“Everything wants to live.” My father draws from the wisdom of his generations. “Everything wants to live. Even a fly wants to live. Just pick up a flyswatter and watch the behaviour. It will not sit calmly and await death.” We were discussing the beheading of a French national in Algeria. I had shared my growing fears for the US. I knew that US citizens would soon face spree-killing beheadings.
I looked at my Daddy with great love. His gait is slower now. I remember how he used to carry me in his arms and the security I felt when in his presence. I still get that feeling. Daddy has to pause now and catch his breath when walking longer distances. He limps and tries to hide a grimace of pain. His beloved dog is aging right along with him and also walks along gingerly. We joked about it a bit. Man and beast, suffer in same manner. But, then again, everything wants to live. There is so much to experience. There are weddings to attend and new babies to welcome into the family. There is so much to see. An old set of eyes can enjoy the new sunrise of each day. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
The date was September 24, 2014 and it was a beautiful day in Nevada. We drove through the mountains to Virginia City and enjoyed lunch at one of the many old west saloons on the main street. The sidewalks bustled with tourists and the mood was one of happiness for all we greeted. Sunshine makes things grow. Happiness is the sunshine of the soul. My own heart was filled with great joy.
The following day I hugged my father goodbye and kissed him on both cheeks. I boarded my flight for the first leg of my return trip to Texas. While on the second flight, a terrible event was unfolding on the ground. It occurred a mere three-hour drive from my home. Colleen Hufford of Moore, Oklahoma was beheaded with a knife wielded by a US convert to Islam. Nolen Alton delivered multiple traumatic wounds to Colleen’s neck until her head was detached from her frame. He then turned his attention to a second woman. Oklahoma is a state with an open carry law for weapons. My own state, Texas, allows concealed carry. The assailant was stopped by a citizen who is a responsible gun owner. The beheading was witnessed by dozens of members of the Vaughan Foods community.
Everything wants to live. Colleen Hufford had many reasons to want to live but hatred cut her life short. Even more disconcerting is the news that a second Muslim man was arrested by Oklahoma police. He had threatened to behead a Christian coworker several days prior to the actual beheading committed by Mr Alton. Jacob Mugambi Muriithi, from Kenya, was jailed the same day that the police released the news that Alton Nolen had beheaded Colleen Hufford. Mr Muriithi identified himself as a Muslim, claimed he represented the Islamic State (IS) and stated that IS kills Christians. When asked why IS kills Christians, he responded, “This is just what we do.” He also stated he would post the beheading on Facebook. His threat against a Christian was corroborated by an eyewitness.
Backlashes whip out when a population is threatened. So, media whitewashes the headlines and proclaims the beheading in Oklahoma an act of workplace violence. Yeah. Fort Hood was “workplace violence” too. Another headline informs us that Nolen Alton was “a little weird”. Personally, “a little weird” is when an adult picks his nose at the dinner table. Ambushing a woman from behind and systematically thrusting a knife into her neck falls in a different category. Local and national imams offer up the usual script. It is what I now term a benzodiazepine script: Islam is a religion of peace. Please! Now is not the time. Not when two head-whacking Muslims are heading to federal prison. Now is the time for a full metal jacket discussion. My jacket is on.
Nolen Alton? The imams chatter on to their own detriment. Never heard of the guy. Barely saw him at the mosque. There is always plausible deniability. And yet the two-for-one events combined with what is on Mr Alton’s Facebook page paint a different picture. Mr Alton had celebrity jihad images on his page and the grisly image of a botched beheading. My gut tells me that Oklahoma has an active jihad recruiter on the ground. Let us step back from delusion, move into the sunlight and define the threat.
Consider the following. Civilisation and her benchmarks bring genuine improvement to the lives of others. Arts and sciences, mathematics and research can find full flower within any given civilisation. However, the smaller social compacts formed within civilisations are dependent on political, social and economic infrastructures that eventually become exploitive of humans. Democracy is a social compact that is minimally exploitive compared to other infrastructures that are highly exploitive of their population groups. In the US, we are unwilling to cede ground for our social compact, which has brought us blessing.
When writing about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and IS, neither the civilisational model nor the social compact model work. We must move to a medical model. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an environmental, cancerous agent released into the wild. He developed a political tumour that we did not debulk. This cancer has now metastasised via the digital arteries and veins that flow through the global community. This metastasis is in Oklahoma. It is also in the Netherlands where a 14-year-old Muslim male posted online threats. He wants to behead Jews.
Lung cancer, which effects oxygen supply, eventually metastasises to the brain. The IS is now destroying cognitive ability. Take a deep breath. Think clearly, please. Your future in the west is dependent on it.
The writer is a freelance journalist and author of the novel Arsenal. She can be reached at email@example.com