"Call Me Ishmael"—The New York Times And The Bible
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April 23, 2007, 03:06 PM
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In the New York Times article "Before Deadly Rage, A Life Consumed By A Troubling Silence," [By N. R. Kleinfeld, April 22, 2007] which is of course All The News Fit To Print, they write the following about the inscription on Cho`s arm:

"On one arm was inscribed Ax Ismael, a name whose significance has not been determined but might be a Biblical allusion."

A "BIBLICAL ALLUSION"? The biblical spelling, as we all know, is "Ishmael" and not the Q`URANIC form of the name that they quoted. Even allowing the possibility that the killer couldn`t spell, sweeping this fact under the rug as a biblical reference is surely a noteworthy and unfortunate omission.

Given all of this mentally-ill killer`s ramblings about "martyrs" and so forth, it`s very likely that he identified to some extent with Islamist terrorists and killers. But given his Korean Christian background and well-documented lack of pretty much any social activity, it`s extremely unlikely that he had anything at all to do with Muslims, the Q`uran, or Islam. The name could be an oblique reference to something Islamic, but it also sounds a lot like a username online or in a video game, and we know Cho spent a lot of time on his computer. "Ismail Ax" sounds threatening in and of itself.

Why not mention a few more likely explanations for "Ismael Ax" on his arm? It`s possible that the New York Times is reluctant to have not one but two of its much-touted minorities in their diversity agenda, Koreans and Muslims, associated with this horrific crime. Maybe they were trying to forestall, in this age of mostly-Islamic terrorism, any chance that someone somewhere might link this case to Muslims or Islam, with which it is basically not connected. It may be a noble goal, but a newspaper should not choose its facts based on what some hypothetical idiot somewhere might misinterpret—they`re supposed to be working for the rest of us! They should print the facts, regardless of their palatability or (slight) potential to be misinterpreted.