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an identity question plaguing the US

9/11 has darkened not only american history, but world history.
since that tragic event, terrorism has become the watch word for violent explosions and other mafia based, jihadist style crimes. but even before 9/11, US history had been tainted with mafia-style or terrorist style acts:

way back in 1927 in michigan, there was the bath township disaster where 38 elementary school children were killed, 6 adults and 58 injured. anger at losing being elected town clerk was cited as the cause. without knowing the details of that event it would seem simplistically like bloomberg getting so upset at not being re-elected that he bombs up some folks?

in 1999, the trench coat mafia outcasts in columbine [high schoolers] killed 12 students and injured 24. we discovered after they committed suicide that their anger against society had been growing. the 2 kids who committed the shooting would hole up in their rooms for long periods without being asked why.

in 2002, major nidal, of palestinian parents, but american, opened fire in fort hood where he was stationed. social isolation and depression were cited as a cause.

in 2007, cho, a virginia tech student of south korean origin, opened fire killing 32 students and injuring 17. depression, rejection and bullying were cited as causes.

in 2010, faisal shahzad, a clean-cut unassuming pakistani-cum-american attempted to kill americans in times square but his plans were foiled. i guess resentment and hatred could be a cause?

in 2012, the american adam lanza shot 27 people at an elementary school in sandyhook, connecticut. 20 kids, 6 employes and his mother who was a school teacher. reports said that he was disturbed and feared his mother putting him in a psych ward.

also in 2012, the korean, one goh walked into school and shot 6 people, injuring 3 others. a nytimes article said that although he was brought up to find other ways to solve problems, he said he felt ‘trapped’ the day he killed those 6 people in the US. he was a loner, and couldn’t ‘lie like others’, he was cited as saying.

the aurora colorado shooting at a movie theatre during the opening of batman- dark knight rises also occurred in 2012. a phd neuroscience student opened fire in very sophisticated gear – dressed in tactical clothing, setting off tear gas grenades and shooting into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. an american, james eagan holmes was arrested outside the theater.

and again in 2012, the nanny from the dominican republic butchered 2 kids on the upper west side nyc whom she took care of from birth and whose family went to her country, so close they were! she denies having killed them, which would suggest something came over her to have slitted their throats. but an important question to ask is why after so many years did she snap?

and not forgetting the tsarnaev brothers who, in april 2013, bombed the boston marathon. articles explored their clash with identity living here in the US. some asked why they did that in the country that housed them and gave them refuge, and like the above people, the same question begs to be asked: why did they turn against the US?

little matters that these acts were committed by muslims, americans, christians, dominicans etc. and terrorist is a word i’d easily assign to some who were americans and not muslims. they displayed similar symptoms as immigrants have of being and feeling lost, alone, destabilized to a point of no return but committing terrorist acts isn’t an avenue out.

what matters here is to explore questions such as:
why did all of these people from such different backgrounds snap?
what part of their identity clashed with what was expected of them in the US?
what loss did they feel to have committed such gruesome acts?
did they suddenly ask themselves one day: where am I? who am I? where am I going? how did I get there? and then couldn’t find answers and felt so desperate to that point of no escape from self or society?

it’s clearly not about fundamentalism or islamism or terrorism, although it is hard to NOT admit that the style of killing is rather fundamentalist and terrorist. rather it is the psychical mindset of those people in the US who seem from time to time to implode from within and not care about anyone, even themselves.

why do they feel so alienated, oppressed and desperate to risk it all? to risk their american dream?

what stimuli are they receiving that are causing these more and more sophisticated yet outrageous and barbaric acts to recur on american soil?


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