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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 
Why isn't this called what it is: terrorism?

by digby

The authorities have charged the Kansas assassin with a hate crime, which it surely is. But just because he was a white American male who wanted to kill Jews instead of a Muslim fanatic wanting to kill Jews (or other Americans) doesn't make it something other than terrorism, does it?

Mark Potok at the SPLC had this to say on PBS last night:

GWEN IFILL: For anybody watching who is a little confused, I want to be clear this man goes by a couple different names, Frazier Glenn Cross, Glenn Miller, Frazier Miller, just so everybody knows we’re talking about the same person.

Are people like this always loners, individuals, or are there conspiracies out there we should be keeping — or that you are keeping an eye on?

MARK POTOK: Much, much more often than not these days, they are loners, so-called lone wolves.

And that is largely because conspiracies tend to be found out so very quickly, and often quite easily by law enforcement. And also conspiracies, when actually a whole group of people actually plan a crime or a domestic terrorist attack, they will very likely all go down if even only one of them is caught.

So, today, almost all of these attacks, certainly the most dangerous attacks, come from lone wolves or people with operating with just one or two friends like, for instance, Timothy McVeigh in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995.

GWEN IFILL: At what point — you mentioned Timothy McVeigh — that is an example. At what point do we begin to treat these kinds of attacks as domestic terrorism, not just as hate crimes or individual acts?

MARK POTOK: Well, I mean, they are domestic terrorism. Let’s be plain.

There is nothing to distinguish this from other forms of terrorism. It is a way in this case of terrorizing the Jewish community around Kansas City in particular, but around the country in general. And that’s what terrorism is. It’s a criminal act that is aimed at far more people than the immediate victims.

You know, the law enforcement has been off and on about being candid about the terrorist nature of these attacks. But I think, today, by and large, American law enforcement is perfectly well aware that there is a very serious domestic radical right and some people within that milieu are, in fact, terrorists.

It's not that they never charge white supremacists with terrorism. But they don't seem to see it in the same light as Islamic terrorism. But then, white supremacy terrorism has always been given a wide birth in this country. (As is anti-abortion terrorism.)

Juan Colehas a good piece up about this case. And he links to his earlier piece called the Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others, which is useful at times like these:

1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”

2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.

3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.

4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.

5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.

6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.

7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.

8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.

9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.

10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

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