There was a period in the not-too-distant past, maybe the late ’90s, when the word “random” was used as excessively and imprecisely as “ironic” in the song that made Alanis Morissette famous.
Dude, that was totally random. We met some random girls. His sense of humor is so random.
Some people do this with the word “basically.”
I’d like to think President Obama was just demonstrating this tic when he told the explainers of all things that Paris Jews were part of a “bunch of folks” who were “randomly” shot at a deli.
The trouble is the president is always vague when describing the motivations of people who shout “Allauh Akbar!” before committing atrocities or call themselves ISIS today — “whatever ideology they’re operating off of” — but highly specific about Christian, Western and American wrongdoing, no matter how long ago.
Nobody would say that a cross was “randomly” burned on a family’s lawn by people “randomly” wearing cloaks and robes.