Is This The Rise Of Joker Terrorism?

Is This The Rise Of Joker Terrorism?

Is This The Rise Of Joker Terrorism?

Any fan of comic books knows that the Joker, Batman’s arch-nemesis, needs no motivation to spread chaos. Is this what we are beginning to see as a new trend in terrorism?

The entire philosophy of the Joker character was summed up eloquently in the Christopher Nolan movie “The Dark Knight,” the second in his Batman trilogy.

The question is, is this what we are beginning to see in terror attacks? The El Paso shooter allegedly wrote and posted a manifesto, ala the Christchurch shooter – but both shooters were taken alive. They didn’t die for their beliefs – though the El Paso shooter will certainly be facing the death penalty in Texas. According to authorities, he confirmed to them that he was targeting “Mexicans.”

In El Paso, the suspect (name redacted) was “taken into custody without incident” and without any law enforcement officers firing their weapons, according to El Paso Police Department Sgt. Robert Gomez. He later told investigators he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible, two law enforcement officials told ABC News.

“He was forthcoming with information. He basically didn’t hold anything back,” El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said during Sunday’s news conference, declining to comment on specifics of what the alleged gunman told investigators.

Meanwhile, we all want a reason why. We want causes. We want motivation. We want someone to blame, and we want to do it quickly, so “our” side can be absolved. This time, Democrats are busy pointing fingers at President Trump and the NRA. Republicans are countering by disavowing whatever is in the alleged manifesto, and pointing out that the NRA has nothing to do with mass shootings. Everyone is condemning white nationalism and white supremacy.

But what if we have a horrific new streak of terror happening? What if this is terrorism simply, in the words of “The Dark Knight,” “to watch the world burn,” as the Joker did?


In other words, what if what we are seeing is just evil for evil’s sake, like the Joker? There is no defense against that. There is no pattern to be studied. There is no law that you can pass to change the heart of man.

Now, the Dayton shooter may not fit this mold at all. The authorities in Ohio recently released the names of the victims, as well as the shooter (who will not be named here), and it turns out that the Dayton shooter killed his own sister in his rampage. That fact is obviously significant and changes the perspective on what the Dayton shooter’s motivation might have been. The Gilroy shooter, it has been revealed, committed suicide when police confronted him, and authorities cannot agree on his motivation.

The problem is that we cannot agree on how to stand up to pure evil. This becomes especially difficult because one side believes that mankind is basically good and gets corrupted by evil influences, and the other believes that mankind is basically evil and has to be taught to be good. When given a nihilist who kills for kicks, one side wants to study it, and the other side wants to lock it up forever or kill it off. When we can’t agree on the root cause of evil, we can’t agree what to do with it. We end up reacting (usually with new gun laws) and then hoping that another mass shooting just won’t happen again. Lock the Joker up in Arkham Asylum, hope he never escapes again.

Evil is always going to walk among us. To this day, we don’t know why the Las Vegas shooter aimed down at the crowd and began firing. The parents of Sandy Hook have no good answers as to why their precious children were so cruelly and viciously murdered. The answer that evil exists and sometimes it kills is not a satisfactory answer. But it may be all we get.

So, how do we react to evil? All I can suggest is remembering how we reacted after September 11th. The entire country was reeling in pain and grief, but what came out of it was unity. We came together to help one another. Even if you didn’t live in New York, or Washington DC, or Pennsylvania, or lost someone personally, you still felt the enormous weight of sadness and the determination to do something to help. Some gave blood, some donated money, some volunteered for the military, but we all had a sense of purpose and unity. Somehow, we have to find that sense of purpose and unity again. Instead of pointing fingers, we need to offer our hands – in help, in prayer, in service. The political class wants to fight over who is at fault. The American people need to try and unify in the face of evil that doesn’t care whom it destroys. It would help if that sense of unity came from the top, but even if it did, the politics of the moment have so deeply fractured our social fabric that it will be more lasting and meaningful if We The People can come together for the common good without help from government.

Can we do that? I think we can. I pray we can.

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26 Comments
  • Hate_me says:

    I don’t agree with the excuse that, sometimes, it’s simply evil being evil. Everyone acts for a reason (even if they are unaware of said reason) and evil doesn’t develop out of thin air. That said, I agree that we sometimes can’t uncover (or speculate on) any more acceptable reasons.

    This is new only in its prevalence. Charles Whitman claimed to not understand his own actions, and it is unlikely his brain tumor was the only factor – if it was a factor, at all.

    It makes me think of the rabid nature of those so desperate to tear down monuments to former confederate officers/soldiers: To them, these men are pure evil – all the nuance in their lives and the complexities of the antebellum period are not simply nullified, but rendered completely irrelevant, by their choice (or, in the case of the Silent Sam statue at UNC, often conscription) to fight for slavery.

    This approach, to reduce complex history to a simplistic, black-and-white (no pun) case of good or evil is to imply that these were not honorable men (or men trying to be honorable) who may have found themselves supporting evil, but that they were nothing but inhuman monsters. Just as refusing to try to understand why these mass shooters open fire is to overlook the fact that they were all once innocent, impressionable infants who grew into such behavior.

    Accepting evil acts as simply the work of evil is to reject the idea that anyone of us, but for the grace of god or the whim of circumstance, is equally as capable of carrying out evil acts.

    • Hate_me says:

      Apologies for the novel. It is a good article.

    • GWB says:

      If you don’t believe in the Devil then it certainly looks like it came out of thin air.
      But it didn’t. The problem is you may not find a discernible cause. Because some people really do just want to watch the world burn.

      As to a novel? Pfft. You’re going to have to up your game to post a real rant. 😉

      • Hate_me says:

        Never intended it as a rant, but will keep that in mind for next time.

        As for inability to determine “a discernible cause [don’t know how to create italics from my phone],” I thought I addressed that fact by accepting that we may never find a better explanation.

        Whether that evil came from the devil as an independent agent or some aspect of that perpetrator’s earlier life depends on how you believe such an agent operates. I, personally, am not a fan of the idea of evil (or good) as an external element, acting in the moment. I see this “devil” acting more gradually, not with independent agency but as an aspect of the individual’s reaction to their entire life prior to the act.

        • GWB says:

          Sometimes he does. Sometimes he just pops one out there to confound the world.
          I think you are mostly right.

          (Usually, the less-than and greater-than symbols are on the numeric set on your phone keyboard. On mine I have to then tap the equivalent of the shift key on the alphabetic portion to get to *another*, less used, set of symbols that include those two symbols. It can be rather a pain, but I’ve mostly got it down.)

    • Babe says:

      The article noted that one side believes we are all created with good and evil within us and our constant battle is to only feed the good within us. You are completely wrong to suggest the author doesn’t understand the potential for evil is within us all. Next time, think before you post.

      • Hate_me says:

        I wasn’t suggesting the author doesn’t understand such a thing, as I referred specifically to “the rabid nature of those so desperate to tear down monuments…” I was trying to articulate what I see as the flaw in the argument of the side that simply wants “to lock it up forever or kill it off.” That react-and-hope approach, which never works.

        Incidentally, I don’t agree with either angle – “that mankind is basically good and gets corrupted by evil influences” or “that mankind is basically evil and has to be taught to be good.” Neither places the responsibility on the individual as a whole and unique person, both provide a scapegoat in some obscure agent named “evil;” the only difference being whether that corrupting influence is an internal or external one. I readily accept that my reasoning may be flawed, and you or the author are certainly free to feel otherwise.

        Also, while I can appreciate the passion, the “think before you post” barb is unwarranted and hardly conducive to open discussion.

        • GWB says:

          We could have a long discussion about “original sin”, “simultaneously sinner and saint”, and the three sources of temptation in the world.

          Where there shouldn’t be disagreement* – if you’ve observed reality much – is that there IS evil, and you can’t simply will it or legislate it away. You have to stop it when it rears its ugly head, and the best way to do that is often a well-equipped* and trained good guy (who may be partly bad guy, too, but locks it away *points to first paragraph*).

          The progs want to have that good guy be a controllable element, e.g., on of theirs. IOW, gov’t. The folks speaking as ‘conservatives’ or ‘libertarians’ think it’s better if that good guy is “all of us”.

          (* I don’t think you disagree with this.)
          (* That doesn’t have to be someone well-armed. It depends on the situation – because not all outbursts of evil are some a**hole with a gun shooting up a gun-free zone.)

          • Hate_me says:

            In general, I don’t disagree with much of anything said here, or in the article.

            We could debate epistemology and metaphysics as they pertain to evil or the devil, but that usually begins from already-entrenched positions and, eventually, only leads to impasse.

            While I accept that we often cannot understand attacks like these as anything more than evil being evil, I do not accept that we shouldn’t keep seeking deeper insight.

    • Mike Houst says:

      “they were all once innocent, impressionable infants who grew into such behavior.”

      Except they were not. People are born as selfish animals. They wouldn’t survive if they weren’t. Families, clans, and tribes socialize their members into getting along with the group, and identifying all others as “not group”. In pre-history, the not-group was literally not human; and any and all lethal actions were justified. The problem arises when we try to get humans to live in groups larger than the tribe. That requires overcoming our instinctual group/not-group categorization and behavior. Most of us can be socialized out of it. Some can never be. And some become mentally ill and fall out of that socialization that way. Either of the last two can be evil simply for the act of being evil – there’s a sick satisfaction for them to do so.

      • Hate_me says:

        I agree that we are all born selfish. It is probably among the very first emotions we feel (I am a big fan of Temple Grandin, and her take on this is compelling). However, I disagree with the premise that selfish is the opposite of innocent. The nuance of that distinction is probably too complex for this formatting.

        Just as the tribe was an extension of the familial or clan grouping, so does the chiefdom or state arise from the tribe. The biggest argument against this social evolution is the wave-like success/failure of pastoral societies which shift from family to clan to tribe, then back to clan, which then rebounds to tribe or chiefdom to state (or even empire) without collapsing… hell, the Mongols ran the gamut from family to the greatest empire in history within one lifetime and continued to expand said empire over several generations. Why do you focus on the tribe as opposed to other points on the spectrum? On a more biological level, while the alpha-beta-omega idea regarding wolves has been largely debunked, they do exhibit a system of expanded family units composed of more immediate family groups; though the “pecking order” amongst chickens still remains a legitimate observation.

        For those who can never be socially normalized, as well as for those who become mentally ill, there is still a root cause – be it maternal malnutrition, drug abuse, physical trauma, etc. Hell, maybe the actual devil got bored and decided to take a walk on the child’s brain, i don’t know; but something caused it.

        I’m pulling this from memory, and I drink a lot, so some details may be confused; the point remains, bad shit happens for a reason.

        When you accept that evil is an agent outside of the actor, rather than a descriptor of the act itself, then it’s very easy to apply a face to that evil – be it Donald Trump, Robert E. Lee, scary black rifles, Thomas Jefferson, etc.

  • GWB says:

    You should go back to at least the Charleston church murderer. He wanted to start a race war – IOW, he wanted to watch the world burn.

  • David says:

    Is man good? Is man evil? Neither. Man is corrupt and is tempted by a conscious will that hates him and desires his destruction. That is why we had the Resurrection.

  • cthulhu says:

    The link from Insty talks about how this wasn’t even “the Mexican Walmart”.

    Years ago, I was at a convention in Atlanta, staying at the convention hotel near the airport — and my belt broke. I know nothing about the area, so I did some internet searches and decided to go to a Macy’s at a mall.

    I GPS my way there, and find there’s some sort of festival in the parking lot, so I go around to the backside to a quieter entrance, park, and walk into the mall. I check one of the directory kiosks and note I have to schlep across the mall, so I start to do so……and after a bit, I realize that I’m halfway across the mall and have seen a total of three caucasians (including myself). About the same time, I realize that the formalware store has Zoot Suits and pale blue cummerbunds, and the beauty supplies places have an odd plethora of hair straighteners. The mix of shops seemed oddly…….off…..

    I never felt endangered (Atlanta is a civilized place), and never even felt particularly unwelcome (it was, after all, the sort of mall that has a Macy’s), but I have to confess that it felt weird. Some of it may have been the weird you feel when shopping for a replacement belt when your shorts are half-falling-off. But the realization that there are entire shopping malls that are just like the ones I normally go to but are almost entirely populated by people that don’t look like me was jarring.

    In a city like El Paso, I’m sure there are Mexican Walmarts and Anglo Walmarts and upscale Walmarts and Walmarts for public assistance. ‘Tis the nature of the beast. The same is likely true in Dallas.

    And for the current terrorist to drive nine hours to get to El Paso, then go shooting because of a Mexican invasion in a Walmart that wasn’t particularly Mexican is very strange.

    • Mike Houst says:

      Sorry, but I’ve never run into a racially segregated (either by location or by preference) Walmart. I do live in a predominantly white region; but we do have 20 to 30% non-white minorities so maybe it isn’t cost effective to have more Walmarts for differentiation.

  • Slocum says:

    Maybe these guys may just want to watch the world burn, but why? How did they get to embrace that outlook? My sense is that it is because they’ve decided that they’re going nowhere. They don’t have have jobs or close friends or girlfriends. Their peer group is limited to other lonely, disaffected guys they meet while gaming online and posting on 8chan. By the time they commit their rampages, they may not even care whether or not their names are covered by national media — they may be aiming for nothing more than become ‘legends’ among their peers on 8chan. This sounds to me like a guy completely cut off and lost from the normal life of a 21-year-old and has formed a ‘theory’ of who/what to blame (automation, Mexicans, corporations) for his lack of a future.

    Crusius graduated from Plano Senior High School in 2017 and attended Collin College, a community college in nearby McKinney, from fall 2017 to spring 2019, the college said in a statement. Leigh Ann Locascio, a former neighbor, said Crusius was an extreme loner who always sat alone on the bus in junior high and high school. He spoke negatively of other kids who played sports or joined the school band, she said. She described Crusius as “very much a loner, very standoffish” and someone who “didn’t interact a whole lot with anyone.” Her son, Tony Locascio, walked to school regularly with Crusius and his sister. Tony Locascio said Patrick Crusius only walked ahead of or behind them, never interacting and always keeping to himself. Crusius liked animals and kept pet snakes. “He wouldn’t talk to people,” Tony Locascio said. “No one really knew him.” Another former classmate, Jacob Wilson, said Crusius was “very strong-minded” in class and would try to “take charge,” but other kids refused to work with him because he was “irritable and had a short temper.” He was often “picked on” because of how he spoke, and because he wore what looked like hand-me-down clothes, Wilson said. Wilson, who is now 20 and works in his family’s scrap-metal recycling business, said he was in English class with Crusius during their senior year, and the taunts from other kids during class seemed relentless. “Every time I looked up in class,” Wilson said, “it was someone new speaking negatively to the kid, ‘Patrick that is dumb, stupid.'” Local police said they’d seen no indications in the past that Crusius might undertake the type of crimes that the suspect in El Paso is accused of committing. He was reported as a runaway at 16, but the person who reported him missing called back 30 minutes later to say he’d returned home, according to Sgt. Jon Felty. In a LinkedIn profile that has since been removed, Crusius styled himself as aimless but nursing a mild interest in software development. While he worked as a bagger in a local supermarket, “working in general sucks,” he wrote in the profile, adding that he is “not really motivated to do anything more than what’s necessary to get by.” The supermarket referred questions to a spokeswoman, who had no immediate comment. The author of the manifesto linked to Crusius calls automation “one of the biggest issues of our times,” and warns of “civil unrest as people lose their jobs.” Immigrants, the author claims, are taking from native-born Americans a growing share of a dwindling number of jobs. “The cost of college degrees has exploded as their value has plummeted,” the document says. “This has led to a generation of indebted, overqualified students filling menial, low paying and unfulfilling jobs.”

    This doesn’t sound to me like a born psychopath who was always headed for a bad end, but rather a lost soul who — if much of anything had been going right in his life, would not be where he is.

    • jake says:

      Maybe these guys may just want to watch the world burn, but why? How did they get to embrace that outlook? My sense is that it is because they’ve decided that they’re going nowhere. They don’t have have jobs or close friends or girlfriends. Their peer group is limited to other lonely, disaffected guys they meet while gaming online and posting on 8chan. By the time they commit their rampages, they may not even care whether or not their names are covered by national media — they may be aiming for nothing more than become ‘legends’ among their peers on 8chan. This sounds to me like a guy completely cut off and lost from the normal life of a 21-year-old and has formed a ‘theory’ of who/what to blame (automation, Mexicans, corporations) for his lack of a future.

      As Sarah at Insty also points out, this is the generation into whose ears we’ve been pouring nothing but political and environmental doomsaying all their lives. When you feel your life is going nowhere, and you’ve been told since you were a child that you have no future and the planet is f__ked and there’s nothing worthwhile for a human being to do anymore except to sit and watch the bonfire, Joker-style nihilism comes relatively cheap.

    • GWB says:

      Slocum could you give sources for your info? Doesn’t have to be links, but a “the NYT said this, the Dallas Morning News said that” would be nice.

  • buddhaha says:

    When I heard, “Mexican Walmart”, I didn’t think of the skin tone of the customers, I thought of the language used in its commerce. When the signage is all in Spanish and the clerk greets you with “Como estas”, you know you’re in a “Mexican” store.
    I ran into my first Mexican store 40 or so years ago in Huntington Park, a little town just south of downtown LA. In the K-Mart (remember them) I was surprised to hear, over the store PA system, a rattle of rapid-fire Spanish, with the English words “Blue Light Special” in the middle.

  • Scott says:

    It seems that those trying to pin this on “white nationalism ” are stretching quite a bit. While he did mention mexicans, the rest of his rant seemed far more left wing / “progressive” type rant… And why the 10 hour drive to the site of the crime?? That definitely seems to be something to be looked into.

    The Dayton shooter is seems left no doubts that he was an antifa supporter / member..

    I agree that we, as a society need to figure out what is driving these assholes to commit such acts, but the media Damn sure needs to stop spending hours / days talking about them, giving them the “glory” they want. The “christchurch” approach, looking to start conflict, or drive gun control definitely seems to be one motivation, which the media and the left wholeheartedly embrace, but as others have pointed out, some of these people have the joker mentality, which needs to be addressed, but not glorified / dwelled on.

    • GWB says:

      Far left wing = Far right wing in many ways.
      Partly because what the media calls “far-right” is really far-left, just of a different flavor than their far-left. The communists and fascists HATED each other. A LOT of the violence involved in the ascendancy of Hitler and Mussolini was NAZI/Fascisti on Communist street brawls.

      I really hate the “left-right” dichotomy when it comes to political designations, because they’re pretty meaningless the way the media uses them. Unfortunately, expecting anything with more nuance or reality built in to it is more than you can expect from the media and progs.

      (BTW, oart of the reason the left uses “far-right” and “far-left” is to position themselves in the center. ‘Cause the center is where normal people are, right? So whatever they define as “center” must be good and normal.)

  • Brian Brandt says:

    New Zealand has made it illegal to possess or distribute a print or digital copy of the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto, “The Great Replacement” under penalty of up to 14 years in jail. “The Great Replacement” talks about the influx of non-whites into New Zealand and the displacement of the native (white) population. Have they done this to discourage other shooters running amok, or because they would rather not having the white populace thinking about what’s in it?

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