Thursday, December 3, 2015

The San Bernardino Mass Shooting: Stochastic Terrorism? Workplace Violence With a Religious Spin? A Win for the NRA and the GOP?

We are in the third day of our annual December fundraiser. I would like to thank the kind folks who have already donated. Unfortunately, we are a bit behind where I thought we could potentially be on this third day. My work for the podcast (a new episode will be posted tonight), writings online, and various other activities, are very time consuming. They are a labor of love, but take many hours each week. With hands open and begging bowl out if you can offer a donation to help sustain my work--and the positive energy of that material act is always appreciated--it would be most deeply appreciated.


Please do consider this, as is our habit, a semi-open thread.

Yesterday, there was another mass shooting in America. Two people, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik are accused of killing 14 people in San Bernardino, California. The axiom, "if it bleeds it leads" was proven true once again as the 24/7 cable news media interviewed witnesses and survivors in a manner, to my eyes at least, that was voyeuristic and ghoulish. The reporters feign deep concern; a mass shooting is also a career making opportunity for a newsie.

The shootings were also an opportunity for "experts" to ply their craft on TV as they found "new" ways to talk about the same information for hours on end. The spectacle of America's militarized police was on full display as they hunted for the shooters. The outlier moment when such force is necessary would seem to erase in the (white) public imagination the harm done by police thugs who are more likely to use such weaponry to kill, bully, beat, and harass black and brown people. Firefighters were heroic as they triaged survivors. The Right-wing cult of "first responders" grows.

Regardless of any complicating details, yesterday's mass shooting will be considered an act of "Islamic terrorism".

Some thoughts and curiosities.

1. First, what is your broad take on these events? How do you feel about the news media coverage?

2. Any hypotheses to offer? Workplace violence with a religious spin? Stochastic terrorism? A direct order from ISIS?

3. Who wins politically here? Donald Trump? The GOP more broadly? The gun industry? The NRA?

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