Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gunman kills four people in shooting rampage, targeted because they were white.

Police tape blocks off the site of one of the shootings. Reuters. 

A gunman killed three white people, a week after murdering a security guard and targeted people because of their race. Reuters. The suspect, 39 year old Kori Ali Muhammad, shot three people and missed another before getting arrested by the police. During the attack Muhammad screamed out "Allah Akbar" a phrase meaning "God is Great" but is often invoked during terrorist attacks. Police said the suspect hated white people and was specifically targeting white men. It is unclear if the suspect had any connections any terrorist organization or if his motive went beyond racial hatred. Muhammad had prior convictions on weapons and drug charges. 

My Comment:
Very strange case. I am not sure if this is an Islamic terrorist attack or just a simple racially motivated hate crime. Either way, I consider this shooting to be a terrorist attack. If the Dylann Roof shootings, which were racially motivated, were a terrorist attack then this one is as well. It shouldn't matter if in one case the victims were white and the other case they were black, it's the fact that the attacker killed them because of the color of there skin. And if it was based on Islamic beliefs than it is obviously terrorism.

We shouldn't rule out connections to terrorist groups though. ISIS has long history of trying to recruit people like Muhammad to conduct "lone wolf" terror attacks. ISIS loves to recruit people on the margins of society. People with criminal records, mental health issues or who just don't fit in with the wider society are prime for recruitment. It seems as though Muhammad was probably in all three categories, after all he called himself Black Jesus, so I think it is possible that he was recruited. Right now though there is no evidence either way. 

I think it is very possible that this was just a racist attack though. Though it is a faux pas to point this out, there are a lot of extremely racist black people that hate whites as much as the KKK hates blacks. These people blame every single problem the black community has on the white community and this occasionally results in violence. The main difference is that white racists are roundly, and correctly, condemned for their beliefs while black racists are ignored at best and celebrated at worse. Compare the reaction to Black Lives Matter, a black racist organization, to the KKK. They are both hate groups but one is respected and covered religiously by the media while the other is so hated that they can't even be mentioned in polite society. 

I think the media has a role to play in this as well. They do everything they can to reinforce the beliefs of black racists. When a white man kills a black man, no matter how justified the killing is, it will be used to reinforce the false narrative that white people can kill blacks with impunity. The media tells people that the entire system is against black people and that they are oppressed and it is all the fault of white people. All white people, not just the politicians. Even innocent people like the ones that were killed in this attack. And it doesn't matter that this narrative is, by and large, false. Though we don't know for sure if that was the motive for this attack, I suspect that this had a lot to do with it. 

And I also have to point out that black racism and radical Islam have a strong connection with each other in the United States. Some black Muslims in the United States are very racist against white people and consider them to be less than human. It is very possible that this attack was related to both racism and radical Islam.

Once again, I feel the need to point out that we should condemn racism wherever we see it. We shouldn't judge people because of the color of their skin. When talking about people we should be talking about their actions, not their race. There are good people and evil people of every race and we should always avoid condemning an entire race for the actions of a few bad people. When the Kori Ali Muhammad's and Dylann Roof's of the wold commit atrocities, we should condemn them and them alone for their actions, with the exception of anyone that helped them.

People are already downplaying certain aspects of this case. Specifically the Associated Press sent out a tweet saying that the suspect said "God is Great" during the attack. That's technically correct, but it is also very misleading. The man said "Allah Akbar" which literally means "God is Great" but translating it to that strips out much of the context. It seems like a very deliberate attempt to mislead people on the nature of the attack and downplay the possibility of Islamic Terrorism. This is a major example of why people don't trust the media.  
I also have to point out that this attack happened in California. The suspect was a convicted felon and should not have been able to get a firearm. He also seems to have had a magazine that carried more rounds than is legal as well. He fired 15 rounds which is a standard magazine size that is illegal in California but it's possible that he reloaded. All the laws in California didn't prevent this attack and I am sure the new gun control proposed in the wake of this attack will do nothing to prevent the next one...

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