If the Las Vegas Killers Were Muslims We’d Call Them Terrorists

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DTT: This has been happening for years. White man shoots up a whole school or place of worship = mentally ill. Brown man does the same = terrorism. Mental health never gets discussed in the media. Whenever a person with a Muslim sounding name does something criminal, the right-wing get hold of it like leaches. Constantly repeating it to install the propaganda that somehow Muslims are backward, evil and their faith should be blamed for the perpetrator’s acts. When the same is never afforded the same treatement whote criminal. You would always read that how he was a “good man”, ” he was a “loner in school”, he used “help people out”. They show all the good side for the white supremacist killer, but the same is never seen when it comes to with brown people who commit similar acts.


by CONOR FRIEDERSDORFJUN – TheAtlantic.com June 10th, 2014

But that doesn’t mean the label should be more widely applied—in fact, it’s better to be more parsimonious with it.

If a 22-year-old Muslim man stabbed his roommates to death in their sleep, embarked on a killing spree, and claimed in written and video manifestos that he acted to teach hated women a lesson, there’s little doubt that many would label him a terrorist. That label was scarcely appended to the Santa Barbara killer after his murders.

And if a Muslim couple stormed into a fast-food restaurant armed with a duffel bag full of military gear, shouted, “This is the beginning of the revolution!” and pinned a flag associated with their political movement to the dead bodies of the police officers they executed at point-blank range—then killed another innocent person and carried out a suicide pact rather than being taken alive—there is no doubt that many media outlets would refer to the premeditated attack as an act of terrorism. With a few exceptions, that’s not how this week’s news from Las Vegas played out.

When mass killers are native-born whites, their motivations are treated like a mystery to unraveled rather than a foregone conclusion. And that is as it ought to be. Hesitating to dub the Santa Barbara and Las Vegas murder sprees “terrorist attacks” is likely the right call. The label casts more heat than light on breaking-news events. Americans typically respond more soberly and rationally to mass killings than to “terrorist attacks.” And while both sprees obviously targeted civilians, the varying degrees to which they sought to influence politics is unclear.

That said, the pervasive double-standard that prevails is nevertheless objectionable. As Glenn Greenwald once observed, “terrorism” is “simultaneously the single most meaningless and most manipulated word in the American political lexicon. The term now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity.”

Applying the “terrorism” label to violence perpetrated by Muslims, and almost exclusively to violence perpetrated by Muslims, distorts the relative danger posed by Islamist radicals versus other extremists. The lack of rigor in labels also contributes to the fact that innocent Muslims are subject to greater scrutiny and afforded fewer rights than non-Muslims because the latter group falls outside “counterterrorism,” a rubric under which government claims extraconstitutional powers.

After the 2012 attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that is all but forgotten because it wasn’t treated as a terrorist attack, I argued that the reluctance to label acts perpetrated by non-immigrant whites as terrorism is partly due to an awareness of what might happen next. When counterterrorism is invoked, many Americans give their assent to indefinite detention; the criminalization of gifts to certain charities; the secret, extrajudicial assassination of American citizens; and a sprawling, opaque homeland-security bureaucracy. Many have also advocated policies like torture or racial profiling that are not presently part of official anti-terror policy.

Read the entire article here…

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