The Diction of Mass Murder
Very obviously, we have every reason to fear Islamic extremists who may wish to replicate a large-scale attack on the U.S. comparable in scope to the 9/11 attacks, or perhaps even worse.
But the Islamic religion of the San Bernardino mass murderers has taken our attention completely away from the immediately preceding massacre at the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs—even though the scale of the two events and the ambiguous and volatile mix of religious, political, and personal motives for both of those shootings seem to me to make them much more similar to each other than the San Bernardino mass murder is to the 9/11 attacks.
Perhaps Donald Trump’s completely unrestrained xenophobia and his rhetoric of racial and religious exclusion are giving us some room to reconsider the rhetorical assumptions and the themes that are framing our responses to mass murders in this country. For a long time…
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