The hard luck town of Moore, Oklahoma, was back in the news last week. This time it wasn’t yet another F-5 tornado tearing the town apart but rather the beheading of a woman and the stabbing of another by a former co-worker at a local food distribution plant, the sort of gruesome crime that usually dominates the tabloid headlines for days, but we suspect will quickly fade away.
That disgruntled ex-employee angle would ordinarily have some appeal to the popular press, with its subtle implication of a man driven to madness after being callously tossed aside by heartless capitalism, but the rest of the details in this story are not the sort of news that The New York Times ordinarily deems fit to print. The assailant had a long and disturbing history of violent criminal conduct long before he was hired by the company where he committed his horrific crime, which raises questions about the current administration’s policy of suing businesses who prefer not to hire job applicants with felony convictions. He was reportedly fired for the very good cause of constantly haranguing with his co-workers with rants that women should be stoned for a variety of offenses generally tolerated in the more feminist-informed United States, a consequence of his recent embrace of Islam that will also be uncomfortable for the more polite press organs to report, and it will thus be impossible to broach the subject of beheading without reminding readers that the practice has lately been revived in the Middle East by others proclaiming the very same Religion of Peace. No guns were involved except for the one legally wielded under Oklahoma’s wise laws by a company executive to prevent even more murders. the assailant is black and cannot be plausibly be tied to the “tea party” or other Republican causes, and nothing but the peripheral involvement of a little-known and seemingly blameless corporation serves the press’ preferred narratives.
Although the story is useless to the mainstream press, we think it highly useful to anyone seeking a more honest understanding of reality. A more frank look at the story would suggest that companies should be able to shield their employees from people with known histories of violence, that Islam does condone beheadings, that sometimes it’s good to have a gun around, and that the “tea party” and other Republican causes are not the most pressing threats to public safety. That the story carries yet another unhappy Moore dateline should also make it prominent, as it proves that such outrages can happen anywhere.
Although we’ve only passed through on our way to Dallas and points south, we retain a strong affection for Moore because that is where our beloved Pop grew up. Moore was where he learned to shoot all sorts of firearms with an remarkable accuracy, and where he was taught the hard work and hard math that enabled him to slide through engineering school and into a successful career in avionics, and we don’t need the gloating sign at the city limits to tell us that it’s an All-American City. What was once a distinct small town has now been engulfed by the sprawling boom of right-wing Oklahoma City, and our Pop tells us that on his last visit he found only a couple of old city buildings that had survived all the progress and tornados, but we don’t doubt that the same quintessentially All-American heart still beats there.
A darker urge from centuries ago now lurks there, too, and that story is unlikely to fade away anytime soon.
— Bud Norman