Terrorism, Islam and Fort Hood

Jay Fitzgerald has a great post on the Muslim-terrorism meme that’s being flogged by some on the right following the Fort Hood tragedy. He writes:

Here’s a challenge to conservatives: What specifically would they do to prevent these types of attacks in the future? It’s put up or shut up time.

And Fitzgerald wrote that before today’s non-Muslim terrorism attack in Orlando.

Let’s be clear: Nidal Malik Hasan may well have been motivated by religion. But does it matter? We have a history of mass murders in this country because, sometimes, tragically, someone just goes off. Religion is a symptom, not a cause.

In today’s New York Post, the novelist Ralph Peters begins his commentary thusly:

On Thursday afternoon, a radicalized Muslim US Army officer shouting “Allahu Akbar!” committed the worst act of terror on American soil since 9/11.

You know what? I didn’t even bother to keep reading. Thirteen people died in the Fort Hood attack. Thirty-two were slaughtered at Virginia Tech in 2007. Then again, the Virginia Tech killer, Seung-Hui Cho, wasn’t a Muslim.

Rather than looking for a group to blame, we’d be better off celebrating the heroism of Sgt. Kimberly Munley, who shot Hasan, stopped his killing spree, and was injured while so doing. Patrik Jonsson has a terrific story in the Christian Science Monitor on how Munley applied the lessons learned at Virginia Tech.

In short: Move in and start shooting.

Pundits on Patrick: Not a pretty picture

Gov. Deval Patrick’s politically clueless performance of recent days has brought out some sharp commentary from local pundits. A quick round-up — not meant to be comprehensive, just stuff that caught my eye:

  • Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe: “The Massachusetts governor is presiding over a local version of the larger, national disaster that is chipping away at confidence in government and the economy. But Patrick’s instincts for the symbols that enrage taxpayers are poor, and so, apparently, are the instincts of those who report to him.” Comment: Vennochi pretty much nails it. But it’s not just Patrick’s inept handling of political symbolism — it’s the lack of substance, too.
  • Jon Keller, WBZ: “It’s been a dismaying, demoralizing turn of events, coming at the worst possible time for the only thing that really matters, the ability of our state to deal with our crises in a way that protects and provides opportunity to the working classes. Things are bad out here, and no one wants to hear Deval Patrick whining about what a drag his chosen profession has turned out to be.” Comment: Keller’s pretty rough on everyone. Nevertheless, there’s a difference in tone here that suggests Keller thinks the governor has reached the point of no return.
  • The Outraged Liberal: “Patrick came to this job from the world of business, where executives got what they wanted by the sheer force of their will and personality. Some learn that politics is not the same environment and that accommodation is required…. But the biggest loser will be Patrick, who tried to strong arm the process and failed. In spectacular fashion.” Comment: Outside of Blue Mass. Group, Patrick has had no better friend in the local blogosphere than Mr. O.L. Very ominous.
  • Jay Fitzgerald, Hub Blog and Boston Herald: “Gov. Patrick’s ‘trivial’ comment is perhaps the single most stupid political remark I’ve heard muttered by a state or national pol in the face of genuine public outrage. It will stick with him for the rest of his years in the corner office.” Comment: I think Jay’s right.
  • David Kravitz, Blue Mass. Group: “It’s more than passing strange for this particular crowd to be so clueless about why stuff like this matters. No, the money at issue in the AIG bonuses, or Carol Aloisi’s job, or Marian Walsh’s special election, will not make or break the state or the country. But the damage these kinds of things do is, while less tangible, no less real.” Comment: If Patrick is losing one of the BMG co-editors, then he’s pretty much down to family and childhood friends.
  • Paul Flannery, Boston Daily: “Patrick has never bothered to take care of the little things — the car, the drapes, the chopper, the book deal while the casino bill went down in flames — and now the big things are slipping out of his grasp.” Comment: Call it the “broken windows” theory of politics.

We are now past the half-way point of Patrick’s four-year term. It’s pretty sobering — and discouraging — to realize that, without a major turnaround, we’re looking at yet another disappointment in the governor’s office.

In search of a crime

Jay Fitzgerald rounds up more on the matter of whether Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich broke the law simply because he wanted something in return for a Senate seat.

Everybody wants something. Some somethings are legal, some aren’t. But simply being a foul-mouthed, arrogant moron is not a crime.

Jon Keller doesn’t like Barry Coburn’s op-ed in today’s New York Times, in which Coburn takes U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to task for his inflammatory anti-Blago rhetoric.

I think Coburn makes some good points, though. A prosecutor in a high-profile political-corruption case has enormous credibility with the public, as the charges invariably play into (often justified) cynicism about politics.

I come neither to praise nor bury Blago. But let’s calm down until we see the specifics.