Monday, January 31, 2011

What explosives at a Michigan Mosque?

M-80 Fireworks
Explosives?  Read the story here.  Unless there was something in addition to what was mentioned, and the police asked the reporter not to report it, I'm missing the 'explosives' that could destroy the Mosque.  Class C fireworks are consumer type, those sold to individuals as opposed to fireworks sold to companies that put on neighborhood and city displays.  Nor do I consider M-80s an 'explosive'.  Oh, they can cause harm alright.  And I'm not saying the fellow shouldn't have been arrested, wasn't trying to cause harm, or was not aiming his intents at the Mosque.  Of course he's innocent until proven guilty.  But again, unless there were devices not mentioned in the story, I wouldn't consider an 'undisclosed' amount of M-80 firecrackers to be what you call an explosive.  When we think explosives, let's face it, we think of Oklahoma City.  We think of cars or trucks loaded and ready to wipe out a city block.  M-80s could certainly harm people, and do a significant amount of property damage.  For that reason alone, it is a serious story and needs to be looked into.  But 'explosives'?  Couldn't they simply have said ''Man arrested with quantities of illegal fireworks?"  That would have been more accurate.

Now for the analysis.  Why the headline?  Did the copy editor not know what M-80s are? Perhaps.  They are illegal after all.  But perhaps the individual writing the headline thought 'explosives' was, well, more explosive.  It evokes.  It conjures up a notion.  My first mental picture was of a vehicle rigged to detonate outside of a Mosque, drums of explosive liquids connected to a fuse.  And I can't help but wonder if that's exactly what the headline writer wanted me to think.

Why?  Why would someone - if I'm reading this correctly - want me to think of Oklahoma City or, less likely, the various attempts by Muslim citizens to destroy larges swaths of lower Manhattan?  Assuming I'm right, that there was a method to the headline writer's madness, I think the answer comes from The Joker.  The Dark Knight has been running for the last few weekends on a host of cable channels.  I've had the chance to revisit the film, Christopher Nolan's talent for a good yarn, the various actors and characters with which we are so familiar, and of course, the late, great Heath Ledger's penultimate performance as the clown prince of crime himself.

At the end of the movie, the Joker is disappointed in the failure of Gotham City's residents to turn on one another.  Having put two boatloads of residents and criminals at the mercy of one another, he apparently imagined that one of them would destroy the ferry carrying the others in an attempt to save themselves from certain death.  Well, not to spoil the movie if you haven't seen it (STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN"T) -

But it doesn't work.  Turns out, both the citizens and the boat full of criminals are not willing to slaughter hundreds of people they don't know, even if it means losing their own lives.  Of course, the Joker has one more card up his sleeve, but you'll have to watch the movie to see what happens next.  The point is, he was trying to show that the people of Gotham, when push came to shove, were as ready to sink to his level, to kill indiscriminately.  And they didn't.

And that brings me back to firecrackers and mosques and media reports and whether pigs have wings.  In case you haven't noticed, and many on the Left side of the ideological aisle - and not a few Catholic apologists - haven't, the tendency in America is to see everything about our country in the worst possible light.  The glass isn't half empty, it's empty.  The lens is cracked and darkened.  Ours is a sad nation of racism, imperialism, butchery and slaughter.  We massacred Indians by the billions, owned slaves by the billions, dropped atomic bombs on babies by the billions.  We don't do, think, or say anything about our country what that we must remind ourselves forever about the unforgivable sins of our fathers.

So naturally, when the 9/11 attacks occurred, our Pavlovian response was, "That was horrible!  What did we do to make them hate us that much?"  From there, we immediately feared what this country, founded on, and perpetuated in, racism, bigotry, ignorance, and brutality, would do to our Muslim neighbors.  For weeks and months we heard discussions about how we must show restraint.  How we must avoid lashing out and butchering those who may be Arab, or Muslim, or anything not like us.  We feared that the Bush administration would react like Roosevelt, and round up Muslim citizens by the millions, shipping them off to secret concentration camps in the Nevada deserts.  We imagined hordes of mindless rednecks, shambling about like so many extras just eloped from the set of The Walking Dead, going from door to door, seeking out hapless residents of Middle East descent.  In short, we imagined that those horrible stories we've told ourselves about America and its past were not only true, but inevitable.

And yet, almost ten years later, there has been almost no backlash against Muslims, Arabs, or anyone of Middle Eastern descent.  I'm not saying there was none.  There was, especially in the days and weeks after 9/11: vandalism, threats, some off color verbal assaults.  There were even a few cases of threats of violence and assaults.  But as of now, not one Muslim has been killed because he or she was a Muslim.  Not one that I'm aware of.  Out of 300 million Americans, said to be racist, ignorant, bigoted thugs descended from a nation of bigotry, not one of millions of Muslims has been killed solely on the basis of being Muslim.

Now, Muslims since 9/11 have killed other Americans.  And multiple attempts by Muslims to kill many more have been thwarted.  But despite story after story of Muslims cowering in back alleys in fear of their lives, despite story after story telling us that crimes against Muslims are exploding all over our country (without actual examples), and despite the fact that we are continually reminded of our sad history and inevitable violent attitudes toward minorities, Muslims remain safer here than in the nations of the Islamic world.  In short, the death camps and endless mobs that were to fall upon the American Muslim community never happened.

And I get the feeling sometimes that the media - one of the prime proponents of the 'America Sucks' mentality - has yet to get over that.  Having seen the carnage of 9/11, and reflected on its dire appraisal of the American nation, they thought, 'And here we go!' And they waited, and waited, and waited, and waited - to no avail. Their worst nightmares never happened.  No murders, butchery, slaughter - nothing. So each and every time something happens, each and every time a Muslim makes an accusation, each time a Muslim group says it fears for its life, each time someone is caught doing anything to anyone that is Muslim, the national media is there.  Not only is it there to give the story more attention than it will for anything short of the Super Bowl, but I can't help but think it's there to fluff the stories a little.  To make them sing, if you will.  Sing of racists and bigots, of angry mobs and violence. 

Therefore a man who, if reports are true, is obviously off the deep end and obviously needs arrested, just isn't enough.  It's not enough that the worst this nation of imperialists, Islamaphobes, homophobes, anti-Semites, racists, and sexists can muster is a vehicle filled with firecrackers.  Nope.  It has to be more.  It has to be 'explosives'.  For if we aren't continually shown the errors of our ways, if our sins are not forever before us, we might someday stop and say, "You know, considering 9/11 and everything since, we Americans have done pretty darn good, haven't we?  And that might mean some of those things upon which our country was founded weren't that bad after all."  For people who want nothing more than to burn down the foundations of our country, such a revelation could be disastrous.

Again, I realize that there could be more.  Maybe there were drums of gasoline or other hazardous chemicals in his vehicle.  Maybe there were crates of TNT.  Maybe the media isn't saying this because we all know how restrained the media can be when it comes to holding back on stories in case of copy-cats.  But if not, then the above theory is the one I'm going with unless I am shown a reasonable alternative.


  1. A great observation. I didn't see it that way, but now that you point that out, I can't help but reflect on other stories I've read. I think you are right. The media does act as if it wants Americans to lash out in violence, to physically attack Muslim Americans. Your reason is as good as any reason. It certainly makes sense, and has the added benefit of being consistent with the way the media portrays our country.


  2. agreed here. But we could also take another view of the media as well. Maybe it is not that they always are looking for a way to make up for that which never occured after 9/11, but they could also just simply be looking for the next big scoop. A story that could break open some vast conspiracy under ground as it is. Maybe they are looking to sensational some Joe down the road to make a name bigger name for themselves. Who knows.
    But I dont' think your argument is wrong. I just loath the media and its ways.

  3. Great point. Sorry I missed it when it came out. I'm hearing that the story may not be as cut and dry as early reports suggest. Maybe that's why we're not hearing more about it. But I think you are correct. There is a bias against our nation in the media, and stories like this are attempts to push that bias. Good catch.


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