A paranoid is a person who is right about most things and wrong about everything.
That was Freud's succinct summation. Its direct application is the thinking behind Robert Bowers killing of eleven Jewish worshippers and the wounding of six including four policemen.
For the most part the logic of murderers is not worth taking time to dissect.
My experience in having examined literally dozens of people who committed murder left me with the impression of how pedestrian and boring these peoples' thinking was.
Except for one facet. In their acting out of the impulse/decision to kill, almost to a man or woman, they believed themselves to be innocent. The victim was the guilty one and the murderer merely the instrument of justice. In other words, "they" deserved it.
Bowers is no exception but the magnitude of his crimes and their centrality in this particular time make it necessary that we take a good look at how a man whom neighbors describe in terms suggesting he was a nonentity, could commit the worst attack on Jews in the history of the US.
His own words tell a story. On social media he wrote: "I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw the optics. I'm going in." This self-defense delusion marked the white nationalism of Bowers' explicit statement of motive.
Behind it and alongside it, enabling it, is a string of language that leads from the election of Barack Obama to the present campaign of Donald Trump.
"Rising Out of Hatred " by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Eli Saslow is the story of Derek Black, heir apparent to the leadership of the Ku Klux Klan.
He now regrets his role in creating the concept of "white genocide" as well as the words "white nationalist," part of a campaign begun in Memphis, Tennessee four days after Obama's election in 2008.
The terms were designed to normalize and disguise the true intentions of the white supremacist group to keep the country exclusively white and Christian, and exclude all others, by any means necessary.
For the midterm elections President Trump decided to rehearse the successful 2016 tropes of racist fear-mongering, in lieu of talking about the economy, or tax cuts, as these were "unexciting."
He chose "invasion" to describe a desperate group of migrants and asylum seekers, families with children, walking toward their ideal of an American haven. It was to be resisted with 5-15,00o armed US troops.
Trump's language lit the fuse of Cesar Soyac's bombs and the explosions of Robert Bowers' guns.
In the Sabbath services, Jews read a portion of the Torah each week throughout the year.
The weekly reading at the time of Bowers' murders was the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Modern biblical scholarship holds that the story has less to do with sexual deviancy that with the treatment of immigrants, strangers to the land.
"Now, about this time the Sodomites, overwhelmingly proud of their numbers and the extent of their wealth, showed themselves insolent to men and impious to the Divinity, inasmuch as they no longer remembered the benefits they had received from Him, hated foreigners, and avoided any contact with others.
Indignant at this conduct, God accordingly resolved to chastise them for their arrogance, and not only to uproot their city, but to blast their land so completely that it should yield neither plant nor fruit whatsoever from that time forward."(Josephus Flavius: Jewish Antiquities bk. i, sec. 194)
Made aware of the harm to which his words may have contributed, Derek Black left the white nationalists and has been active in redemption, of speaking out against the group. But the President denies his own speech promoting violence has given violent men the excuse they need.
Mr. Trump may wash his hands in the posture of Pontius Pilate but the blood is still on them, on his tweets and his racist rants on the campaign trail. The true price may be paid not only by the martyrs but by innocent civilians of the New Gomorrah.
@ Jay Kuten