So, do you think that temple in Wisconsin was screening The Dark Knight Rises? Hey-Ohhh!

What, too soon?

Sorry for the gallows humor, but with these slaughters happening more frequently in our Exceptional Homeland than in the suburbs of Damascus, I have to find some way to balm my soul. But I renounce my shameless lachrymosity, as displayed in my post of two weeks ago over that marvellously theatrical display of all-American carnage in Aurora, CO. This week’s victims aren’t even human! They are something called “Sikhs”, who we now know (thanks to the diligence of every news outlet in creation) are often mistaken for Muslims.

Illustration from a Danish pamphlet titled Perspįkt don Sikh Rødenkt (“Learn to Recognize the Sikh Rat”).

This may explain why the President and his alleged challenger will not be flying into Oak Creek, WI for a ceremonial hugfest. Neither side wants to be seen as courting the Muslim vote, even if it is out of pure confusion.

Now, I know that a little background about Sikhs may be relevant to the story, insofar as the attack took place at a temple and the shooter may have had bigoted motives, but pay attention whites. Real white supremacy flows from the TV screen, not the barrel of a gun. Just by the coverage, we have been made collaborators with the murderer in perceiving Sikhs as “the other”, even as one traditional “other” sits in the Oval Office and another Other seeks to claim the same throne.

Did anyone check the religious credentials of the victims in Aurora? We know that they all had something in common akin to a religion, i.e., they were all Batman fans. Shouldn’t the news have made some mention about how superhero fans are often confused with sci-fi fans, though there are distinct gradations in the genres?

In other words, what does it matter that Sikhs are often confused with Muslims? They weren’t killed because they were Sikhs or Muslims, anymore than the people in Aurora were killed because they were Batman fans! The shooter, who it is suggested was some hate-mongering terrorist (and therefor semi-rational) actually proved to be more insane than the guy who thought he was the Joker! At least that fellow, armored as he was, had a survival instinct, and even chose to surrender rather than be chopped to bits by SWAT.  This asshole in Oak Creek had no plan at all! He just threw a dart to pick a day on which to commit suicide in the most spectacular fashion he could think of. But because the press can paste a semi-political motive on him, he is given more credibility than a person with dyed-orange hair.

This harkens to the Major Hasan case, in which a Muslim member of the US Army went postal/Columbine/movie theater/Sikh temple on his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood in 2009, killing 13 of them. Hasan is a poster child of the right wing, a way to keep the flame of 9/11 burning in their breasts. Since Cuckoo Bananas in Oak Creek was a vet and may have played in a white power rock band, will we now ask when and how he was radicalized Who taught him to believe that people in turbans were the enemy of America? What imams of the white power structure did he listen to on the radio? Was he a devotee of the prophet Glenn Beck, perchance?

It is funny bit of logic, but the second slaughter always diminishes the first, makes it easier to swallow, even though the net tragedy has increased. Did I call Aurora a blip on the radar? This massacre will be lucky if it rates being tonight’s “Moment of Zen” on The Daily Show.

And though we can’t know for sure that this shooting would not have happened without the inspiration of the  Aurora theater massacre, what we can be certain of is that Wade Michael Page, the Oak Creek killer, didn’t live in a bathysphere at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. He knew about Aurora, and knew also what was going on in his own rotten brain. If you have mass murder on your mind and you see someone else in the media getting glory for living the dream, that could very likely budge your needle.

So I don’t consider this to be its own incident. This is an Aurora copycat. Trying to find the murderer’s unique motivation after a shooting spree is a tired and fruitless exercise, just as trying to categorize Wade Michael Page, Nidal Hasan and James Holmes as white supremacist/Muslim radical/plain lunatic is a delusion and a lie. Like the Sikhs and the moviegoers, these killers were all-American. In America, our terrorists don’t have political motivations (except perhaps to live out the First Amendment through a sensational freedom of expression.) We have alienation, which leads to making aliens of others, and that is jihad enough.