While the facts on the ground are still unfolding, it is all-too-easy to get caught up in coverage of the Malaysian Airlines plane carrying 295 people that was blown apart in the skies above Ukraine. It’s a horrific event; lives destroyed in an instant, likely without warning, and because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is certainly a tragedy, and it looks to be an atrocity.
Putting aside the details of this particular horror for a moment, perhaps politicians in the US, right-wing radio extremists, and other seeking to work our less well-informed citizens into a frenzy ought to take note of what Putin learned today: find extremists, racists, homophobs and other varieties of shoot-first-think-later-hot-heads, make sure they have access to guns, especially those of the military variety and missiles, if possible, and, fill their heads with bravado, hate, and holier-than-thou, I’m oppressed, discriminated against am losing my country thinking, and, well, just see what happens. What could possibly go wrong?
As the audio tapes posted by The New York Times make clear, Putin armed a bunch of morons who now appear to have shot down a passenger plane they thought was a military cargo plane. Note this was a plane heading into Russia, the country they want to take over Ukraine. Anyone without a trigger finger and a taste for destruction might have taken a moment to consider that fact and its likely implications. But because these folks are a bunch hotheads, idiots and zealots – the same kind of folks marching to block a bus of kids coming from a YMCA, decrying the invasion of the brown peoples, showing up at restaurants and public buildings with AK-47s because they can – they didn’t think; they just fired.
They used their weapons to kill innocent people, people flying from Amsterdam to Malaysia, perhaps to visit friends or family, or for business, or to make a connecting flight to elsewhere. These could as easily have been people shopping at a mall, kids in classrooms, patients and workers in a woman’s health care facility, or kids looking for a safe haven.
Putin armed a bunch of pro-Russia separatists, and they went all cold war and shot down a plane. Hmm, it’s a lot like finding some white supremacists and other types of extremists, secessionists, and militia types on a ranch in Nevada, on the US-Mexico border in Arizona, or outside a church in Wichita, Kansas and making sure they’re armed and looking for a fight.