Much of the story about Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who killed 14 people and injured 22 at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California revolved around how and when they became radicalized. As the investigation progressed and information was released we learned the couple had planned on doing something like this for almost three years now.
And if there's anything America should be concerned with it's people becoming radicalized. Because once those people think they are truly in the right, fighting for a just cause, and ready to die for that cause, they present an ever growing danger.
We've seen so much of this behavior implicitly encouraged, especially this year. Demonizing people by calling them rapists. The release of a heavily edited video purporting to show that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts. Lying about what can objectively be seen in a video recording even if it has been heavily edited. Lying about Syrian refugees seeking safety from who we now refer to as our greatest threat. Calling to block all Muslims from entering the country.
Whether intended or desired, the encouragement has had its effect. Donald Trump, doubling down on racist rhetoric, is the leading candidate for the Republican party, which believe it or not, is an issue it is now very concerned about. (The Christian Republicans might want to check Hosea 8:7 for a little enlightenment as to how this happened.) Cowardly acts such as mailing white powder to a Muslim center are taking place. But that's really nothing new. And a self-proclaimed warrior for babies attacks a Planned Parenthood office and kills three people.
Yet the danger from radicalization is not just a physical one. The lack of reason and the demonization of an entire people, a race, and even just an individual person has been changing our country's entire landscape. One would think it was a long-settled fact that Barack Obama was born in America and is not a Muslim. And yet even now there is a significant number of people who think Obama is a Kenyan and/or a Muslim. A friend of mine is not fond of President Obama. He's unable to articulate why without using talking points repeated over and over on Fox News. Recently, and for the first time in my presence, he referred to Obama as "That nigger."
I cannot fathom anyone resorting to such language unless their mind has been poisoned. The volume of their voices gives the appearance that poisoned minds are prevailing. We can't shut them up but we can and should repudiate them.
Saturday Morning Ride in Fall River, MA
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