How Come It's Not Terrorism When a White Guy from the South Does It?

The US embraces a double standard when defining terrorism. If a Muslim gives a taxi ride to another Muslim later accused of terrorism, he's considered tagged as a terrorist himself for giving material aid, but a white gun nut sending poisoned letters to authorities is merely acting irrationally.

In late May, a  threatening letter laced with the deadly chemical ricin was sent from  Shreveport, Louisiana, to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a response to the mayor’s outspoken support for stricter gun control laws. Two  identical letters, also containing the lethal substance, were addressed to both President Barack Obama and the head of the Washington D.C. lobbying group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is managed and funded by Bloomberg himself.

Despite lethally targeting civilians and non-military officials far from any active battlefield, no one is referring to these acts as terrorism. Not the press, not political pundits, not the intended victims. No one.

... an easily  identifiable act of terrorism isn’t considered terrorism for one simple reason: it probably wasn’t committed by a Muslim, but rather by some white guy in the South. Clearly, while white guys who send murderous mail are merely acting irrationally and doing something wrong, potential violence by members of the Muslim faith present a singular threat to our civilized society.

... a 2010  study by Duke University and the University of North Carolina found that Islamic terrorism accounted for  only six percent of all terrorist attacks in the United States between 1980 and 2005 while a 2012  analysis by the Center for American Progress reported that a  whopping“[f]ifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, ... [emphasis mine]

Tags: bias, terrorism

Views: 78

Replies to This Discussion

The answer is under noses every evening as "people" of color are marched across the headlines and news shows. There is no honesty in reporting. It is like going to a fish fry and expecting to find chicken. Historically, terrorist groups in the US have been overwhelmingly white. Some were called vigilantes and others were called klansmen, but they were terrorist and they were white. It is never mentioned because it makes people uncomfortable to know threats may be in their community.

When it's 'people not like us' we're lumpers; when they're too much like us, we're splitters. Suddenly nuance means everything. If they're 'not like us', we don't look for ways to distinguish them from other people 'not like us', we look for ways to lump them in the same categories.

Humans, being pattern seekers, make it "normal" to see "lumpers" and "splitters", realizing normal is not the same thing as healthy, or reality. I like your definition of what happens, and what creates some of our problems. 

Being profiled feels terrible. I crossed from Greece to Italy on a ferry, and when it was time to leave the ship, two armed policed officers came to me and offered to help me with my bags, I thought it odd, because no one else offered anyone else assistance in that way. At the bottom of the gangplank a police truck waited and they loaded me into that. All I wanted to do was go to the railroad station, I didn't need a truck for that, with my suitcase and carryon. But off we whizzed, I was taken into a room and checked for drugs. I am a 5'2" caucasian woman with white hair and wore tennis shoes. Somehow, I was profiled as a drug courier. In all my travels, that was the only episode in which I felt vulnerable. 

For sure, we got our crazies. And they terrify me. I keep having to remind myself that not everyone in the South is crazy, and that there are far more good, peaceable and caring Christians than crazy Christians, but I definitely agree that the crazies who become terrorists (and agree with your observation about this guy) need to be prosecuted just as heavily as anyone else who commits acts of terrorism. Terrorism is NEVER acceptable under any circumstances, and ANYONE from any group can commit it, and needs to be prosecuted accordingly.

Natalie, I so agree. The vast majority of people show compassion and care than otherwise. Being tolerant of intolerable behavior is not a virtue. Hearing lies and distortions about atheists need to be confronted, directly, immediately, and forcefully.

Good and decent people who believe delusions and act as though they have a right to judge is not acceptable. There is no benefit in being silent, or accepting, or sweet natured. I want them to feel my sting; I want a reputation of being straight with them.

When such people use evidence of sacred texts or stories, these are not admissible as evidence in a court of law. Such methods  are tradition, but not direct knowledge. When such people express gratitude when a tornado jumps over their homes, I inquire why they are more worthy than their devastated next door neighbor? The response often is that "god acts in mysterious ways" which just does not stand up to scrutiny. These kinds of confrontations, designed to make them think, will penetrate only if and when there is a seed of doubt within them. 

I like planting seeds. 

Maybe this should be in a new thread, but I am speechless with fury about the Texas man who was exonerated for murdering a Craig's list escort who refused to have sex with him. Since when did "escort" become synonymous with "prostitute"????????

It all depends on perspective. However, killing is never an answer. Murder is murder and trying to put a fine edge on it makes the rule of law nothing but a sham. Philosophically, that's how I feel. However. I am unfamiliar with the story. I'd like to read it for myself.

Interesting, supposed "actress" in Texas sent ricin-laced letters to Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama.  The article does label this as bioterrorism / marital conflict.  She wanted to frame her husband.  

I think Timothy McVeighwas labeled a terrorist.   Here is a list of situations were domestic terrorism was an issue.

I agree people seem quick to label middle eastern people and muslim as likely terrorist.  It's a compelling topic to explore.

The intent and style of KKK and Jim Crow in general were explicitly terrorist.  ANyone saying otherwise is disingenuous.

I agree with you. Even African Americans escape investigation in this case, but those of Middle Eastern descent or Indian heritage become suspect just existing in the United States which is a dirty little secret most Americans don't want to address. Unfortunately, it is the actions of a few that rightly or wrongly influence the thoughts of many.

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