15 March 2010

A Terrorist by Any Other Name

There is a story today in The New York Times that raises important issues about American political discourse. It is a story about law enforcement officials planning for "the next angry man" - not the next terrorist, please! Of course, there is the 'background' - relevant or otherwise:
" The Army doctor who opened fire at Fort Hood. The man who flew a plane into the Internal Revenue Service offices in Austin. The professor who killed three colleagues in Alabama because she had been denied tenure. "
Then of John Bedell, the man who tried to shoot his way into the Pentagon recently,the story goes on:
"Here was our next active shooter, mentally disturbed and with an anger that had metastasized into a justification to attack the Government, often the catch-all phrase for the oppressor, the deceiver, the denier of dreams. In this view, it seems, the Government is made of paper, concrete and whispers."
What is wrong here? Well, in the first instance, the female academic in Alabama was perhaps disturbed, but she did not (to the best of my knowledge) compose an anti-government screed before shooting her colleagues. She was pissed at having been denied tenure. She may have been deranged, but there is no evidence that her grievance was anything other than personal. On the other hand, the other three - all men - fall into a lineage of domestic terrorists who decide that there is some reason to turn their imagined grievances into political violence. They may be mentally unhinged, but they are not just unhinged. They are unhinged men who do a typically right-wing and typically destructive and self-destructive thing. A while ago I noted this post and this one, by Glen Greenwald at Salon.com; there is a more recent follow-up here. Greenwald poses the pertinent questions 'Why do our government and law enforcement officials and our press not call things by their proper names? Why do they refuse to call violent, anti-government extremists what they are - namely terrorists? More basically, given that they all flaunt the 't-word', what exactly are they talking about? I guess the folks at The Times have not asked themselves that yet.

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Blogger Parker said...

Hmm, let's see. The IRS plane crash terrorist, Andrew Joseph Stack, railed against the IRS, a typically conservative position, although now even my liberal friends who have become successful enough to pay taxes are beginning to understand.

Stack also railed against "the drug and insurance companies [who] are murdering...people...and stealing from the corpses." Sounds a bit like Barack's teleprompter there, no?

He rants against big business, unions, government closure of Air Force bases in California, "Presidential Puppet GW Bush and his cronies," and finishes by disparaging capitalism. Some Right Wing Nut, huh?

Fort Hood was caused by another Islamist (notice I said Islamist and not Islamic) nutball, enabled by Political Correctness.

Alabama's Amy Bishop had pipe-bombed a professor, a classic tactic of the left. Friends described her as "a far-left political extremist who was “obsessed” with President Obama to the point of being off-putting."

The Pentagon shooter, John Bedell, was an apolitcal nut.

But lets not forget the Arkansas shootings: A Muslim convert "with political and religious motives" shot two uniformed soldiers outside an Arkansas military recruiting center Monday, killing one and wounding the other, authorities said.

You say that this violence is "typically right-wing" yet 4 out of 5 of these violent nutballs are clearly left-wing.

To answer Greenwald's question, one only needs to ask why our Homeland Security Department (whose name better fits some Soviet nonsense) now refers to terrorism as "Man Caused Disasters." It's Orwellian Doublespeak.

16 March, 2010 20:59  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Oh Poor, poor Parker! You think the anti-tax nut and the guy attacking Pentagon guards were left wing? Watch out when they pass round the Kool-Aid, friend. The Alabama faculty member was political how? You are reeaalllllyyyy stretching there buddy. And yes, the Ft Hood shooter was an Islamacist - which by the way is variety of conservative fundamentalism - just not your sort. Sorry, I don't buy a syllable of what you are peddling. Nice try. Thanks for stopping by, though. JJ

16 March, 2010 22:07  

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