Well, it's more than 48 hours later, and officials are still "puzzled" about the motives of the LAX gunman. I've talked to a few friends and relatives about it, and it turns out that I'm not the only one who thinks the LAPD-FBI-CIA-Governor-President are a being a little less than forthcoming when they hesitate to call July 4th's public murders terrorism, or even a hate crime.
As Lyndon Johnson put it, "I may not know much, but I know the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit."
We're supposed to assume that, although he obviously set out to commit mass murder, that it's only a coincidence that this devout Muslim decided to do his killing at El Al, the Israeli airline.
* He held two ID's under two names with two different birth dates
* His wife and kids went off to Egypt a few days earlier
* He shows up at the 3rd busiest airport on a national holiday
* He leaves his two ID's behind but takes two guns and a knife
* He wanders up to the ticket counter of the most heavily guarded airline in the world
* And then suddenly something snaps and he accidentally starts shooting
It's all just a misunderstanding, of course. I shouldn't assume terrorist motives, or even an anti-Semitic hate crime. I'm being overly touchy. After all, he didn't kill any Americans. Only two Israeli Jews. What's the big deal? He was probably just upset about the results of a soccer match.
Let me make one quick clarification on that last paragraph...
That bit about "I'm being overly touchy. After all, he didn't kill any Americans. Only two Israeli Jews." This was not meant in a literal sense. I'm not accusing the LAPD/FBI/etc. of anti-Semitic bias in there handling of this case.
I should have pointed out that I understand that they're simply being overly-cautious about offending our good friends and allies the Egyptians. We wouldn't want them to think we were rushing to judgement. And, of course, we don't want word to get out that any terrorist activity took place on July Fourth - it might hurt the stock market. It's better to take the safe road, and just hope this goes away.
Unfortunately, their over-cautious attitude comes off as writing off these killings as "no big deal" - whether that's how they intended it or not - and that leads to my facetious accusation of it being "only two Israeli Jews."
And so, I apologize to the LAPD, the FBI, the CIA, Interpol, Governor Davis, President Bush, the nation of Egypt, and the murdering son-of-a-bitch who screwed up air traffic on July Fourth. No offense was meant. Next time I'll wait for official word that an act of terrorism or hate has taken place instead of rushing to judgement.
Here's how my friend, Bill, interprets the "official" story: "This schmoo’s wife left him, so he went to the airport and started killing people, most likely an extreme version of suicide by cop. Plus, he got to kill strangers whose politics he assumed were different from his, thus insuring a ticket to heaven."
Let's take an honest look at this for a second (repeat above apologies). If this guy "just wanted to kill somebody" and didn't care if they were Jews, why pick El Al? And don't tell me it was an accident. If you want a good shot at killing random strangers at the airport, you go to the Southwest terminal. You don't go to the airline that's been known for several decades for having the most heavily armed security on the planet.
The guy obviously had it in for Jews and/or Israelis. So, excuse me for being rude, but at the very least, this was a hate crime. Guess what? Even if it was because he was despondent over his wife's absence, he took it out on a specific group of people he didn't care for: Hate crime.
So, now we get to the terrorism question. My dictionary tells me that terrorism is violence, or the threat of violence, designed to make a political statement. It doesn't say that the terrorists have to be in the same club as Osama Bin Laden, they don't have to be in any club at all.
Did the LAX gunman have reason to believe that his action would be taken as part of "the larger struggle"? Yes. Did he have reason to believe that he'd make international headlines and screw up air traffic? Yes. Did he have reason to believe that he'd "be martyred" while in the act of killing his enemies? Yes. Hell, that's part of the alternative explanation already! All that, to me, spells terrorism.
Only one politician so far has had the balls to publicly use the "T" word. In response to all this semantic BS that's been going on, the mayor of Los Angeles, James Hahn, said, "To the victims it really doesn't matter. It's an act of terrorism any time someone takes a gun into an airport."