What Happened Yesterday?

(What it Might Have Been Like for Victims)

by David Blakeslee

I got up. I got dressed. I hugged my children. I called a friend. I went to work. I packed my bag for a prolonged business trip. I went to lunch. I then went to the doctor’s office for a final check on my health and then, to get my teeth cleaned.

I was traveling for my work to a place where it might be hard to get medical attention. I sat down in the waiting room. I found a magazine, Sports Illustrated, to read. I flipped the pages and I looked around the room. I saw some friends from other parts of the company, smiling and talking to each other. Every few minutes a person left the room and every few minutes a new person came in the room. It was a strange feeling, not knowing all of them, but being bound by similar work and a similar mission.

I glanced down at my magazine, the Raiders continue to lose and look terrible. The Phillies are behind in the World Series, I know better, they already lost.. Pop…Pop Pop…Pop…Pop. Scream, crash. Pop…Pop…Pop, Pop, Pop. I know the sound. I am on the ground. I look in the direction of the Pop sound, a man with two guns commands the attention of the room. He is dressed like me. He looks like me. I look to others dressed like me, some are groaning, some wailing, some are whimpering, curled up in the corner as he approaches. Pop…Pop…Pop. I am panicked now. While his attention is turned I jump and run farther from him and push a small table down as a barrier. I realize that most of my co-workers have huddled in the far corner with me. Some are escaping through another door and down a hallway. Pop…Pop…Pop…Scream. Whimper. Moan. I know I am alone. I know this uniform he is wearing says I should trust him…I lunge…Pop. Pop Pop Pop.

This is what it may have been like for many of the victims yesterday at Ft. Hood.

Many words will be written about the events of yesterday and the overwhelming majority will be about the middle-aged man who knew where to find a group of trusting colleagues and then systematically betrayed them and murdered them. Many “explanations” or hypotheses will be written. Here is one: a narcissist, narcissistically wounded, acts out his wound in the most terrifying and humiliating way on people completely unprepared to defend themselves and trained to trust him. And he enjoys it. For a brief few minutes his subjective feelings of being small and a “victim” are extinguished in a gratifying hail of bullets and moans and death. It goes just the way he planned and he enjoys it.

Narcissism is rampant in this culture.

It is time to make it’s victims real, three dimensional. To narrate their motivations, their lives, to interview their friends and family and to hear what obstacles they overcame and how much they loved their country. They are small, unimportant people in this culture of celebrity. But they are deeply loved, deeply loved. And right now, everyone they loved is feeling destroyed.

Utterly destroyed.

That is what narcissism can do.

(I spent the early years of my career at a small Air Force base as the base psychologist. It was humbling to see how hard everyone worked and how devoted to the mission they were. I learned there how many different kinds of people were better than me, stronger than me and kinder than me. For a medical officer to betray his troops is the worst kind of evil).

–David Blakeslee, Psy.D. is a psychologist in West Linn, Oregon.

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  • Lynn David

    Maybe… but I am not in the psyche trade. Another doctor in England had this to say:

    We will never know exactly what triggered Nidal Malik Hasan’s attack on those around him, what combination of racism, religion, war sentiment and distress led him to pull the trigger but it is time for each one of us to see where we stand. We cannot have one set of beliefs for our day job and another for our home life. The conflict is unsustainable and the results unpredictable.

    And Vitals.com who profiles doctors had this one posting at 5:30pm EST the day of the shooting which happened at 4:30pm EST. For that reason they do believe it was a fair assessment of the doctor by a true patient. All succeeding comments were apparently made after his role in the shooting was known. The supposed patient wrote:

    “Although he was hard to understand (strong accent) this doctor helped me come to terms with my conscientious objector status.While I am still not thrilled about being deployed to Iraq, I at least understand how doing so to protect my fellow soldiers is a good thing.”

    It’s sad that Dr Hasan could not see the truth in his own words to this patient.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t put it on narcissism. People like playing the blame-laying game, sometimes for ‘narcissistic’ reasons (how smart I am, I know what’s happening). This shows how deep society is entrenched in people’s minds, making them exhibit the ‘good behaving’ posture of the one who does the good thing and shows it publicly (but doesn’t show his other hidden thoughts). It makes one look like a hero, an anonymous one, “one of us”.

    But actually I think this type of outburst from the part of a man who was trained to deal with impulse problems shows a structural problem at the level of society, namely individualism, which appears to work for many but not for all. You should ask yourself why so many things like this happen in America, but not in China or smaller communities from less developed countries, tribal ones. I’m not advocating for communism, btw. It’s because a person is not an atom called Hassan = Muslim, American, psychiatrist, unmarried, focused on his job, wanting out of the army, etc. Too many contradictions in one person who had to manage them all without betraying each part of his ‘identity’. From the distance, it doesn’t seem like this guy had a ‘home’ somewhere, but was clinging to a shred of identity which wasn’t even as pure as he wanted it to be (ie, identified as Palestinian alhough was born in USA). He was supposed to demonstrate in the middle of the community he was living that he stood for something, as an individual, but that was also denied to him because he believed in something which was not compatible with the goals of that community. I think one can see here one of the limits of individualism. Deep down, humans’ minds still work on autonomic reactions to perceived threats coming from individuals and they tend to single out people who don’t fall into line. At the same time, in an ‘advanced society’ like the USA an individual is expected to prove that he has an edge, that he has something that makes him stand out as an individual.

    If Hasan went to Iraq it was likely that he would meet locals who would remind him that he had Arab blood in his veins and shame him for being in the USA forces. Back home, he was harrassed for that. For some reason, he felt that he was in a “no way out” situation and snapped.

    David, you ascribe his behaviour to narcissism, but most people’s behaviour is self-centred and it doesn’t lead to killing. The best adjusted individuals, the most assertive ones I’ve seen don’t really give a rat on what other people think or what community wants. They are cunning enough to pretend they think about others because it’s the polite thing to do. Sometimes they do it because it can increase one’s chances to be successful (for their own goals). I think it’s the vulnerable individuals who try to play the same game, but lag behind others, in the ‘maladjusted’ form of narcissism, which is pathologised. When they cannot succeed like others and resort to violence, they are blamed by the community for not having sorted out their problems. It’s interesting, for that reason, that after something like that happens, you always hear on TV stuff like ‘it’s hard to understand, he was such a good man, shy even though a bit aloof.’ It seems that ‘good men’ are becoming a problem, but it’s difficult to understand how that happens.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Anonymous,

    I understand your theory…but I don’t think many of the data points support it.

    “Individualism” as an ever present pressure on the psyche in our culture acts as a catalyst for those of “weaker” or different constitutions to act out in a final and triumphant way that “verifies” the values of the culture (through omnipotent violence) while condemning the self for not being individualistically successful in a more socially conforming way (a “good” narcissist)?

    Consider:

    1. Individualistic strivings in your model have been met academically and professionally through advanced training and advancement in career.

    2. Tribal needs have been met through religious identification, which although small in number, is present in a variety of communities throughout the world.

    3. Tribal needs have been met through identification with his military profession. Apparently he also had a longstanding positive relationship with his extended family.

    This is not the loner, defective self-esteem, grandiose delusion scenario…

    He was a man with an esteemed medical and professional identity and a supportive religious community. A highly valued member in the military who was about to be sent overseas to interface effectively with fellow Muslims who were trying to deal with an occupying (and perhaps civilizing) Western military force.

    He was one of a very few Army Psychiatrists uniquely qualified to make a positive difference…

    This wasn’t sufficiently “individualistic” for him…neither did his membership in the medical, military or religious community sufficiently meet his tribal needs.

    He sought a special status, and membership in a special community and acted that out ruthlessly and violently.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Anonymous,

    The best adjusted individuals, the most assertive ones I’ve seen don’t really give a rat on what other people think or what community wants. They are cunning enough to pretend they think about others because it’s the polite thing to do. Sometimes they do it because it can increase one’s chances to be successful (for their own goals).

    I have heard this theory a number of times, but it does not fit the majority of “well adjusted” people I meet in my neighborhood, at work, and where I shop.

    Most of us can sense the subtle exploiters in our world…we smile and humor them, and then move on to those who know how to care and connect.

    Frustrate the narcissist, demand a normal, humbling activity from him (like keeping a promise to serve overseas on behalf of his tribal community) and he will expose himself in demands for special exclusions and privileges…further frustration will lead to compliance and a more mature identity; or to explosive, disqualifying rage.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    A highly valued member in the military who was about to be sent overseas to interface effectively with fellow Muslims who were trying to deal with an occupying (and perhaps civilizing) Western military force.

    He was one of a very few Army Psychiatrists uniquely qualified to make a positive difference…

    I agree Hasan might have been a valuable team member as a counselor to Muslim soldiers, but I don’t think he would have been so limited had he deployed to Afghanistan. The needs in the combat theater are great, and all hands are overtaxed. He would have been working with all kinds of soldiers.

    He had problems for years interacting with patients. He was ill-suited for his chosen profession. What is beginning to emerge is a picture of man whose mindset was becoming that of a terrorist. Mass casualties resulted, regardless of his motivation. The worst on American soil since 9/11. I shudder to think what this man may have been capable of in a war zone. Could the fragging have been more of a nightmare scenario?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    The worst on American soil since 9/11.

    By that I mean the worst with a possible Islam extremist link. The Virginia Tech massacre was different. Ironically, it was because of that horrible day and the lessons learned that more casualties were averted at Fort Hood. The police officer who took Hasan down did not wait for backup but engaged at the first opportunity.

  • Mary

    I’m not so sure this was about Islam or Anything and much more about a man who was isolated, scared, frustrated and without guidance. That’s pretty much what I think about any of these “lone” gunmen.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I’m not so sure this was about Islam or Anything and much more about a man who was isolated, scared, frustrated and without guidance.

    We don’t know yet. That’s why there’s an investigation. But some early indicators are frighteningly familiar. Homicide (suicide) bombers are loners and desperate types, too.

    Without guidance? How so? The Army paid for years of medical school, an internship and residency — the whole nine yards — for him. Even counseled him. He had as much guidance as any other officer. And he was deeply involved in his religious practices. The question may be what kind of guidance influenced him the most.

  • Mary

    The media which gets everywhere has not found 1 close friend to interview. Many christians who attend church for years and who are considered devote have done horrible things, too. I’m just not convinced that this is a Muslim /Islam motivated thing primarily. No doubt he was devote but he could just have easily been of another faith system. No one shows up with him in the video tapes of him at the minimart. As far as the guidance – he may not have been able to freely express himself in the military “counseling” sessions. Hiding parts of yourself is not seeking guidance. I’m sure he was at odds with his feelings – or ambivalent. But I don’t think this is just a Muslim?islam issue – even if he says so. I know many muslims who are kind, faihful, devote – but are connected to others socially, have a secure support system, read and study the koran and come to some very different conclusions.

  • David Blakeslee

    I have deliberately avoided the religious angle on this…not because it might not be viable, but because there is a simpler probable explanation.

    An explanation that fits in a milder form for those who ridicule and marginalize those with SSA.

    Narcissism…disgust.

    When GLSEN focuses on religious views that oppose gay identification, they do so without assessing for narcissism, and so slander an entire religious community.

    When those at FOTF and NARTH focuses on GLBT behavior without making a similar ssessment, they slander the entire community.

  • David Blakeslee

    Five of the 13 victims were fellow mental health professionals from three units of the army’s Combat Stress Control Detachment, it was disclosed yesterday.

    Here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6521758/Fort-Hood-shooting-Texas-army-killer-linked-to-September-11-terrorists.html

    It is beyond terrifying to have someone who shares your training and your uniform to betray you.

    Our focus should be on the victims and their loved ones.

  • David Blakeslee

    More humanizing stories about the perpetrator

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/07/AR2009110703449.html?wpisrc=newsletter

    Please let me know if you find articles about the victims.

  • Mary

    As much as I am aching for the victims. Had we the capacity to feel for the perpetratror – perhaps we might have read the signals and offered a hand, some friendship, some company – snything to welcome him into humanity instead of looking at him as an outsider.

  • Michael Bussee

    When GLSEN focuses on religious views that oppose gay identification, they do so without assessing for narcissism, and so slander an entire religious community.

    David, I think part of that is because the “religious community” often does a very poor job of communicating what it does stand for –and against. Too often, we hear condemnation, not reconciliation.

    The Uganda bill is one example. I think it is unfair to lay the blame on gay rights groups for slandering relgious ones. Why do so many gays express either distrust or disgust? Has the religious community done all it can do to step up and speak out against human rights violations like this?

  • Michael Bussee

    I hope that no one will misunderstand what I am saying, above.

    I only mean to suggest that (1) gays have heard theGood News and hate it or (2) they haven’t really heard it.

    On the topic: My prayers are with the familes and loved ones of this terrible tragedy.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Joe Liebermann has come right out and said the Army and others are hiding their heads in the sand about the signs pointing to Hasan’s growing extremism prior to his murderous tirade. Again, I say we cannot know fully yet, But I will say that the Army’s extreme political correctness is not a good thing, and hasn’t for a long time. Just what if in those 70,000 soldiers pumped into the system over the last 5 years there are sleeper terrorists? Why wouldn’t such an infiltration be an opportune move? I could see it as a new tactic. The Army is unwieldly and its bases and commands are especially ripe for such attacks.

    This also reminds us that we have bigger fish to fry than Ugandan politicians. The problems needing our attention in the world are myriad. And Congress is right now trying to ram a bloated, horrific universal health care bill down our throats. We want America to go fix Uganda, but we can’t even fix our own country.

  • Michael Bussee

    We want America to go fix Uganda, but we can’t even fix our own country.

    I don’t think that’s accurate. I have not heard of anyone suggesting that “America go fix Uganda” — only a call for Uganda to respect basic human rights and withdraw this bill. And it’s not just folks from the USA who are doing this. People around the world are speaking out.

    We can strongly encrouage them, but we cannot fix them or do that for them. They will have to fix themselves. Just as we will have to fix ourselves.

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    You’re probably right. We should round up all Muslims and encamp them just to be on the safe side.

    Or we could act like humans and take each person on their own merit and worth.

  • Michael Bussee

    Please forgive my going off track. I realize it was disrespectful to bring in other issues during this profoundly sad time. Our little congregation offered its prayers this morning for all who were touched by this insanity. May God send His Comforter to them.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    You’re probably right. We should round up all Muslims and encamp them just to be on the safe side.

    Or we could act like humans and take each person on their own merit and worth

    A grossly unfair overreaction to what I’ve said, Mary. Note the disclaimers.

    I don’t think that’s accurate. I have not heard of anyone suggesting that “America go fix Uganda”

    Michael, you’ve been shouting through a megaphone for weeks now that American Christian leaders and Exodus, in particular, need to be saying and doing something to help defeat the bill and denounce Ssempa, Langa et al. It’s a big world with many issues, but it has shrunk in the minds of many who frequent this blog to being Uganda-centric.

    I sincerely pray that the Ft. Hood incident (which we would probably not be discussing here had David not launched a post on it) is an isolated thing and not an extremism-driven terror incident. I shudder at the mere thought that this could be a new tactic or front in the war on terror. But we should make no bones about the many ways in which terror reigns in this world, regardless of motive. A deranged gunman is a terrorist, whether a Muslim extremist or not.

  • David Blakeslee

    Narcissism is a defect in empathy…Christ calls us to be the antidote.

    Narcissism can hide in the church, or in a human rights movement. It doesn’t care the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, your gender or your sexual identity.

    It might be original sin.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Debbie and Michael,

    The proposed Uganda legislation is the perfect vehicle for narcissism…some fear already that groups are organizing to implement the law via vigilantes.

    A small, impoverished country like Uganda will have a difficult time protecting targeted people from vigilantes.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Narcissism is a defect in empathy…Christ calls us to be the antidote.

    Narcissism can hide in the church, or in a human rights movement. It doesn’t care the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, your gender or your sexual identity.

    It might be original sin.

    I’d say narcissism is part and parcel of original sin. It weaves its way all through the biblical narrative. Actually, Christ is the antidote. We reflect him poorly in too many instances. Adherents of faiths that are not Christian are rejecting Christ.

  • David Blakeslee

    In a small local paper, we finally get a story about the survivors and victims and their families:

    http://www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=36977

    The “anti-narcissism.”

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    In a small local paper, we finally get a story about the survivors and victims and their families:

    Such stories have been coming out for days. The media is arguably one of the most narcissistic organizations around, by the way. Someone right now is planning on taking options on a movie and one or more books. Everybody is looking to one-up everybody else. It’s a mogul’s dream. Meanwhile, how safe are we?

  • David Blakeslee

    Pvt. Smith dived under a desk. He says he waited several long minutes, listening to the terror unfold, until he thought he should make a dash for safety.

    As he broke for the door, he saw Maj. Hasan in combat fatigues, moving around the room. His handgun was pointed downward, he said, as though he were methodically shooting the soldiers who had fallen or were crouching, seeking cover.

    and more:

    As she rounded a corner, she saw Maj. Hasan chasing a wounded soldier through an open courtyard. He looked as though he was trying to “finish off” the wounded soldier, Mr. Medley said.

    “He looked extremely focused,” said Francisco De La Serna, a 23-year-old medic who had fled the building and was watching the same scene unfold from a hiding spot across the street.

    Ms. Munley’s first shot missed Maj. Hasan. He spun to face her and began charging, Mr. Medley said.

    Here is a small description of some of the dead:

    The slain included at least one teenager, 19-year-old Aaron Nemelka, who joined the Army last year, out of high school. Spc. Jason Dean Hunt, was 22 and had just married. Francheska Velez, 21, was an oil-tank driver who had completed tours in Korea and Iraq. She was two months pregnant with her first child. Five Army reservists were also killed, including Michael Cahill, who was 62 and worked at the processing center as a physician’s assistant.

    Find it here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125750297355533413.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

  • David Blakeslee

    It is likely narcissistic rage…if you have ever been the brunt of it, you know how the word “snapped” doesn’t apply…methodical, relentless, dehumanizing.

  • Michael Bussee

    It’s a big world with many issues, but it has shrunk in the minds of many who frequent this blog to being Uganda-centric.

    Warren has been posting many threads about that issue and I have been making many comments about them. Debbie, as I said, I am very sorry for going off topic here.

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    Whether you come right out and say it or hint at it – you are showing a bias that seems unreasonable to me.

    Not all Muslims are terrorists – even when they commit a horrible act such as this. Some people are very troubled and do horrible things in the name of God – it does not make them all terrorists – unless you are willing to take on that moniker yourself as the fraternal member of christians.

  • carole

    David,

    Wonderful post. Thanks.

  • carole

    Mary,

    To avoid confusion, maybe it would help if you defined what you believe the word “terrorism” denotes/connotes or what a “terrorist” is in common parlance.

    The man may have acted alone (we don’t know yet, but until evidence suggesting otherwise comes in, I am assuming he was not part of a group of conspirators).

    However, that his perception of his faith played a part in his behavior, either in great part or wholly, seems evident. That he was, to himself, a jihadist, seems evident. One needen’t be a part of a larger group to commit jihad.

  • Michael Bussee

    I also wanted to thank David for this post. It was so powerfully written that I thought David might have been there, and I contacted Warren to make sure David was OK.

  • carole

    Sorry, a further point, Mary. You said,

    Whether you come right out and say it or hint at it – you are showing a bias that seems unreasonable to me.

    Not all Muslims are terrorists – even when they commit a horrible act such as this. Some people are very troubled and do horrible things in the name of God – it does not make them all terrorists – unless you are willing to take on that moniker yourself as the fraternal member of christians.

    What am I missing in what Debbie said? I see nothing in her words that suggest she believes “all Muslims are terrorists” or that she believe people professing a belief in other faiths are not also capable of such inhuman atrocities.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    Not willing to take on Debbie from two fronts. Read all of her posts. Suggestive and biased from an innocent bystander point of view. That’s all. My opinion. And defending some of my muslims friends who might be getting caught in the mudslinging over this incident.

  • carole

    Mary,

    ?????? I admit to being lost.

  • Mary

    That’s fine. Every has a perspective. : )

  • Mary

    oops – everyone has a perspective

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    Sorry for the confusion…trying to make a empathic connection between the reader and the victims…

    I was only there in spirit.

  • Michael Bussee

    I was there in spirit with you. You write beautifully and with great impact. Thanks again.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Mary, I assure you I am not anti-Muslim. You are reading into what I have said. That Carole is not following your line of reasoning also makes that evident. As I said, I would much rather this incident be an isolated thing. Let’s pray it is. Some uncomfortable things are coming out in media reports, but it is still early, so we all need to reserve judgment.

    David’s post also succeeds in drawing attention to the preconceived prejudicial notions we all tend to hold to some extent that relate to other topics frequently discussed here. We are alternately pro-something or anti-something on any given day of the week. It’s easy to look at Islam in the abstract until you personally know some Muslims. Same thing holds for Christians or for gays and ex-gays.

    Check out how many pro-gay comments on Warren’s new Facebook group are drawing comparisons between fundamental Islam and Christianity, by the way.

  • Mary

    Will do. Thanks.

  • Michael Bussee

    Check out how many pro-gay comments on Warren’s new Facebook group are drawing comparisons between fundamental Islam and Christianity, by the way.

    Sometimes, people see the extremes and assume they represent the whole. I think the real danger is fundamentalism of any sort.

  • Michael Bussee

    It’s easy to look at Islam in the abstract until you personally know some Muslims. Same thing holds for Christians or for gays and ex-gays.

    You have all helped to strongly challenge some of mine. It has been good to get to know you. Thanks.

  • Mary

    Food for thought.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/11/09/iftikhar.fort.hood/index.html

    Debbie, BTW, I don’t care that pro gays equate christians to muslim extremists – they are wrong to do so but I can completely understand why they do. As well, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Debbie, BTW, I don’t care that pro gays equate christians to muslim extremists – they are wrong to do so but I can completely understand why they do.

    But you do care that folks in a time of a war against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism that began with a horrific unprovoked attack on Sept. 11, 2001 quite naturally wonder if an Islamic mass murderer at Fort Hood just might have had a religious motive? Can you likewise understand that? What you are saying is it is wrong for Christians to be likened to terrorists but you understand why. It is likewise wrong for Muslims to be suspected of being terrorists, but you cannot understand why Americans would wonder? I don’t get it. Christians have mighty broad shoulders, it seems. A lot of water has to roll off our backs.

    As well, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    What two wrongs are you referring to?

  • Mary

    But you do care that folks in a time of a war against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism that began with a horrific unprovoked attack on Sept. 11, 2001 quite naturally wonder if an Islamic mass murderer at Fort Hood just might have had a religious motive?

    Before going there , let’s not hang all Japanese on the same line.

  • Mary

    Secondly, it seems this man had tirades and episodes that are hallmarks of a disturbed individual.

    Fortunately, in this country, we are allowed to speak against it without be taken to task for seditious acts or for being Muslim, Japanese, or German.

    Whoever his CO is should be in the crosshairs for not recognizing an unstable individual with the potential to cause harm rather than just calling him a Muslim.

  • Mary

    And in the end, we will never know why this guy did this. We will get an answer, I’m not sure it will be the truth.

    And the only thing we can know for sure is that anyone who takes a gun and starts shooting at unarmed innocent people is crazy. Apparently, it happens enough in this country that we now have special rules for lockdown at public schools. We just did not expect it in the military.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Whoever his CO is should be in the crosshairs for not recognizing an unstable individual with the potential to cause harm rather than just calling him a Muslim.

    Those in authority had to tow the PC line, worried about cries of profiling. Yes, someone ought to have seen warning signs.

    Before going there , let’s not hang all Japanese on the same line.

    Didn’t say anybody should be doing that. Said it’s quite natural for people to be suspicious in this case. Did we have sleeper Imperialist Japanese cells in this country during WW II? Did we have post-Pearl Harbor Japanese terror plots foiled here? Maybe we did. I don’t know.

  • Mary

    We had many spies in the US during WWII. Both German, Japanese, Italian and we used the American Italian Mafia to watch the waterfront for us. So many things occur during times of war.

    I’d certainly hate to be the CO who has to answer for this guy. There’s no PC rule when it comes to tirades in the work place – Protestant or otherwise. Who knows, keeping him in the military instead of granting him a dishonorable discharge may have been someone’s way of bullying him. There are SOOOOO MANY things we do not know.

    What we do know – any person who goes into a place and shoots at unarmed innocent people is off his/her rocker.

  • carole

    Mary said,

    What we do know – any person who goes into a place and shoots at unarmed innocent people is off his/her rocker.

    Whether this is so or not irrelevant to the point you’ve been attempting to make, Mary, for using your own words in the block quote above, you are saying that Mohammed Atta and his co-horts were simply “crazy” people who “went off” and that we, as their targets, ought not to have associated them with Muslim terrorism at all. Using this reasoning, I’d expect you to argue that just because there are “crazy” suicide bombers who strap on grenades and meander into discos and restaurants, Israelis ought not keep a keen eye on Muslims or Arabs. I suspect, then, that during the era of strife in Belfast, you felt that just because the IRA was fond of placing bombs in mail boxes on the streets in the UK, people should have viewed those who placed those bombs there as simply “crazy” people, not people whose belief system had anything to do with their acts–thus, you’d not consider them “terrorists.” No, uh uh.

  • Mary

    Carole – there are some differences here. Let’s go over them.

    1. Suicide bombers from Muslim backgrounds are not enlisted by choice in the Israeli Army.

    2. Suicide bombers are usually younger in age and have had little to no education and less still experience with the wider world – this man was american born, educated and 39 yo of age (fits another category of mass killer) albeit he is Muslim.

    3. Suicide bombers usally kill arbitrarily, without picking each individual, and they kill themsleves in the process.

    I am saying this is a homegrown American psycho nutcase and others are trying desparately to veil this in Muslim terrorism.

    His selection and method of killing is too similar to Columbine and other mass killings in America and less like suicide bombers. He had to point the gun at an individual and shoot. This takes a different kind of thinking and logic to his insanity. He did not die in this action (like a real jihadist) and he did not point the gun on himslef. A man with his experience and background can figure out how to fix a bomb to himself and set it off.

    He’s mad. No doubt and he is mad at Americans. But I think his breakdown comes far before anything having to do with his religion or to think that this wacko who kept going off in front of others or during counseling sessions was an unidentified Msulim terrorist in our midst. Crazy – yes. But not a plant. His actions don’t fit. A real jihadist would have followed a pattern to make his point.

  • carole

    My father was a civilian electrician who worked for the Navy during WW2. He went to Pearl Harbor ten days after the attack and served in Guam after the war. Most of what I know about his service at Peral came not from him, but from his sister. He revealed very little to her, even less to my mother or to his kids. All we really knew was that he never wanted to go back to Hawaii: “If you ever go, you’ll go w/out me.”

    Thus, because my mother always had told me when I questioned her that he “didn’t like to talk about it,” I asked him very few questions. What few I asked were met with either grunts or shrugs. (I found out years later, after his death, from my aunt, that my dad was transported out to the crippled ships in the harbor and that he labored to re-store electrical wiring even as he saw others pulling out parts of dead bodies from the wreakage.)

    Thus, used to my dad’s silence on the matter, I was stunned one day when the topic came up, and he mentioned Pearl and an experience he had had. Dad was not the type to let anyone see hurt so the fact that he brought this up at all was astonishing for all kinds of reasons .

    A close family friend had dropped by, and my father and he talked as I sat listening. I really don’t recall how the topic came up–I guess the topic was his being Italian and our friend’s being Portuguese, and they were speaking of the slurs they had heard as kids if they roamed out of their neighborhoods. Dad was born and raised in the Bronx.

    All of a sudden, with both rage and hurt in his voice, he told us that some “big-whig” Naval commander had called him into headquarters and questioned him about his loyalty to the U.S. My dad, animated now, scooting to the edge of his recliner, his eyes bulging as he told the story, said bitterly, “I told him to go to hell. If they wanted me there, fine. If not, I was a g.d. civilian and could walk out any damn time I felt like it.” (I have left out a few choice words.)

    Not even my mother had heard this story. He had kept that to himself or at least not shared it with his family all those years. He went on to tell us that the civilians with Italian last names, especially those working on the ships, had been called in at one point or another. He was among the first and was thus stunned and unprepared by it.

    As a young woman, I felt righteous indignation upon hearing this. “How dare they do that to my father, a good and decent man, unabashedly proud of his America, the country in which he’d been born.” I felt sorry for him and had that naval commander been in front of me at that moment, I felt I might have spat in his eye.

    After our friend left, I said something like ” How dare they do that to you.” By now, he’d returned to his more usual taciturn, practical self. He shrugged, the transformation complete. “They had to.”

    Now I, all of about 21, full of the idea that perfection was possible in the world, full of myself–convinced that I was fair but that others were not– still reeling from the story and the sight and the sound of my father’s hurt feelings, sat staring at him. I didn’t get it. Didn’t get him.

    Many years later, I get it. I get him. The world isn’t perfect. People aren’t perfect. There are those that will do you and your loved ones harm even as you offer them your hand. You must protect yourself if only to protect those you love who need your protection. Sometimes that means people’s feelings will get hurt.

    My dad carried the memory, and, as I saw, it still hurt when he recalled the indignity. However, it didn’t destroy him or his family or his country or his love for either. He was man enough to understood its practicality, its necessity, and he’d be enraged if he thought that those who are supposed to protect us today worried so much about hurt feelings that they’d sacrifice innocents.

    I can’t even imagine, not even a little, how betrayed the family of those innocents feel–to know their country worried so much about political correctness or that those in command so worried about their careers that they sacrificed innocent lives for “hurt feelings.”

  • Mary

    Carole,

    I feel very sad for the families left behind from this. This tragic. But it seems in American in this day and age – we should have read the signs much better – yet, again.

    BTW, I , too have personal experience from a familial relationship about the horrors of those we question and doubt during wartime. It is not easy. Someone should have given this guy the thrid degree when his rants began. And probably dishcharged him from the military or at least limited his contact with others severely. He obviously and outspokenly did not agree with the American policy. How obvious does it need to be?? The guy was not fit to be there.

  • carole

    I am saying this is a homegrown American psycho nutcase and others are trying desparately to veil this in Muslim terrorism.

    Oh, Mary. What is “Muslim terrorism” or any other kind, for that matter? Those who commit atrocities in the name of dogma may be “nutcases” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t terrorists.

    What are you afraid of?

  • Mary

    Carole,

    That’s my question to you. Are you so afraid that your own culture can create a mass killer such as this.

    You have taken the easy path and put this man’s religion with murder instead of this man with murder.

    You look for the easy answer and do not look passed to the obvious – he was not a suicide bomber. He walked in , pointed a gun at people, looked them in the eye, shot and killed them. He did not turn the weapon on himself and he survived.

    Big difference.

  • Anonymous

    David Blakeslee — Narcissism is a defect in empathy…

    One of the conclusions of the specialists who studied shootings like this one was that for some reason humanity was degraded in the eyes of the shooter. This guy didn’t invest much here, which probably gave him few reasons to love life.

    Check this out:

    His failed search for a wife seemed to haunt Hasan. At the Muslim Community Centre in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, he signed up for an Islamic matchmaking service, specifying that he wanted a bride who wore the hijab and prayed five times a day.

    Adnan Haider, a retired professor of statistics, recalled how at their first meeting last year, a casual introduction after Friday prayers, Hasan immediately asked the academic if he knew “a nice Muslim girl” he could marry.

    “It was a strange thing to ask someone you have met two seconds before. It was clear to me he was under pressure, you could just see it in his face,” said Prof Haider, 74, who used to work at Georgetown University in Washington. “You could see he was lonely and didn’t have friends.

    “He is working with psychiatric people and I ask why the people around him didn’t spot that something was wrong? When I heard what had happened I actually wasn’t that surprised.”

    Indeed, many of the characteristics attributed to Hasan by acquaintances – withdrawn, unassuming, brooding, socially awkward and never known to have had a girlfriend – have also applied to other mass murderers.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the root cause, besides his development or difficult temperament. He invested a disproportionate amount in extremist beliefs and seems he was in a tense state. The Pittsburgh gym shooter had a similar issue, but was no Islamic extremist.

    “Individualism” as an ever present pressure on the psyche in our culture acts as a catalyst ….

    Individualism doesn’t have to be the cause, but it may not work for all. That is, some seem to be lost in individualistic settings, but may thrive in other cultures. For instance, this guy was Islamic, and in most of their communities in the Arab world every man is integrated and accepted, marriages are fixed and men decide. It’s a different paradigm which is darn efficient at least demographically. If you look at the highly individualistic societies, Western ones, they all seem to have less marriages, less children, more temporary couples, more depression, consumption etc.

    “Causes” tend to pile on each other, it’s never just one cause. So saying it’s narcissism, in my opinion, only says that someone was stuck in a maladaptation. But I think what leads to violent outcomes is not only in the culprit, but also in his environment. This is I asked why does this type of events happen more often in your country. Access to weapons or something in society? Because when a shooter already acted out, he put himself outside of the order and society is going to defend itself by looking for symptoms in the perpetrator. This is why I challenged your method of looking for a culprit, a particular one, in narcissism. This method tends to keep a blanket of silence over whatever is going on in the social environment and single out the nutcase, as if these things appear out of a vacuum. If you don’t know the causes right, you can’t do prevention right.

  • Mary

    Being alone and lonely can cause many mental defects to become exagerrated in strange actions. I feel sorry for everyone involved. Usually a family member sets up a meeting between two people for marriage. Where was his family? Where were his friends?

  • Anonymous

    @David Blakselee

    I think narcissism was a contributing factor, but it’s a whole bunch of them. If, let’s say this guy found a wife/girlfriend there would have been no killings. My 2 cents.

  • carole

    Mary, I believe individuals are responsible for their own actions. I don’t think the Muslim or Arab culture should assume responsibility for creating this man. He created his own reality. He used his Muslim faith to act out his anger, to justify it. He took from his faith what he wanted in order to convince himself his rage was blessed by his God.

    Let’s say that instead of killing people at Fort Hood while screaming out his God’s name, he had instead murdered Muslims while screaming, “America is great!”

    Had he done that, the world and I would have seen him as an “American” terrorist exacting retribution on the Muslim world.

    What do you people mean by “Muslim” terrorist? It has just now occurred to me that you believe the adjective “Muslim” to be so narrow in its meaning that you are the one who has indicted a whole group of people.

  • carole

    Correction–

    The first sentence in my last paragraph should read, “What do you think people mean by ‘Muslim’ terrorist”?

  • Mary

    I would not see him as anything more than a disturbed man. That unfortunately is all he is. He may be a terrorist by someone’s standards but I don’t think he is supporting Allah, God, or country. He’s just fits the profile for a mass killer in our society. He fits the profile. He does not fit the profile of a terrorist.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I am saying this is a homegrown American psycho nutcase and others are trying desparately to veil this in Muslim terrorism.

    He does not fit the profile of a terrorist.

    There are SOOOOO MANY things we do not know.

    Those are all statements you made in your comments above, Mary. So, do we or do we not know enough about the man to make the pronouncements you have made here?

    Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, innocent here being used merely to distinguish this man’s motives from his known crime. This jury is way out still. Yet you are certain he will not be shown to be a terrorist (even a solo one) whose Islamic religious extremism had a bearing on his actions. How so? Your empathy is understandable, but rather naive at this point.

    And interestingly, you also have conveniently profiled me.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Anonymous,

    Thanks for checking back in, on this post. I read your whole post, but was interested in commenting on a few ideas:

    It’s a different paradigm which is darn efficient at least demographically. If you look at the highly individualistic societies, Western ones, they all seem to have less marriages, less children, more temporary couples, more depression, consumption etc.

    I can be reductionistic in my thinking and may have been so in this article. To persist in that error further :) I believe Western civilization has substituted Consumption for Individualization.

    Creating a firm sense of Self that is empty is key to consumerism…and can beget its own form of sublimated rage.

    An empty self (what the narcissist hates about himself) can more easily be manipulated by authority and ideology.

    You are right, there is never just one cause.

    I am ascribing a final cause (in a string of causes)…which was probably an underlying defect in his personality.

    As Carole so aptly put in her narrative about her father, we all suffer slights in an imperfect world…turning them into “causes” that destroy others is narcissistic.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Mary,

    It has troubled me that people use words like “snapped” or “went mad” or “off his rocker.”

    There are many who suffer from mental illness who are slandered by such descriptions (Not your intent). They struggle with anger and wounds in the world and do not become violent.

    Such phrases unwittingly marginalize a responsible, mentally ill minority.

    Furthermore, I think you are distorting NIdal Hasan a bit. I don’t think he went on any “tirades.” I think he had strong opinions and his behavioral self-control made him seem healthy enough to have such opinions without risk of acting them out.

    It is horribly difficult, but reasonable to not blame his CO, or his religion, or our culture…but to blame the bright, upper middle-class, well-educated man who two months ago bought a particular type of gun which shoots bullets to defeat kevlar and turned against:

    1. People in his own uniform (who had cared for and supported him during his training)

    2. A young woman who was pregnant.

    3. A nineteen year old recent enlistee.

    4. And so on.

  • David Blakeslee

    I have begun to wonder:

    Our creative exploration of the myriad of reasons why a person does what Nidal Hasan has done may be due to preventing such things in the future…

    But deep down, I think these people terrorize the general public. That experience, I believe, triggers a psychological defense “identification with the aggressor,” in which we seek to lower our sense of vicarious trauma (and possible risk) by empathizing with the perpetrator.

    If I empathize with the myriad of possible reasons for his rage and don’t hold him personally responsible , it is likely to soothe him and he won’t turn against me.

    Has anyone had such a personal encounter and found that identification does deescalate…even though huge facts and personal responsibility are often ignored?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    It is horribly difficult, but reasonable to not blame his CO, or his religion, or our culture…but to blame the bright, upper middle-class, well-educated man who two months ago bought a particular type of gun which shoots bullets to defeat kevlar and turned against: …

    Premeditated and reasoned (however treasonous and insane-appearing) acts.

  • Mary

    David,

    You’re right it was not my intention to marginalize or to inappropriately use names for mental illnesses. My point was that the shooter is responsible not his religion, not his anything. He seems to exhibit all the same things that a very isolated individual does. There are other aspects I notice (just from the news) of course we are not getting the whole picture and a distorted one at best.

    We have had several so called lone gunmen shootings recently – in the last 50 years. None of them are being called terrorists. Yet, this is a sad commentary on our society that when an individual becomes angry with a group of “selected” individuals be them from work, school, church etc….people take it upon themselves to begin shooting in a crowd.

  • Ann

    Has anyone had such a personal encounter and found that identification does deescalate…even though huge facts and personal responsibility are often ignored?

    Yes – I have. David, is there a way to describe the process an individual goes through when they are de-sensitizing themselves? For instance, when we know, feel, or experience something that initially we know is wrong, does not feel good physcially, etc., however, we are compelled to do it anyway, and then through rationalizing the wrong to right, discomfort to comfort, etc., we gradually de-sensitize ourselves and any prior feelings or knowledge of right or wrong now don’t matter? Is this a part of narcissism? Does one develop narcissism in varying degrees and is it a defense mechanism?

  • Mary

    David,

    As far as empathisizing with the gunman – hmmmm – to make ourselfs feel safe?

    I don’t think so. It does frighten me. And I do care about the man/woman/child who feels they must go to such a length for whatever reason. I even care about the thoughts and feelings of a suicide bomber – albeit at a far distance.

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    You have begun to discuss me instead of the gunman. Interesting. Whatever.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    You have begun to discuss me instead of the gunman. Interesting. Whatever.

    Oh, brother! No, Mary, I am merely responding to your charge here:

    Whether you come right out and say it or hint at it – you are showing a bias that seems unreasonable to me.

    And here:

    Not willing to take on Debbie from two fronts. Read all of her posts. Suggestive and biased from an innocent bystander point of view.

    But, as you said, “Whatever.” I am done. Fruitless and pointless. Let justice be served. God bless our freedom fighters.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ann,

    So, Trauma begets anxiety…

    One form of anxiety is depersonalization and derealization, for the victim.

    Does this “emptying” of personal experience, make the victim more capable of empathy…toward the perpetrator?

    I think so, for one signficant reason:

    The victim, years afterward is filled with self-loathing and disgust. This level of self-hatred cannot fit the facts…

    It must be an internalization of the hatred of the perpetrator (complete identification for self-preservation purposes)…

    I think this happens at a micro-level for vicarious victims (readers and viewers of traumatic attacks), small amounts of vicarious trauma cause a dip in empathy toward the victim and in that space empathy for the perpetrator rushes in (in a convoluted way, to help protect the victim).

    I think that is why the media, predictably, runs toward the perpetrator with curiosity and compassion.

    Vicarious Stockholm syndrome…(that is a stretch).

    This is based upon the experiences of my clients (and myself) and based up some theory and science.

    I think this explains the lack of empathy for people who experience SSA…

    Which is why I think fighting Narcissism is what we share with GLBT advocates…

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ann,

    I think the perpetrator may experience depersonalization and derealization immediately after the attack.

    As they successfully empty their rage into the victims they pick.

    In “healthier perpetrators” they are wracked with horror and guilt (they become actively suicidal), afterwords…often in police custody.

    This is all very blunt and please ignore this if it is too intense.

  • Ann

    thank you so much David – always value what you write – when I referred to de-sensitizing, I meant from another perspective – one that would involve anyone who felt compelled to do something they originally and/or initially thought was wrong, didn’t feel good, etc. I have observed and experienced that most of the time we know what is right from wrong until we feel compelled (for a myriad of reasons) to rationalize the wrong into right and thus, begins the de-sensitizing process. When we have de-sensitized ourselves to what is wrong, it is no longer wrong to us and we begin to rationalize our actions and defend them – what happens in our minds to allow this to happen – is it narcissism or a defense mechanism that keeps us from another feeling we don’t want to have?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ann

    If this question is not rhetorical

    Does one develop narcissism in varying degrees and is it a defense mechanism?

    Speaking of the victim here I think?

    My experience is that their internalization of the trauma, the hatred and degrading, is “narcissistically encapsulated.” This makes it very resistant to new changes or new experiences. It is a rigid view of self constructed to protect a fragile and vulnerable sense of self (like the narcissist)…

    Self-loathing is a false-self constructed in the face of a narcissistic attack (internalized homophobia, for example) to protect the true, fragile and vulnerable self, from further attack by identifying perpetually with the aggressor.

    That is a lot of words strung together…and they are the words of a clinician and theoretician, not a scientist.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ann,

    is it narcissism or a defense mechanism that keeps us from another feeling we don’t want to have?

    Of course it depends…

    But I see it as a defense against feeling the profound sense of vulnerability that all victims feel immediately prior to attack…

    Victims often say, “I was so stupid, gullible, foolish.”

    They rarely say, “He was so sneaky, dishonest, manipulative. He created his opportunity by disguising who he was.”

    Judging the perpetrator excites in the victim more anxiety and fear of more violence.

    On a legal level, it is why we do so much to protect jury’s anonymity.

  • Ann

    thank you David – what if the person is not a victim and is faced with an everyday or unique personal moral dilemma – how does the process of de-sensitizing oneself happen and become a way of life? What we originally/initially know or think to be wrong becomes right after this process. Examples – stealing, abusing alcohol or drugs, extra-marital affairs, same gender attraction crossing over to same gender sex, foul language, lying, slovenly appearance/grooming, sense of entitlement, etc. Where one might experience this as a sporadic dynamic, another experiences it as a way of life. I think – at least it seems this way.

  • carole

    Many Americans cannot emotionally tolerate the notion that anyone should dislike them or hate them. This should not be surprising, considering that throughout our short history as a nation, we have idealized ourselves at the same time others have idealized us as well. Much of our high opinion of ourselves and the high esteem with which we are regarded by others is very much deserved; much is not.

    At some point, societies like ours become similar to animals who’ve lost their survival instinct. The voices of those who’ve retained fitness are competing with those who’ve lost it.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    At some point, societies like ours become similar to animals who’ve lost their survival instinct. The voices of those who’ve retained fitness are competing with those who’ve lost it.

    Yes.

  • carole

    It’s pretty obvious he had a hard time reconciling his faith and his practice of his faith with his life here. Lap dances, strippers…as I recall the 9/11 guys did the same thing.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/09/national/

  • carole

    Point added to my post above–

    Many people simply cannot or will not assimilate to the point they can live emotionally healthy lives in a culture that has values and practices that are very different from their own, and they would be better off living a culture that supports their belief/value systems, and the society would be better off as well.

    Diversity is wonderful only if there is assimilation; the failure or inability to assimilate is harmful to both the individual and to the society into which he hasn’t assimilated.

  • Mary

    Haha – it’s difficult living in a free society where you are allowed to do just about anything. It takes growth to discipline oneself. I think that’s why many people would rather outlaw their own vices rather than control their own lives. God also gives a choice. It’s not easy.

  • David Blakeslee

    Here is a video montage of the victims of the Fort Hood attack, pray for their loved ones.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yXrhGOEbWE

  • Michael Bussee

    Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • David Blakeslee

    The conversation in the first few days after the massacre was well intentioned, but it suggested a willful flight from reality.

    Brooks does not take the narcissism angle…but talks with poignancy about the narrative we tell ourselves when we are troubled.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/opinion/10brooks.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

  • carole

    Thanks for the link, David.

    There are a lot of sad things about all of this, not the least of which is that a huge percentage of influential members of the fourth estate, people who CANNOT do a good job unless they retain skepticism, people who ARE PAID to be skeptical did not do their jobs.

    Of great threat to a free society is the lack of a skeptical press.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Good one, David. FYI, here’s a link that does not require registration at the NYT. I can never remember my registration info for all the papers anyway:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/10/opinion/10brooks.html

  • Michael Bussee

    Remembering, paring for and thanking all who have served:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B81kW814qA&feature=related

  • Michael Bussee

    Praying. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  • Anonymous

    David Blakeslee,

    I have an idea why people identify more with the victims after events like this one take place. One is because they are afraid for their own lives, it’s just fear of death, nothing too deep here, and the other is related, because they hate to see others suffer, because that makes their minds simulate pain in themselves, which they either don’t want to see or make it quit. So identification with the victims has no altruistic bases IMO, but people may make attributions about themselves being altruistic.

    Whereas I think fear of death is universal, attitude towards death and the value of life can vary a lot depending on culture. It comes as the ultimate shock to a culture like ours, which values presence and manifestation in the here and now (including the stuff on consumption and narcissism you mentioned), to see people killed, no matter for what. It seems it’s something else for Muslims who believe they are doing a sacrifice for their god and for the Japanese who thought surrendering alive to the enemy is not an option. It’s really hard for us to comprehened why, it could be because values are so mummified in the West, that life has become a value in itself.

    I wouldn’t ignore this, the cultural divides, because sometimes they make inhabitants of the same house blind to what’s going on from the outside of their own comfort and mental habituation. On the other hand, it’s weird that shootings occur more in a culture which values human life more than other cultures. You don’t see many shootings done by ordinary people in India, China or Russia. Life is cheaper there and weapons are expensive and harder to come by.

    Sometimes what causes a phenomenon can be very unusual. Some researchers have linked increased suicide risk with countries which don’t get enough sun. Much the same, when shootings take place there are going to be people doing their job, investigating causes and writing reports. They usually find the same things, which explains why they can prevent them.

  • David Blakeslee

    Now NPR is asserting mental illness based upon heresay amongst prior colleagues:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120313570

    Our professional psychological culture sees nearly everything through that lens…whether it is criminal behavior or religious behavior…psychology interprets it authoritatively.

    NPR cannot assert mental illness, without a formal assessment.

    Schizoid? Asperger’s?

    NPR makes the same mistake as others do, preferring to call someone “crazy” (and slander other mentally ill folks) rather than calling them calculating and mean (which better fits the facts).

  • carole

    I offer these three essays from Jerry Pournelle, a reasoned man I respect and one who knows history.

    Also, perhaps you have heard about an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm written and produced by Larry David, he of Seinfeld fame? I have never seen the show but did read last week several blurbs about a recent episode in which a character urinates on a crucifix. The Catholic and other Christian churches were understandably outraged and voiced their displeasure in a flood of letters, emails, etc. David’s response in referring to his satiric show was, “We make fun of everybody. We have not singled you [Christians] out.”

    However, as several columnists pointed out, it is not true that David’s show has made fun of everything and everybody. A glaring example is that he has never made fun of Islam nor the prophet Mohammad. One would hope that was because he had made a moral judgement not to but of course that is not the case. The writers point out that David is well aware of the fatwa issued on anyone who denigrates Islam or even portrays Mohammad. They went on to discuss the cases of Rushdie as well as the case of the last moviemaker who made a movie portraying the prohet–he was murdered in a fatwa. Thus, as for Larry David–no “brave” man nor honest man he.

    One of Pournelle’s essays, the last, shines a light on what it does or doesn’t mean to be Muslim. I think it’s are thoughtful piece as are the others. The first one is the most recent.

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2009/Q4/view596.html#Islam

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2009/Q4/view596.html#Monday

    http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2009/Q4/view595.html#treason

  • carole

    Ironically, because that is what they want most, I don’t see these NPR media types and their ilk as “fair” at all, but as milquetoast, weak-kneed, afraid to dig deeply as a Murrow would have done, for fear of what they might find. I don’t want any straight news journalist “on my side.” I want skepticism from them. They are too concerned with what their circle of friends might think. Imagine that.

    Actually, I am heartened that ABC has been in the lead with some decent journalism on this. I didn’t think they had it in them.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Very good points, David and Carole. I, too, have been pleasantly surprised by some of the network coverage.

  • Mary

    And then there are other perspectives. Please note that a suicide bomber or jihadists is supposed to conceal his identity , blend in with the group and then attack it.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/11/texas.fort.hood.investigation/index.html

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Mary,

    That handbook directs jihadists to conceal their religion, mask their beliefs and blend in. Instead, Hasan frequently appeared in public in traditional Muslim clothing and prayed daily at the local mosque, making no attempt to hide his religion or conservative beliefs, the source said.

    I think this is the quote you are referring to…

    @ Carole, Debbie and Mary,

    What I am asking readers to do in this article is to

    1. Maintain their compassion and attunement to the victims first

    2. Consider that Narcissism is at or near the root, not victimhood, mental illness, not vicarious PTSD…and not the Muslim faith (generally).

    He may have been victimized…he might have had some vicarious PTSD…he certainly was a Muslim…

    But intense narcissism (I think) is required to carry this out.

    I make this point (to repeat) that this attitude, in milder form is aimed at those with SSA…Even though we want to blame global institutions like FOTF or NARTH or GLSEN.

    To allude to an earlier post “What We Have In Common,” that we have not thoroughly explored, is that we have all been victims of narcissism in the debate over SSA.

  • David Blakeslee

    Here are brief narratives about the victims, some are married, some are “loners,” some are members of minority groups…all served.

    Less that 200 words are written about each person…read them, remember them and pray for their loved ones.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/06/fort.hood.shootings.victims/index.html

  • David Blakeslee
  • Papa Ray

    Jeez…I didn’t read all the comments, but enough to know that all of you are too tied up in your academia to use your common sense. Yes, the longer you practice your profession, it appears that you lose that common sense that you should have or at least been taught.

    Yes, at first the media gave wrong or misleading information, yes, everyone should have waited to get more details (supposedly facts) before commenting.

    But for those of you who are not at war (which appears to be most of you) I suggest that you educate yourself in the war that we are currently in up to our ears and that the American and other Nations Military are giving their lives for and being maimed and subjected to every single day!!!

    And as far as Islam goes…I suggest a very intensive education on the subject for each of you. I have been studying it since 2001 and it scares the hell out of me.

    Here is a place to start on this current situation and subject:

    Here is the truth in the matter. Pamela tells it.

    I know it is hard, but read it with an open mind and google for background information or subject matter. It should be easy for you educated professionals. It took me several years to understand the threat and the implications for America, the world and for my family and myself.

    Papa Ray (with just a high school education)

    West Texas

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    To allude to an earlier post “What We Have In Common,” that we have not thoroughly explored, is that we have all been victims of narcissism in the debate over SSA.

    Oh yeah, that one hits home for me this week. And, embarrassed as I am to admit it, I have had to examine how I may have reacted out of narcissism, myself recently. I am speaking especially with regard to the larger gay/ex-gay debate.

    And Papa Ray, our entire nation is at war, lest we forget. Brave men and women are giving their lives every day, and they also have stories. Those of us who have served our country in uniform at any time know this well.

    I will never forget the eerie feeling of standing at the edge of the fjords that linked to the Bering Sea off Northern Norway’s coast in March 1980, knowing full well that Soviet submarines were just a little way out there, monitoring our every move (I was with the 36th Marine Amphibious Unit as an Allied Press Information officer), while NATO conducted Operation Anorak Express. In those days, it was still the threat of Communism that scared us. Of course, our hostages in Iran had only been freed a couple months prior to that. We did not have a full picture yet of what awaited us.

    Today, we have female Marines getting killed in Iraq. I was only playing war games. Yes, we cannot deceive ourselves into thinking there is not plenty to be worried about with Islamic extremism. This is a real threat to us all.

  • carole

    David,

    Can society or societal and cultural institutions (like schools, faiths, places of worship, families, nuclear and extended, etc.) teach and instill narcissism in some whether they attempt to or not? Can they identify those most susceptible to it and use them to suit their purposes?

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Carole,

    Yes…

    Setting limits with narcissism (through discipline and appropriate punishment helps)

    Encouraging empathy helps.

    Indulgence hurts.

    Avoidance of limit setting hurts.

    Most adaptations to narcissistic styles start in early childhood, but the society spends a great deal of effort trying to modify such an adjustment or to sublimate it.

    It may be that Hasan attempted to sublimate it through professional identity and religious practice.

  • carole

    In my career, I saw, David, how a talent for motivating others could be used for either good or ill purposes. I know how many people, young and otherwise, are capable of being led down one path or its opposite–by one person, by a group, by an idea….

    Put a John Wooden with evil intent among a group of young adults and he could identify quickly from among hundreds the ones most suited for his purpose, could train them, could change course quickly should he determine that his tactics/strategies were not achieving his desired end, etc.

    I’ll not argue your points about narcissism. At some point we all either lose our ability to empathize or consciously choose not to empathize, especially when survival is uppermost in our minds.

    However, I’d argue that the movement that promotes jihadism exists precisely because those who promote it know that there are Hasans and Attas out there….every political or military “movement”…hey, for that matter any human enterprise that tries to achieve something whether it’s win a war or make money or win a game and those who lead such movements use methods that manipulate the susceptible. Even Mary Kay motivational speakers know that. Appealing to narcissism is just one tactic. The motivators needn’t know the name of the term in order to recognize in people a certain trait or a certain need that makes them tick, what makes them do what the motivator wants them to do.

    Artistotle’s topics of invention say it all.

  • Papa Ray

    “It may be that Hasan attempted to sublimate it through professional identity and religious practice.

    Yea sure. On the day he murdered and wounded our American service men and women, All of what Hasan did was because of his religious practice and his belief in it.

    All of it!!

    Papa Ray

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Carole

    Even Mary Kay motivational speakers know that.

    Beware extremely well groomed ladies in bright pink Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles!

    Seriously, narcissistic wishes can be sublimated into religious, athletic or political submission… and leaders recognize this vulnerability and exploit it.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Papa Ray,

    His religious practice guided his narcissistic strivings…it gave him a grandiose reason to express his revulsion and disgust of others.

  • Anonymous

    Papa Ray:

    I think David Blakeslee is right. By all accounts, this guy had a mental state which was going from bad to worse and his extremist religious beliefs gave him some kind of an outlet for his anger and hope of salvation.

  • Anonymous

    Papa Ray,

    The army is going to accuse the psychiatrist of premeditated murder of 12 people.

    Terrorism seems to be out of the question right now.

  • Mary

    Papa Ray,

    No.

    He shows all the hallmarks of an insolated individual who grasps on to a relgious ideology and then twists it just like others have done. He happened to be Muslim and probably used that to manipulate others into letting him slide by with all the other red flags waving very high and rapidly. He was a distrubed man who turned his religion into his “justification”. I have seen Christians kill people in the name of God, too. That is not Christianity anymore than what Hasan showed is Islam.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    The army is going to accuse the psychiatrist of premeditated murder of 12 people.

    13 people.

    Terrorism seems to be out of the question right now.

    How so?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    have seen Christians kill people in the name of God, too. That is not Christianity anymore than what Hasan showed is Islam.

    But both are a form of terrorism.

    How many Christians are waging holy jihad against Muslims at the moment?

  • carole

    David said to Papa Ray,

    His religious practice guided his narcissistic strivings…it gave him a grandiose reason to express his revulsion and disgust of others.

    I agree and my point is that he and Atta and the others and that all terrorists use a “grandiose reason” to do what they do. What handier “grandiose reason[s]” than religious teachings which they believe “empower” them? This guy expected to die, like all jihadists. He expected his jihadist brothers and sisters to celebrate him, to idealize his death, to turn him into a hero. It’s the narcissist’s ultimate antidote to impotence—-to be turned into a hero.

    I get the feeling some have obscured the meaning of “terrorism.” Maybe the word frightens some. Others, I am afraid, avoid using it because it disturbs their political biases. That is a victory for our enemies.

    I still believe that common sense is really the retention of the survival instinct and that some have lost it.

  • carole

    Mary said,

    I have seen Christians kill people in the name of God, too. That is not Christianity anymore than what Hasan showed is Islam.

    If a person kills using his Christian faith as a “gradiose reason” to justify his killing, he is a Christian terrorist, Mary. It matters not what you think Christianity and Islam teach, preach. It matters what the terrorist uses to spur him, embolden him in using words to describe him.

  • Mary

    Of course it is terrorism. Urban gangs are a form of terrorism. I don’t believe this guy’s target was the United States of America and Christians. I believe his motive was from mental illness and in the truist sense of the term not a miltary action of terrorism at all.

  • Ann

    Remember David Koresh and Jim Jones? Didn’t they use their religion as justification for murdesr/suicides? It was not their religion that commited these horrific acts, as Mary so rightly points out, it is their twisted interpretation of their religion that, to them, justified what they did. Muslims practicing Islam are not all cut from the same cloth.

  • Michael Bussee

    Muslims practicing Islam are not all cut from the same cloth.

    Just as all Christians aren’t. Thank God… :)

  • carole

    Jones and Koresh didn’t kill people who held beliefs they felt were in opposition to their own. They killed those who shared beliefs.

  • Mary

    Thankfully!

    Let’s see how this individual gets charged. So far – premeditated murder. No acts of treason or terrosrism against the United States have been filed, yet.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Let’s see how this individual gets charged. So far – premeditated murder. No acts of treason or terrosrism against the United States have been filed, yet.

    It won’t matter in terms of how he is punished. Just as those who may be convicted of a “hate crime” know, a person only has one life to forfeit or spend in prison, regardless of what motivated his heinous crime. Justice will be served.

    And it really isn’t necessary to keep pointing out that not all Muslims or Christians are extremists or terrorists. We get that already. Either he is or he isn’t. The investigation will uncover the pertinent facts. No one here is making sweeping condemnations or pronouncements that I know of (except to declare Hasan mentally ill or definitely not an extremist, interestingly).

    We can all rightly condemn extremism and terrorism. We can surmise that this crime might have been such an act, but no one can declare that at this point. Every time the word terrorist or Muslim or extremist is used in its proper context, we don’t have to have palpitations here. The man is innocent until proven guilty. Terrorism is a bad thing. Two different statements.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    check your facts. they did kill others. or ordered it.

  • carole

    Recall that Jones invited his flock to drink the Kool Aid. They did. They believed as he did. Koresh was encamped with his co-believers as well.

    Hasan didn’t go into his nearby Mosque, didn’t travel to a Muslim community/neighborhood, didn’t take a plane to a Palestinian camp in Jordan and empty his weapons, did he? I mean, are you seriously arguing that he didn’t see his victims as “others?” He did not seek out those who practiced his faith, did not seek out those who hated the American military, did not seek out those who might have harbored anti-American values and slaughter them, did he?

    The word “terrorist” refers to those who murder those they perceive in opposition to their strongly-held political/cultural beliefs. Koresh and Jones are just as contemptible as Hasan–but using the word “terrorist” to describe them is your attempt to take a noun that has multiple meanings and promiscously chose its most generic meaning from the verb “terrorize.” IOW, you are purposefully avoiding its more specific, relevant meaning.

    Even using your inapt definition–the drinkers of the Kool Aid evidently looked forward to what they felt was their immediate heavenly destination–seems they didn’t feel terrorized. Are you seriously suggesting that the Guyana group (other than the children) can be compared to the victims at Fort Hood? I am stating the obvious, but I guess I have to–THEY HAD A CHOICE! I hope you realize the absurdity of that comparison.

  • carole

    Hey, Mary–I live in an area very close to many who died in that Guyana mess. I know people, personally know people whose relatives died in that mess. They were people who CHOSE to follow Jim JOnes and his People’s Temple. Their relatives had tried over and over again to get them to reject that a–hole, but they made a choice. When they got on the plane, they made a choice–some of them had followed him for years.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee said:

    Now NPR is asserting mental illness based upon heresay amongst prior colleagues:

    This is not true. NPR does not assert that Hassan was mentally ill. Certainly, they suggest it, and want the reader to believe that, but no where do they claim he was mentally ill. All the have done (unfortunately) is what just about every other news organization (and several people on this blog) has done, picked their own rational for why Hassan did what he did then set out to try and prove it.

    Hopefully, the military investigators won’t be as easily swayed by their biases and try to remain objective in piecing together what happened and why.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    Check your facts again.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    Check your facts again.

  • carole

    Forgive the spelling errors–typing in anger will do that.

    Bottom line—NO, the victims at Ft. Hood were not, WERE NOT like the adults in Guyana or at Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound. If you think you can make the case that they were, I’d love to see you try to do it with their families, loved ones, countrymen and women.

  • Papa Ray

    OK…I guess my thinking was right before I made my first post. But I’ll say it out loud now and leave all of you alone.

    Your ignorance of Islam is tremendous, enormous and shameful for supposedly higher educated adult professionals.

    Islam is a religion/social/everything cult that dictates how an individual lives and everything that they do or think right up to the time they die. Every thing, from which hand to wipe their ass to who they can lie to and especially concerning Infidels (that is all of you).

    It is a cult that can not and will not change and is not compatible with anyone/any government outside of Islam. If you don’t convert, pay taxes to stay alive you deserve (according to Allah) to be put to death. In fact if you do any number of things and are an infidel, you deserve to be put to death. Only a few things reserve that faith to Muslims. (tip- Killing Infidels is not one of them) Now saying that the Quran is wrong will certainly earn you that as well as switching religions.

    This Terrorist that was masquerading as a U.S. Soldier and Citizen (and many others are) decided that he would carry out Allah’s instructions that he wrote for all Muslims in their holy book the Quran. You can say that only radicals believe the words in the Quran but you would be wrong. It is just that most are not going to kill themselves if they have plenty of others to do it. And they do, they say that about ten percent of Muslims worldwide are radical extremists, or ones that actually follow Allah’s teachings to the word. Well what is ten percent of two billion?

    Now your going to tell me that all of those millions “religious practice guided his their narcissistic strivings”

    Give me a break.

    Please educate yourselves, until you do, most of you are part of this problem

    Papa Ray

  • carole

    Ever read much about Mohammad, the prophet? Care to compare/contrast the account of his life with that of your savior, Christ?

  • carole

    The last comment, a question, was to Mary and Ann.

  • carole

    Papa Ray is right about fundamentalist Islam and the problem is that fundamentalist Islam has millions of followers. That the Muslims who are your neighbors and mine are not “fundamentalist” is blinding you. Mohammad himself, unlike, say Christ, was a warrior who raped and pillaged. A fundamentalist uses that as an instructive lesson.

  • Michael Bussee

    Can’t recall Jesus ever calling for the death of someone — for any reason. “I have come that they might have life — and that more abundantly…”

  • Michael Bussee

    He shall be called the Prince of Peace.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ken,

    Thanks for checking in…the article I cited was followed up by a radio spot on Oregon Public Broadcasting this a.m.

    They referred to him as “psychotic”…that he had traits of fragmented thinking…and so on…citing mental health professionals who worked with him…

    Very little of what they cite would fit the diagnosis they assert.

  • Michael Bussee

    I found this quote interesting and wondered how it might pertain:

    “Religious creeds encourage some of the craziest kinds of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and favor severe manifestations of neurosis, borderline personality states, and sometimes even psychosis.” Albert Ellis

    Thoughts?

  • David Blakeslee

    Try this…from the same man:

    “I think that I can safely say that the Judeo-Christian Bible is a self-help book that has probably enabled more people to make more extensive and intensive personality and behavioral changes than all professional therapists combined (Ellis, 1993).”

    Ellis, A. (1993). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Help Therapy Materials, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 24. 336

  • carole

    Mary said,

    Let’s see how this individual gets charged. So far – premeditated murder. No acts of treason or terrosrism against the United States have been filed, yet.

    This shouldn’t surprise you or anyone who has followed this administration. This President doesn’t recognize terrorism–just like you. It doesn’t exist if you don’t name it as such. You can wish it away by refusing to name it.

    Were authorities to call it “terrorism, ” he’d have to admit its existence and just as hard for him would be admitting that an act of terror on our soil happened on his watch. After all, he spent much of his candidacy trying to convince people that enemies fade away with kumbaya moments.

    Authorities who might want to charge Hasan with acts of terror might face the end of careers under this administration.. .the same kind of wussy, self-absorbed behavior that allowed this guy to do what he did in the first place.

    Irony of ironies–the countries of Europe which Obama wanted to win over have been excoriating him for what they call his “weakness.” So much for kumbaya.

  • Michael Bussee

    Love the quote, David. I agree with him, on both points.

  • Anonymous

    @Papa Ray

    Islam is a threat in many ways, not just to USA, terrorism has been a threat until now, but this shooting doesn’t have the signs of organised violent act meant to induce terror for ideological aims. It was just a guy with an empty life who killed people out of resentment and who was desperately looking for something to give him a sense of roots and identity. This guy was disconnected from people in general, including other Muslims, and he probably tried to give his life some structure by using the religion of his family and looking for a woman that had the same belief, because women are supposed to be submissive to men in Islam and apparently that would have helped him find a wife.

    His problem was lack of affiliation and finding a wife. Islam could have provided him with that. He took that path, he still failed, he became hardened in this mind solace he found, the more he defended it the fringier he looked to his peers, he thought they were singling him out for his beliefs, but it was mainly his behaviour. He felt his life was nullified by others because he was a “good guy”, believing in something that promised to give him some worth. His mental state deteriorated, he killed. Now he’s going to be tried, convicted and probably get the IV.

    Compare this case with that of terminally ill people from the Muslim world who volunteer to become suicide bombers because their families get a certain amount of money for that. This guy emptied his house and gave away his things because he was prepared to check out of life without expecting anyone to get any reward, either Islamic extremist group, family or person. There was nothing for him here that gave him motivation, his religious belief was just a dream of a promise that one day he could have a life. I don’t think this guy should be profiled as some mean, conniving Satan, who was doing a great job pretending he was a nice guy to others. I think he was vulnerable and had some mental problems. If your army specialists are going to rule out any plea on insanity, then he’s gets execution. End of story, no extreme religious motivation.

    Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if they studied cases like this and found out it’s nice guys who turn into killers. Probably Osama bin Laden is a nice guy who is responsible with many deaths, many of them innocent.

    Lastly, if you want to have this debate, separately from the Hasan case, you should also ask yourself why did extreme Muslim terrorists started to target America. I’ll tell you why: because America supported Israel in the Middle East conflict. There were no Islamic terrorist attacks against the US before the 90′s. USA supported the same side as al Qaeda against the Russians in the war in Afghanistan in 88-89. You were practically allies with bin Laden, how about that?

  • Mary

    Carole,

    A sitting US Senator was killed by the Jones group and ATF agents were killed by the Koresh group.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    This administration does not recognize terrorism?

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/11/12/mosque.seized/index.html

    Again, you might want to check your facts.

  • carole

    Me, check my facts, Mary, me?

    John Burton was NOT our CA senator. He represented my district at the time, my district! I don’t need a history lesson about Guyana.

  • carole

    You have all the senators mixed up. John Burton was a state senator, first my assemblyman years ago.

    He and his brother were friends with Leo Ryan….Leo was murdered by Jones’ fanatics.

  • Mary

    Nonetheless – wasn’t a non-Jonesian killed?

    Either way Carole, I disagree with your perspective. It seems, so do a lot of people. Take your argument up with others. I’ve made my point.

  • carole

    Yes, people who went down there to bring people back, including Leo Ryan, were killed.

    According to this morning’s polls, 60%+ of Americans call Hasan a Muslim terrorist. Even more in Europe.

    Perspectives matter– seeing things for what they are so that the right policy derives is important. There are many people who wish to kill you.

  • Mary

    “Just because a bunch of people get togehter and decide what reality is going to be does not mean that is reality” Lily Tomlinson

    Hahaha. Carole – where do you get your research? The people close to the case are not charging the man with terrorism, acts of war , or treason. I don’t care if you are biased – I don’t have to be.

  • carole

    Lily Tomlin, comedienne , is your guiding light? Saw Lily at the Concord Pavilion once and at SF’s old comedy club, the Boarding House, twice— fantastic entertainer, but….not my moral or philosophical guiding light or compass.

    Can we get past aphorisms?

    Your HAHA’s make you sound childish just as when you say, “I don’t care if you are biased–I don’t have to be” you bring to mind a six year old with her index fingers plugged in her ears as she cries, “NA NA NA na na naHHHHHH.”

    What you were really saying a while back and are repeating with such inanities now is that you don’t want to discuss. You are still silent about those millions who practice fundamentalist Islam, the ones like Hasan? Like Atta? Like the Indonesians who kidnap and torture Western visitors? Like those who shoot Afghan women in the back of the head? Okay, go ahead and refuse to believe they exist and that they hate you and that one day, maybe even now, they are among you and yours.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    You seem to be getting carried away. I hope the best to you – we just disagree.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    The people close to the case are not charging the man with terrorism, acts of war , or treason

    Mary, he is a soldier charged with murdering 13 fellow Americans, all but one of whom were also soldiers, during a time of war. They happened to be in garrison, prepping for deployment to the war zone. Anyone who cannot see the treason in that is blind or politically correct to the max. I am judging the act itself, and not the man’s complex (or perhaps quite simple) motives.

  • Ann

    Ever read much about Mohammad, the prophet? Care to compare/contrast the account of his life with that of your savior, Christ?

    Carole,

    I know you addressed this to me and Mary but am not sure why? As to the question though, yes, I have read about Mohammad, the prophet. I’m not sure I have ever declared my personal faith or belief in any kind of detail on this blog so I will answer in general terms. Regarding the second question, in my opinion, the difference between my pesonal understanding of Christ and my knowledge of Mohammad is very deep and very wide.

  • Ann

    Jones and Koresh didn’t kill people who held beliefs they felt were in opposition to their own. They killed those who shared beliefs.

    Carole,

    Yes, this is correct, however, Jones and Koresh commited these acts rather than answer to authorities for holding people against their will. Am I right? Close to 1,000 people did the same thing on a flat mountain top in Israel by the Dead Sea. The difference is they were on top of Masada to escape their captors and when they could no longer hold them back with their limited defenses, they chose to die rather than live as pagens.

  • Mary

    Yeah, I don’t know what that point was…. I am talking about one man in one situation and it has been exaggerrated out to all Muslims and My Savior. Which in the beginning if you will …. my savior does offer grace for the sinner, the misguided, the isolated and lonely.

  • Ann

    Narcissism is rampant in this culture.

    Yes, it is and in varying ways. My personal belief is that when we feel capable of doing what we know is right, we usually do it. When an individual does not feel capable or the threat to their own survival (lots of ways to define this) is at stake, they usually will commit an act that sustains their comfort zone at the cost of others. This army psychiatrist had bad performance reviews from his superiors, was facing and unwanted deployment and, I think felt trapped. Add to that any teachings and associations he might have had with the dark side of those who practice radical Islam extremism and I can see how he justified to himself what he did. The same day this happened, I saw a young man who is a U.S. soldier with his wife and little girl – I stopped to say hello and thank him for his service and when I got back in my car I cried thinking about how many of those 13 soldiers had families and if I was crying, how did and could they feel.

  • David Blakeslee

    As our empathy remains attuned to his victims, we are more capable of protecting vulnerable groups in the future.

    Think about it this way…

    A man, this week, killed his wife at work after she filed for divorce…she knew she was at risk and sought the support of local police.

    Matthew Shepherd was brutually murdered by acquaintances, probably due to his vulnerability and sexual orientation.

    Narcissism preys on the vulnerable and the unsuspecting.

    Hasan could have attacked the base police station…instead he targeted unarmed soldiers, many of whom were in the medical profession.

    Let’s keep our focus on the 13 and their loved ones.

  • Ann

    Let’s keep our focus on the 13 and their loved ones.

    David,

    What would you like us to focus on regarding the 13 and their loved ones?

  • carole

    Ann,

    My post at 4:40 yesterday point about the lives of Muhammad and Christ was to point out how/why vast millions of followers of the teachings of the two have such differing behaviors. To the vast followers of the fundamentalist “brand” of Islam—and they ARE vast— they are NOT “twisting their faith.” The words are right in front of them; their prophet did indeed lead a violent life and his life/teachings command them to kill infidels.

    When people claim that “Islam is a peaceful religion” they fail to point out the historical and current truths–millions of followers of Muhammad use his life and directives to follow what you and I and any sane, intelligent person would NOT call a “peaceful” life. That millions of Muslims do NOT follow this fundamentalist “brand” is only partial comfort when millions of others DO. Your words that they are “twisting their religion” sound silly when they CAN POINT to Muhammad’s life and directives.

    While there are some Christians who concentrate their fervor on the words of the Old, rather than the New Testament, 1) they don’t seem to have killed many people worldwide lately, have they, nor are they organized, nor do they number in the millions although their efforts to subjugate people, demonize them, are a part of history as well and if left to their own devices, they might try. 2) Other Christians keep them relatively in check by offering the New Testament, right?

    Thus, it should surprise no one that there are those believers in Islam who will continue to practice their violent brand of faith–using the words and life of their prophet as their exemplar.

    Simply put–your religion, your faith doesn’t direct you to kill; theirs does. They can point to the words and show you–they are incredulous over your words, “it’s a twisting.”

    ******************************************

    My post regarding the Branch Davidians and Jim Jones was in response to Mary’s contention (and anyone else’s) that these too were “terrorists” because so many people were killed as a result of their brand of insanity. Jonestown? The Branch Davidian compound? These two ensconsced themselves and those of like mind into isolated compounds. They killed officials who went after them, who went to their encampments. Hardly what Atta and buddies or Hasan did–it was they who did the seeking of those who were NOT of like mind.

    When an accosted person kills a policeman or any other official of a government agency, that is not enough to label them “terrorists.” Jeeeez.

    Hasan sought out those whose beliefs he perceived differed from his and he attacked representatives of the US government on a US government installation and he planned it. Had he simply been a “crazy man, ” not a “terrorist,” he would have gone on a rampage elsewhere–in the 7-11 he visited each day, in the grocery store, at his apartment complex, in his mosque, etc. But he didn’t.

    I have to agree with Papa Ray that until we educate ourselves we are a part of the problem.

    Orwell’s words are prescient:

    “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Ann,

    Thanks for encouraging me to get practical:

    Fort Hood officials have announced opportunities for the public to donate to various agencies to honor the soldiers and families affected by the mass shooting on post Thursday. Checks can be mailed to:

    Chaplain’s Fund Office

    Building 44, 761st Tank Battalion Ave.

    Fort Hood, TX 76544

    Contributions on behalf of Fort Hood soldiers can be made to:

    Fisher House

    Building 36015, Fisher Lane

    Fort Hood, TX 76544

    Donations can be made to the Red Cross in Killeen:

    Killeen Red Cross

    208 W. Ave. A

    Killeen, TX

    76541

    http://www.waco.redcross.org

    Donations can be made to the United Service Organizations at:

    USO Fort Hood

    Building 1871 50th Street

    Fort Hood, TX 76544

    http://www.uso.org

  • Ann

    The words are right in front of them; their prophet did indeed lead a violent life and his life/teachings command them to kill infidels.

    Carol,

    Yes, you are right.

    That millions of Muslims do NOT follow this fundamentalist “brand” is only partial comfort when millions of others DO. Your words that they are “twisting their religion” sound silly when they CAN POINT to Muhammad’s life and directives.

    Yes, I realize this. Also, perhaps I did not use the proper word when I said “twisted”. I should have probably said that some Muslims reject this part of Islamic teaching and, instead, practice other aspects of the religion.

  • Ann

    Hasan sought out those whose beliefs he perceived differed from his and he attacked representatives of the US government on a US government installation and he planned it. Had he simply been a “crazy man, ” not a “terrorist,” he would have gone on a rampage elsewhere–in the 7-11 he visited each day, in the grocery store, at his apartment complex, in his mosque, etc. But he didn’t.

    Carole,

    While it might be easy for all of us to make the above assumptions, which are more than likely correct, I would prefer to wait until a complete investigation to be completed and base my knowledge of what happened on facts as they are uncovered.

    I have to agree with Papa Ray that until we educate ourselves we are a part of the problem.

    Yes, I agree to the extent that some do not educate themselves, or use critical thought, or turn their head the other way and pretend as though there is not problem. There is also the distinct possibility that others are very educated on the subject of Islam, Mohammed, etc. and a myriad of other subjects and choose to be part of the solution in a quiet and productive way.

    Orwell’s words are prescient:

    “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

    Yes, I hope that we would all be cognizant of this. Love the Orwellian quotes :-)

  • Ann

    Thank you David – I appreciate this information.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Narcissism is rampant in this culture.

    We’ve had a lot of talk about narcissism in this thread, but it really goes back to where it originates — forgetting that this is a God-centric universe. If we kick Him off the throne and place ourselves (or any other god) there, we’ve got trouble.

  • ken

    carole said:

    Hasan sought out those whose beliefs he perceived differed from his and he attacked representatives of the US government on a US government installation and he planned it.

    Or it could be that:

    Hasan was a disturbed man who snapped and took out his frustrations on his co-workers.

    Both of these scenarios fit the facts (given that little factual data that has been released about what happened). And there are many other scenarios that could explain why Hasan did what he did.

    However, you can’t seem to get past the fact that Hasan was a muslim, and because of that, you seem to be blinded to the numerous other possibilities.

    Now to be clear, Hasan’s religion may have played a very significant part in why he did what he did, or it may have been completely insignificant. I don’t know. And I’ve seen very few facts to indicate how significant it may have been. I’ve seen A LOT of spin by the media (and people on this blog) trying to convince people of their particular theory on the matter. But not much compelling evidence.

  • David Blakeslee

    But not much

    compelling

    evidence.

    We qualify a lot on this blog…for good reason.

  • David Blakeslee

    Oops

    But not much compelling evidence.

    We qualify a lot on this blog…for good reason.

  • Anonymous

    Debbie Thurman

    …forgetting that this is a God-centric universe. If we kick Him off the throne and place ourselves (or any other god) there, we’ve got trouble.

    Some are trying very hard to make Hasan Malik fit into the Muslim terrorist box. If they are right, then the reason why there was trouble is because he believed in his god.

    Maybe he believed he was the hand of his god killing people who didn’t deserve to live, as Papa Ray said. Then who is the culprit: his god or him?

  • carole

    Ken, you said it could be that

    Hasan was a disturbed man who snapped and took out his frustrations on his co-workers.

    Being disturbed and being a terrorist are not mutually exclusive. In fact, perhaps they go hand in hand. I have read people on this thread and heard a few voices in the pc media state that, “Any person who does this HAS to be a crazy man” —Their argument? Why, he was simply “unstable”, not “a terrorist.” One wonders why these same people didn’t call the 9/11 people “unstable.” MIght have something to do with the fact that NYC and DC, where they and their families live, were under attack. Hasan only went after people in podunk Texas afterall…. and primarily soldiers , not the media elite who live in NYC and DC, were victims.

    You said,

    Both of these scenarios fit the facts (given that little factual data that has been released about what happened).

    Seems you haven’t been reading about some of the data collected–even Hasan himself saw himself as a Soldier of Allah which he had printed on his business cards. And, his emails?

    blockquote>However, you can’t seem to get past the fact that Hasan was a muslim, and because of that, you seem to be blinded to the numerous other possibilities.

    You’re right. I have too much common sense to not link his cultural and religious fervor with his actions. However, I note you cover your rear with, “Now to be clear, Hasan’s religion may have played a very significant part in why he did what he did….”

    May have”? Ya think?

    Then you add,

    it may have been completely insignificant

    . Gawd.

    Your powers of reason are non-existent. I don’t ask you agree with me or be on my side. I only hope that enough people in this country are not of your mind. I am glad they don’t seem to be.

  • carole

    David,

    Thought you might be interested. In this piece, Charles Krauthammer says,

    And the perfect moral finesse. Medicalizing mass murder not only exonerates. It turns the murderer into a victim, indeed a sympathetic one. After all, secondary PTSD, for those who believe in it (you won’t find it in DSM-IV-TR, psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), is known as “compassion fatigue.” The poor man — pushed over the edge by an excess of

    sensitivity.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/11/13/medicalizing_mass_murder_99142.html

  • Mary

    I am amazed at those who profess to be christians yelling, “Crucify him!” at this guy and saying things like justice will be served etc… Where is the compassion and the love of Christ at this time???

    What an opportunity we have to demonstrate Christianity and this stuff is what spews out? I’m amazed.

    Sigh – and Pilate washed his hands.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Where is the compassion and the love of Christ at this time???

    It is understandably more with the victims and their families right now. Doesn’t mean we can’t also feel compassion for their killer. But he will have to meet with justice, as well. Can you imagine the road these families will have to travel to forgive him? Some are going to really struggle with that, naturally. We are not superhuman in that regard. It takes time to get there. Let’s let God be God and we’ll do our best to be Jesus with skin on.

    This event has just unleashed the underlying tension and fear many folks feel these days. Some may want to shrug it off or go into denial. We do need to face the very real problem of national security that is before us. We don’t have to live here in the U.S. with what other nations do on a daily basis. We somehow feel immune. No, we’re not.

  • Mary

    We have to face the issue of principalities – not flesh and bone.

  • Mary

    Another way to say it

    Your enemy is not your next door neighbor. Even when you consider your next door neighbor to be an enemy to you, you are obliged to “love your enemies and to do good to those who hate you.” Your enemies are principalities and powers. These enemies do influence the lives of humans to instigate them to do evil.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Mary, you are mixing metaphors and principles, apparently without being aware of it. In the spiritual realm, yes, the battles are of another kind. We don’t go out looking for enemies to engage in the physical. We also don’t lie down and naively believe physical enemies (some of whom are earthly manisfestations of evil spiritual enemies, as you point out above) do not exist.

    We fight spirit with spirit and flesh with flesh. Christ told his followers to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. The Ephesians 6 armor of God is for the spiritual realm, the most important, as Christ also said to fear only the one who was able to destroy both body and soul. But we live in the real world where real enemies want to do us real harm. They do not recognize our God.

    Love your enemies, yes. But be prudent and discerning at the same time.

  • Mary

    True Debbie. And obviosly you and I see things differently. While you think I am mistaken, I think the same about your theology in practice.

  • Ann

    I have read people on this thread and heard a few voices in the pc media state that, “Any person who does this HAS to be a crazy man” —Their argument? Why, he was simply “unstable”, not “a terrorist.” One wonders why these same people didn’t call the 9/11 people “unstable.”

    Carole,

    I am not sure what his motivation was for doing this and until I do know, I can only surmise. The attacks on 9/11 were a directive from radical Islamic extremeists to the ones that commited the acts. I am not so sure this was the case in Texas. I am also not ruling it out. My current thoughts are that this man could have acted alone out of hurt and anger and feeling very alone and displaced and without hope. Much like the young men did at Columbine and Virginia Tech or the individuals who commited similar acts at post offices and other work places.

  • carole

    Ann,

    OBL issued directives and urgings (several times– we’ve many on tape) to those who were “pure” in their beliefs, to kill the infidels. He made clear they didn’t have to be part of an organized cell. Several well-known Muslim clerics, both in the Middle East and those in Britain as well, and even a few in the country, did the same after 9/11 and since.

    American and Western terrorist experts told us to expect that either small cells, much smaller than the ones who conducted the 9/11 attacks OR that individual jihadists would likley being conducting attacks in the future. Remember? These warnings and reminders from our own leaders and security people were common–they pled with us to watch out for odd behavior and report it, and they reminded us that new tactics, such as the lone, in-your-backyard terrorist, or those in very small in groups as small as two, might become common. In fact, one such cell composed of only two people was in operation just a few miles to the east of where I now live. They were arrested in the small, quiet town of Lodi, a father and his son–one was convicted, the other trial ended in a mistrial, and I don’t know where things now stand since the media does grow tired of a story, you know? So much for vigilance, something that would have prevented the Texas murders and the 9/11 attacks themselves.

    I say all this only to remind you that a person acting alone doesn’t negate his being a terrorist--OSL urged his followers to act in any way they saw fit in order to kill the infidels.

    So, why do you use your contention that he may have acted alone as an argument against the idea he was a terrorist?

    Much like the young men did at Columbine and Virginia Tech or the individuals who commited similar acts at post offices and other work places.

    If authorities have evidence that the VA Tech murderer was part of any group, part of any institution or culture or cult, a follower of a belief system which had enouraged him or required him to exact revenge against others not part of that group, if they find that such a group, through their commands or their teachings urged him to kill, blessed him for so doing, then hell yes, call him a “terrorist” by all means! Call him a terrorist, and then name the culture or the institution or the group which confers their blessings or kudos on him; next, call him by that name–the ______VA Tech terrorist. Go ahead, fill in the blank if there is such evidence. I’ve no problem with that if it’s the truth.

    The two Columbine murderers? Same thing. More than fine with me if they are called “terorists” if you find evidence they were following an institutionalized culture or system of authority or beliefs which commanded them or required them or praised them for slaughtering their fellow students.

  • Ann

    Carole,

    Perhaps I am not articulating well. Let me begin by saying I am well informed and very knowledgable about the points you cited in the above post. I appreciate your admonitions, however, I am already aware of them. Thank you anyway. As to my thought that he might have acted alone – it was just that, a thought, not a contention. I really don’t know what his motivations/reasons/justifications were to commit this horrendous act. I do not know if he acted alone for the reasons I previously proposed or if he acted alone in the name of Islam, or if he was viewed as vulnerable enough to be directed by an Islamic extremeist(s). I just don’t know and will be very interested to find out. I believe I stated in an earlier post that I had an initial assumption but wanted to wait until an investigation was completed before drawing an difinitive conclusions. At this point, I am not ruling out anything as I just don’t know.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    My reasoning was not that he just had to be unstable. My reasoning is that Hasan (from what we know) fits the profile of a lone gunman. He planned alone, acted alone, and had to shoot each person individuallly by his own hand. And he did not kill himself in the process. Marked differences from a jihadist attack.

  • Mary
  • Mary

    Debbie,

    I wonder. Had you been there, would you have taken off the soldiers ear – that Jesus repaired?

    Luke 22:47-53

    I just have to wonder how people on this blog can chastise Uganda for having such a law and then turn around and be very deliberate in dolling out their own judgement of another human. All sins are equal. What makes anyone’s announcement that Hasan is evil any less absurd than the Ugandians making such a statement about homosexuals and casuing a law to kill them to be in place.

  • Michael Bussee

    Debbie said:

    Love your enemies, yes. But be prudent and discerning at the same time.

    This reminds me of:

    One day Prophet Muhammad noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi).

  • Mary

    Yeah – I guess some Christians will take the advice of Muhammad. LOL!!!

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Yeah – I guess some Christians will take the advice of Muhammad. LOL!!!

    Perhaps some will, but let’s hope most get their marching orders from the Living Word of God:

    The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it (Prov. 22:3)

    When our enemies heard that their plot was known to us, and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and body-armor; and the leaders posted themselves behind the whole house of Judah, who were building the wall. The burden-bearers carried their loads in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and with the other held a weapon. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built (Nehemiah 4:15-18).

    The Word is a two-edged sword. It will not be mocked. Did you know that Nehemiah and those working with him rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in only 52 days, utilizing both the sword and the trowel?

  • Mike Airhart, TWO

    The “Living Word” implies that, as living things do, the Word evolves and changes with time.

    It is only a dead word, such as Latin, whose meaning does not change with time.

    As far as the citation of Biblical warfare is concerned, it is presumptuous to assume that oneself is on the winning side.

    John 18:10: “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)”

    What was Jesus’ response?

  • Mary

    Mike – So true- so true. People often assume they are on the “right” side of things. I have to really wonder. And pray about things.

    Also, just because I don’t call Hasan a terrorist does not mean that I am naive or less vigilant to my own protection. It seems some people want me to make the leap from one man to all violent Muslim men as terrorsits. Silly. And then I am called naive. And then perhaps they have confused themselves with God saying some are mocking God when in reality I am just disagreeing with their interpretation of the Word. That’s not mocking – that’s actually considering acting like a Christian.

  • Michael Bussee

    As far as the citation of Biblical warfare is concerned, it is presumptuous to assume that oneself is on the winning side.

    Boy, howdy! You can sure say THAT again. Hardly ever do I hear someone say, “This is what I understand Scripture to say…” or “This is what I believe this passage means…”

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Carole,

    Thanks for the link….

    Have we totally lost our moral bearings? Nidal Hasan (allegedly) cold-bloodedly killed 13 innocent people. In such cases, political correctness is not just an abomination. It’s a danger, clear and present.

    Charles is a retired psychiatrist…and a very bright political writer.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Others,

    regarding loving our enemy…a worthy calling for believers…and even for non-believers…

    But it is not love to under-report the facts as a reporter, to distort the facts as a mental health worker (no such thing as vicarious post-traumatic stress).

    Neither is it loving for a government charged to protect the weak and the vulnerable to people who are commited to harming them…

    The individual is called to turn the other cheek. A government has a much different calling…

    As does a parent.

  • Mary

    To which kingdom do you belong?

    No one is saying not to protect yourself, nor to wishfully think that everyone is destined for good towards me. But to ignore some of the signs we know and to lump this man as a terrorist only is to overlook a whole lot of human potential.

    Even a parent does not falsley persecute his child.

  • Eddy

    Hardly ever do I hear someone say, “This is what I understand Scripture to say…” or “This is what I believe this passage means…”

    I’m not trying to be mean-spirited here….but is this really true? It’s an oft-repeated complaint but does it have any substance? I’m thinking it’s one of those things that has been said over and over again without really assessing it’s truth or value. It seems to stand as a negative judgement with only anecdotal support…”hardly ever do I hear someone say”.

    I’m not sure how many people or how much Michael hears aside from this blog…but this statement is not born out by the dialogues here. We’ve had one or two voices drop in from time to time with ‘the Bible says’ but the primary voices here, even the conservatives, have always seemed careful to qualify with ‘I believe’ or ‘my understanding is’. Warren? David? Ann? Mary? Debbie? Carol? Me? I can’t recall dogmatic pronunciations from any of them.

  • David Blakeslee

    Nor does a loving parent naively, repetitively endanger a child…

    It is always troubling when I see the consequences of this in my office: a passive, excuse making parent described by a repetitively abused child.

    There are many Christian principals to weigh and to counter-weigh.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Mike Airhart,

    As Michael B. and I have discovered, Ellis has conflicting quotes on the benefits of religion.

    It should come as no surprise that Christ has conflicting quotes as well:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    Matt. 10:34.

    This may account for our differences with each other at this site, perhaps with TWO, XGW and BTB.

    Regardless, quoting scriptures makes me a bit anxious as we appear both pious and confused.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Quoting Scripture really is a two-edged sword, and I am sure I am one here who could be called dogmatic and it would fit on occasion. I have to be honest and realize that. There, I made it easy. :)

  • Anonymous

    David Blakeslee,

    I wom’t discuss values here, but if anyone wants to prevent this stuff, I think they have to look into causes properly. I’m not so convinced Hasan is an evil, malevolent creature who carefully planned to kill his coworkers because he was Muslim or narcissist. And I’m neither convinced that the innocent are innocent. If someone dies because of someone else’s actions, that doesn’t make them innocent of whatever they did in the past. Hasan is guilty of murder, but that should not have a bearing on judging what caused the shooting. In other words, the fact that he is legally and morally guilty of killing others who were not able to defend themselves does not say that the cause lies only with him. We cannot know 100% what was in this guy’s mind and what lead to the killings, beside what investigators reported (Filter No1) and what the media chose to report (Filter No2). THerefore, it’s likely that any interpretation has some degree of error and we’re all weighing each other’s interpretations depending on what weight we ascribe to reported facts.

    Anyway, a good exercise which I think is also useful for forensic psycho-experts is to compare cases and see what common and diverging patterns they see in the development of these people. For instance, until this case made the news all around the world, I never got curious about the life of the guy who bombed a federal building in your country, the first big case of terrorism before 9-11. His name was Timothy McVeigh and he killed a lot more people than Hasan without being a Muslim.

    Some factors which ring a few bells from this guy’s life:

    - his parents divorced when he was ten

    - he was bullied

    - was withdrawn

    - didn’t know how to impress girls

    - retreated into a fantasy world in which he thought he was getting back at his ennemies

    - became interested in computers

    - became interested in weapons

    - used weapons to impress peers, probably to feel a sense of empowerment, get some respect he could not get otherwise

    - threw himself into military service as if he wanted to toughen himself and become affiliated, probably also get to exercise what he understood by freedom (license to possess and use weapons)

    - lonesome lifestyle, suicidal ideation, frustration with not being able to get into a relationship with a woman

    etc, etc.

    These factors can also be identified in the VTech shooters, with the exception of divorce and military employment. Most of them can be found in Hasan’s life.

    Now, there are also a couple of biographies of Bin Laden. Didn’t have the time to look into them, but I’ve browsed through one of them and found some interesting factors:

    - OBL was born in a large family, he had a great number of older brothers

    - his father died, some say his mother separated from his father before that, before he went through puberty

    - while he was financing military operations in Afghanistan against Soviet Russia, he took a visit to the site and was said to have had a sort of religious awakening – Muslims believe that political events are the reflection of the struggle in the world between their god and the forces of darkness – the forces of darkness can be anything from Western habits to Russians who persecuted their ‘brothers’ of the same religion,

    - he got into organising military operations, found a calling in that, probably in connection with fighting the forces of darkness

    - war experience exposed him to everyday, visible and violent death

    - everywhere he set his base he put himself under the influence of a mentor, some say surrogate fathers

    - rumours that one of his mentors has a medical training in psychiatry too, besides being a surgeon, and that he may have taken neuroleptics when he was younger

    - after the terroristic attacks he organised in the US, many of the videotapes with him were analysed by experts who said his body language may show he has some mood disorder (signs of anhedonia)

    I think a short analysis can reveal some common patterns here. But I wouldn’t focus on the discussion on whether factors excuse actions, because I think that’s beyond question.

  • Mary

    I think this is a good demonstration that not all Muslims will see things in the same light either. So it is not wise to lump a man into one genre and instead look at him as a human with strengths, weaknesses etc…. all the things that make us christians human and fallable and whole. And…. we will have to agree that we see things differently.

    As it was noted several posts prior.

  • Michael Bussee

    @David:

    Regardless, quoting scriptures makes me a bit anxious as we appear both pious and confused.

    You are right, I will try to refrain.

    @ Eddie:

    I can’t recall dogmatic pronunciations from any of them.

    I think if we are really honest with ourselves, that we might have to admit that there were times when we might have across thay way – even if it was not our intent. Me, for example.

  • David Blakeslee
  • David Blakeslee

    Here is a bit more:

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.bfa31bb71423ae24c6092cc685173db9.cc1&show_article=1

    It appears that Hasan had a rationalized, premeditated theory at the root of his aggression:

    “The first message was on the rules about a Muslim soldier who serves in the American army and kills his fellow (soldiers),” Aulaqi said.

    “And in a group of his messages, Nidal explained his view on the killing of Israeli civilians, which he supported,” he added.

    This is a great quote:

    “I didn’t recruit Nidal Hasan and in fact America recruited him with its crimes and injustices and that is something that America does not want to recognize.”

  • David Blakeslee

    Less likely it is PTSD (vicarious).

    It appears to be an application of a literal interpretation of some Islamic scriptures.

    It appears to be encouraged by a spiritual leader within the Islamic faith.

  • David Blakeslee
  • Eddy

    This may indeed be true but I found it interesting that the government official ‘remained anonymous’, said ‘there is no doubt in my mind‘ (always watch for those dubious qualifiers) and that the article also stated that they have yet to link him to any extremist groups. This has always been a possibility and I don’t think the media backed away from it as a possibility. My tae was that they were cautioning people not to jump to a conclusion. Still good advice. It may turn out to be true but that article had enough gaps in it to leave me open to the possibility that it isn’t true.

  • David Blakeselee

    Hasan’s behavior was inconsistent with military duty…but this was overridden by superiors who prized having a Muslim Psychiatrist:

    The students reported his statements to superior officers, who took no action on the basis that Major Hasan’s statements were protected by the First Amendment,’’ the investigation found. “They did not counsel Hasan and consider administrative action, even though not all protected speech is compatible with continued military service.’’

    It added: “Soldiers have rights under the First Amendment, but they are not the same rights as civilians. . . . [T]hese statements violated the Army . . . standard to hold a security clearance.’’

    found here: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/02/22/ft_hood_suspect_was_army_dilemma/

  • David Blakeslee

    Political Correctness, run amok

    You’ll recall the cringe-making response to the massacre by the embarrassing General Casey, the Army’s chief of staff:

    “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” said Gen. Casey, the Army’s chief of staff, “but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.”

    The fact that a grown man not employed by a U.S. educational institution or media outlet used the word “diversity” in a non-parodic sense should be deeply disturbing. “Diversity” is not a virtue; it’s morally neutral: A group of five white upper-middle-class liberal NPR-listening women is non-diverse; a group of four white upper-middle-class liberal NPR-listening women plus Sudan’s leading clitorectomy practitioner is more diverse but not necessarily the better for it. For 30 years we have watched as politically correct fatuities swallowed the entire educational system, while we deluded ourselves that it was just a phase, something kids had to put up with as the price for getting a better job a couple years down the road. The idea that two generations could be soaked in this corrosive bilge and it would have no broader impact was always absurd. When the chief of staff of the United States Army has got the disease, you’re in big (and probably terminal) trouble.

    From here: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OWI5NjMwOGI2Mzc3ZTcyNzE1NjI0NzY0ZjQ4YWU0NDc=

  • David Blakeslee

    The Senate Committee has decided it was an act of terrorism:

    but a “string of failures” by the FBI and the Army allowed a “ticking time bomb” to open fire at a crowded deployment center in the worst domestic terrorism ambush since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/3/string-of-failures-cited-in-fort-hood-attack/

  • carole

    David, one of the more interesting questions that is often raised on some of the blogs I peruse is “Why do people allow political correctness to overpower their common sense?”

    There are a lot of ways to phrase the question but basically what is being asked is “What is the dynamic in operation in the Western World that causes so many to act against their own interests and survival and that of those they love.”

    Fight or flight. Self-protection. Protection of the tribe. Survival. What is the dynamic at work that works against our retaining our better instincts.

    What psychological phenomena is at work with political correctness run amock? Western Europe, Canada, the US–all have recently begun looking around and saying, “Whoa, what have we wrought?”

    The larger question: What’s the psychological need or pay-off for clinging to notions that we think we should embrace even when there is credible evidence that such notions are dangerous to self and loved ones? Where’s the evolutionary fitness in that?

  • David Blakeslee

    Carole,

    I think it is the logical progression of enforcing Jesus’ demand to look at the speck in our own eye…and to turn the other cheek.

    In psychology the notion of errors of “group think” are well documented; where people get in a room and discuss a subject at length and all agree on a conclusion. The peer pressure interferes with critical judgment and a wrong conclusion is often advocated.

    In American history the Salem witch trials are a good example of not applying the first Christian value and the process of group think.

    In Tuscon with the shooting recently, we had a rush to judgment by the political class that violated the first principal and manifested the second.

    Enforced Ignorance in the name of political correctness is not evolutionary in its origin or its goal.

    I am grasping here…perhaps someone else has a better answer to your question.

  • Debbie Thurman

    This is a good read, and certainly apropos for the topic.

    Carole, maybe the answer to your question is that common sense is no longer common. Our “better angels”? What seemed a given when I was growing up — although it was in flight even then — has been overwhelmed by a wave of biblical illiteracy and the degradation that has followed a generation of wimpy parenting and even wimpier teaching in the academy. We are trying to sit on a two-legged stool and are baffled at why it won’t hold us up.

  • Jayhuck

    Could someone PLEASE tell me what political correctness is? I’m pretty sure I don’t ascribe to it, but I’m also pretty confident we don’t all define it in the same way. Next, please someone tell me, give me specific instances, of how political correctness is overcoming common sense. Lastly, Debbie, how does political correctness have anything to do with the Townhall story you posted? And what is wimpier parenting and wimpier teaching in the academy? What academy?

  • stephen

    Jayhuck. Perhaps this will help: What you say is political correctness. What I say is fact.

  • Debbie Thurman

    ‘Fess up. Who stole the third leg of Jayhuck’s stool?

  • David Blakeslee

    It was politically correct for a time to degrade homosexuals; to marginalize them.

  • carole

    David, thanks.

    Yes, I was thinking that behavior based on pc is often the result of group think, which itself arises out of the psychological need to belong or maybe more specifically, out of the fear of not belonging to the group. Even when the individual recognizes that the “group-think” position is inaccurate or counter-productive or in any other way results in negative outcomes or that it simply should be discussed, he either proceeds to embrace the position w/out any personal analyses or he publically embraces the group position in spite of his individual concerns about that position. Thus, discussion is often effectively blunted before it has had a chance to begin.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    That doesn’t answer my question. What is political correctness?

  • Jayhuck

    Carol,

    Yes, I was thinking that behavior based on pc is often the result of group think, which itself arises out of the psychological need to belong or maybe more specifically, out of the fear of not belonging to the group. Even when the individual recognizes that the “group-think” position is inaccurate or counter-productive or in any other way results in negative outcomes or that it simply should be discussed, he either proceeds to embrace the position w/out any personal analyses or he publically embraces the group position in spite of his individual concerns about that position. Thus, discussion is often effectively blunted before it has had a chance to begin.

    Would you be able to provide a specific example? Honestly, the terms used here are so vague, almost anyone could apply it to their personal positions and such a belief would allow people to believe they are right, that their opinions and beliefs are correct, despite what a majority might think. That seems not just a little dangerous. If the definition for PC depends on the group you are talking to, this theory really has little meanning

  • carole

    I’ve plenty of examples of how pc behavior has affected the quality of education in our public schools and would be willing to share a couple as examples, but have to run now. Later, if examples are still desired, I’ll list a few. I will say, in thinking about these actions, that the public actions of those who have taken these pc positions and pc actions conflict with their expressed private beliefs. Writ large, these very behaviors have encompassed a society.

  • Jayhuck

    Carol,

    Honestly, I don’t mean to suggest that this idea doesn’t have merit, I’m merely trying to point out that some common agreement on terms an even some specific examples are needed in order to discuss it

  • Jayhuck

    Carol,

    When schools were integrated I know for a fact that allowing black students to enter schools with white children conflicted with the beliefs of many who believed in segregation, so would this example not apply as well. It would seem that, even if positions are taken that conflict with a person’s own private beliefs, it does not validate those private beliefs or make them good, or right or just!

  • David Blakeslee

    Jayhuck,

    Does this help?

    Definitions of political correctness on the Web:

    * avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against

    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    * Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, handicap …

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness

    * The concept that one has to shape their statements (if not their opinions) according to a certain political dogma, i.e. to be politically correct; The result or product of being politically correct

    en.wiktionary.org/wiki/political_correctness

    * A trend that wants to make everything fair, equal and just to all by suppressing thought, speech and practice in order to achieve that goal.

    http://www.information-entertainment.com/Politics/polterms.html

    * Suppressing the expression of certain attitudes and the use of certain terms in the belief that they are too offensive or controversial.

    http://www.slp.duq.edu/rentschler/ETHIC/Vocabulary.htm

  • Jayhuck

    Wow, 5 different definitions – LOL. So which one are we going to use for this discussion?

  • David Blakeslee

    I’ll let you and Carole and Debbie decide.

    I was posting to update the site; it turns out that those who thought this was an act of terrorism were correct.

    I think some who posted earlier urged caution and accused some of a kind of bigotry if it was concluded that this was a Muslim act of terrorism.

    It think a discussion about political correctness is worthwhile and will join in as I think I can be helpful.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Is there more to discuss at this point? The definitions David posted are all similar enough to form a general picture, to my thinking.

  • Eddy

    I agree. The definitions don’t differ significantly with each other…certainly not enough to impede constructive conversation if that is indeed the purpose.

    Jayhuck– were you under the impression that someone was using the term apart from the generally agreed upon ‘Wiki’ definition? If so, can you point out where and how you were thrown off and whose usage seemed to veer from the common understanding?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Jayhuck,

    Here’s my working definition of PC: when dispassionate and thought based discussion of a subject is off the table because any discussion of that subject is socially unacceptable.

    It isn’t a bad thing to be politically correct, necessarily. For example, it would not be wise to tell a Jewish child “unless you accept Jesus you are going to burn in hell forever”, regardless of one’s theology. Likewise, using the N-word is hurtful (to others and to yourself when you get a punch in the nose).

    We should be polite and courteous and it is a form of political correctness that lends itself to that goal.

    But when the effort not to offend is irrational or is inconsistent, that’s when it becomes ludicrous and dangerous.

    For example: I know some liberal folk who are ready to criticize any action by a christian leader or group. But if an identical action is taken by a Muslim leader or group, criticism is off the table. Were I to use identical words to that used about a Christian, it’s an indication of my Isamiphobia, my xenophobia, and my “privilege”.

    This is what David is deploring in this situation. He suspects that were Hassan a radical Christian extremist who espoused terrorist actions, he would have been investigated, but because Hassan was Muslim, this put the entire idea of intelligent consideration out of the question.

    Carole,

    Why are we subject to pc? Because it is cold outside the cave and there are lions who will eat you. We need the clan to accept us.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I wasn’t under any kind of impression, but I disagree with you that the some of the definitions don’t differ somewhat significantly in focus anyway.

    Tim,

    We should be polite and courteous and it is a form of political correctness that lends itself to that goal.

    But when the effort not to offend is irrational or is inconsistent, that’s when it becomes ludicrous and dangerous.

    I absolutely agree with you. There are most definitely things we ALL do that would fit within at least a few of the definitions of political correctness posted above, and I think we would all agree that these things are good, as in your example of politeness. I also agree that political correctness can be taken to a dangerous extreme.

    So then, do we all agree that political correctness isn’t always bad?

    Tim, I wasn’t really talking about the David’s post, I was more concerned with the new discussion re: Carol and public schools, etc. I can understand and get behind David’s concern regarding Hassan.

  • Jayhuck

    The definitions ARE different: A few tend to focus on how political correctness can be used to avoid “expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged…”

    Others go further and suggest that these actions are ways of suppressing thought and speech.

    I don’t necessarily think these definitions can be seen as “similar enough”

    I DO think that these definitions cover the entire spectrum of understanding of the term though. So maybe, taken together, we can us them to help understand everything that political correctness is – the good AND the bad.

  • Jayhuck

    us = use

  • Eddy

    Could someone PLEASE tell me what political correctness is? I’m pretty sure I don’t ascribe to it, but I’m also pretty confident we don’t all define it in the same way.

    Jayhuck, that statement indicates an ‘impression’…slip “I have an impression that” in the sentence in place of “I’m also pretty confident” and there’s NO change of meaning.

    But, whatever, that’s entirely off the point. David revived this dormant thread and I would hope that the new comments would be somewhat tangent to his. A discussion of political correctness in general, while a worthy topic, would veer significantly from David’s point. With that in mind, and with three pups waiting for “Uncle Ed” to come and entertain them, I’ll check out of this conversation.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    But if an identical action is taken by a Muslim leader or group, criticism is off the table. Were I to use identical words to that used about a Christian, it’s an indication of my Isamiphobia, my xenophobia, and my “privilege”.

    Aw, poor Timmy, are the lowly blog commenters in your Cave of Ultimate Rationality starting to nip at your toes? Maybe someone can kiss them and make the boo-boo go away.

    For the record, you’re not an Islamophobe because you call out Muslim leaders for, let’s say, calling homosexuals mentally ill. You’re an Islamophobe because you barely know a thing about Islam, yet are ready to declare it a lower-status religion than your own.

    After all, it’s not “official” Christian doctrine to “call for the deaths of infidels,” as you felt the need to note in a comment on one of your articles recently. That is, the most important and acted-out doctrine for Islam must be killing “infidels,” negating any and all other positives they have contributed to human society. Nevermind the fact that religious Muslims have their own traditions of social justice and ethics.

    Most people who hate gays have never taken the time to get to know any. They just rely on stereotypes of circuit cruisers and Pride parade drag queens. It is my opinion that willful ignorance breeds such bigotry, and such is happening with Islam. People make the same mistake in assuming Evangelicals are the “official” Christianity.

    Nevermind the fact that a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood recently called for all Egyptian churches to be protected during this time of violence.

  • David Blakeslee

    The original point of this thread I hoped was catching the sense of betrayal and terror associated with such an attack. These feelings are doubled as they are victimized by someone in their same uniform.

    It became clear in the early days after the attack that Hassan made numerous public statements that should have alarmed his supervisors and warranted an investigation.

    This is a betrayal of the victims as well.

    Unlike Tuscon, or Virginia Tech; Hassan, by being on active duty, had less rights to personal freedom of expression and his supervisors had much more power over him.

    I disagree with Timothy about some comparison with how Christians would be treated in a similar circumstance. That is not important to me.

    Hassan was developing into a terrorist, the signs were there in front of his supervisors and behind the scenes with the FBI. Fear of being accused of “profiling” or stereotyping interfered with rational thought and reasonable risk assessment.

    If that was Politically Correct action; it’s effect was horribly endangering and negligent.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Hassan was developing into a terrorist, the signs were there in front of his supervisors and behind the scenes with the FBI. Fear of being accused of “profiling” or stereotyping interfered with rational thought and reasonable risk assessment.

    I completely understand David, and I don’t disagree with you here. This is the example of political correctness being taken to a dangerous extreme. However, and I think this is a legitimate fear, how do we remain vigilant and rational but still keep ourselves from slipping into irrational and ignorant fear when it comes to people of different faiths. I don’t think its unreasonable to talk about profiling and stereotyping either – obviously the Muslim community has seen a great deal of this especially right around the time of 9/11.

    How do we keep ourselves from becoming so politically correct that we miss obvious red flags but keep ourselves from slipping into dangerous and irrational paranoia where we start harming innocent people in a particular faith or political group?

  • David Blakeslee

    In Portland the FBI conducted a sting that “entrapped” a Somali youth into believing he was detonating a bomb at Thanksgiving.

    Much uproar and politically sensitive actions followed, to include an affirmation of Muslims in the Portland area.

    When 7-8% of Muslims have been radicalized (I can’t remember where I got that number); and radicalization means martyrdom; I think you have to err on safety of the group.

  • stephen

    David, shame on you. But you can’t be shamed.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    When 7-8% of Muslims have been radicalized (I can’t remember where I got that number); and radicalization means martyrdom; I think you have to err on safety of the group.

    Um, what? How many people have committed atrocities in the name of Christianity – believe they are called Christian terrorists:

    From wikipedia:

    Hutaree was a Christian militia group based in Adrian, Michigan. In 2010, after an FBI agent infiltrated the group, nine of its members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of seditious conspiracy to use of improvised explosive devices, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.[56]

    I guess I’m not sure what you are advocating David? Do you believe we should stereotype and profile and entire group of people simply because a small percentage have been “radicalized”, whatever that means? And if you do this to Muslims, why not Christians, a group that obviously has violent sects within it as well? Do you want internment camps? Do you want profiling of all Muslims?

    If you favor profiling, how you would protect a group of people like Muslims, from overt prejudice, intolerance and bigotry? The Muslim community has obviously suffered from harassment violence and threats because of rampant fear and misunderstandings about their faith, practice and beliefs.

    Please tell me what you mean when you say “you have to err on the safety of the group”.

  • Jayhuck

    @Stephen,

    LOL! Yes, that’s the kind of good political correctness that is glossed over when groups like Fox News talk about it.

  • Ann

    Another way to look at political correctness is when politicians say whatever they need to say in front of a group of people, who hold a certain set of beliefs, in hopes of garnering their vote – then go home and say something completely different, often their true feelings on any given subject, at their dinner table. They said all the right things to the group and many people believed it, however, they were insincere as they only said it to be politically correct. Politicians have a propensity for this. Other people do it as well but their objective is different – often to fit in or avoid peer pressure.

  • Eddy

    Steven-

    This is the first I’ve heard that the term ‘political correctness’ comes from “Fox News and it’s philosophical compadres. Can you source your revelation?

    Beyond that, I question the appropriateness of your sentence full of offensive hate terms. Up til now, the discussion has not been about the correctness of individual words.

    Your comment struck me as an attempt to ‘flame’ the discussion.

  • Ann

    This is the first I’ve heard that the term ‘political correctness’ comes from “Fox News and it’s philosophical compadres. Can you source your revelation?

    Eddy,

    It is the first I have heard this as well. It will be interesting to see if it can be backed up. I have asked Stephen to back up something he said before and still have not seen it.

  • Ann

    Beyond that, I question the appropriateness of your sentence full of offensive hate terms. Up til now, the discussion has not been about the correctness of individual words.

    Eddy,

    There seems to be selectivity about who can say what here.

  • David Blakeslee

    I think in the situation with Hassan, to err on the side of protecting the group would mean to take action to investigate him; reprimand him in his career and separate him from the military even if it is perceived as being bigoted or profiling.

    It appears that the FBI and the DOD did not err on the side of protecting the group.

  • stephen

    Eddy,

    don’t be ridiculous. You can make whatever slander you like. And be proud of yourself.

    My name is ‘Stephen’. No v. I don’t use my complete name because I have an international reputation which has nothing to do with this site.

    ‘Political correctness’ is a term devised by the right to discredit the attempts of the left to open the political life of the nation to those beyond traditional boundaries. Fox has amplified this ignoble slander to try to cripple president Obama’s administration. The use of the term indicates the user to be one of those who hold Bill O’Reilly in high regard.

    If you don’t like the real words you might think how those of us on the receiving ends of the slurs feel about it.

    Ann,

    everything about NARTH is religious. It reeks of born again. It has no scientific basis apart from some distant echo of 50s NYC psychotherapy. It only exists to bolster the vile hate groups that attack the lives of gay Americans.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I think in the situation with Hassan, to err on the side of protecting the group would mean to take action to investigate him; reprimand him in his career and separate him from the military even if it is perceived as being bigoted or profiling.

    Considering that both Christians and Muslims have extremists within their ranks, I think this is the only logical conclusion to reach :) I can get behind this David!

    Ann,

    There seems to be selectivity about who can say what here.

    What are you saying? do you think that people should be able to say whatever they want WHENEVER and in whatever situation? Did you see Stephen’s list?

  • Eddy

    Stephen–

    I got it! You can’t support your claim that the term ‘politically correct’ originated with Fox or it’s philosophical compadres. Nice dodge, though!

    Jayhuck–

    Pointless question. Yes, Ann clearly saw Stephen’s list. Did you see where she commented on it to me?

    David was talking idealogies and Stephen tried to reduce it to ‘flame words’. We can talk about ‘flame words’ but let’s not pretend that that’s a response to David’s comments. As you suggested earlier, let’s be clear about what we’re talking about; ‘Political Correctness’ (as those 5 different meanings suggested) is more than those words…since those words weren’t already a part of the conversation, it’s obvious that Stephen was venturing down some other path that wasn’t already a part of the conversation. Since your stated purpose seemed to be that we get on-or stay on- the same page, I don’t understand your willingness to jump to this other page.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Pointless Question? Nice dodge! :)

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    BTW, I don’t think Stephen EVER suggested that political correctness originated with Fox News or its “philosophical compadres” – did I miss something?

  • Jayhuck

    Political correctness CAN be reduced to flame words if we are to use the definitions provided us re: PC above! The ones, Eddy, you said “don’t differ significantly” from each other

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    I have removed the comment where the list of slurs was used. As I have noted elsewhere I may be too cautious but these words are so hurtful to so many and used without proper context are unnecessary and inflamatory.

    For some reason, there is a trend in online commenting to make comments about other commenters instead of about the post or issues involved. Please all involved, don’t take the bait. Step away from the keyboard if need be.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck said:

    BTW, I don’t think Stephen EVER suggested that political correctness originated with Fox News or its “philosophical compadres” – did I miss something?

    Yes, Jayhuck, you most definitely DID–or you forgot–since the comment was directed to you and you seemed to respond to it. Here’s the comment where he more than suggested what you somehow missed….

    Jayhuck: The term ‘political correctness’ comes from Fox news and its philosophical compadres. It is most popular among those who watch Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck. Though it has been picked up and spread all over the internet by WWD, and all the rest of the SPLC’s list of hate groups. We see many postings here that demonstrate its potency. It is a meaningless term meant to discredit the left. It is popular among the more ridiculous web sites launched by the Kochs, etc.

    Did I miss something or are you simply playing games here? Please explain why you challenged me as you did when that statement was a recent part of the blog dialogue? (I think it’s gone now since it also included the one word offensive stuff but I’m pretty sure you responded to it which indicates you saw it.)

  • carole

    Timothy,

    I agree with your explanation of political correctness (and with those definitions David offered) although I’d say that this one example you offered (the one block quoted below) is more an example of politeness and consideration, an offer of respect, rather than an example of “political correctness.”

    It isn’t a bad thing to be politically correct, necessarily. For example, it would not be wise to tell a Jewish child “unless you accept Jesus you are going to burn in hell forever”, regardless of one’s theology. Likewise, using the N-word is hurtful (to others and to yourself when you get a punch in the nose).

    I would characterize “political correctness” as 1) a position or action or thought which has reached institutional status even if there exist data which can reasonably be argued as contradicting it 2.) and/or a position or action or thought which is embraced/expressed because the social and/or professional benefits of embracing/expressing it is of more value to the individual than the costs or the repercussions of rejecting it.

    I was going to list a series of examples from the schools, but I decided to tell in detail of one, as an illustrative example. Perhaps those of you who work in the private sector don’t run into this. I don’t know.

    The high school principal and one of the assistant principals are interviewing a candidate for a social science opening. The principal sees me, hails me, and asks me to sit in on the interview. I had served on many panels which interviewed prospective English teachers but had never served on any interviewing candidates outside my department; however, I don’t feel I am out of place because the junior English teachers and junior history teachers work together frequently since the literature and history of the 11th grade curricula are companion studies. I agree to become the third person on the interviewing panel.

    It doesn’t take long for me to grow uneasy. The principal and vp are asking perfunctory questions which elicit nothing of value to distinguish this candidate from any other. I ask no questions for some time. The interview seems rushed, mechanical. While the candidate is quite likeable and friendly, even convivial, I am struck by the banality of the questions. Mind you, I know the interviewers extraordinarily well, as they are friends as well as colleagues, and I am troubled by their eagerness to wrap up the interview too quickly.

    I ask some specific questions about teaching style, about lesson plans, about strategies for dealing with students. I am disturbed by what seems like “beating around the bush” non-answers. Instead of pursuing things at that point, the principal and vp start to wrap up the interview, and I can tell they are about to offer this man a job.

    I am suspicious. The candidate has done nothing in this interview to warrant their enthusiasm. In the same way, I feel the three of us have not done a good job of interviewing. In fact, I realize we have asked no questions which would help us determine or at least get a feel for his competency in his subject area. Making me even more uncomfortable is that while I know the candidate has a BA, he is not credentialed . California does allow the hiring of the non-credentialed (the teacher is issued a provisional and must work toward a credential), but it strikes me as highly unusual that our school would be interviewing a social science teacher lacking a credential since there is an abundance of credentialed applicants with that major. ( Math/science candidates are those who are hard to find and so are those most likely to be hired w/out completed teaching credentials.)

    I ask the gentleman what 19th century American historical figure he most enjoyed studying/researching or teaching. He answers with a figure from the 20th century. We talk a bit about the person, and I assume that perhaps he misheard the qualifier “19th century.” I ask another question, this one about World War 1 (part of the 11th grade curriculum and also, I happen to know, the principal’s specific area of interest–he is a former American history teacher) and the answer, or rather the non-answer, is enough to convince me that this guy is not what we wanted. I’d like to be able to say that a BA from a California college or university is proof enough of one’s competence in one’s field, but it’s simply not. We’ve a lot of uneducated BAs running around.

    Interview ends. Applicant leaves. The principal and vp look at each other, at me, smile, and say, “Well, we like him. He’s our guy. We’ll call uptown and tell them he worked out.”

    I had to calm myself down. “Are you kidding me? He’s the best you’ve interviewed? He’s an American history teacher and he doesn’t know the 19th century from the 18th and can’t tell you blip about WW1. He spoke in generalities and you allowed him to.”

    And on and on and on. In the end, the principal blurted out, “I have to hire him! Downtown sent him. We need an African-American history teacher. I have 50% percent women in that department, some Hispanics but no African-Americans. They’re leaning on me. I’ve tried to recruit, but every time I find one, a good one, they go someplace else. We’ve been told we’re going to be targeted by the NAACP if we don’t improve our ratio. Downtown wants this hire.”

    Silly little me. The whole interview had sounded perfunctory because…well, it

    was

    perfunctory. Outcome pre-determined. No matter how bad the guy was, he was going to be offered the job. There was truth in what the principal had said–decent African-American candidates interviewed with our school–he sought them out in recruitment, even going out of state, but because they were “in demand,” they were able to choose the districts and schools that offered them the best package, and we fell short in a variety of ways.

    Still, the idea that we’d put what appeared to be an incompetent teacher (or at least that we’d choose a lesser candidate) in front of 175 kids a day when competent ones were available was despicable. The social science dept. chair and I urged our principal to tell the truth to his superiors: that he had tried, unsuccessfully so far, to recruit qualified teachers of that racial group for the social science department, that he would keep trying, but that he would not hire someone he knew was not a good candidate.

    His answer:”They won’t accept that. I’ve tried. They found this guy. They (meaning “Downtown”) sent him here. They expect me to hire him.”

    So, the vp was simply the second person who sat in on the panel. She was expected to toe the line. I, who just happened to be walking the corridor that summer day, was just the third person needed on that panel. Put a check mark next to that requirement that three people serve on an interview panel. Protocol fulfilled. Done.

    The principal was following orders. In private, he had voiced strong objections to the practice, but was told in no uncertain terms, he was expected to follow what his superior, the assistant superintendent had told him to do.

    The assistant superintendent had been told by the superintendent what she was expected to do.

    The superintendent had been told by the Board of Trustees President what to do.

    Finally, the Board of Trustees had been lobbied by an officer of the NAACP, a person who had run for the Board of Trustees in the year previous and had lost.

    When each and every one of these was asked, “Are you willing to sacrifice the education of the kids of this district in order to fill some kind of quota, ” they each feigned ignorance about the interview procedures, about the candidate’s poor performance, about everything.

    When pressed throughout the year, individually, all but one of them, said, “I had to do it.”

    Nevertheless, the official position of all of them at the time of the interview and the offering of the job was that Mr. X was an excellent candidate and would make a wonderful addition to our staff and be of great benefit to our students.

    So, I return to point #2: Political correctness is and/or a position or action or thought which is embraced/expressed because the social and/or professional benefits of embracing/expressing it is of more value to the individual than the costs or the repercussions of rejecting it.

    Each of the administrators decided that there was a professional benefit of embracing the position they believed was politically correct (in this case, the position that Mr. X., who just happened to be an African American history teacher, was a better candidate for the position than all the others candidates) . They weighed the benefit of publicly accepting and supporting that position versus the professional cost of rejecting that position, and the result is what I have described. Students, students of any race, didn’t seem to be on their radar.

    I can easily believe, from what I have read, Major Hasan’s ascension through school to med school, to residency, followed the same path. At every level, I suspect there were superiors who decided their own career paths ran the risk of derailment should they buck the result their superiors wanted. What did those superiors want? A check mark. People kept off their backs.

    They didn’t want to utter the unspeakable: “They’re hard to get, you know?” for fear of someone coming at them with, “What the hell do you mean, ‘They’re hard to get?’ Are you trying suggesting that _______ people aren’t smart enough to be doctors (or good history teachers)!”

    They were afraid to say, “No, I am not saying that. I am simply stating a fact. We are having a hard time finding strong, qualified applicants.”

    Sorry for being so verbose. I wouldn’t have offered this if it weren’t as common as it is. It is common, at least in the public schools.

    Furthermore, issues affecting the rigor of the curriculum are bound by political correctness as well. I started to write about that as an example, but figured I’d get bogged down in the data that social science has collected so far. The schools pay no attention to data that challenges the blank slate notions of human learning and cognition. They ignore the latest research, or when, on the rare occasions, they are forced to face it, they turn to those who have a vested interest in interpreting the data. Teachers laugh at them. Parents laugh at them. Kids laugh at them, but they continue to try to fit square pegs into round holes. They are afraid that telling the truth will be dangerous. People can handle the truth, but schools often treat parents as if they were idiots. Parents know better than anyone about their own children. When the schools lie to them about their children’s abilities or their progress or their lack of progress, when the schools obfuscate, parents know. They know their children better than anyone.

    Another topic for another day.

    Mr. X, by the way, was offered the job. He accepted it by phone, was supposed to show up by the end of the week to sign his contract, but never did. The district and my principal didn’t hear from him or of him for about three weeks until they received a phone call from the principal in a neighboring town. He wanted to hire Mr. X and found out that he had interviewed at our school. Yes, he was hired by that other principal. He lasted almost one semester. He walked into the principal’s office the day before semester finals were to start, told him he quit. They had to scurry around to cover his classes.

  • carole

    Timothy,

    Carole,

    Why are we subject to pc? Because it is cold outside the cave and there are lions who will eat you. We need the clan to accept us.

    I certainly agree with the sentiment about the cold and the clan, but maybe because it’s late, I am having trouble tying that to political correctness. Do you mean, perhaps, that we are willing to agree to certain beliefs if doing so will gain us protection from the lions?

  • Jayhuck

    Oh Eddy – LOL – Still – I don’t think his message was that Fox News created PC – only that they Bastarardize it :)

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    what is your point?

  • carole

    Debbie,

    Thanks for the link.

    Carole, maybe the answer to your question is that common sense is no longer common.

    It’s actually ridiculed. Common sense, the notion that the human mind and the heart “sense” what is productive versus what is destructive, what produces growth versus what stunts it, what produces contentment versus what destroys it, what fosters understanding versus what promotes conflict….is ridiculed.

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    t’s actually ridiculed. Common sense, the notion that the human mind and the heart “sense” what is productive versus what is destructive, what produces growth versus what stunts it, what produces contentment versus what destroys it, what fosters understanding versus what promotes conflict….is ridiculed.

    What??? Please explain – what does this mean

  • Jayhuck

    LOL

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    So as long as what doesn’t agree with your beliefs is ok?

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    It’s actually ridiculed. Common sense, the notion that the human mind and the heart “sense” what is productive versus what is destructive, what produces growth versus what stunts it, what produces contentment versus what destroys it, what fosters understanding versus what promotes conflict….is ridiculed.

    Obviously depends on who you are talking to :)

  • Jayhuck

    I certainly agree with the sentiment about the cold and the clan, but maybe because it’s late, I am having trouble tying that to political correctness. Do you mean, perhaps, that we are willing to agree to certain beliefs if doing so will gain us protection from the lions?

    Carol,

    You haven’t given us any understanding of what you mean when you talk about political correctness. Obviously the discussion comes down to what you mentioned earlier which has something to do with Race or Belief – However, you should be careful :)

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    May I suggest that it YOU heed your own advice to ‘be careful’. This is supposed to be a blog discussion and hopefully an exchange of thoughtful ideas but you seem to be bringing nothing but criticism and, in your latest comments, you don’t even explain your criticisms. An “LOL” in one place is your total response. You follow that with a sarcastic and dismissive personal jab “So as long as what doesn’t agree with your beliefs is ok?”

    You follow that with such brilliant insight: “Obviously depends on who you are talking to” and, finally, you challenge Carole’s question

    with a challenge that she hasn’t given ‘us any understanding’ of what she means when she talks about political correctness and end with a warning that she should be careful—once again without adding anything to the understanding yourself–only criticism without substance. (We hear that you disagree but you don’t explain ‘why’.)

    I further found your statement outrageous. Carole said:

    I would characterize “political correctness” as 1) a position or action or thought which has reached institutional status even if there exist data which can reasonably be argued as contradicting it 2.) and/or a position or action or thought which is embraced/expressed because the social and/or professional benefits of embracing/expressing it is of more value to the individual than the costs or the repercussions of rejecting it.

    And you dismiss that with ‘you haven’t given us any understanding of what you mean’ without saying why that explanation of hers doesn’t give you any understanding. I find it rather annoying that she obviously put a lot of thought and time into her comment and you choose to respond with one-liner criticisms that don’t show the same level of committment to actual dialogue.

    And I personally found your speaking for “us” disturbing …it sounds like you think you speak for the entire blog. Please believe me, you DON’T.

  • Debbie Thurman

    For some reason, there is a trend in online commenting to make comments about other commenters instead of about the post or issues involved. Please all involved, don’t take the bait. Step away from the keyboard if need be.

    Oh, thank you, Warren, for saying this.

    Carole, you mentioned in your very long post the uneducated BAs foisted upon the world, which means the narrowing of hiring options for employers. Between the un- or undereducated BAs and the over-educated (beyond their intelligence) Ph.Ds who spend too much time in academia to understand the world they are sending their hapless students out into, we have created a fine kettle of politically correct fish.

    I view common sense not as something that we “sense,” i.e., feel or innately know, but rather as a sensibleness. It comes from our education on all levels — from what one gets at a mother’s knee to the classroom experience to living life and observing it.

  • Ann

    everything about NARTH is religious. It reeks of born again

    Stephen,

    This is what you said before and also that their only solution to homosexuality is to pray away the gay. I know this is your opinion but I don’t think the truth. Please provide something credible that backs up your statements if you want them believed.

  • Ann

    What are you saying? do you think that people should be able to say whatever they want WHENEVER and in whatever situation? Did you see Stephen’s list?

    Jayhuck,

    Oy, another knee jerk reaction and assumption.

    Regarding my earlier comment, Dr. Throckmorton took care of my concern.

  • ken

    Carole,

    Your example of the interview with Mr. X was not one of “Political Correctness” rather “Affirmative Action.” Calling him an african-american rather than a colored or negro that is an example of political correctness.

  • carole

    Jayhuck,

    I gave a great deal of thought to what political correctness was and tried to offer two useful definitions for the purpose of discussion (as other useful definitions had been given) and then provide at least one very specific example of one of those definitions (as representative of many such examples) from my professional observation of it.

    David Blakeslee, in his re-starting of the posts on this thread, commented on how the recent investigation of the Major Hasan murders concluded his was a terrorist act, and he further commented,

    It appears that the FBI and the DOD did not err on the side of protecting the group

    David also supplies us with,

    “You’ll recall the cringe-making response to the massacre by the embarrassing General Casey, the Army’s chief of staff:

    “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” said Gen. Casey, the Army’s chief of staff, “but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.”

    The fact that a grown man not employed by a U.S. educational institution or media outlet used the word “diversity” in a non-parodic sense should be deeply disturbing. “Diversity” is not a virtue; it’s morally neutral.”

    This reminded me of the story of Mr. X. The unprofessional willingness of people in the employ of the public to hire a sub-standard applicant to teach kids in order to comply with what I will call “institutional group-think”–the “group think” idea here being that diversity for diversity’s sake is good, no matter any other factors and no matter its effect on the quality of the service offered–the sheep-like acceptance of that mantra, and the refusal to find another way to be fair yet also to serve our kids, all in an effort to protect one’s professional future, was my effort to give an example of political correctness.

    Further, I felt it segued into David’s post about Major Hasan and how and why a man with his social and professional problems nevertheless wound up in a place where he could (and did) do terrible damage.

    I am almost always left befuddled by your follow-up comments to my posts and to those of others, Jayhuck. I certainly was this time as well. I rarely get the impression you wish to engage in a discussion that winds up with either of us learning anything from the other.

    Perhaps I’m not the most articulate of writers, but I do feel my post was pertinent and clear to those who read it with any serious intent.

    I’d have to give you an “F’ for your reading comprehension and once again, as before, I will stop reading your posts. Normally I wouldn’t make a personal criticism such as this, but I feel, based on your responses, it’s warranted.

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    It’s actually ridiculed. Common sense, the notion that the human mind and the heart “sense” what is productive versus what is destructive, what produces growth versus what stunts it, what produces contentment versus what destroys it, what fosters understanding versus what promotes conflict….is ridiculed.

    What does this mean? Would you mind giving an example? Common sense is also a vague term that most often seems to be used at the expense of intelligent people.

  • Jayhuck

    I am almost always left befuddled by your follow-up comments to my posts and to those of others, Jayhuck. I certainly was this time as well. I rarely get the impression you wish to engage in a discussion that winds up with either of us learning anything from the other.

    You must not read many of my posts then Carole!

  • Jayhuck

    I’d have to give you an “F’ for your reading comprehension and once again, as before, I will stop reading your posts. Normally I wouldn’t make a personal criticism such as this, but I feel, based on your responses, it’s warranted.

    I do owe you an apology! I am sorry for being flippant. I did not read your post in its entirety and I did not give it the time it deserved in my own recent posts! That said, the example you gave of the interview with the history teacher is good, but it in no way shows any of kind of trend. I appreciate what you went through, but I also don’t know that this illustrates any kind of “group think” or group mentality, other than the people who hired this guy believed in some kind of quota.

    I’m not suggesting that what you say is wrong, but you can find idiots being hired in almost any profession with almost any kind of job, and for all kinds of reasons. There may be some kind of trend in public schools, but this one example, while appreciated, and eye-opening, does not show it.

    If you look back at my recent posts regarding Hassan, you will see that I mentioned I agree with David’s assessment of the situation, but I also asked, what I thought were, some important questions regarding intolerance, prejudice and bigotry.

    Thank you very much for your well-written example Carole!

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    I would also have to agree with Ken! This was a story more about Affirmative Action and perhaps not so much about political correctness!

  • carole

    Stephen,

    You mentioned that my post was an example of AA–yes, it was, but my example was not an indictment of AA; it was an indictment of the institutionalization of politically correct behaviors (see my definitions) which defeat the original intent of improving a situation for both an individual and a group–hiring a minority candidate while still serving the larger good of the group, in this case, kids. All those who had it in their power to reject him, even when they knew he should be rejected, were afraid to.

    After all, the intent of AA is to give extra consideration to minority candidates, all other qualifications being equal. It’s purpose is not to hire sub-standard applicants.

    Once again, I’ll point out my attempt to link this situation to what occurred in the promotion of Major Hasan from one position to another, even though his evaluators found his performance substandard at certain points in his career.

  • Jayhuck

    After all, the intent of AA is to give extra consideration to minority candidates, all other qualifications being equal. It’s purpose is not to hire sub-standard applicants.

    I couldn’t agree with you more Carole! As much as I’m sure it is abused, I’ve seen AA give qualified candidates a leg-up!

  • carole

    Stephen, last point,

    Yes, language usage, the choice of words, often reflects an attempt on the part of the user to be either politically correct or simply to be polite. In my neck of the woods, people of a certain race have preferred one term or another depending on the decade. This very depends on geography and on the individuals with whom one socializes. I chose the term my friends and colleagues seem now to prefer in writing, if not in conversation. They wouldn’t be offended by my using the term “black.” However, there may be an audience out there reading my words who might prefer the more formal usage of reference. I doubt it’s a big deal to most.

  • carole

    Debbie,

    I view common sense not as something that we “sense,” i.e., feel or innately know, but rather as a sensibleness. It comes from our education on all levels — from what one gets at a mother’s knee to the classroom experience to living life and observing it.

    Yes, thanks. I like your definition of “sense.” It is much more specific, thus helpful, than my usage.

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    You keep addressing Stephen but I think the person who posted the information to which you are replying is Ken.

  • Jayhuck

    Carole,

    Do you get the F for reading comprehension now? LOL

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I think in the situation with Hassan, to err on the side of protecting the group would mean to take action to investigate him; reprimand him in his career and separate him from the military even if it is perceived as being bigoted or profiling.

    Thank you very much for elaborating. I couldn’t agree with you more here :)

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Yes, Jayhuck, you most definitely DID–or you forgot–since the comment was directed to you and you seemed to respond to it. Here’s the comment where he more than suggested what you somehow missed….

    I think you meant HE did, but you are correct, I was wrong and I apologize. When I read Stephen’s posts I was making assumptions and reading past the words. Even though what he wrote makes it sound like it originated with FN, I, perhaps wrongly, made the assumption that what he meant was that it was abused by FN. But the way things are written is important and I know what assuming makes me ;)

  • carole

    Eddy,

    Thanks. It helps to know others feel our own frustration.

  • Ann

    Common sense is associated with survival and the descriptions both Debbie and Carole have articulated resonate with me. Political correctness has nothing to do with being correct – rather it goes against that which we know is correct (common sense) in favor of saying and doing what will be accepted by others in any given situation or time. Common sense is sustainable and has substance – being political correct is a temporary and insincere state that is shallowat best.

  • David Blakeslee

    Carole,

    Thank you for your long, but illustrative, example of what PC looks like in your profession…especially thoughtful response to Jayhuck’s important question.

    Regarding Hasan’s hiring process; I have no idea if it was due to PC reasons. My hunch is that as a new hire he fell in the “average” range of new hires by the Army.

    I think the data supports that he did not develop professionally despite extensive training and in fact, began to deteriorate professionally due to his application of a rigid and narrow religious system that overrode his professional obligations.

    I think the PC derail occurred when his supervisors and the FBI did not get actively engaged in corrective action or military discharge.

    Then people died. As I have stated previously, Narcissism which was embedded in religious practice allowed him to devalue his peers and kill them.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    You may have stated this earlier, but what do you mean when you say “Narcissism which was embedded in religious practice”?

  • David Blakeslee

    There is another aspect of PC which may be interesting to discuss in this thread: the humanizing of the perpetrator.

    Reflexively, after mass murder, there is an attempt to understand (and forgive or excuse) the perpetrator.

    This was the case with Hasan (see early links above).

    It was the case in Tuscon (blaming hate speech).

    PC in these situations seems to want to quickly step past the conscious and malicious and overwhelmingly determinative choices of the individual.

    In it’s place PC wishes to find systemic causes and cures.

    This may be true with the GLBT community around bullying: rarely are bullies asserting that they are activated by Religious motives; yet this is the early and frequent accusation made against Christianity.

  • Ann

    David Blakeslee,

    I completely agree. I actually wrote about each of these issues in a post to Carole but could not articulate it as effectively as I wanted so I erased it until another time.

    Also, in the past I have been guilty of being politically correct and incorrect on various subjects. In this particular situation, I thought it was prudent to withhold judgment until I knew more. When I had more information, my thinking on it was very clear.

  • Jayhuck

    This may be true with the GLBT community around bullying: rarely are bullies asserting that they are activated by Religious motives; yet this is the early and frequent accusation made against Christianity.

    I get what you are saying David, but you seem awful quick to dismiss hate speech as if it somehow doesn’t influence people at all. And some in the Christian community do need to be careful about the kind of speech they use regarding GLBT folks. What you seem to be doing, and perhaps I am wrong, is absolving those who use inflammatory language and hate speech, or those in the Christian community who abuse research to demonize gay people. Speech/words can and do influence people, even if the perpetrators of violent acts don’t acknowledge this was the cause. Words can plant seeds in people that can grow and lead violent acts. Surely you are aware of the power of the pen?

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    This doesn’t prove anything, but it is well-written!

    The Christian condemnation of gays and the gay teen suicide rate

  • Jayhuck

    Such speech can either plant seeds of hate, or be used as a way of bolstering a person’s existing prejudices! You cannot simply dismiss it as an influence David.

  • David Blakeslee

    Jayhuck,

    Words can plant seeds in people that can grow and lead violent acts. Surely you are aware of the power of the pen?

    As violent as our words are, they are mild compared to the movies we watch and the video games we play.

    Something is going on in the brain that mediates all this and comes up with right behavior instead for the overwhelming majority of people.

    With Hasan, he took the words and applied them (after mediating them cognitively for some time).

    Loughner in Tuscon looks like he created the narrative out of obscure videos and his own thinking.

    These acts are rarely impulsive. Rather they are quite organized and usually quite “thought out.” That much cognitive mediation is nearly always lost in the discussion of causes.

    People who act this way are a minuscule group…and it seems implausible and to provide false reassurance to blame Sara Palin or Muslim bigotry for their actions.

    Bullies for LGBT may have similar characteristics of cognitive mediation of their aggressive acts.

  • Jayhuck

    As violent as our words are, they are mild compared to the movies we watch and the video games we play.

    That has nothing to do with speech aimed specifically at a group of people to dehumanize and demonize them – and yes, Christians do this. You cannot dismiss this as an influence as much as you might want to

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Something is going on in the brain that mediates all this and comes up with right behavior instead for the overwhelming majority of people.

    With Hasan, he took the words and applied them (after mediating them cognitively for some time).

    Loughner in Tuscon looks like he created the narrative out of obscure videos and his own thinking.

    I agree! :)

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    And you are probably correct. Something is going on in the brain that mediates this and leads to actions most people do not take. It is not as simple as Sarah Palin saying something without thinking or someone listening to Rush Limbaugh or reading Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin.

  • Eddy

    Here’s a rather fresh example of the dynamics of ‘political correctness’. If someone such as myself were to suggest that a constant barrage of media influence (TV, movies, magazines, music, etc.) would be enough to impact an individuals sense of self to the point where they view themselves as ‘other’ to the normal straight image and begin to think of themselves as gay…that notion is immediately shot down (and has been) with the denunciation that it is offensive and suggests that the gay person is weak-minded and easily influenced.

    However, allegations are constantly being made that the ‘anti-gay’ words of some Christians are a major underlying component of prejudice and gay-bashing. Instead of the constant barrage of media influence, the claim is that the remarks of a pastor or church are enough to ‘plant seeds of hate’…even in the hearts and minds of those bullies and bigots who don’t attend church.

    I have attended numerous mainline, evangelical and charismatic churches and never once heard the hate speech that is constantly suggested. The worst I ever heard was that homosexuality is a sin…that it’s a perversion and also, once or twice, that it’s an abomination. In those same churches, though, I heard some rather scathing rhetoric about things like lying, adultery and fornication. (If most heterosexuals are NOT virgins when they marry, then most heterosexuals have engaged in fornication.)

    But back to paragraphs one and two. The issue of ‘political correctness’ comes into play when any discussion is shut down simply based on those ‘politically correct’ assumptions. 1) We refuse to consider environmental shaping influences on homosexual identity because it is an insult to gay individuals. 2) We constantly and without ceasing blast the evangelicals and fundamentalists as the primary source of anti-gay sentiment and will not discuss other possibilities that aren’t assumed to have originated from religious bias.

    And because those positions are steeped in the new tradition of ‘political correctness’, we don’t even need to rationally respond to the statements or beliefs of someone whose view is other than the PC version, simply respond with an “Oh, I can’t believe you just said that!”

    Quite often, the next step is ‘branding’…’oh, that makes you one of THEM’ and any person who makes any statement that appeals to a middle ground is similarly branded. The Huffington Post recently ran an article on the controversy surrounding Joel Osteen’s statement that he believed homosexuality was a sin. Although he quickly added a statement affirming individuals, that was all but lost in the thousands of comments that followed the article. Joel said the ‘sin’ word and that is NOT PC!

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    1) We refuse to consider environmental shaping influences on homosexual identity because it is an insult to gay individuals.

    I don’t think any of us on here, or any psychologist or scientist refuses to consider environmental shaping influences on homosexual identity or heterosexual identity. In most threads where we’ve discussed this topic, I think everyone has agreed that the environment, to whatever extent, does shape both identities. I think the problem has been in determining exactly how much of the shaping is due to genetics/heredity.

    We constantly and without ceasing blast the evangelicals and fundamentalists as the primary source of anti-gay sentiment and will not discuss other possibilities that aren’t assumed to have originated from religious bias.

    We blast them because there is reason to blast them, although I by no means think that they are the only source of anti-gay sentiment. And I think we have discussed other possibilities

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I personally think that the discussion of environmental influences regarding sexual identity has just taken a back seat to the discussion of genetic sources – for awhile. Environmental influences for sexual identity were discussed for DECADES without anyone being able to prove anything, but I’m sure will be discussed again, and they should be. I do not personally feel that discussions of this nature are an insult to me as a gay person. The environment probably contributes to both heterosexual and homosexual orientations. Being intellectually curious, I wouldn’t mind discussing this more. The problem is that gay people are found in all sorts of family structures and in all sorts of cultures. This would seem to make finding an environmental influence possibly more difficult than a genetic one.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    So, are you saying then that it’s quite possible that many are homosexuals not by reason of genetics but due to environmental influence? (Please begin your answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’…at the moment it isn’t very clear just what you are saying.)

    Blast those who you have reason to blast. My comments went to the fact that the blasting takes place on this website without ceasing and goes so far as to debunk a person’s opinion (as you did to David’s) when they suggest that there might be OTHER possibilities. In short, we’ve already blasted those wretched evangelicals and fundies on this thread but still David’s suggestion that there might be other possibilities isn’t considered and only merits two new and fresh blasts. It’s the discussion-stifling aspect of political correctness that I was describing. Unfortunately, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

  • Jayhuck

    So, are you saying then that it’s quite possible that many are homosexuals not by reason of genetics but due to environmental influence? (Please begin your answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’…at the moment it isn’t very clear just what you are saying.)

    No – we already know its not as simple as just genetics or environment.

  • David Blakeslee

    We are migrating back to GLBT and PC in part due to my comments. If I have the courage to do so, and the time, I should create a separate thread.

  • Eddy

    Now, David, you surely realize that no matter what new thread you create…there’s no guarantee against a detour. And, mind you, this is only a theory but it seems that the ‘us and them teams’ that exist over the issue of homosexuality carry over, in the minds of some, to every topic. “He’s one of them, I must take issue with his point of view.”

    Comment: “I think I like the color blue because the sky is blue.”

    Response: “That’s not true; the sky is colorless; it’s the way the sun plays off particles that are in the air. And, sometimes, as we all know, the sky appears to be quite gray or even pink. So, what are you saying?”

  • carole

    PC in these situations seems to want to quickly step past the conscious and malicious and overwhelmingly determinative choices of the individual.

    In it’s place PC wishes to find systemic causes and cures.

    David, would you say that 50 years ago a large segment of our society would not have reached for “systemic causes and cures” to explain the perpetrators and their actions? That instead, they would have held the individual directly responsible for his actions?

    If you would say that, what do you think is at the root of the change in the society’s response?

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    People who act this way are a minuscule group…and it seems implausible and to provide false reassurance to blame Sara Palin or Muslim bigotry for their actions.

    I sometimes wonder just how minuscule this group is though. Just because we only see extreme examples of bad behavior on TV doesn’t mean that smaller examples of bad behavior, possibly brought on by rough and angry political rhetoric, doesn’t also happen. For example, During the last presidential election, my friend Ron’s 70 yo father, Bob, was out cutting his grass. In his lawn was a sign that read Obama for president. A guy in a pick up stopped at Bob’s house. Bob did not know this gentleman. He walked up to Bob and began arguing with him about how awful Obama was. When Bob asked him to leave the guy pushed him to the ground then got in his pickup and drove off. I don’t use this example to denigrate Republicans or conservatives, because I’m sure both sides behave badly, but I wonder how many of these kinds of incidents occur which don’t make the news?

    I think the way we talk about other people is important and influences some people badly even if not on a conscious level and even if they don’t do something extreme like shoot someone.

  • Jayhuck

    doesn’t = don’t

  • David Blakeslee

    Carole,

    The advent of psychology and sociology as professions and areas of scientific inquiry promoted this focus; but it never delineated the causes well.

    There is a special “weighing” of correlations which can now be done to talk about how various factors “influence” events.

  • carole

    There is a special “weighing” of correlations which can now be done to talk about how various factors “influence” events.

    Care to give a short lesson about that “weighing” ?

  • David Blakeslee
  • David Blakeslee

    So here it is, there was plenty of evidence to warn people that Hasan was becoming “radicalized” as far back as during his medical training:

    Hasan’s move toward violent Islamist extremism “was on full display to his superiors and colleagues during his military medical training,” according to the report’s findings. One instructor referred to Hasan as “a ticking time bomb.”

    “Not only was no action taken to discipline or discharge him, but also his Officer Evaluation Reports sanitized his obsession with violent Islamist extremism into praiseworthy research on counterterrorism.”

    Found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42017230/ns/us_news-security/

  • David Blakeslee

    Blaming the brutal murder of 20 innocents and assaults on 80 other victims on Pastor Jones for his Koran burning is absurd.

    There is no question that Terry Jones is an opportunist. Yet what would one call those Muslims who both incite and commit violence at the slightest provocation? It is worth remembering that when Newsweek falsely reported a Koran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay in 2005, 15 people were killed in rioting. Former Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris has been forced into hiding–in the United States–after she became the target of a death threat following her “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” satire for that newspaper.

    Found here: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0411/ahlert.php3

    (He gets Senator Reid’s constituency wrong, Nevada, not Arizona).

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 6, 2011 at 10:23 am

    “Blaming the brutal murder of 20 innocents and assaults on 80 other victims on Pastor Jones for his Koran burning is absurd.”

    As I mentioned on another thread, Jones is certainly not directly responsible for the violence in Afghanistan. However, his reckless, offensive act did contribute to it. Further he has greatly contributed to the negative image muslims (particularly outside the US) have of americans (and christians). the muslim world will certainly know about the US christian minister who burned the quran. but how many US religious leaders, who condemned Jones for what he did, will those muslims know about?

    Think about your own comments on Jones, David. the 1st thing you said about it (here anyway) wasn’t “what Jones did was wrong and unchristian”, but rather “what Jones did wasn’t as bad as people are making it out to be.”

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken,

    Thanks for checking in on this.

    I don’t agree that one needs to predicate comments with condemnation of Jones.

    Free speech is a right, no matter how absurdly carried out; condemning it makes no sense.

    I am one who believes that censoring ourselves, even for absurdity, in an effort to keep violent haters from acting out is a failed enterprise.

    These people hate and kill because they want to…

    Please refer to the article I cite: they hate and threaten good liberals who are just practicing their craft…and liberals are understandably intimidated and go into hiding.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    “I don’t agree that one needs to predicate comments with condemnation of Jones.”

    If you don’t want to be misunderstood as agreeing with what Jones did, then you should. You seriously can’t see how your statements could easily be construed as supporting Jones, rather than simply disagreeing with the hyperbole about what Jones did?

    which btw, you still haven’t clarified your opinion about what Jones did.

    “Free speech is a right, no matter how absurdly carried out; condemning it makes no sense.”

    It makes perfect sense. While I support Jones’ right to do what he did, I do not support his actions, in fact I condemn them. And recognizing that a lot of people have a hard time understanding that distinction (esp. with statements like the one you made about it), clarifying the issue makes sense to me.

    Further, YOU were just complaining in another thread about how christians are misrepresented. Well, when christians don’t stand up and say “Jones does not represent my religious beliefs” then people like Jones end up being the only “voices of christianity” that the world hears.

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken…

    Behavior like Jone’s is meant to provoke, one way or the other is fine…that is the point.

    Commenting on it beyond saying he is absurd just feeds the narrative further…gives him and those who wish to react to him more oxygen.

    There seems to be a demand that bad behavior needs to be condemned first before any other responses can be made.

    I think that puts people into boxes. Say what you want…respectfully.

  • David Blakeslee

    Rough justice for the Imam who counseled and inspired the Fort Hood murderer

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2011/09/30/va_mosque_has_mixed_reaction_to_al_awlakis_death_1317400842/

    I wish he would have returned to the states to stand trial for being a co-conspirator; but he preferred to wage jihad from afar.

  • David Blakeslee

    Now…an american counterpart in Afganistan. Articles theorize, but the fact is the victims’ story will never be told with the same interest.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/seeking-roots-u-soldiers-shooting-rampage-004248437.html

  • David Blakeslee

    Just a reminder, that this was a terrorist attack, but is being treated as workplace violence…Wow.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/30/defense-department-says-giving-purple-heart-to-fort-hood-survivors-would-hurt/#ixzz2P0NfMkq3

  • David Blakeslee
  • David Blakeslee
  • david blakeslee
  • david blakeslee

    “A group of more than 100 Fort Hood victims and victims’ relatives has filed suit claiming that the government’s “gross negligence” and “reckless disregard” for the lives of Fort Hood residents and staff paved the way for the tragedy. “The attack should not have happened,” says Lisa Bahr Pfund, whose daughter, a Fort Hood victim and a plaintiff in the case, took a bullet to the back and suffers from pain so severe that she can’t sit for more than a half hour at a stretch. “It would not have happened if that information was handled properly.”

    The damning paper trail laid out in the Webster report should give the plaintiffs ample ammunition.”

    From Mother Jones: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/nidal-hasan-anwar-awlaki-emails-fbi-fort-hood

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Thanks for the update…


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