Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
We hear these phrases all the time, so much so that we don't even think about what it means anymore. We hear "senseless violence" and "senseless tragedy" so often that we pay no mind.
I wish for you to pay some mind.
When I hear these phrases "senseless violence" and "senseless tragedy" I immediately think of circumstances in which they might be appropriate. When a tornado devastates a small Midwest town calling it a "senseless tragedy" seems appropriate. Likewise, when some person with obvious mental illness opens indiscriminate fire on an unsuspecting crowd, calling the act "senseless violence" seems appropriate as the culprit who perpetrated the violence had no logical end.
That is the crux of it, I think. When death ensues from something indiscriminate, whether tornado or mental illness, it can properly be called senseless. It is something that cannot be helped. These things just happen and we cannot make sense of them.
However, when violence is planned and or committed with a specific purpose in mind, it is the exact opposite of senseless and to pretend otherwise is reckless.
In his initial statement on the violence that saw our Ambassador murdered and our embassies sacked, the President made this comment, a comment that now appears in tax-payer funded ads running in Pakistan.
Obama said the United States rejects "all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others -- but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None."
Now this statement was made before the Obama administration admitted that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a a preplanned terrorist attack. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the President did not yet understand that this violence was not senseless but a direct attack on the United States, our beliefs, and our way of life with the expressed aim of ending all three.
But surely now, now after the administration has admitted that the attack on the Ambassador was a preplanned terrorist attack and with the knowledge that the film initially blamed for these outrages and had been out for months so the idea of a spontaneous demonstration on September 11th is ludicrous, surely now the President would refrain from such language.
Alas. Alack. In his speech to the U.N. yesterday, in addition to some of the other phrases making news today, the President said this, "The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: There is no speech that justifies mindless violence. "
Mr. President, this violence is neither mindless or senseless just as our bombing of German factories during WWII was not mindless or senseless. We bombed those factories with the aim of hampering the enemy's ability to attack us and to reduce their ability to defend themselves. We bombed those factories to advance our cause. Likewise, these militant Islamists attack our cities, our embassies, and our people in an effort to promote their cause and their cause is our destruction.
If this type of morally neutral language was an aberration, one might be tempted to chalk it up to mere imprecision. But there is a very precise pattern of imprecision with this President that makes me wonder if there is even more to it.
Last year, when there were repeated attacks on Christian Copts and their places of worship in Egypt, something clearly more offensive than any YouTube video, these events barely merited a mention by the President. But he did briefly mention these events issuing a statement saying
"“The President is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt that has led to a tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces,” Obama said in a statement released this week. ”Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt.”
Muslim Egyptians were targeting and killing Christian Egyptians for no reason other than they were Christian. That is the height of purposeful violence wouldn't you say? Yet the statement issued sought to muddle the issue and decry violence on both sides. Did I miss the reports of Copts blowing up mosques?
And the pattern continues. Right now in some Egyptian towns, Christians are being told to leave or die and the President says nothing. Beyond Egypt, Christians are being attacked and killed throughout Muslim lands and this is never even addressed by this administration.
All this violence is not senseless or mindless. It is the Islamist equivalent of carpet bombing and it is done with a purpose. That purpose is to expel all Christians from "Muslim" lands to make the Christians in the west afraid to fight back, to weaken our resolve.
So when the President said at the U.N. yesterday "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam" a reasonable person must conclude that not only is the violence not senseless, but it seems to be effective.