At times it is easy to think that what we call civilization is going CTD, which in some cynical circles is short for Circling The Drain.
By all accounts Alton Nolen is a bad guy. He's been convicted of felonies three different times in the last eight years. He was popped for possession of crack, possession of marijuana, and in January 2011 he hit the trifecta when he was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, escape from detention, and obstructing an officer. Graham Lee Brewer writes in today's The Oklahoman, during that last adventure Nolen led the police on a 12 hour chase which involved four different departments and two helicopters.
Brewer also tells us, Nolen was allowed to serve all three convictions concurrently so he walked out of a lockup in March of 2013 on probation. At some point he went to work at Vaughan Foods in Moore, OK, which is a suburb just south of Oklahoma City. Yesterday, for reasons which have not yet been reported, he was fired.
When he got the news, Alton Nolen went off his nut. Yes, we've all seen that before haven't we. Brother Nolen left the human resources office, drove over to the main building of the food processing company, and pulled out a very large knife, one he reportedly used to chop the heads of lettuce with.
The first person he ran into was Colleen Hufford, who Phillip O'Connor of The Oklahoman reports was a 54 year old grandmother. Nolen attacked her with the knife and before he was done, he decapitated her.
He then confronted Traci Johnson and began to slash at her. Luckily for Ms. Johnson, Mark Vaughan the chief operating officer of the company, who also happens to be a reserve Oklahoma County sheriff's deputy, showed up on the scene. He had been called by the HR people and told Nolen was out of his head. Vaughan was armed with a rifle and charged head long into the situation. He dropped the assailant with a couple of shots, wounding him, thereby short circuiting the rampage.
So, what separates this senseless moment of work place brutality from say the guy at the UPS plant in Alabama who shot and killed two supervisors a couple of days ago? I mean, let's face it, this deadly nonsense happens all the time in the United States, so we should be getting pretty used to it by now. Besides, given the sordid history of these acts, the body count, while utterly tragic, was low.
Well the difference would be, Alton Nolen professes to be a Muslim. His facebook page has pictures of armed Islamic fighters, our old pal, Osama bin Laden, and a photo of a beheading. In addition it is reported that lately he had been trying to convert fellow employees to Islam.
After finding all this out the Moore cops called in the FBI, the local media went absolutely ape shit, and details of the attack, not to mention the accused's reported faith, reached the national level.
A little over a week ago state representative John Bennett, R-Sallisaw warned Oklahomans to beware of people who called themselves Muslim Americans. After Muslims and the NAACP reacted angrily to his facebook post, he held a town hall meeting and told his constituents, "Islam is a cancer on the country which needs to be cut out."
Given what has gone down the past couple of weeks the most terrified people in OKC right now are--you guessed it--Muslims. They are living in a burg which yesterday was named by the National Bible Association as, "The National Bible City for 2014." The Oklahoman's Carla Hinton writes, the head of the outfit, Richard Glickstein said Oklahoma City was chosen because, according to their statistics, it is one of the most Christian cities per capita in the nation.
As we've just witnessed it is also a metro where corporate chief operating officers carry weapons--not something you see in a lot of other cosmopolitan settings. Indeed, if the head of a food processing plant is packing a piece, one can only imagine how many other bible loving Christians around here are. It goes without saying the local Muslim community is certainly pondering those numbers at this moment.
Imam, Imad Euchassi was quick to say he didn't have any recollection of Nolen at his mosque, although others who worship there did and described him as exhibiting "odd behavior." According to Hinton once again, Saad Mohammad, the Islamic Society of Oklahoma director of news and information said he remembered yelling at Nolen because he put his copy of the Quran on the floor. Both he and Euchassi insisted to Hinton, Islam is a religion of peace. Imam Arif Abdullah was quoted as saying, "For my particular mosque, we don't tolerate any of that stuff. It was inhuman. It was savagery."
I will take them at their word. Many will not. That is why extra security is being requested by the mosques located in the metropolitan area this weekend.
Unfortunately, at the end of Hinton's story, Euchassi didn't help his faith's cause when he sounded a little whiny and accusatory. He went back to the 1986 Edmond, OK post office atrocity committed by Patrick Sherrill during which 14 people were killed. When he referenced that original instance of someone going postal, he complained that then and after other acts of madness since, the press and public have not made a connection between the crimes and the perpetrator's faith, or have they condemned it.
While what he said was true, just about anyone like Bennett will now be able to argue, because Sherrill, not to mention assholes like James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and even Timmy, fucking, McVeigh didn't put together a public shrine to their religion, like Nolen did, his motive was somehow different from theirs. Let's face it, some demented souls are hallucinating right now. In short order they will tell us, Mr. Nolen has an incredibly secret connection to ISIS--that he is a vicious mole planted here by the nefarious leadership of that gang of psychos. You can almost hear the keyboards of conspiracy theorists clicking away in a frenzy as these words are being written.
The truth is Alton Nolen is a known felon and his connection to Islam is tenuous at best. He even has a tat spelling out the name of , "Jesus Christ" across his chest.
He is, in the end, just the latest violent fuck up in a country which produces them by the bushel.
Islam didn't cause the murder of Colleen Hufford--another American lunatic did. We've seen them before and the terrible reality is we'll see them again.
And given that awful truth, I suggest we now move to the bar. As always, the first round is on me.