Terrorism: “The unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies.” U.S. Department of Defense definition.
Ever since 9/11, our country has been obsessed with terrorism. Hundreds of Americans died from terrorist attacks under President Ronald Reagan, but the attacks of 9/11 were on a scale not seen before. As a result, Americans were too ready to hand over their personal rights in order to feel a little safer. After one failed shoe bomb attempt, we take off our shoes to get on a plane. We can’t fly with large shampoo bottles because of a potential for liquid explosives. We are constantly being worked up into a state of fear because “they” might come over here and attack us again.
Of course we should always be aware of threats. After 9/11, we spent billions to feel safe from Islamic terrorists. However, we should also be alert for home-grown right-wing fanatics too. According to the New America Foundation, since 9/11, 26 people have been killed in the U.S. by Islamic extremists, while 39 people have been killed by right-wing extremists, as of December 2014. Before 9/11, Timothy McVeigh alone killed 168 people and injured over 600 in Oklahoma City. In spite of this, the right-wing wants to claim all Muslims are either terrorists or support terrorism, but they would never claim all white men are terrorists or support terrorism, even while white supremacist thugs spew their violent hatred for this country.
Here are just a few examples of terrorist attacks by white American men. There are far too many to list them all.
Adam Lanza — Newtown, Conn. — Killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Jared Loughner — Tucson, Ariz. — Killed six, injured 13, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz.
Frazier Glenn Miller — Overland Park, Kan.— Killed three people at a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement home.
Larry Steve McQuilliams – Austin, Texas — Fired 100 rounds at the federal courthouse and Mexican consulate.
Wade Michael Page — Oak Creek, Wis. - Killed six people at a Sikh temple.
Joseph Stack — Austin, Texas — Flew a plane into the Echelon office complex, killing himself.
Eric Rudolph — Atlanta, Ga. — Olympic Park bombing in 1996, killing one and injuring 111.
We have a prime example in Nevada. Southern Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy and his band of merry men drove off BLM officials at the point of a gun. Fox News hailed Bundy as a hero. A young couple, Jerad and Amanda Miller, decided to carry Bundy’s philosophy to its logical extreme. They came home to Las Vegas, amassed an arsenal, and proceeded to gun down two Las Vegas policemen, shouting, “This is the start of a revolution.” They then put a Gadsden flag, a symbol of the Tea Party, on the officers’ bodies. According to the definition, this was an act of terrorism.
Did Fox News call it terrorism? Did they blame the Bundys? Did Fox call on all white men to silence people like this? If that sounds impossible, just remember that this is what Fox is calling on moderate Muslims to do with fanatical terrorists. If it’s possible to stop terrorists in that way, then Fox should be in the forefront of tracking down and stopping these white terrorists. If they aren’t doing so, does that mean they support terror and murder?
Whenever these types of terrorist attacks are done by white men, it’s always a “lone gunman” or a “mentally ill individual”. When they are done by someone who claims to be Muslim, it’s always “all Muslims” are terrorists, or support these kinds of actions. Moderate Muslims are called on to denounce these actions (which they always do), but whites aren’t called upon in the same way. Actions such as these by whites are considered crimes, which they are, not actions indicative of an entire group.
On Oct. 15, 2001, the late Molly Ivins wrote: “When Timothy McVeigh committed a terrible act of terrorism, we did not go bomb the right-wing nut camps in Idaho...” In contrast, in retaliation for 9/11, we did invade Iraq, a country which had nothing to do with 9/11, just as Idaho had nothing to do with McVeigh. McVeigh was raised Catholic. Should all Catholics be smeared with the terrorist brush? Of course not, just as all Muslims shouldn’t be smeared. Terrorists are criminals, and they come in many colors and creeds. We need to stop them all, even if they look like the guy next door.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.