Friday, October 25, 2002

Thanks to those who have given me information and advice about the computer thing. It still isn't up yet, but probably will be next week.

In the meantime, rather a lot has happened.

First, they got the sniper. I'm glad that it's finally over, and that people can actually walk around in the open in Maryland again.
That being said, I'm not exactly as glad that some people appear to be fixating on one aspect of the guy's identity as a determinate factor in all of this. Yes, he was a member of the Nation of Islam, but that doesn't exactly make him a Wahhabi fundamentalist, and it certainly doesn't imply that this was some sort of organized action, despite the silly little gotchas (like the date of the registration of his van) that the Anti-Islamic Blogger Front are pulling out. You can be both a member of the NOI and a lone nut; the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Actually, the identity of the actual sniper isn't really quite what I think anyone had in mind. He isn't middle eastern, isn't white, doesn't appear to be an Islamic fundamentalist (although he is a member of the Nation of Islam), and although a former military man and trained in marksmanship in the military:

"...defence officials at the Pentagon said Muhammad earned an M-16 expert marksman badge during his service in the U.S. Army, the highest level of expertise given by the military"

he wasn't really immersed in right-wing gunnuttery. He probably wasn't driven to it by playing Doom, either. I think Oliver Willis made a good point:

InstaPundit and its attendant readers/bloggers seem to be getting into a lather over the media's failure to link Muhammad's muslim background with his shootings. This seems to be an issue in search of a problem. So far, he fits the pattern of your ex-military wacko who has gone off the deep end. It so happens that he's Muslim rather than Christian, but it doesn't seem to be the motivation in his killings. You know, even after 9/11 psychos are just crazy sometimes.
Actually, the most disturbing theory that I've read about (but unfortunately don't have a link for) is that this sort of reaction is a psychological manifestation of Gulf War Syndrome. If true, that's scary as hell.

Last (but not least) is the news that Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash.

There's really only one proper response to that:


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