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On the radio I hear MOTS interviews from San Bernadino residents saying that they’re shocked that a mass shooting occurred in their neighborhood. With so many mass shootings occurring on a regular basis around the country right now, how can we be shocked when it happens to us? Horrified, yes.  Traumatized, yes. But to be shocked is to be surprised, and I’m not anymore.

We argue about the definitions of terrorism and racism and pontificate on motives and mental illness, and in all of that talk we’re not making anyone less dead or safe from future attacks.

An article on stochastic terrorism made the rounds last week, and I find myself thinking about it a lot. It’s a concept that makes a lot of sense, and one that we learn from a very young age. It’s depressingly easy to verbally manipulate people into physically attacking other people.

A coworker says in all seriousness “I’d vote for Donald Trump before I’d vote for Bernie Sanders and watch him tax hard working American businesses out of existence.” I work with someone who is in a place where the idea of politicians – the US government – condoning humanitarian atrocities is a lesser evil than the idea of companies going out of business.

In line for coffee: A patron says that it doesn’t matter whether the terrorists in San Bernadino were affiliated with a larger organization; they were influenced  by  Muslims who spout hate speech against Americans, and that’s why Muslims are dangerous. I didn’t interupt to ask him whether he would apply that logic to the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter and the violent rhetoric espoused by activists in anti-abortion circles; I’m pretty sure I knew what his answer would be.

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