Mass Killers in the U.S. and Terrorism

On December 2nd, there was another ‘mass killing’ in San Bernardino last week that left 14 people dead and 12 injured.   I was at the laundromat watching the stand-of on the highway that ended a high speed chase and eventually, the lives of the shooters.  I had joined another customer watching avidly in front of the TV.   There has been a lot of fear and fear mongering across the country, and a lot of rather academic discussion about what to call this event.    The shooters were Muslim, but of course we don’t want to blame Islam for their crimes off the jump.   Apparently the man had a falling out with some fellow workers earlier in the day then returned to the party to commit mayhem.   But then a huge stash of weapons and explosives were found in SUV they had been driving, and a bigger stash of ammo and explosives in their home.   So then, well, it must be ‘Terrorism’ after all.

Syed Farook was an American born of Pakistani immigrant parents.   He met Tashfeen Malik, his wife and accomplice on an online dating site.   I always wonder how people can do that.  But she was a Pakistani born resident of Saudi Arabia.      The news has questioned the college Malik attended in Pakistan, but I would be more interested in the fact that she was raised in Saudi Arabia.     He went to pick her up in Saudi Arabia, then on to Pakistan to get her a visa, and finally she arrived here on a ‘fiance’ visa and they married soon after.  They left behind a 6 month old baby.   You could spin this as a couple of unbalanced people with easy access to guns and explosives if you chose to do so.  But the press carefully built the case for ‘terrorism’.

On November 27th, a white man walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Silver Springs, Colorado and shot up the place, killing 3 people and injuring 9.  Numerous articles trace the instability in his life and his volatile behavior to paint the picture of an emotionally unstable person who snapped.   Given the target,  I would assume he did it for political reasons.  He didn’t have a personal relationship with anyone there. It certainly is not the first attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic by fanatical anti-abortion Christians.

And yet, Robert Lewis Dear is being defined as a ‘nut’.   The only reference to ‘terrorism’ is in a defiant alternative press.   The history of shootings and murders at abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood is not called in to build the case.for ‘terrorism’.    Instead we hear about his instability and poor life choices.  In this country we have had far more attacks on abortion facilities by fundamentalist Christians than on ordinary Americans by Muslim fanatics.

On October 1, a young  white, nominally Christian man shot 18 people, killing 9 of them on a college campus in Oregon.   On July 16, a young, nominally Muslim man killed 5 men on a military base in Chattanooga Tennessee.   On June 17, a Christian, white supremacist youth killed 9 and injured 1.   The facts come from a Mother Jones database which lists seventy three events going back to 1982.   Out of 73 mass killings listed plus Mr. Dear of Planned Parenthood shooter, 5 perpetrators were Muslim, and 2 were women.   There were a few Asian names and an American Indian, and though I didn’t check the photos, I am quite certain that the large majority were white Christian men.

It’s pretty scary when you think about it.   Everywhere you look in this country there are white Christian men – any of whom might be the next mass murderer on the scene.

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