Recently, the Austin police chief said the Austin bombings were “domestic terrorism,” officially
making the bomber a domestic terrorist. This decision received mixed reactions from people. Some said he is wrong because we don’t know his political motivations, while others said it was about time the bomber was called a terrorist.
I agree. It was about time this monster was called a terrorist.
My definition of terrorism comes from Nevada state law. It says, “Act of terrorism’ means any act that involves the use or attempted use of sabotage, coercion or violence which is intended to: cause great bodily harm or death to the general population; or cause substantial destruction, contamination or impairment of any building or infrastructure.”
The Austin bomber is a terrorist. Many students on this campus would argue that since we don’t know if his motivations were political, we can’t call it terrorism. They would rather call him a “lone wolf” or a “troubled young man.”
We are talking about a monster who made at least six bombs — five of which killed two people and injured five. Was he troubled? Yes. Was he also a domestic terrorist? Yes. He committed acts that “(caused) great bodily harm (and) death to the general population.”
It’s about time he was called a domestic terrorist, and it’s great that he was called one. However, there are others who still need to be called out for acts of terrorism. The Las Vegas shooter; the Parkland, Florida, school shooter; the Sutherland Springs, Texas, shooter; the man who shot at Republican congressmen during a baseball game and the monster who rammed his car into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, are all domestic terrorists.
Yet many people in this country and this school — not all, but many — will hesitate calling these monsters terrorists. Why? Because these men are white.
If any of the men I mentioned in the paragraph above had been brown — either Latin American or Muslim — a good portion of this nation would be calling for travel bans and for building walls between allied countries under the guise of national security.
However, when it is a white male who attacks and kills Americans, the terms thrown around are “lone wolf” and “troubled young man,” or that the attacker was “mentally ill”, but not the term “terrorist.” If the term terrorist is thrown out there, it is immediately shot down.
This happened when the Charleston church shooter was arrested. The guy was a proud white supremacist and openly admitted to shooting people in the historically black church — killing nine in the process — in order to “start a race war.” If any brown or black man said this they would be named a domestic terrorist, and rightfully so, yet we still have students here on this campus arguing that he wasn’t a terrorist.
Why the double standard? Why immediately call the Pulse Nightclub shooter, a Muslim, a terrorist (rightfully so) before knowing his political ideology, but never call the Charleston church shooter a terrorist?
A friend of mine told me it’s because it is a lot easier to demonize someone who is different from you (i.e. religion, skin color, etc.) than someone who is like you.
The word terrorist is used as a political tool to score points and move certain agendas forward, such as building border walls and halting immigration toward certain groups. When we focus on calling out one group and not any others, we ignore a very serious threat to our country. In doing so, we allow this threat to grow. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that since 9/11 there has been more “far right wing violent extremist groups attacks (than) radical Islamist violent extremists.”
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t call out terrorists when they come from foreign countries. We should and we need to. However, we also need to call citizens of this country terrorists when they commit terrorist acts. Terrorism knows no color. It’s time we accept that.