Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive!
CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Johnny Muhammad Got His Gun

by ANTHONY GANCARSKI

Isn’t that a hoot? The Sniper fall guys — each of them with looks in their eyes blank as empty fishbowls — had something called a “play father” arrangement. One can’t imagine that phrase having problematic connotations. At TV trays all over the nation, addled men and women everywhere ask their beleaguered mealtime companions something along the lines of “what exactly were they playing?”

There is something inherently mocking about Fox News and MSNBC pimping that phrase; the suggestion is that people in their right minds would never use such wording. Of course, the relationship between John Muhammad [a name worthy of early Pynchon] and Lee Malvo looks intended to conjure up unsavory images in the minds of so-called reasonable people everywhere. One can imagine Ann Coulter or some other sniper of the op-ed world holding forth about storming the shelters and converting the hapless occupants to Christianity, or what passes for it these days. Just as one has already heard the snipers linked with a Whitman’s Sampler of crimes unrelated to the sniper incidents, from holding up liquor stores to “human smuggling.”. It is interesting that, even though the case against these two is supposed to be ironclad, so much energy is spent accusing the snipers of thought crimes. We repeatedly have been told, for example, that Muhammad was “sympathetic” to the 9/11 hijackers. And by sympathy, the corporate media doesn’t mean that he sent them FTD Pick Me Up bouquets when they were feeling particularly low and/or radically Muslim. Rather, that he sympathized with their purported views, and that said sympathy is wrong in and of itself.

These questions are never posed in a serious way, but they bear asking nonetheless. Why would someone who has given a large swath of his life to serving the US war machine lose faith in his life’s work to such a degree that he would start working for the “other side”? Why would a thoroughly indoctrinated soldier like Muhammad reject that indoctrination by turning his own gun and bullets against those Americans he once “defended”? Why are the self-styled experts in the media so willing to see this sniper’s acts as those of armed insurgency, yet so unwilling to ask why a soldier of such tenure would turn guerrilla against his own flag?

Perhaps Muhammad himself felt betrayed by this American system so willing to issue encomiums when people for its sake, yet so unwilling to help those who actually stick around. Perhaps Muhammad knew that he had given his life to institutions that promised paradise but delivered purgatory at best. Muhammad and Malvo will spend the rest of their lives getting to know the American system of jurisprudence, but in the case of John Muhammad, it is hard not to think that he knew that system long before he began his short but eventful run as the DC Sniper. Maybe he couldn’t shake what so many suspect: that human life is but a commodity to those who determine the value of things, and not a particularly prized one at that.

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular contributor to Counterpunch. His work has recently been featured in Utne Reader’s “Web Watch”. He accepts email at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com.

 

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail