I was disgusted this week as the media strove to turn 23-year-old Mark Conditt, who was responsible for killing two and injuring several others in Austin, Texas over the span of three weeks, into something softer, gentler, and kinder than the evil persona he was. He was a murderer, a terrorist, and yet if you read the various accounts of him, you might catch yourself thinking of him as a Linus Van Pelt twin. “Quiet,” “shy,” and “kind” are not words typically associated with a terrorist, and I am offended by the attempts to portray this man as “disturbed”, “conflicted” … almost as if he were the victim. Oddly, this morning I was reminded by Facebook of a post I wrote exactly a year ago that addresses this as well as I could do so today. And so, while I rarely repeat my posts, I thought this one as apropos today as it was a year ago.
We Have Met The Enemy And …
Much has been said in the last fifteen years, since 11 September 2001, about terrorism and terrorists. President George W. Bush used it as justification for the Iraq War, the invasion of Afghanistan, and torture abuses. Trump has instilled faux fears of terrorism into U.S. voters as a part of his campaign effort. Now he continues to use those fears to justify his ban on Muslim people entering the U.S. in search of a safe haven. But who, really are these ‘terrorists’ everybody is so afraid of?
They are not the refugees that come here trying to find a better life, a place where they and their children will be safe from the daily bombings that are a part of life in their home countries. They are not the women you see in the market wearing their hijabs. They are not the people gathering in the local mosque. So who, then, are these ‘terrorists’? I think you will be surprised by my answer:
That’s right … the terrorists in the U.S. are, for the most part, walking among us unnoticed, while we are busy fearing the woman in the hijab or the man with the long beard and olive complexion. Let us look at a few of these real terrorists, shall we:
- 51-year-old Adam W. Purinton who shot and killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an immigrant from India, for no reason other than he didn’t want immigrants in “his” country.
- American-born Omar Mateen who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in June 2016 at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in an apparent hate crime against LGBT people.
- 21-year-old Dylann Roof who killed nine people, all African Americans, at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. His reason? “We already are the second-class citizens. That’s the problem. Y’all raping our women, and y’all are taking over the world.”
- Jeffrey Allen Burgess, age 54, attacked an Indian man seated next to him at a bar in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last November for the crime of … again … simply being of Indian descent.
- Richard Leslie Lloyd, age 64, set fire to a convenience store owned by a U.S. citizen of Indian descent. His reason? When he was in the store a few days earlier, he couldn’t find orange-pineapple juice, and it was then he noticed the skin colour of the owner, and assumed (incorrectly) that he was a Muslim.
- Edgar Maddison Welch shot up a pizza parlor last December in Washington D.C., because he believed a fake news story that a kidnapping ring was operating from within the restaurant.
Not a single one of the above were immigrants, none were Muslim. The list goes on … and on … and on. And there are rallies to promote this brand of terrorism, venues where they are starting out young: Earlier this month at a Trump rally in Maricopa County, Arizona, the following comments were said against protestors:
- “If she’s Jewish, she should go back to her country,” a 13-year-old said of a protester.
- “This is America; we don’t want Sharia law. Christian country.”
- “I just want to let them know that I can’t wait for the liberal genocide to begin.”
The people committing these acts and calling for violence are terrorists just as surely as were Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah, three of the 9/11 highjackers. Donald Trump claims it is important to refer to terrorists as “radical Islamic terrorists”, but the reality is that in this country, terrorists are far more likely to be “radical white Christian terrorists”.
These, folks, are the faces of terrorism in the United States. Take a close look — see any similarities? These people, and others like them, will NOT be kept out of the country by Trump’s travel ban. The people who will be kept out by the travel ban are innocent people seeking refuge, while the real terrorists are already here.
The reality is that most terrorism by Middle-Easterners is committed against those in the Middle East, not the west. The U.S. has not, with the exception of 9/11, seen large-scale terrorist attacks and we are not a primary target of Daesh, no matter what Mr. Trump tells us. But his rhetoric played well with the masses who, apparently, wanted to believe in an identifiable threat that was not themselves. But when we are looking for that threat, when we seek to identify the real terrorists in this nation, we need to look inward rather than outward, for in the words of Pogo, we have met the enemy and he is us.