On Thursday, a gunman opened fire on a military recruiting center with an assault rifle, then traveled a few miles down the road, crashed his car through a gate at a Naval Reserve center in Tennessee, and killed 4 Marines. As soon as the shooter’s name was released, the angry rhetoric began about how we need to deport all Muslims, how they can’t be trusted, and how this was an act of domestic terrorism. The last part is absolutely true – this was an act of domestic terrorism, I absolutely will not dispute that.
What really pisses me off is how the conservative media is quick to jump on horrific acts of violence like this when a Muslim is involved and rightfully call it “domestic terrorism,” but when a gunman walks into a church and kills nine people in hopes of inciting a racial holy war, he’s just “mentally ill.” If you head over to Fox News, they’re actively speculating as to how the man who killed 4 Marines became radicalized, and who or what he could have possibly been in contact with that might have influenced his actions. One conservative activist by the name of Rick Canton even went so far as to find a way to link President Obama in and criticized him on Twitter for addressing the incident while seated. Seriously.
— #MakeDCListen™ (@RickCanton) July 17, 2015
When a domestic terrorist opened fire in a historic African-American church last month in an attempt to start a race war, we didn’t hear anything from the conservative media except deflection. They quickly shifted the blame to the victims for not being armed, and made every excuse for why an active white power culture of hatred toward African-Americans couldn’t have possibly influenced him. If you feel especially brave, you can read the comments below this Fox News article about the DOJ investigating the Charleston shooting as a hate crime.
In 2012 after the Sikh temple shooting which was carried out by a Neo-Nazi, frequent Fox News guest Judge Andrew Napolitano tried to explain how the incident was not domestic terrorism, but simply an act of an angry individual who just happened to be a racist. In a nutshell, only Islam is capable of influencing people to commit acts of violence, but the long line of white people who have bombed federal courthouses, places of worship and abortion clinics, often in the name of Christianity, are just lone wolves who are mentally ill.
According to the FBI, domestic terrorism is defined as the following:
“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:
- Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
- Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
- Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
18 U.S.C. § 2332b defines the term “federal crime of terrorism” as an offense that:
- Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and
- Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including § 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and § 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the U.S.). (Source)
My opinion is that anyone who believes they need to go to war or kill another human being because their imaginary deity in the sky wishes them to is mentally ill – regardless of whether that person is a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or any other religion. Conservatives will claim that I am biased against Christianity, but I maintain that I believe all religions are pretty silly. All of them have been used to justify a lot of horrible things ever since the first human came up with the idea that a natural phenomenon that they couldn’t understand was the work of a god or gods.
Earlier this year, conservatives howled with anger when President Obama compared the barbaric acts of ISIS to some of the atrocities committed by Christians against Muslims during the Crusades. They like to say that Christianity has matured since then, or that this was an isolated series of events in the history of an otherwise peaceful religion. That is simply not true. Christians have been responsible for ethnic cleansing campaigns against Muslims in Africa, and the worst act of genocide since WWII was carried out against Bosnian Muslims. Here in the United States, slavery, segregation and the acts of domestic terrorism against the Civil Rights movement have all been committed by people who justified it by their Christian religion. Part of the current conservative hatred of President Obama is the claim that he is secretly a Muslim, and not Christian.
America has a problem with Muslim extremists, there’s no question about that. However, we also have an ongoing problem with Christian extremists and the conservative media refuses to call it domestic terrorism. The reason is very simple: it’s easy to blame someone who looks different from the audience. The conservative media would go out of business if it were to ask their audience to confront the fact that there are many domestic terrorists who look and speak a lot like themselves.
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