The Republican Debate and ISIS
On Tuesday evening, I watched the Republican debate between those wanting to be nominated and elected as the next president of the United States. I could not help but wonder that if the killings had not happened in San Bernardino, would the main topic of the debate had been what the GOP candidates call “radical Islamic terrorists”? The main issue should have been gun control in America.
Before December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California where 14 people were killed and 22 injured, on October 1, 2015, Chris Harper Mercer killed 10 people and wounded 7 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Before July 16, 2015 when Mohammad Abdulazeez killed 4 Marines and a Navy sailor, on June 17, 2015, Dylan Roof attended a Bible class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and killed 9 people.
Before the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent related shootings on April 15, 2013, that killed 3 people and injured an estimated 264 others, on August 12, 2012, Wade Michael Page killed 6 people and wounded 4 others in a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI. Page mistook the worshippers for Muslims.
Before what GOP candidates, including Marco Rubio, call “radical Islamic terrorist” used guns to take innocent lives on American soil, on December 14, 2012, there was Sandy Hook, where Adam Lanza killed his mother, 20 children and 6 adult staff members.
Before the pipe bombs associated with the acts of terrorists in San Bernardino, James Holmes booby-trapped his apartment with bombs. On July 20, 2012, Holmes walked into a movie theater in Aurora, CO where he killed 12 people and injured more than 70.
Before there was any public thought expressed by politicians regarding “radical Islamic terrorist” on American soil, on April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, killed 21 people and wounded 17 others.
Before September 11, 2001 when pilots used planes as bombs, on April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School and killed 12 students, a teacher, and wounded 23 others.
Can politicians not understand that it is Americans who have given examples of mass killings to “radical Islamic terrorists”?
In many of the cases, it is reported that some of the perpetrators were persuaded by what they read on social media. Funny. I remember that before the internet, using religion to influence others to harm themselves and/or others was called a “cult.” Before the internet, California congressman Leo Ryan put together a delegation to visit Guyana. He and 4 others were shot down; 909 others, including 304 children were poisoned or shot. Jim Jones was not called a radical religious leader but rather, a cult leader.
Long before “radical Islamic terrorist” killed people on American soil, America had a history of suicidal people willing to kill themselves and others in the name of their religious beliefs. Why are we not using the word “cult” now? Because it does not directly target a religion, and some politicians and bigoted Americans need to direct their hatred towards Islam. By directing it collectively towards Islam, it distracts from the fact that Americans do the same things to other Americans, and they do it using guns. It is easier getting an automatic weapon in America than it is getting approved for a mortgage.
Freedom of speech may have influenced people to take positions of hate, but guns freely sold in America is what makes it possible for them to carry out their hatred. Politicians are missing the mark. America needs gun control.