Who Was That Masked Gunman?

The title of this Reuters piece explains everything: Masked Gunman kills Russian priest at Moscow church.

A masked gunman entered a church and murdered a Russian Orthodox priest who had received death threats for converting Muslims to Christianity and criticizing Islam, prosecutors and church officials said Friday.

Who was that masked man anyway? Reuters isn’t quite sure:

Sysoyev was from Tatarstan, a predominantly Muslim region of Russia on the Volga river. He was threatened after preaching to Muslims and Christians from other denominations (emphasis added).

The implication being that Fr. Sysoyev was threatened for preaching to Muslims and to members of other Christian denominations. Sure the shooter might have been Muslim, but he might have been a Seventh Day Adventist or a Jehovah’s Witness. Curiously, the Reuters piece doesn’t quite say that Fr. Sysoyev was threatened for preaching to Muslims and Christians from other denominations. Instead it says that he was threatened after preaching to Muslims and Christians from other denominations.

No doubt Fr. Sysoyev was also threatened after preaching to members of his own congregation. eating in a restaurant, brushing his teeth, writing a sermon, celebrating Mass, shopping for groceries, hailing a cab, attending the theater, and myriad other activities. The list of possible suspects grows exponentially even as we speak. There’s no way anyone could say for sure who that masked gunman was, right?

While Reuters can’t seem to put their finger on it, there just might be a common thread running through the many death threats Fr. Sysoyev received:

“I have received 10 threats via e-mail that I shall have my head cut off (if I do not stop preaching to Muslims),” Sysoyev stated on a television program in February 2008, according to Interfax. “As I see it, it is a sin not to preach to Muslims.”

“Father Daniil … has been periodically receiving e-mails which said he will be treated as ‘infidel’ if he did not stop polemics with Muslims,” Kiril Frolov, the head of the Orthodox Experts Association, told Interfax news agency.

Who was that masked man? For me and my friends growing up watching reruns of the iconic television series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, it was a rhetorical question. Everyone knew the Lone Ranger was the sole survivor of a cowardly ambush on a group of Texas Rangers by the evil Butch Cavendish and his gang of outlaws. Everyone knew that the Lone Ranger donned the black mask to bring these killers and others like them to justice. Everyone knew and respected the moral code upheld by the masked man:

“I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.

That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

That God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself.

In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

That ‘This government, of the people, by the people and for the people’ shall live always.

That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

That sooner or later … somewhere … somehow … we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”

Of course the “masked gunman” label in the Reuters piece is also a rhetorical construct. Everyone, including Reuters and the rest of the MSM, knows that Fr. Sysovey’s murder wasn’t a random crime or a robbery attempt. Everyone knows the shooter wasn’t a Seventh Day Adventist or a Jehovah’s Witness or a Catholic nun or a Mormon missionary or an Orthodox rabbi or a B’hai or a Buddhist or a Baptist or an Episcopalian or a Methodist or a Presbyterian or a Unitarian or an atheist. Everyone knows that Fr. Sysovey’s murderer belongs to a fanatical cult far more vicious and bloodthirsty than Butch Cavendish’s outlaws. As George Orwell said: “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” Today however, some consider it the height of enlightenment and sophistication to deny the obvious. Consider me a philistine; I still prefer the masked man’s creed:

“All things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.”

Meanwhile, back in the Bizarro Universe, it probably won’t be long before the Obama Administration and the MSM express concern that truthful reporting of this incident could lead to a surge in anti-Muslim violence, and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann names Fr. Sysovey “the Worst Person in the World” for his role is the shooting.

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