In Harm’s Way, At Home

The Killer Archetype in Transition?

“While we expect our sailors and Marines to go into harm’s way, and they do so without hesitation, an attack at home, in our community, is insidious and unfathomable.”  Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy

Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez

Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez

Yesterday in Chattanooga, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez attacked two military installations killing four US Marines and wounding several others, including a police officer.

Abdulazeez died, as well.

In many ways Abdulazeez fits the American mass shooter archetype:


-Twenties (18 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were in their twenties.)

-Energized by an apparently “unifying” dogma, religious or political

-Often grandiose ambitions

-Undirected, unsuccessful, at loose ends.

Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter, is the latest example.

Roof came from a troubled home, was a school drop-out and had problems with alcohol and drug abuse.

The Times reports that he began visiting white supremacist websites and talked of starting a race war.

The rest is tragic history.

The Abdulazeez Difference

He graduated from high school and college, with a degree in engineering.

He was a tough, athletic, mixed martial arts practitioner who would “pass out rather than tap out” when pinned.

He came from what has been described as a “strict” home and “structured lifestyle” the apparent antithesis of Dylann Roof’s experience.

Their commonality is the propensity to be galvanized by extreme and violent views and to act on them.

Just a few days ago he wrote “Life is short and bitter.”

Once again we will ask ourselves who read that and wondered what could be afoot but did nothing about it.

Is it worth meditating on the possibility that both no life structure and too much of it can be pathways to radicalism?

Soft Targets and Easy Weapons

The current debate, as it was with Roof, is the applicability of the term “terrorism”, whether foreign or domestic.

Either way, yesterday was an act of war on “soft” military targets.

(Roof’s was an act of (race) war on a sacred target.)

No doubt we will learn that yesterday’s shooter had easy access to weaponry specifically created for mayhem.

And, that’s just what we got.

Fatawa or Jihad?

Bin Laden

Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden’s core mission, as enumerated in his two fatawas was to “fight those that either support Israel or support Western military forces in Islamic countries stating that those in that mindset are the enemy, including citizens from the United States and allied countries. His goal was for Western military forces to withdraw from the Middle East.”

If you view your land as “occupied” and you want the occupiers out that’s within the realm of understanding whether or not you agree.

In fact, we agreed with and supported Bin Laden when the Soviets were occupying his country and we shared a similar goal.

But, if those fatawas are now understood as a call for jihad, or religious conquest, we have a new and serious problem to contend with.

Either way, candidates for mayhem are of a type well known: twenties, often troubled, usually white, at loose ends, and infatuated with a new idea.

Sources:  Times, Guardian, Post, Wiki








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