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.
Labels: Our Criminals, terrorism