White Terrorists and Others

Top Ten Differences Between White Terrorists and Others

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

10 August 12

  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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3 Responses

  1. Poo says:

    Not too many “gunmen”, “troubled loners” or “white terrorists” send their children into markets wrapped in bombs either. I wasn’t aware that everyone in the U.S. was a “gunman.” Are you armed? It is a rather simplistic and illogical argument to merely assume the opposite position to be the true one (Copi’s Logic Volume II). They don’t often interview the Mothers of terrorists as they are usually too busy marching in parades and celebrating the feats of their terrorist sons and/or daughters. The Palestinian Authority, their media and social structures celebrate these people as heroes. A few examples would include the naming of a square in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, a leader of the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978, in which close to 40 Israeli civilians were burned alive in a hijacked bus. The PA’s official newspaper announced that a youth club in Ramallah would hold a soccer tournament in honor of Wafa Idris, a Fatah suicide bomber who used a Palestinian ambulance to enter Israel. Official PA television celebrated Dalal Mughrabi as part of a “Women as Exemplars” program. A number of children’s summer camps were also named after her. The governor of Jenin awarded $2,000 to the family of a Fatah suicide bomber. I could go on. Where are the comparable shrines to home grown “white terrorists?” Most parents of killers are often too hard to find. But if you are interested, try 60 Minutes. They do it all the time. Personally, I wish the media would stop interviewing all sobbing parents. It is cheap journalism. “White terrorists” are generally greatly disturbed nobodies. “Terrorists” are also greatly disturbed but for some reason often know other nut cases as they like to congregate in cells. The “white terrorist” exception, I suppose, would be the secret “armies” of toothless hillbillies who oppose government of any kind as it interupts their moonshining. If a million monkies with typewriters will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare then the open access to all sorts of military hardware provided to morons will ultimately create the odd “white terrorist’ or 2. It is less random than a surety. Have you seen the hardware these dullards are allowed to compile legally without any sort of government over sight? No gun control program would be perfect but it could at least reduce the number of lunatics with automatic weapons, bombs and the like. I’m prepared to let them attack with bows and arrows, knives, sticks and stones. As to airport frisking, bring it on. I’m a pensioner. Some days it’s all the action I see. By the way, except for describing criminal suspects on the news the term “white” is considered to be politically incorrect. Personally, I have never been called “white” in my life although in the 70s I was once called a “honkie” in Antigua. The woman who called me that, by the way, was “white.” I wonder if she turned out to be a “white terrorist?”

  2. khalid mir says:

    Pierre, I thought this post was awful. Sorry!

    Surely the real distinction is between state terror and the terrorism of non-state actors (the violence of the former often considered to be legitimate)?

    Apart from right-wingers, I don’t think most ppl think terrorists represent a nation or religion and lots of people in my country (Pakistan) who are victims of this madness do, in fact, think the terrorists are mentally ill.

    It also appears that lots of the terrorists *are* often part of some organized group. The gunmen, on the other hand, may be “influenced” by extreme groups or they may be loners. I think we’d have to see the stats.

    • Pierre Joris says:

      Khalid — The point Cole is trying to make is, I’d suggest, limited to the US context in that he takes the US right wing press (& thinking) to task for their simplifications & racist biases in their description of violence here. Once seen from farther away, say from your context, indeed the points are oversimplified. — Pierre

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