Double Standard?

unaddressed-threats.jpgSomeone with a cause uses weapons designed specifically to hunt and kill people in a normally non-combatant location.  A scenario we have seen over and over again.  When it happens abroad in Paris, in Mali, in Mumbai and in other places too numerous to list, we react with horror.  Aided by a 24/7media rooted in sensationalism, we quickly discern the perpetrators to be extremist, terrorists, and most likely followers of Islam.  Merriam Webster defines “terrorism” to be the systematic use of violence that is committed by a person, group, or government in order to frighten people and achieve a political goal, especially as a means of coercion (combined definition).  

Reacting to the recent tragic events in Paris, for which ISIS has claimed “ownership,” many of our political elites and citizens are calling for draconian measures against all Muslims, ignoring the fact that these atrocities are committed by a small group of ultra-extreme fanatic terrorists who also happen to be Muslim and use their religion to justify their criminal and barbarous behavior.

Just Friday, a gunman with a weapon and a cause wreaked havoc at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.  And while many places in the U.S. have experienced similar mass shootings, Colorado has the dubious distinction of having more than most other locations:  Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on November 27th, Colorado Springs on October 31st, Aurora, and, of course, Columbine.  When similar acts occur within our own boundaries, what is the typical reaction?  

It isn't usual to turn to data as seen in the chart on the right showing hundreds of domestic acts of terrorism, most of them rooted in what is called "Right-wing extremism." (Note that the chart doesn't include data from the last four years.)

The FBI provides the following Definition of Terrorism in the U.S. Code, 18 U.S.C. § 2331:

"Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

How often have the media classified these all too common atrocities as domestic terrorism?  The majority of these crimes seem to have been committed by white Christian men, but is anyone shouting for limiting the freedom of an entire group of persons based on the acts of a very few?  Interestingly, Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential contender who's known for his social conservatism, admonished the alleged shooter in an interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar Sunday on "State of the Union."

What he did is domestic terrorism, and what he did is absolutely abominable, especially to us in the pro-life movement, because there's nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way on something like this.

Since we are yet again in the throes of another elongated election season, Huckabee may simply be trying to distance himself and other social conservatives from this violence, forgetting that the strong rhetoric of many conservatives — that it is acceptable to use violence against anybody who is different from you or who does not share your beliefs — provides the inflammatory message. But whatever Huckabee's motives are, he is standing virtually alone by calling the act domestic terrorism. As a recent Slate article points out, this fall has seen a number of attacks on Planned Parenthood facilities.

In July, employees at a clinic in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois, reported anattempted arson. In August, firefighters found half a burning car at the construction site of a future clinic in New Orleans. On Sept. 4, a clinic in Pullman, Washington, wasset ablaze at 3:30 a.m., and on Sept. 30, someone broke a window at a Thousand Oaks, California, clinic and threw a makeshift bomb inside.
Now, women’s health advocates are demanding more coverage of the attacks from the mainstream media and a full investigation from the Department of Justice. “Where is the outrage?” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue asked in astatement on Friday. “The media need to report these incidents as what they are: domestic terrorism.”

It appears that we have a double standard:  terrorism if heinous acts are committed outside our borders, something else (usually the act of a mentally ill “lone wolf”) when it is done within by one of our own (Christian) citizens.  


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