Saturday, December 5, 2015

The San Bernardino Shooting

One angle in the investigation of the San Bernardino Shooting was how the Farook's obtained the assault weapons.  It has been reported that they legally purchased the handguns.  But nothing much has been said about how they obtained the assault rifles.*

If this shooting was motivated by geopolitics and therefore terrorism, as now seems almost certainly the case on the basis of facts reported in news reporting, several things should be kept in mind.

1) This is one of the very few Islamist terrorist shootings to occur inside the USA since 9/11.  14 people were killed.  Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are killed by auto accidents every year.  And I could go on with millions of other mostly preventable deaths.  There is no good reason for mass fear.  An average American's risk of death from terrorism is exceedingly tiny compared with other death risks which people generally ignore.

2) Since 9/11, and far before, the US has been killing people in the middle east.  The number is at least nearly 100,000 and possibly a million or more.  And that's not even counting deaths from chemical exposure to depleted uranium, excess deaths from water purification systems which were destroyed and/or subjected to sanctions, and so on.  Though senseless, this possible terrorist act is blowback on an exceedingly tiny scale.

3) Giving in to fear is exactly what "the terrorists" (and specifically ISIL) want.  They want non-muslims to overreact with fear and panic and lash out against ordinary non-extremist muslims, thereby radicalizing all muslims.  Above all we should not give in to fear and panic which only makes this situation worse.  The 1.5 billion muslims in the world are almost entirely peace loving people and want to have nothing to do with terrorism and are as unhappy about Islamic Terrorists as non-muslims if not far more.

4) The correct actions for western powers to take are all peaceable.  We should be trying to negotiate at all levels.  And also accepting all refugees.  And jawboning the Saudi's to cool down their Wahabi schools.

5) US action in Syria goes back to the 1940's when Truman's CIA got newly independent Syria's first democratic government overthrown and replaced by a US-friendly dictator.  Or perhaps you could go back further to count how we helped the Syrian independence movement defeat the French.  We're really responsible for much of went on during the Arab Spring because we supported and encourage opposition movements.  It is known that Syria did not use chemical weapons against rebels in at least one alleged incident, and quite possibly all such incidents.  Instead Syrian rebels got supplies through the "ratline" from Libya abetted by the US.  US is the party most responsible for chaos in Syria, and it is our moral duty to accept all Syrian refugees.  US has been trying to overthrow Assad for geopolitical rather than humanitarian reasons.  Precisely because Assad has been a client of Russia.

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