On The Chatanooga Shootings
Another horrific shooting occurred yesterday, in which 4 marines were killed, and one police officer was wounded. The shooter, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, was killed as well during his spree. Adulazeez, 24 years old, had published two blog post three days before the shootings. In these two blog post, he called for jihad, and concluded in one of his post “What is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” While it certainly appears as if Abdulazeez was motivated by the hard line aspects of Islam, perhaps, in this incident, that isn’t the case. Maybe, just maybe, those two post weren’t indicative of who Abdulazeez once was, only what he had become: Another disillusioned young adult, living in a world where very few people succeed in life.
Abdulazeez grew up very American. He was a wrestler in high school. He participated in mixed martial arts. There are YouTube videos of him hanging out with friends. He had a degree in engineering from the University of Tennessee. There is a graduation picture of him, clean shaven and regaled in cap and gown, the American Flag featured prominently behind him. He planted flowers for his mother. He was for all intents and purposes, a young man with a bright future. When we fast forward three years from the date of his graduation, we find yet another person with a college degree who couldn’t find a job, with very little prospects. He was angry, lonely, and more than a little unhinged.
Don’t get me wrong: What he did was atrocious. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for this man. It was an unconscionable act, and I feel horrible for those four marines who were killed. I feel even worse for their families. It’s just that in spite of his jihadist bluster three days before the shootings, I’m not convinced it was about jihad. Again, I think it was more about disillusionment and despair. In fact, like a lot of people do, he had turned to drugs and alcohol as a crutch. This past April, he was arrested for a DUI. During the stop, it was noted that he smelled of marijuana, and had a white powdery residue on his face. Tell me I’m wrong here, but doesn’t Islam prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs? The actions of Abdulazeez smacks more of addiction and mental illness, and less like Jihad as the facts continue to come out. He seemingly loved the American Way, until the American Way stopped loving him back.
Again, please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here. Abdulazeez became a very bad man. However, I think we should do more than just scratch the surface and declare that he was just another muslim terrorist, hell bent on killing as many Americans as possible, before going out in a blaze of jihadist glory. He was a person, with hopes of a good job, and getting married and having a family. In other words, he was just like the rest of us. However, the difference is that while most of us can deal with failure and disappointment, he couldn’t. While the rest of us pick ourselves up and carry on, he snapped and took it out on four Marines and a cop, all of whom deserved better.
What I’m saying is don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The chapters don’t always match up to the picture on the jacket.