I am not alone in reflexively minimizing the political and ideological connections of mass murderers when they point to conservative or right wing movements, and, equally reflexively, amplifying them when they point at our foes on the left. And my next step in this process of rationalization is to ascribe psychiatric reasons for those who operate from the right (really, those who the media has told us are on the right).
But a rational analysis points to one inescapable conclusion; most mass murderers are fucking nuts. Sure, some of them regurgitate some deeply twisted political manifesto onto a web site the morning of their killing sprees, and some may in fact be motivated in part by political or social considerations. But let’s face it; when was the last time you got really frustrated by something particularly egregious done by our political masters and decided to open up the gun safe and finally use that .223 ammo you’d been hoarding for the zombie apocalypse? Because that certainly will solve the problem of hyper-regulation of the liquor industry or the absolutely glacial pace of work of the union employees at the DMV, or the rampant criminality at the IRS.
Never….because sane people almost never commit mass murder.
However, there is one set of mass murderers, the most successful by far in the last few decades, about whom I never assume psychiatric illness as the driver: Islamic terrorists. Why? Because I do not believe they are crazy. In fact I believe they are coldly rational people who operate from a firm ideological and philosophical basis. Islam, as I have written many times before, is a revolutionary political philosophy that uses religion to control its adherents and advance its goals. Are there deeply disturbed people within militant Islam? Of course, and I have no doubt that they gravitate toward circumstances that allow them to display their psychoses in all of its twisted glory. But there is a rational ideological backbone to their behavior, and I am unwilling to let them off the hook by calling them anything other than Islamic terrorists or whatever clear phrase will describe them without ignoring reality.
So….my new default will be to assume psychiatric illness until convinced otherwise by those pesky things called facts.
Except when the murders are committed by our soon-to-be neighborhood Salafi Jihadists.