Of political discourse & tribalism in these years: New Zealand shooting an abomination to free-thinking, peaceful people

YouTube download / AP video / New Zealand's police commissioner says the man suspected of a mass shooting at two mosques that killed 50 people and at least another 50 injured was "not willing to be arrested." In addition to those killed, dozens remain hospitalized (March 15).

 
David "Daniel" Beilstein column / Headline SurferBy DAVID "Daniel" BEILSTEIN
Community Column: Lion's Den
Headline Surfer
 

WAVERLY, Ohio -- With another horrific mass shooting, this time in New Zealand, the blame game begins while Muslim victims’ bodies are still warm.

It’s a pathetic acurance, all too familiar in American politics in these years.

Some on the political left seem determined to outdo one another in jackassery by blaming free speech criticism of the religion of Islam, its culture, and some of it’s practitioners’ actions through these decades, on the perpetrator’s violence against innocent people who are Muslims to score points with their tribe.

On the other side, some on the American right - a constellation of conservatives, traditionalists, immigration critics, Republican-leaning libertarians, etc., march forward with their whatabout-ism excuses.

As in what about all the violence perpetrated by Muslims on Christians, Western peoples?

It’s a poor excuse, frankly, and immaterial to this tragedy.

One could hope - pray - that adults take over this discourse, and we would blame the people actually responsible for the attack, e.g., the perpetrators of the violence, not Republicans, Democrats, the president, or free speech critics of Islam.

Let us be clear: There is no link between the perpetrator of this violence and the views of American conservatives or Republicans. His political views have been documented. And he precisely says he is not an American conservative and those are not his views.

So, those on the political left trying to make a connection from the shooter to American conservatives, Republicans, etc., are factually in error, and wrong.

Let us also admit upfront criticism is not hate. Certainly it is not considered hate when leftists criticise American Christians and their varied views about politics or American life.

Public views about how we are to live and be governed are fair game in a free society.

To make such people and their criticism a criminal boogieman is beneath us as a free people. That’s what a free society is about. For some, it could be hard to determine whether we as Americans need to have a renewed discussion of the purpose and intent of American society; or rather, whether this is politics as usual, weaponised, and using tragedies to score political points, one tribe against another?

To make such people and their criticism a criminal boogieman is beneath us as a free people. That’s what a free society is about. For some, it could be hard to determine whether we as Americans need to have a renewed discussion of the purpose and intent of American society; or rather, whether this is politics as usual, weaponised, and using tragedies to score political points, one tribe against another?

If public policy makers are going to govern this vast and eclectic country, and make reforms which expand quality of life for its citizens in these years we are going to have to get to a place where our discourse matures, and we don’t criminalise or demonise the intentions of those we have political disagreements with.

Too many are too uncomfortable with the varied beliefs, ideas, and desires of their fellow Americans – alongside that, too many Americans are uncomfortable with the idea that we are a varied and unique people; of different religions, ethnicity, and interests.

That’s equally what this country is about along with a civil, and equable society with a rule of law everyone - Christian, Muslim, athiest, rich and poor - is accountable to.

The New Zealand shooting is an abomination to free-thinking, peaceful people. It should be condemned by all good people.

We should expect far more from our political actors, whether left or right, who use victims and their families to brow-beat and demonise those of differing politics.

But we can do better. We must do better!

For history shows us (history, ah, that entity we seem to never learn from) that a diverse, and varied population that doesn’t abide by these lessons can have far more worrisome violence and dislocation in its future. That’s not good for anyone; be it the faithful, or the faithless, be it black, white, brown; be it the the good, and the peaceful.

I blame the alleged shooter for this crime. Not leftists, not Republicans, not libertarians, and not conservatives.

Just like I did not blame Bernie Sanders for the attack on Republicans by a crazed man with an AR-15 style assault rifle.

David Beilstein Picture

Short Bio

David "Daniel" Beilstein, spent the better part of a decade in Central Florida, in New Smyrna Beach as a reporter for the former daily community newspaper, the New Smyrna Beach Observer, in 2008, and later attended Full Sail University. A kidney issue forced him to return to Essex, Vt., in November 2014, but he has agreed to continue writing his community column, the "Lion's Den" for HeadlineSurfer.com, owned and operated by award-winning journalist and Online News Publisher Henry Frederick. Beilstein currently lives in Waverly, Ohio, and is awaiting a kidney transplant.