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Why aren’t white mass shooters labeled as domestic terrorists?

Why aren’t white mass shooters labeled as domestic terrorists?

Why aren’t white mass shooters labeled as domestic terrorists?
September 06
09:54 2020

In the year 2020 alone, 661 people have been shot and killed by police officers in the United States, according to data found by Statisa. The murder of George Floyd shook the entire nation and though Americans nationwide have been fighting for police officers to be held accountable for their unjust actions, change is yet to be made. About three months later, on Aug. 28, Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American man was shot seven times in the back by a white Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer while Blake’s children watched. Blake is alive and has since been treated but is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Since the shooting, Kenosha, Wisconsin, has faced unrest as protesters have taken to the street to demand justice and for officers to be held accountable for committing police brutality. During the third night of protests, Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old crossed state lines from his home in Antioch, Illinois, and shot three protesters, killing two. Following the incident, Rittenhouse was seen on video walking past police officers before leaving the scene.
Though he has since been charged for the murders of Anthony M. Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse is not being viewed as the terrorist that he is. Photos of the teenager cleaning graffiti off of public property have surfaced, seemingly to label him a saint. Notably, people against the Black Lives Matter movement have become his fierce defenders. In their eyes, property damage does not come close to the actual murders caused by police brutality.
John Pierce, a conservative attorney plans to defend Rittenhouse in court. “This was classic self-defense and we are going to prove it,” Pierce said in a statement to NBC News. “We will obtain justice for Kyle no matter how hard the fight takes or how long it takes.”
Pierce and his fellow attorneys at Pierce Bainbridge wrote in a statement that “Kyle did nothing wrong.” Claims like these are ones that enable other white males to commit such crimes and feel as though they can elude the justice system. White privilege is at the center of this conversation. Kyle Rittenhouse actively engaged in domestic terrorism yet he is being praised as a hero and vigilante by those who see no wrong in his vile actions. Tamir Rice was just 12 years old when he was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer for playing with a toy gun, yet he was labeled a thug and a criminal. Rittenhouse has been given leeway for his heinous crimes and he is far from the only one.
Since 9/11, white extremists have been responsible for about three times as many attacks on U.S. soil as Islamic terrorists, Time Magazine reported. Despite this alarming fact, when white men commit acts of terror, they are labeled as misunderstood young men or mentally unstable individuals who simply reached a breaking point. This take is incredibly dangerous and places the lives of many at stake. The view that white terrorism is benign exposes the racial climate of this country. If a Black man is the face of such a crime, he is labeled a thug. If a Muslim kills with a gun, he is labeled a terrorist.
Many politicians have not been afraid to address extremism when it comes to men of color yet minimize the weight of crimes when they’re committed by white men. When James Alex Fields Jr. deliberately drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters that were countering a white supremacist rally in 2017, President Donald Trump said that there were “very fine people on both sides.” It is rhetoric like this that dismisses just how dangerous white male terrorists are. While Black men are vilified for looting property in response to police brutality, white terrorists are slapped on the wrist.
Patrick Crusius drove more than 11 hours from Dallas, Texas, and killed 22 Hispanics at an El Paso Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019. Dylan Roof killed nine Black churchgoers in 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Following their crimes, it was discovered that both men had manifestos that outlined their hatred for the minorities that they targeted. These are not men who were simply misunderstood or faced complex mental issues. It is clear that these men had intentions to deliberately attack and kill. It is naive to ignore that they were terrorists.
How many more people do white terrorists have to kill before they are seen as a danger to society? Terrorism by white men is a real and present danger. It’s long past due that the United States government sees it as such and labels these terrorists as so. Otherwise, the nation faces a greater risk of more blood being shed on American soil by failing to do so.
Time MagazineKyle did nothing wrong661 people

Featured Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Michelle Monari

Michelle Monari

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1 Comment

  1. Vicente Medina
    Vicente Medina September 07, 11:10

    You present and describe an unfortunate situation in our country: a double standard for labeling some as terrorists and others who commit similar or worse crimes as mentally disturbed or just criminals. And yet, you omit that for a violent act to be considered a terrorist act it must have a significant political component. The intentional act to kill or harm must be accompanied with a desire for substantive political changes domestically or internationally. It is precisely because we have so many different conceptions of terrorism that the term is used in a rather ad hoc fashion. Below you will find a short piece on the definition of terrorism for your consideration.
    Vicente Medina
    Professor of Philosophy
    Seton Hall University

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