Allocating Blame in the Sight of Horror

By John F. Di Leo

October 31, 2018 A.D.

Who’s to blame?

Every time there is a shooting, a bombing, any kind of mass killing, a heartbroken nation asks ourselves, who’s to blame?

We must begin, of course, with the fact that the person who did it, did it. Period. The person who pulled the trigger, set the bomb, drove the van, was responsible. Unless he was hypnotized, or otherwise physically and mentally controlled from afar, the killer himself bears criminal responsibility for the crime he commits.

No excuses, no reprieves, no blaming a cruel society or bad childhood. When a killer kills, he owns the responsibility, and he owns his due punishment.

That being said, however, there is more blame to go around, for the hatred and the errant philosophy that sometimes spurs such acts by these evil people.

Let us consider the Tree of Life murders, in Pittsburgh, on October 27, 2018.… a horrific shooting – at a synagogue, during a religious service – that left eleven dead and six more injured, all innocents, cut down by an act of pure hatred.

The killer targeted Jews… just because they were Jews. Why?

Why is there bigotry against Jews, in this country of all countries? A country founded upon the very quest for religious liberty, centuries ago?  Of all places on earth, how can there be anti-semites here?

Well, there are people in this country – politicians, preachers, and teachers – often in public schools or holding other public roles, who preach to their captive audiences that Jews are evil, just for being Jews.

For example, for decades, Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, preached that a Jewish conspiracy is responsible for infecting African Americans with disease, in order to cut down their numbers. Outrageous lies, of course, and not an excuse for someone else acting upon them… but this lie has been circulated in other churches, schools and community centers for decades. When people are raised in an environment that preaches such hatred – on Sundays and weekdays alike – can we be surprised that some people may act on that hatred, with violence that they assume must be appropriate?

And have you seen the reporting, in recent years, of the BDM movement – that’s the Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanction movement – currently plaguing our universities?

In many of the nation’s most “respected” institutions of higher learning, there are activists, drawn from the student bodies, the faculties, the administrations, and the communities, that loudly and successfully demand that the institutions purge themselves of partnerships, academic cooperation, or even financial investment in businesses or organizations in or related to Israel.

Participation by American business in the Arab League’s boycott against Israel has been illegal in the United States for 40 years.  It is high time that this ban was extended, to be enforced upon our colleges as well.

Do we send our students away to college to get them indoctrinated in anti-Semitism? Is that our purpose?  Perhaps not, but as long as we tolerate the BDM movement on campus, we do.

And what of the press, and the politicians who dishonestly attack decent opponents as being anti-Semitic?  This one may be less obvious… But the more one thinks about it, the harder it is to deny the facts:

The Republican Party, particularly the conservative movement within it, has been the primary supporter and friend of the nation of Israel for the past 40 or 50 years.  Throughout this same period, the Democratic Party has grown closer and closer to the so-called “palestinians” and other terrorist-sympathizing organizations that daily call for Israel’s destruction.

And yet, the press and the politicians of the left relentlessly accuse Republicans, of all people, of being anti-Semitic. In addition to the fact that this is an outright lie, consider what it may do to the extreme supporters of either side. If someone identifies as a Republican, and is told daily that Republicans are anti-Semitic, mightn’t he come to the conclusion, if weak of mind or ill-educated, that this means he should himself be anti-Semitic as well?  Many in America are told what to believe, told what they should believe, just because they are white collar or blue collar, or black or white of skin, or male or female.  Everyone in the public eye has a moral obligation to tell the truth, not only about one’s own side, but to the best of one’s ability, about the other side as well.  A republic is dependent upon truth.

The United States has, for generations, been the host of the United Nations, a den of anti-semitism since its beginning.  The microphones and resolutions of that body have long been used to attack our friend Israel, and to persecute the Jewish people… on our soil… on our dime.  Why have we tolerated it for so long?  Few American UN ambassadors have called them on it.  Our current UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, has finally responded, issuing stirring speeches denouncing the routine anti-semitism practiced by that body.  Why didn’t her predecessors?  Why has such vitriol been tolerated by alleged “diplomats” and their viewers for so long?

Again, we must never allow ourselves to forget that the killer himself is solely responsible for his crime.  In recognizing that there is plenty of blame to go around, such general blame does not replace the specific blame of the one who pulled the trigger; once convicted, he must be executed, if there is to be justice.

But we should not forget that there are still others in our society who spread the hatred, who spread the lies, who foster a misguided and dangerous judgment among, and against, innocent groups all across our society. Spreading hatred may not be actionable in the same way that pulling a trigger is, but it should still be called out, and put to an end when possible.

So Yes, denounce the killers themselves. And mete out capital punishment to show that we take this most horrific of crimes seriously.

But don’t stop there.  Don’t be satisfied with catching and convicting the killer, while tolerating the poisonous rhetoric that fills the air.

Our inner cities, our press, our schools, our mosques, even some allegedly Christian churches, too often spread unjustified vitriol against both the people and the nation of Israel.

When will it stop? When will we start calling out preachers from the Nation of Islam, teachers in public schools, separatist race-baiting politicians, and others who abuse their positions of influence to spread one of the world’s most ancient of bigotries?

And incidentally, this isn’t about violating the freedom of speech.  It’s not about government action.  It’s about individual congregants standing up and walking out of a church or mosque that preaches anti-semitism, and finding another congregation.  It’s about voters refusing to vote for race-baiting politicians.  It’s about curtailing our funding of the United Nations and other organizations that serve as vehicles for anti-semitism.  It’s about colleges standing up to the BDS movement and exercising decent, unbiased judgment instead of giving in to such hateful pressure groups.

There will always be crime… this is a fallen world… but this world could indeed be a considerably better place, if certain schools, political parties, and even denominations were a bit more judicious when choosing to whom they pass out their bully pulpits.

Copyright 2018 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer, writer and actor.  His columns appear regularly in Illinois Review.

This article was originally published by Illinois Review, here:

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