Making Use of a Massacre
shell casings barely stopped bouncing on the floor in the second of two mosques
in Christchurch New Zealand, before the rush to politicize the massacre
began. There is no decency anymore.
"You never let a serious crisis go to waste."
-- Rahm Emanuel, Incoming Chief of White House Staff, November 21st, 2008
Back in the 1980s, there was a sort of pattern to terrorism... an attack would occur, and then the next day associated front groups would start massaging the facts. Usually it was a message along the lines of "Of course, we deplore what happened, but we understand why they did it". Then would come a sort of apologia and reiteration of whatever tedious justifications the terrorists had cited to justify what they did.
Nowadays, we don't even wait that long, and the many-voiced beast that is Social Media was baying for its various causes at once.
"This is a result of Islamophobia, an expression of white supremacy, the radical right wing, yadda, yadda, yadda." A few people cast an all-too cursory eye at the massive Manifesto that came with the appalling You-tube video shot by the gunman himself.
Sorry, folks. Stop the finger-waving, desist with the virtue signalling, put a halt to the indignation, and shut up. Everybody, please just shut up.
The first rule about terrorism is that it is political; there has to be an ideology... and if you want to understand what is going on, understand the ideology. Ideologies are collective beliefs, held and pursued by a group... as in several people, not one.
The gunman in Christchurch surrendered... and a man who broadcasts his acts live and releases a 72-page manifesto is a man who wants to talk... and talk... and talk. He wants his trial and he wants to be at the centre of attention. Please ask yourselves why.
Terrorists, repugnant as they may be, submit themselves to an ideology, to a code of beliefs held by a group. They don't invent their own.
Remember the attacker who shot all those teenagers on an island in Norway in 2011?. He surrendered too, as soon as the police turned up for the same reason. Turns out, there were two psychiatric diagnoses made on him. 1) Paranoid Schizophrenia, and 2) A Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The second fits better. He also left a huge manifesto behind. This attacker also wanted to be known... which is why one should never mention his name.
There are a lot of parallels between the two manifestos. What they really have in common are grandiose fantasies - the New Zealand attacker describes himself as a former SEAL, a sniper, and a Marine and says he went on secret raids against al-Qaeda. He also, contacting the imprisoned lunatic responsible for the attack in Norway, says he operated with the blessing of the Knights Templar... up until now a group in the mind of the Norwegian attacker.
Notwithstanding the overwhelming urge to stamp the New Zealand Gunman as a 'Right Winger', 'Neo-Nazi', or 'Islamophobic', his politics are all-over the map - so much so that they need a chart of their own.
Terrorism is a gray, murky territory, but this attack in New Zealand isn't terrorism.... it literally is the work of a lone mad-man. There isn't a group behind him, his ideology is unique, and he is a bizarre fantasist craving attention and fame. The best we can all do is to give him none!
As we have seen with many 19th Century loners who used Anarchism to justify acting out, the Incels, or Nihilistic school-shooters, our debate about the attacker's ideology will only encourage the next attack by the next loner seeking recognition and celebrity.
Instead, save for forensic psychiatry and intelligence files on precursor activities, let this attacker and his bizarre motives be forgotten.