Yesterday, January 26, 2012, will go down as a momentous date in history. It was the day the English language finally became completely meaningless, with the publication of the following story by the Washington Post‘s Josh White:
Motive of shooter who targeted military sites is unclear
Yonathan Melaku was sneaking through Fort Myer and Arlington National Cemetery, his backpack filled with plastic bags of ammonium nitrate, a notebook containing jihadist messages, and a can of black spray paint. The 23-year-old former Marine was heading to the graves of the nation’s most recent heroes, aiming to desecrate the stones with Arabic statements and leave handfuls of explosive material nearby as a message.
Before police foiled the plan in June, the vandalism was to be Melaku’s sixth attack, months after he went on a mysterious shooting spree that targeted the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and two other military buildings in Northern Virginia. A video found after Melaku’s arrest showed him wearing a black mask and shooting a 9mm handgun out of his Acura’s passenger window as he drove along Interstate 95, shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
It was all part of a solitary campaign of “fear and terror,” federal prosecutors said. But authorities and Melaku’s defense attorney said no one knows for sure what led Melaku — a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ethiopia, local high school graduate and former Marine Corps Reservist — down that path or what message he was trying to send.
What in the world could it possibly be? It’s probably best not to think about it too much. And you should definitely keep quiet about any forbidden theories you may be cooking up as to Yonathan Melaku’s motives. What are you, some kind of racist? (That was a rhetorical question, racist.)
P.S. Let’s try this one: Yonathan Melaku was engaging in an ironic, metatextual performance piece satirizing American racism. Can you prove he wasn’t? Can you prove it? Answer the question.