this time what the motive might have been or whether some terrorist group is claiming responsibility. I have read that there is a Saudi Arabian man considered to be a person of interest. Maybe that report is not accurate. Of course it is easy and quite logical to assume it was the work of Muslim or Mid East terrorists. However the last time we did that it turned out to be a homegrown nut who with the help of some fellow nuts blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City.

We might wind up with a police state yet over such security concerns. That is about all this terrorism would accomplish.

Terrorism has been used in the past to accomplish what some might consider a work of a just cause — and I won’t go into that lest I be misinterpreted. But terrorism is never right. Hurting innocent people is never right.

What to do?

No answer.

P.s.

I used the word anarchist and I know that some of the terrorists don’t fit that category but their methods threaten anarchy.


Ignore the rhetoric from North Korea, a reaction is what they want…

April 11, 2013

It seems to me that we should not get too excited about North Korea’s belligerence. A reaction is what those trouble makers or the new spoiled brat of a leader want. He probably hopes we’ll shoot back at some provocation or even jump the gun and do something and then apologize and send them more aid.

And that is what this is all about. The threats from the north have resulted in more U.S. aid and our letting that nation go ahead and develop its nuclear weapons capability.

Just as in Iran, we should keep our mouth shut but just make sure they don’t become capable of using or delivering nuclear weapons.

Certainly, behind the scenes we should work with China on putting a lid on things in North Korea. That outlaw nation is as much of an embarrassment to China as it is a bother to us.

Maybe we should have let Mac Arthur finish that job after all. But for some reason after World War II the United States still was capable of getting into wars, just not winning them.

But we don’t need a war this time. I am sure we have the capability of snuffing out that blowhard in the north if we have to. We really should not even answer him with diplomacy. We should not dignify his foolishness.

As usual someone else has said all this better than I have and probably knows a lot more about it. I offer this link to a New York Times opinion piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/opinion/stay-cool-call-north-koreas-bluff.html?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB


Margaret Thatcher dies, but the Republicans could be reborn with someone like her…

April 8, 2013

Not that I want to help out the Republicans, but with the news today of the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, it occurred to me that maybe that is what the GOP needs next time around in the race for the White House. That is their version of Margaret Thatcher. A super strong woman who could articulate conservative values. It would be such a GOP Thatcher vs. no doubt Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, representing of course the more liberal point of view.

No one comes to mind who could fit the bill for the Republicans, but it seems to me that they do indeed need a woman (I mean it seemed the nation couldn’t resist and finally elected a black president, maybe the next time it could not resist a woman — and really who can?). Where they would find a Margaret Thatcher, heaven knows.

With this in mind, I recycle an old post (July 8, 2012). A slightly condensed and edited portion of it follows:

My 101-year-old mom and I were discussing the similarities and dissimilarities between the late President Ronald Reagan and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, both of whom were said to be great friends, sharing political beliefs built on conservatism.

This was not a super serious discussion, but we noted that both were conservatives and both had mental states that declined as they aged, Reagan suffering from Alzheimer’s and Thatcher said to be suffering from dementia of some kind now.

My mom said: well I guess you have to be smart in the first place to lose your smarts (or something to that effect).

I offered that certainly Mrs. Thatcher seemed like one smart lady — quite articulate and quick witted when facing questions before parliament, where the members love to hoot and holler and often try to embarrass the speaker (I love to watch the parliamentary question session because the head of the government has to actually face his or her opposition, live, in person, and see if he or she can withstand the onslaught — and if you are worth your salt, you lose nothing in the process and may gain in stature. And if you can’t stand it, you probably get “sacked” — thrown out — as they say in England, and probably deservedly so).

Got off the track here as often is the case: Anyway, I then noted that although Mr. Reagan was a sharp dresser and probably did present himself well (most of the time) as the head of state of the United States, he was no intellectual, in fact his bulb seemed a bit dull at times. I’m thinking he had at least average intelligence, though, and he at least had the skill to remember his lines, actor by profession that he was, and how to take advantage of having friends and the special interests who supported him.

Mom, lifelong liberal (she proudly proclaims that she is a “bleeding heart liberal”) seemed to agree with that.

What brought up Mrs. Thatcher was that I had been watching some YouTube videos of her and was quite impressed (I had seen her on TV long ago, but this reminded me).

Way back in Reagan’s time she predicted the downfall of the European economy by melding dissimilar economies together in one currency and by leaning toward socialism. Britain kept its pound sterling.

She also had a quick comeback to a Labor Party member who complained about the ever-widening income gap between rich and poor. While I did not pick up on how accurate she was in characterizing what he said, her retort was something like: the right honorable gentleman is quite content for the poor to be poorer, as long as the rich have less. She also charged that socialism stifles opportunity for all.

Mrs. Thatcher did not say anything more than our own conservatives here in the United States do today, but she said it with much more eloquence and authority, but in a matter that was not so harsh, the fact that she was known as the “Iron Lady” notwithstanding.

I’m not turning conservative — I maintain I am middle of the road — but I wish we had our own Margaret Thatcher running for president today.