He drank. He smoked marijuana. He lost his job. He was going bankrupt. These are the explanations that are being offered today for why Mohammod Abdulazeez murdered four Marines. No explanation is being offered for why all the other people who drink, smoke marijuana, lose their jobs and go bankrupt don’t murder four Marines, or even three or two or one, or anyone else, for that matter. But nonetheless, the picture being painted is that Abdulazeez was depressed, he was suicidal, and so he snapped. That’s all. Nothing to do with Islam, you see. Nothing to do with jihad, or with the propaganda videos he watched about “children getting killed in Syria” — videos that were produced precisely so as to arouse those who watched them to take up jihad themselves.
What neither ABC News nor anyone else proffering this analysis today doesn’t understand is that Abdulazeez’s drug and alcohol use and his desire to “become a martyr” are not two incompatible aspects of his personality. In reality, one fed the other. As someone who tried to be a devout Muslim, he knew he was sinning, and knew that the only way he could make sure that his good deeds outweighed his bad deeds would be to perform the supremely good deed: jihad. The Qur’an says: “We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment,” says the Koran (21:47): if one’s good deeds outweigh one’s evil deeds, one will go to Paradise, but if one’s evil deeds outweigh one’s good deeds, one will go to hell.
And what good deed weighs the most?
Allah’s Apostle was asked, “What is the best deed?” He replied, “To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, “What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, “To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s Cause.” (Bukhari 1.2.25)
So if a believer goes on jihad, his good deeds will outweigh all his evil deeds. Thus if a jihadist knows he is about to wage a great jihad, he knows its value will outweigh anything evil he has done. He knows that he can assuage his guilty conscience over drinking and smoking marijuana, and guarantee for himself a place in Paradise.
Also, in moments of personal distress, many people of all faith backgrounds turn to their religion and become more observant and devout. In Abdulazeez’s case, that could have led him to heed the Islamic State’s call to the devout, to murder U.S. military personnel.
“Chattanooga Shooting: FBI Recovers Gunman’s Disturbing Diary,” by Brian Ross, Doug Lantz and James Gordon Meek, ABC News, July 20, 2015:
With more than 30 FBI agents due to arrive today in Chattanooga, a diary belonging to the gunman and FBI interviews with his parents paint a picture of a disturbed, suicidal young man using drugs, preparing for bankruptcy and facing an appearance in criminal court, according to a representative of the shooter’ s family.
Four days after the shooting, the FBI has not found any connection to overseas terrorist groups, but Mohammod Abdulazeez’s diary says that as far back as 2013, he wrote about having suicidal thoughts and “becoming a martyr” after losing his job due to his drug use, both prescription and non-prescription drugs, the family representative said.
In a downward spiral, Abdulazeez would abuse sleeping pills, opioids, painkillers and marijuana, along with alcohol, the representative said.
Most recently, the 24-year-old was having problems dealing with a 12 hour overnight shift, and had to take sleeping pills, according to the representative. The young man was also thousands of dollars in debt and considering filing for bankruptcy.
Three months before the shooting, Abdulazeez was arrested on April 20 — a day celebrated annually by marijuana users — and charged with drunk driving. The arresting officer noted a smell of marijuana in the car.
The discovery of the diary comes as investigators also work to solve the mystery of Abdulazeez’s actions in the days leading up to the deadly shooting. The family representative told ABC News Abdulazeez rented the silver Mustang Tuesday, showed up at the local mosque and took a friend on a “joy ride” until 3 a.m. He did not sleep at his parents’ home for the next two nights and the FBI is seeking to retrace his steps.
“He bragged about [the car], and was showing it off to friends about how fast it would go,” the family representative said Sunday.
On Wednesday, Abdulazeez shot and killed four Marines and fatally wounded a Navy sailor after opening fire on two unguarded military facilities in Chattanooga.
The family representative said Sunday that the family told the FBI there were no outward signs of radicalization but added Abdulazeez “was susceptible to bad influences” and would be affected by watching news accounts of “children being killed in Syria.” For all his struggles with drugs, the representative said, Abdulazeez also struggled with being a devout Muslim.
The family representative said Abdulazeez had a number of guns in his house and often used them to go hunting or for target practice with friends at nearby firing ranges. FBI agents recently focused on the Walmart in Hixson, where officials tell ABC News Abdulazeez bought ammunition for his guns on July 11. Two young men, seen with Abdulazeez in the store, are being sought for questioning although they are not believed to be accomplices.
The family representative said Abdulazeez’s family sought, without success, to get him treatment for his mental illness, and to keep him away from a group of friends with whom he would drink and smoke marijuana.
A seven-month trip to Jordan last year was an effort to “get him away from bad influences in the U.S.,” not part of a path to radicalization, the family told agents….
Still, for the FBI, the psychological profile of the disturbed young man does not explain why he chose two U.S. military targets, seven miles apart, for his deadly mission.
Yes, that’s a total mystery. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the Islamic State’s call for lone wolf attacks on military personnel, now, could it?