FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

God and Crime

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

Readers should not take this to be a primer on what God those contemplating terrible crimes should believe in prior to committing those crimes.  Nonetheless, and notwithstanding Constitutional guarantees, they should be aware that in the United States how you are treated after you commit an indescribably evil crime may well depend on what kind of a God, if any, you believe in. Within the last 5 years we have had four horrific criminal acts arranged by people who when first apprehended appeared to have acted alone.  Three of those occurred within the last 10 months.

At midnight on July 20, 2102 James Holmes entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado dressed all in black and accompanied by four guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.  He announced his presence by opening fire on those in the crowded theater killing 12 people and injuring 58.  In addition to the assault on those in the theater he had rigged his apartment with sophisticated explosives that were designed to kill those who entered the apartment and cause casualties to those in surrounding units.

According to an NBC News report of the testimony offered at a January 8, 2013 hearing, there were more than a dozen explosive devices in the apartment loaded with napalm, smokeless powder and live ammunition. Among other things in the apartment was a thermos bottle filled with glycerin suspended over a frying pan filled with potassium permanganate.  When combined the two substances would set off a chain reaction.  Carpets had been soaked with oil and gasoline.  If someone had entered the apartment or played with some toys left in front of the building that were connected to the devices, the explosion would have been triggered. As a boy James attended the Penasquitos Lutheran Church in San Diego, California and his pastor describes him as a proud, intelligent but retiring boy.  His attendance at that church suggests he is a Christian. Following his arrest no one suggested that James was a terrorist and should be deprived of his constitutional rights.

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six members of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Dressed in black and armed with a rifle and many rounds of ammunition he shot his way into the school and began his killing spree.   Before going to school he murdered his mother.  It was she who had home schooled him.  Before he was home schooled he attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic School.  Since he killed himself after killing others there was no reason for authorities to comment on his religious affiliation or to describe him as a terrorist.

On April 16, 20076, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in a mass shooting at Virginia Tech.  Cho was a South Korean citizen but had permanent resident status in the United States. He and his family attended a Christian church in the town in which they lived. After the killing he committed suicide.  A note found in his room said:  “Thanks to you I died like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and defenseless people.” Since he killed himself after killing others there was no reason for authorities to comment on his religious affiliation nor to describe him as a terrorist.

The Boston bombers were every bit as evil and sophisticated as James Holmes and every bit as vicious as the other individuals described above.  The two men, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were both legally in the United States.  Dzhokhar was a naturalized U.S. citizen and a follower of Islam who reportedly posted links to Islamic websites.  His friends described him as not particularly religious and none had seen signs of his being a radical Muslim.  None of that affected commentators and politicians.  The Muslim connection was quite enough.

Some members of Congress whose allegiance to the U.S. constitution depends completely on what parts of it are being considered, immediately demanded that the constitutional rights of Dzhokhar be suspended and that he not be advised of his right to counsel. Those comments were made long before any connection to known terrorist groups by the two men had been suggested.  Senator Lindsay Graham said in a tweet::  “A decision to not read Miranda rights to the suspect was sound and in our national security interests.”

Senator John McCain said Dzhokhar should be treated as an enemy combatant so that he could be questioned more aggressively.  Senators McCain, Lindsay Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Pete King said:  “The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim and kill innocent Americans.” That is the shallow explanation offered by shallow legislators to justify  their willingness to set aside an American citizen’s constitutional rights.

Rational observers might observe that none of the killings described above had anything to with the murderers’ interest in making money as McCain et al suggested.  The only murderers from those described above that people immediately defined as terrorists were the Boston murderers.  It would seem that how some people choose to define depraved hearts depends on what God those depraved hearts worship. Dzhokhar made a bad choice.

Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. For political commentary see his web page at http://humanraceandothersports.com

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail