A man flies an airplane into a government building in Texas, killing himself and a few others. Cable news would be running wild with the story. Americans would be panicking. Dick Cheney would be on Fox News talking about how President Obama is making us less safe. Karl Rove would reiterate that Obama is failing in the war on terrorism. Sean Hannity would be advocating that we round up all the Muslims and water board them to find out who the other terrorists are.
Except for one thing. The crazed man's name wasn't Muhammad; it was Joseph. He wasn't a Muslim. It is remarkable how the simple difference of a man's name can completely change this nation's perception of the attack. Here is the one question that keeps repeating in my mind over and over again:
Isn't this great?
Isn't it great how well we are responding to this tragedy as a nation? Nobody is pointing fingers. Nobody is blaming Barack Obama, George W. Bush, homosexuals, Jews, or anyone else for this attack. Americans recognize that this man was deeply troubled, and committed a horrible crime that could not have been prevented. It is fantastic how maturely we are handling this situation.
Joseph Stack was furious at the government and the IRS, and he snapped. Crazy people will find crazy reasons to justify doing terrible things. Teenagers bring guns to school because of perceived slights, and kill their classmates. A man walked into an LA Fitness a few months ago and opened fire on a bunch of women because he couldn't ever get a date. A major in the military responded to a perceived slight to his religion and opened fire on his comrades. These things happen, and there isn't much we can do to stop them, other than to keep things in perspective and look for other troubled souls who are in need of psychological help or counseling.
There is one more lesson to take away from this situation. That Joseph Stack was on an anti-tax rampage is a potential embarrassment for the anti-tax Tea Party movement that has formed in the last few months. Therefore, it is in the interest of conservatives/GOP/Teabaggers that this incident not be hyped up, called a terrorist attack, plastered all over the news, or anything else that usually happens when a Muslim tries to kill Americans. And so it is not being hyped up, because the people who would usually hype it up have nothing to gain from doing so this time around.
Just remember this the next time there is an incident perpetrated by some crazy person and that person happens to be named Muhammad. When the hype inevitably comes, watch who it comes from, because I can promise you the people that it comes from in this future scenario will be the very people who are playing it down now. And by playing it down, I mean joking about it at the CPAC conference.