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Overcoming the Politics of Tragedy

In Military on November 12, 2009 at 10:50 am

For the past week, Nidal Malik Hasan has been a central figure in the media yet many of the reports have chosen to engage in combative analysis between political ideologies rather than cultivate talking points that nurture us toward unity. To me, this is disturbing.

At a time when we should be unanimously joined as a country in mourning, we have news outlets asking questions like: Was this a criminal act or an act of terror? Is political correctness to blame for these deaths or did the overwhelming stress of a pending deployment cause Hasan to snap? Yes, I see value in these questions as an analysis to the situation but not as an immediate response to the event and definitely not as a central discussion each and every day thereafter.

Unfortunately, sensation sells and with news outlets hurting for dough, the tendency is to stoke controversy above all else. It’s no secret that our post-911-culture possess predictable hot buttons and that pressing them draws dollars. I admit it. The moment I saw Hasan’s name, my conservative hot button lit up expecting to be pushed. I thought: “Let me guess. The guy is a radical Muslim!” I’m also pretty confident that there were folks on the left who heard his name and thought “Let me guess! The guy will be labeled a radical Muslim!”

This is the political predictability that our press depends upon and successfully exploits in order to keep us glued to their coverage. However, a factual baseline that our journalists just don’t seem to get is this: even though these thoughts of Islamic radicalism pricked our minds, those thoughts did not dominate us.

For most of us, our prevalent concern upon hearing the news of Fort Hood was heartfelt regard for the victims and their families. We immediately lifted them up in prayer and ached in tandem as citizens who, together, suffered loss. This is the real relationship amongst the American people and we will continue to seek our solace and healing together.

  1. This was a terrorist attack, full stop, end of list. Anyone who states otherwise is trying to sell you something comfortable and dangerous.
    Congrats on seeing the news outlets as businesses first, they certainly do !
    Fingers crossed here that this latest act of terror results in finding and fixing more of our vulnerabilities before we pay for them in blood….
    ….but I’m not exactly optimistic it will.

  2. Aside from the “facts”, and they seem to be sparce, the rest of the hoopla by the press is just another attempt to be “exclusive”. In fact, I believe I even heard one of them use the term this morning. Selling the story has seemingly been the purpose of the press for many, many years. Go back and read some of the trash written during Lincoln’s presidential campaign. Even before that, the “story” was the important commodity, not the truth.

    Where’s Jack Webb when we need him?

  3. Clearly the line between a guy with a gun losing it and terrorism is a fine one. This guy was a Muslim, he had a dialogue going on with a known extremist, so he is a Terrorist. Had he been a white guy from Lima, he would have simply gone postal.

    Mostly, my heart aches for my Muslim friends. I know people that will not travel by air, because of the profiling hassle. Land of the free? Maybe not.

    Apologies to the USPS.

  4. Thank you,
    very interesting article

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