Thursday, January 8, 2015

On violence and equivalence

It goes without saying that we mourn with our French brethren the terrible massacre in France.  We Americans, above all, should stand with the French and defend free speech and a free press.  

But this leads to other thoughts.

When is terrorism terrorism?
If a terrorist attack took place right here in the U.S., wouldn't it be a national story?

Terrorism may be defined as "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes," but if you asked most people, the term conjures one image: brown people with beards and bombs. Nothing has made that profoundly racist misunderstanding clearer than the news coverage of two violent attacks that happened within roughly 24 hours.

On Tuesday morning, the NAACP offices in Colorado Springs, Colorado, came under attack when someone who is believed be a balding white man in his 40s dropped an explosive device that went off a few feet from the building. And on Wednesday morning, news broke of a horrifying mass shooting at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in France that left 12 dead and several wounded.

Both acts were motivated by radical ideology, but only one of them is being covered by the 24-hour news cycle. What gives?
The media-entertainment collusion, that's what.  The media has a narrative to construct, which is Muslim terrorists and angry black people.  Terrorist acts of white people are dismissed as lone-wolf nuts.

Along those lines, when two policemen were murdered in New York by a disturbed African American man, the entire "Don't Shoot" protest movement was implicated by the press.  And yet, when two white gun nuts with ties to white supremicists  assassinated Las Vegas police officers, all we hear is crickets. Plus they were part of that armed "protest" (aka standoff) with that nut Cliven Bundy, who threatened officers because he is illegally running cattle on public land.

This is very frightening.  It's as though the right-wing white nuts get a bye.



JCF said...


I keep reading (non-Muslims) saying "We need to denounce Islam as The Exceptional Worst", but then I think of MY messiah saying "You need to take the log out of your own eye, first." Anyone think the NAACP bomber prayed to Jesus or Allah?

Brother David said...

Where 12 people gunned down in Colorado Springs? Had not something more sensational come along, the US incident may have received more press.

The same happens when a blonde white child id kidnapped or missing, as opposed to a child of color.

Kevin K said...

The more "successful" acts of terrorism get the most coverage. The number of people killed in Paris was horrific and the attack in Colorado Springs was inept and ineffective. The Oklahoma City bombing was by right of center kooks and was very heavily covered.
One issue is there is a lot of relatively harmless noise out there. Most right wing "militias" are middle aged men playing soldier. Most left wing "extremists" are largely posting to each other on blogs about derailing Wall Street.