Friday, July 17, 2015

Guilty in Colorado, Dead in Tennessee, and on the Lam in Maine: The American Way

There's a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin' like a toad

From the lyrics of "Riders on the Storm," by Jim Morrison

Actually there is more than one. At least in this country there always is.

That's right, we make them by the basketfuls, arm them to the teeth, and then send them out to commit all sorts of horrific acts. Afterwards we search our souls, wondering how and why it all happened, but we never answer either question. The only things we've become really good at is building make shift memorials and praising the dead. We have that shit nailed.

Right at three years ago, James Holmes dressed up like some kind of super bad ass commando and slipped into a theater auditorium in Aurora, CO. When he finally exited the building 12 people were dead and 70 were wounded. He was arrested almost immediately after the shooting, offering no resistance to police.

It took the state of Colorado nearly 33 months to put him on trial. The proceedings lasted almost three more. The jury came back in less than two days. The panel of nine women and three men had two choices. First they could find young Mr. Holmes innocent by reason of insanity. In that event he would be shuffled off to a state mental hospital in Pueblo probably for the rest of his life. Or, they could find him so incredibly guilty of murder in the first degree it would open the door to an execution chamber.

The state put two court appointed psychiatrists on the stand who said that while Jimmy Holmes might have been hearing voices and acting a tad batty, he knew the difference between right and wrong. The defense hired two other shrinks who claimed the defendant was utterly bonkers and completely out of touch with reality the night of the killings.

The jury opted to side with caution. As verifiably crazy as James Holmes might be there was no way they were going to take a chance that at some point a whiz bang Carl Jung wannabe would pronounce him cured then let him loose on the streets again.

Earlier in the day and almost exactly a month after Dylan Roof opened fire in a Charleston, SC church, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez went off his nut. He shot up a Chattanooga military recruiting station, then drove over to a Naval Reserve Operations Center. By the time he was either killed by police, or offed himself, four marines were dead and a Chattanooga cop was wounded.

This morning, the media once again began asking the all too familiar questions. As usual friends, acquaintances, and the authorities said they saw no sign of the nightmare coming.

By all initial accounts, the Kuwaiti born, naturalized American citizen, grew up as a decent kid who people liked and trusted. In fact more than a few considered him just another all American boy. He was on the high school wrestling team and liked to train in a mixed martial arts gym. In addition he was a bright student who had a successful college career, earning a degree in engineering.

The prevailing thought right now is that something went terribly wrong during the last couple of years, However, as always, there were some hints things weren't always rosy for Mohammad. His father had once been on a FBI terrorist watch list, although his name was removed not long after it appeared. The Washington Post reports one of his mixed martial arts mentors was an ex-cop who had converted to Islam and espoused a militant version of the religion. His father despised that he was participating in the sport and at least once publicly berated him for it.

His Red Bank High School Yearbook photo showed him in a tux and quoted him as saying, "My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?"

As of yesterday, thanks to him, there will be a lot more young men named Mohammad whose name causes national security alerts.

Yes, simply because of his name and background all manner of terrorist theories are being bandied about. In a few days we can count on those deadly ISIS cretins to claim they were behind his rampage, even if they'd never heard of him.

He wrote in a blog he felt, " is a prison of monotony." Yeah, well you should have gotten in line with the rest of us, pal instead of opening fire. If you had you would have saved everyone a lot of pain and trouble. Another blog entry read, "Brothers and sisters, don't be fooled by your desires. This life is short and bitter and the opportunity to submit to Allah may pass you by."

All right, he was conflicted--again--get in line. In the end, whatever his motives were, he took the true blue U.S.A way out. The latest reports say he had several weapons in the his convertible when he began shooting. Odds are he bought every one of them legally with few, if any, questions asked. How much more American can it get?

Think not? Right now police in Maine are searching for convicted sex offender, Anthony Lord. He is accused of shooting two people to death and wounding three more in several different communities over night. Betcha he isn't worried about opportunities to submit to Allah passing him by. Jimmy Holmes and Dylan Roof certainly weren't.

Mohammad Adbulazeez might well have used his religion as an excuse. We'll find out soon enough. But, the brutal truth we all need to address is he didn't do anything a lot of other cranks out there haven't done already and will do tomorrow, or the next day.

We're a nation of guns and we like to use them. And--as it has been demonstrated far too many times--if we're pissed off enough, no matter what the reason, or mental defect, we are more than willing to kill each other and ourselves.

Tragically, that is truly, The American Way, no matter what your name.

sic vita est


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