So rote have the airbrushed news accounts of these incidents become that we could recite them in our sleep — which is exactly the condition those who write them hope to leave us in. We are to believe it is beside the point that the assailants happen to be Muslims. Sure, some may have been “inspired” by the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, but journalists, taking their cues from government officials, stress that the murderers lack “operational” ties to any recognized terrorist organization. So, presto, each is sloughed off as a “lone wolf.”
That once useful term of art is now used to convey two carefully crafted, politically correct narratives. For government officials and investigators, the “lone wolf” label has come to mean the atrocity in question cannot be categorized as “terrorism,” no matter how many “Allahu Akbars!” are shouted as bullets fly, bombs blast, or heads roll. For the commentariat, “lone wolf” signifies that the Muslim in question — whether a lifer or a “recent convert” — has “self-radicalized,” spontaneously becoming a wanton, irrational killer.
These two story lines transparently suggest that the government has quelled al-Qaeda and that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Though President Obama frequently makes both claims, they are delusional.