Just bitchin'

The Stupidity of Terrorism

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I awoke to the headlines like the rest of the world.

Another terrorist attack.

Another hostage situation.

Another bevy of sociopaths masquerading under the guise of religious piety.

Poor Bangladesh.

But this time I read deeper. I looked at Facebook pages of some of the victims. I read through as many eye-witness accounts of survivors as I could find. I spent a little time, though not as much as such an atrocity deserves. At least, not if one wishes to honor the victims. As for the instigators, they are less than nothing in my estimation. They deserve only contempt.

Because they’re stupid.

Yes, it is possible to terrorize individuals, but this whole campaign started out as a quest to terrorize the entire world. The goal was to make the planet cower and quake in submission.

You fucking morons. Haven’t you realized yet that the terror of people is not the same as the terror of countries?

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Are you so dumb that you haven’t yet seen the equation? Well, let me spell it out for you. Every time you run shrieking Allah and firing guns and blowing yourselves up, it’s like stinging a very large grizzly bear. The bulk of the animal will survive. Not only that, it will exhibit extreme fury. It will turn on what stung it, and rend it.

Terror  x  50  =  Rage  x  Billions

Terrorists are short-sighted sadists. This time around they took pleasure in torturing their hostages by requiring they recite from the Koran. If you couldn’t do it, you were killed. That’s a very particular kind of sick cruelty. Very inefficient. Very risky. It proves nothing other than these sociopaths wished to spend their last moments of life engaged in misguided brutality.

And they’re too dim-witted to realize that, in the bigger picture, their antics produce anger, not fear.

Because the rest of the world knows that each life, each spirit, is a gift. Each murder is the theft of potential.

This is not a Christian concept. It’s a human one.

It’s easy to grasp, unless you’re mind-numbingly stupid. You know…

…like a terrorist.

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Just bitchin'

No End in Sight

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So now every Tom, Dick and Fucking Harry who wants to scrabble for some form of crazy-ass validity is going to hitch their wagon to ISIS or IS or Al-Qaeda.

Like a runt piglet on the playground, looking for a peer group, they’re going to turn their heads containing their twisted brains and disenfranchised thoughts toward a religion they’ve never honored, never learned, never known, except that now the media has taught them that it’s the label to assume if you HATE YOUR LIFE AND EVERYONE ELSE’S, TOO.

Well, forgive me. I’m angry. I’m sick of the mass shootings and the tepid, little statements in the bloody aftermaths that offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ and let’s clasp our hands together and leave flowers on the ground.

It’s taken me a few days to gather my thoughts out of the shocked realization that IT’S HAPPENED AGAIN! Another morgue-full of reminders.

This isn’t ISIS. This isn’t IS. This isn’t Al-Qaeda.

This is someone looking for attention who happens to live in a country that lets him buy assault weapons with the ease of walking into a 7-11.

Worst of all? This isn’t foreign terrorism.

This is America.

It’s us, spelled U.S.

It’s the copycat loser who’ll fancy himself immortal for going out in a hail of hate, and will turn his pleading eyes toward the Daddy who’ll approve him. ISIS, IS, Al-Qaeda.

They didn’t birth him. We did.

And we armed him.

And it has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with mental aberration.

UNDERSTAND? NO???

Well, don’t worry…I’m sure there’s a refresher course right around the corner, buying his ammo at the corner gun shop as we speak.

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Irani Among Us

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He is of late middle age. Dark hair salted with white and gray. Knuckles gnarled.

I found him when my car broke down and I called the American Automobile Association for a tow to a triple-A approved garage. They brought me to him.

He and his mechanic, a younger version of himself, worked on the car. The fee was reasonable. I drove away and broke down again a few miles later.

I called him bent on tearing into him for a job done poorly. Instead, I listened to an honest apology and a request that I give him another chance. It was a rare moment when I heard a foreign sound: the sound of quiet pride and integrity and a genuine desire to set things right. Not something you hear often. Not something you forget soon.

I was towed back for round two.

He did more work, presenting me a bill for $11.00…the cost of the part I needed. No charge for hours of labor. No excuses or arguments.

When all was done and settled, I waited in the small, shabby foyer for my car to be brought around to the parking lot.

A woman burst through the front door. Red-faced. Fuming. Shrill and Ugly-with-a-capitol-U; the kind that has nothing to do with physical appearance, but stems from a much deeper source.

“Get out of our country!” She screamed. “We hate you! There is no place for you here! I called the police and they’ll lock you away!!”

Both the owner and I stared at her in shock. I think his English deserted him, so I asked in a quiet, unsure voice, “What’s wrong?”

“This!!” She shouted, shoving an invoice under my nose. It took me a while to find what she meant at the tip of her shaking, pointing finger. A math error. The mechanic had added incorrectly.

A $1.25 mistake.

I stared at her, speechless before such extreme overreaction as she continued to harangue the man frozen behind the counter. Sure enough, a police officer showed up, giving that once-over, wary scan of the situation that they do, seeing a livid, prancing woman, a statue of a shocked and frightened man, and me.

The woman repeated her performance, brandishing the invoice at the cop. He read it through. His brows rose. “You said someone robbed you, Ma’am.” He handed back her receipt.

He did! He did!” She pointed, jittering with venom. “He’s a thief! A liar! He’s from Iran!!”

The owner found his voice and began to apologize. “I’m sorry…”

“You will be!” the woman shrieked.

“Ma’am, I think there’s been a mistake, but this isn’t robbery.” The calm words of the officer had the opposite effect of what he’d hoped.

With a strangled cry of rage, she slammed out of the shop, unaware the owner had opened the register and was holding a handful of cash, apparently refunding her entire bill. We watched her lumber into a decrepit van held together by duct tape and rust and careen out of the parking lot.

The officer took his leave.

The owner put the money back in the register and closed it. He came out from behind the counter and took a seat across from me. Hands trembling. Eyes full.

“I am from Persia.” His voice shook with the aftermath of fear and shock. “I leave my country because they try to kill us. They try to kill us all. I come here.” He gestures with one work-hardened hand, encompassing the whole of his establishment. “I make this for my son.” His eyes finally overflow.

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“Persia is beautiful country. And Persian people are so kind. But…Them…” His lips press into a thin line and he shakes his head. Words have deserted him again.

I offer him a sad approximation of a smile.

“I like your cats,” I say.

He blinks. Then, tears still tracking downward, he gives a ragged laugh.

I hope he knows that every country has a ‘They.’ But it’s not everyone. And today it’s not him… and it’s not me.

We’re just us.

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#JeSuisChien…I Am Dog

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By now, if you follow Twitter, you’ve seen the massive trend #JeSuisChien.

For those who don’t know, it honors a French police dog named Diesel who perished in this week’s raid on a terrorist cell in the wake of the Islamic State attack on Friday the 13th in Paris.

What you might not have seen is the somewhat feeble backlash. There have been those who question the ‘morality’ of the outpouring of grief on a dog’s behalf when no such phenomenon accompanied the deaths of individual humans. And there have been some who openly laugh at how twisted they believe the world to be when an animal is honored above men.

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My first, gut reaction to these backlashers was anger, because their opinions don’t mesh with my own. But after the initial emotional glitch, I had to give their words some thought. They are opinions after all, and have every right to be voiced.

So…why does the death of a police dog elicit such a deep welling of pure sorrow? Why does the death of a human make my heart sore for a moment, but that of an animal sticks with me and shatters that same heart in a howl of grief?

Well…I’ve never been mugged by a dog, but I have by a man. A dog has never jumped out of the shadows with a knife and stabbed me. A man has. A dog has never broken into my apartment. A man has.

But that’s not enough of a reason.

Think deeper.

When a dog misbehaves, I can usually understand why. Not so with humans. Mankind is capable of a depth of depravity unequaled by other denizens of the animal kingdom.

Man is the only creature capable of true cruelty. Animals don’t have it in them.

Some people will say cats are cruel…the way they play with a mouse instead of killing it outright. That’s instinct. Mankind’s cruelty is by choice.

There’s a tremendous difference.

So, as unbalanced as it may seem to some, I will continue to be more deeply affected by the death of a dog than seems appropriate. I will trust animals more readily than humans. I will welcome a dog into my life more quickly and wholeheartedly than a person who must earn my trust over time.

And even though it was started a bit tongue-in-cheek, I am touched by #JeSuisChien and the gallant animal whose demise it honors. Because just as cruelty abounds in humans more than any other member of the animal kingdom, the opposite is true of nobility.

Dogs have it in spades. Precious few humans do.

RIP, Diesel.

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Reality Check

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It was a headline in the September 29, 2015 New York Times online edition:

At the U.N., Obama States His Case for Fighting ISIS With Ideas

I couldn’t read the entire article or watch the full accompanying video clip. Mainly because I couldn’t help the laughter that started bubbling up as my mind leapt to an analogous situation from an old Hollywood classic…the Sigourney Weaver movie ‘Aliens.’

The futuristic marine toughies, armed to the teeth with a frightening array of weaponry…looking all muscled and fierce…were doing a cautious, battle-ready walk-through, looking for the enemy.

Despite their firepower, they were on the adrenaline edge, their reflexes primed for attack. Because their adversaries had demonstrated how little value human life had for them. Chitinous exoskeletons and acidic saliva rendered these creatures virtually indestructible.

The marines were deep in enemy territory…

…and that’s when it happened.

The command post observing this foray realized that firing powerful weapons could ignite a catastrophic explosion. Chagrined, the man in charge communicated to the soldiers that no guns could be fired. Absolutely none. No matter the provocation.

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Disbelieving looks were exchanged among the troops about to engage the enemy. And that’s when one particularly cocky enlistee responded…

“What are we supposed to use? Harsh language?!?”

And so, I’m really sorry to find myself laughing at the NY Times headline. Because so much consistent hate has been spewed by ISIS…just like the acid-laced saliva of the Hollywood creations that would give no quarter to any member of the human race…they’ve made it so abundantly clear that they will not rest until Western culture is obliterated from the face of the planet…that fighting them with ideas is, well, unthinkable.

I keep seeing the old news footage of laughter and celebration from that side of the globe when thousands of Americans were killed on 9/11.

I keep hearing the vows they spat that there would never be common ground between our cultures.

And, as much as I respect anyone who attains the office of President of the United States, I can’t quell the slightly hysterical giggling at that NYT headline.

And the frisson of fear that we’ll be standing naked and vulnerable with only ideas to shield us from the acid.

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…lest we forget…

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MSNBC’s tribute ‘9/11 As It Happened’ begins with silent text tracking across the screen, saying that the broadcast is not only an homage to the terrible events 14 years ago at the World Trade Center, but is also intended for the future…lest we forget.

Stomach dropping, I stare at the bleak words.

Remember the Alamo…a ghostly voice whispers.

All I remember is growing up in Southern California where Spanish was a required class in elementary school. All I remember are the friends and classmates of Mexican descent and their wonderful culture and cuisine that spilled over into the lives of everyone who lived in that region.

Pearl Harbor…a day that will live in infamy…

All I recall is my oldest friend, my roommate from college, who is from Tokyo. I remember sharing holidays with her family and learning about the Buddhist religion from a charming people.

And I watch the words…9/11… lest we forget

…and I know

that someday

we will

forget.

And the cycle will repeat.

And that is the moment I understand terror.

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Homegrown Terrorist

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I share my home with a terrorist.

I used to think he was just a little odd. I would use terms like quixotic, beguiling, manipulative. But that’s all changed. Those days are gone.

He has finally earned the formerly affectionate sobriquet Wicked Evil, for it is now shrieked at volume and with unfolding horror. He has now emerged from the pages of a Stephen King novel, jaws agape and eyes glinting.

It wasn’t always so. His transition from simple mischief to act of terrorism was a gradual one. But now, from the far side of the abyss filled with my screams, I can see it. I can see the learning curve and the hellish intellect behind the progression.

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His evolution meandered with subversive intent from targeted pounces during the deepest phases of sleep, to noisy forays onto countertops, to exploration of architectural integrity, resulting in exposed drywall and shredded door jambs. None of it was random. I see that now.

I appeased him along the way, which was a mistake of monumental proportions. I saw myself as the peacekeeper when in fact I was the dupe; the lab rat being subjected to stimuli until one of sufficient power to produce the desired reaction was found.

He succeeded.

He released it into my bed, scaly and writhing.

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It generated the ‘extremely loud and incredibly close’ reaction for which he was hoping. He’s still laughing in that quiet way his kind do.

Having found the catalyst, he will try to apply it again. I can tell.

I live with a terrorist.

For I am terrified…

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