William Kirkpatrick explains. Yep. By now we should be able to sing the terrorism song, since the lyrics are so familiar. The reluctance to point out the obvious (why would anyone’s initial response to the explosion be that it was terrorism?).
Questioning the motive is as good as any for demonstrating the point. Once the subject is identified, we ponder what could have caused him to snap.
BTW, fun point. We happened to catch a show on the series “Decades” last night. That’s one of those off-cable channels. It plays old shows, old news, old reflections from, well, over the decades. It happened to be talking about Bill Clinton’s work in brokering the Belfast Good Friday agreement. Something for which he gets far too little credit. Naturally the show talked about the Irish conflict, the terrorism, and the violence during that period.
My boys, who haven’t heard much about that period, were shocked. It’s true, I told them, Muslims don’t hold the patent on terrorism. And yet – point coming here – growing up, terrorism in my world was as often as not associated with Ireland. And more specifically, it was laid firmly at the feat of the Christian Faith in the form of the Protestant and Catholic angle of the conflict. Few if any ever hesitated to say this was a stain on the Christian reputation, the result of religious conflict, and was blameworthy for the Protestants and Catholics involved. It went without saying. Sure there were political and historical causes, but the religious connection was seldom if ever denied or downplayed.
So you can see how a person my age is a bit baffled when something like Manchester happens and, almost immediately, you have people asking what the motive could be, or warning us never to associate such acts with a major world religion. And yet, like clockwork, it will happen every time.
Other predictable reactions take place. Why? I don’t know. Islamic terrorism, more than threatening life and limb, appears to threaten something else more important – a narrative, a model, a theory, a philosophy, a way of seeing the world – and rather than admit we could have been wrong, we simply go on telling it like it ain’t. Perhaps we hope we can hold out until the problem goes away. I don’t know. But the predictability of how it will be treated in the meantime is, at this point, one of the safest bets out there.