The Cycle of Outrage

So I came across an article earlier this week that I think highlights a problem we have in our country today.  I’ll just post a link here for those who want to see it in full.

Recently, there was a terrible tragedy in our country.  On July 16th, in Chattanooga Tennessee, a shooter shot and killed five United States soldiers outside of a military recruiting center.  It has since been reported that he was doing online research for militant Islamist “guidance” on the matter, and may have believed that his actions would wash away his sins.  It’s not entirely certain that this was the case, however, and in reality we may never know for sure.

However, that is not what I am here to talk about today.  Instead, I want to talk about a smaller controversy that came out of it, one that may only exist in a small corner of the internet.  But it’s a symptom of a much larger problem.

For those of you who haven’t read the article I linked earlier, the gist is that the author is outraged because the Empire State building was lit up green less than twenty-four hours after the shooting.  The green colors were celebrating the holiday of “Eid al-Fitr”, which is the end of Ramadan in the religion of Islam.

“The amount of disrespect for the Marines just murdered by an Islamic terrorist is truly saddening,” the article says.  “It’s hard to imagine this is even real life.”

You know what?  You’re right.  It is hard to imagine.  Maybe because it isn’t meant as a sign of disrespect?  Just a thought.

As a rule of thumb, I generally don’t put much stock in people who use the phrase “Obama’s America”.

I will cut this guy some slack though.  All he is really doing is posting a transcript from another article here.  But therein lies the problem.  Instead of actually doing research and looking up information on the subject, the author of the first article simply posts a block of text from the other article and essentially proclaims it as truth.

The second article in question raves about how the lighting of the Empire State Building is akin to celebrating violence and surrendering to the will of Islam.

“This is not tolerance. This is surrender,” the second article says.

Okay, fact check time.

The Empire State Building changes its lights all the time in celebration of different events.  In fact, there is a process an organization has to go through to be considered a “Lighting Partner”.  This process includes submitting an application and having the request pass through a review process.  Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that even if some scumbag submitted a request for the lights to be green simply in honor of the shooting in Chattanooga, it is impossible to conceive that the process would be completed, authorized, and put into motion in under a single day.  Knowing how most businesses work, the paperwork probably has to pass through multiple people before it even gets to whoever can authorize a review process.

Of course, this is only if a request was submitted to make the lights green, and in this case there was no request.  “But why,” you ask, “were the lights green then?”  The answer is simple.

On the lighting request page, this line appears:

“The Empire State Building maintains traditional lightings for the religious holidays of Easter, Eid al-Fitr, Hanukah and Christmas.”

That’s right, the Empire State Building lighting up green is nothing more than the celebration of an annual holiday.  In fact the building will not light for religious figures, organizations, or other religious holidays aside from the four listed in that quote.

Basically the author of the second article is just making stuff up.  He’d rather stand around, stomping his feet and being outraged over something that isn’t even happening.  This is our state of affairs these days.  People would rather just get angry over things without taking the time to think it through.  Instead of realizing that the Empire State Building does this every year, he whines about they wouldn’t light up for other events that he considers important.

The Empire State Building refused to light its crown in order to celebrate Mother Theresa’s 100th birthday. But Eid? Of course! What possible justification could these craven quislings have for such betrayal,” the article asks.

Maybe if you bothered to read their policies, you would have the answer to your question.  But I’m sure that would have been too hard for you.

I realize I may come across as snarky and condescending, but honestly?  I don’t really care.  I’ve seen so many different people  immediately raise the alarm over something that isn’t even an issue.  The Empire State Building isn’t “surrendering” to Islam.  It’s doing what it has done for a long time.  In fact, the building has been changing its lights to recognize occasions and events since 1976.  There’s no greater conspiracy here, just plain old ignorance.

But the line in the article that really gets me, is this:

“Of course, not every Muslim is responsible for jihad attacks, but until Muslim communities in the U.S. start fighting actively against the jihad doctrine that justifies all this violence, Islam shouldn’t be celebrated.”

It’s not like Muslims in the United States have publicly spoken out against the violence in the Middle East.   It’s not like American Muslims have served in the United States military and died in combat.  That’s never been a thing…

Oh wait, it totally has.

This is what bothers me about that logic.  It basically perpetuates a double-standard that we have in this country.  All Muslims are basically held accountable for the actions of extremists.  But do we do the same thing with Christians?  Do we hold them accountable every time the Westboro Baptist Church signs its hateful tune?  Do we hold them accountable every time some Christian bombs an abortion clinic?  Hell no.  If we even tried that, Christians in the country would be up in arms and fighting against it like it was the greatest affront to their religion in centuries.  But when a Muslim does something bad, it’s totally okay to label them all as bad.  They’re just a minority group in this country and don’t matter.

I am honestly fed up with this nonsense.  If you’re going to get pissed about something, you damn well better be sure there’s actually something to get pissed about.  If you go off flapping your mouth without having any reason to do so, the only thing it does is make you look like an ignorant idiot.  Or at least it should but it seems like there’s far too many people willing to jump in and flout someone’s baseless outrage.

If people would just take their time and look deeper, they might find that this thing people are getting upset about might be nothing more than hot water.  It’s so easy to take the first source you read at its word.  And in today’s increasingly digital world, more and more voices are out there than ever before.

Keep your mind open and question everything.  That’s my advice to you.

 

Well that’s all I have for this week.  Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week.

 

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” – Abraham Lincoln

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