June 08, 2013

Jihad Definitely Ruled Out in Mass Shooting by Guy Who's Last Name is "Zawahiri"

I'm not saying John Zawahiri was motivated by jihad. He might just be crazy and distressed over his parents' divorce.

But, as I've noted in the past, there is something like a reverse jump-to-conclusions when it comes to Muslims accused of crimes. Assuming that everyone will jump to the erroneous conclusion that the Muslim was motivated by his faith, the media immediately informs its readers that the real reason said accused Muslim committed the crime was something else. Indeed, anything else.

This is the case when there are no known motives -- as in the present case -- and even when the motives become clear -- as in the Boston bombings, when media personalities continued to parrot the party line that it might have been mental illness or alienation that motivated the killers long after it was becoming clear that they were religiously motivated.

It's as if the media doesn't realize jumping to conclusions works in both directions.

It also misses the more interesting and nuanced truth that mental illness and motivated by jihad are not mutually exclusively categories. Or that many terrorists are both motivated by jihad, but also have a proximate cause for why they are committing their violence at a particular point in time and space.

In other words, jihad and I'm pissed that my wife left me are also not mutually exclusive categories.

People's motivations are often a mix of a lot of things. I'm not assuming Zawahiri was motivated by jihad, but let's not rule it out either:

The gunman accused of killing four people in a Santa Monica shooting rampage Friday was apparently angry over his parents' divorce and had some mental health issues in the past, a law enforcement source told The Times.

The suspect was identified by five law enforcement sources in Washington and Los Angeles as John Zawahri, in his 20s.

Other sources with knowledge of the investigation said detectives believe the shooting was sparked by a family dispute of some kind but emphasized that the investigation was still in its early stages....

Firefighters later found the bodies of two men inside the house. Police sources said the men were Samir Zawahri, 55, the owner of the house and the father of the alleged gunman, and one of his adult sons....

the gunman allegedly fired at a city bus from front to back, shattering the windows. Passengers dived to the floor for cover...

Campus police intercepted the alleged gunman on the edge of campus and exchanged gunfire with him, authorities said. They continued to trade shots as the man ran toward the school's library and shot a woman outside the building's entrance before disappearing inside.

The woman outside the library later died at a hospital.

During the rampage, five people were wounded, two seriously, police said.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:18 PM | Comments |