Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others

Retweet 7365 Share 34590 Google +1 1924 233 Send via email

1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”

2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.

3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.

4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.

5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.

6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.

7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.

8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.

9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.

10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

128 Responses

  1. Very, very good. Reading this I’m also watching one Andrew McCarthy speak at the National Press Club (on C-SPAN) on the threat of Islam, who, of course, are imposing Sharia law on American life, etc.

    This stuff is sick and bizarre, manipulating a kernel of truth into a full blown monster. Problem is, many Americans believe this tripe. And the national news media believes that to be objective, and to remain faithful to its journalistic ideals, it has to treat it all seriously. Or is it, more likely, careers and profits are at stake here?

    • quinty… you are expressing no original thoughts. please wake up and join the world. you are filled with fear.

    • I can’t share this article on facebook, and i don’t know why.

  2. “Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US?”

    No, it would not. Only about a third of American households have a gun, and the recent surge in gun sales appears to be due to a subset of gun owners stocking more and more guns.

    link to

    Your other points are spot on.

    • Joke:

      “So I hear there’s now one gun for every one and a half Americans…

      What’s ‘half an American’?

      That’s the one without the gun!”

      Har, har, har.

    • We live in Gun country without a gun. Made up our minds when husband & Iwent sailing in Foreign Countries that if a
      problem could not be solved with words they were just going to have to shoot us because I nor my husband was not going to shoot anyone.
      NEVER HAD A PROBLEM! but do know other who did unexpectedly
      Still never want to kill someone & old enough to go to my death peacefully for not having to

    • i seriously doubt even a third of households in the US have guns.

  3. Where are all the moderate white voices distancing themselves from this act of terror? Where is the condemnation? It goes to show that despite the grandstanding of one or two white representatives in the media (who are only there to check boxes and perpetuate the illusion of diversity) that most whites secretly support the actions of Wade Page.

    • Don’t be silly, Calvin. Most whites do not secretly support the actions of Wade Page. Because “nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people, but other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies,” we white people don’t have to distance ourselves from these actions. This precisely the point of Mr. Cole’s critique.

    • You shouldn’t have to publicly distance yourself from anything unless it’s plausible that you might be complicit in it. I don’t think it’s fair to expect that Muslim imams publicly condemn 9/11 just because of their faith and I don’t think it’s fair to expect “moderate white voices” to condemn white terrorist acts just because their white. What you’re asking for is based on the faulty premise of “guilt by association” to the nth degree.

      • Um, I think Calvin’s joshing, demonstrating #8 by replacing white players in the rhetoric that serves as “evidence” that non-white terrorists are fully supported by their respective cultures.

    • Calvin– Looks like part of the collateral damage of this terrorism-obsessed society is that no one here got your irony.

    • Calvin, I got your sarcasm, and your point. I apologize for the other commenters who are dense enough to think you were serious about “one or two white representatives in the media,” etc.

    • i wouldn’t think “most” but many. maybe “most” in certain areas or states.

  4. Prof. Cole, its like you took the words out of my head point for point. However try arguing the above point with the average American ( and see how far that gets you). And of course our so called intellectuals ( like Sam Harris) will completely ignore this and continue their inane and illogical attack on Muslims ( mainly the moderates since extremists couldn’t give a damn what anyone thinks).Not that Islam ( or more precisely the extremist element) in general is not deserving of a lot of blame but the across the board collective guilt tripping is particularly sickening.
    My only question is how many Random incidents by so called “gunmen” (i.e white terrorists), need to occur before they are labeled plain old “terrorist”?

  5. America’s GOP Hope: Willard Remembers the Peace Loving Sheikh People

    Mitt Romney confuses ‘Sikh’ with ‘sheikh’

    (Wisconsin Star) – “I was in Chicago earlier today. We had a moment of silence in honour of the people who lost their lives at that sheikh temple,” the daily quoted Romney as saying.

    “I noted that it was a tragedy for many, many reasons. Among them are the fact that people, the sheikh people are among the most peaceable and loving individuals you can imagine, as is their faith.”

    Mitt Romney confused the words “Sikh” and “sheikh” at $2m Iowa fundraiser

    • Poor Willard, he would confuse his right with his left, his mouth with his ass, his wife with one of 5 nannies. Why would it be surprising for a racist Moron like him to confuse Sikh with Sheik?

      • did you mean “Mormon” instead of “Moron,” or did you intend to make that comparison?

  6. Thank you. An excellent distillation of what bloggers and media makers of color have been saying for years and years.

  7. “4 The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.”

    The family of other terrorists are terrified of becoming ‘co accused’ or being arrested for ‘material support for terrorism’ – they don’t want to be interviewed – they want to hide and hope they don’t get caught up in it too.

    11. White terrorists are not summarily executed via drone strike . White terrorists plead guilty and get life in prison .

    • This is probably the most oblivious, self congratulatory set of comments I’ve ever heard. I struggle with the idea that religion driven terrorism is the same as mentally unbalanced terrorism. I agree that it should be called what it is; Terrorism. But the motives vary widely. The comments here are obviously made by people who have swallowed the liberal propaganda whole. As an old hippie, I don’t trust ANY establishment, especially the state-run education establishment. You have all been taught this crap by the state run schools, just like the USSR did with their school population. Try using your heads for something besides an echo chamber for propaganda.

      • John, You are correct. There is a difference. However, while we label most of the white terrorists crazy, we label all others as evil. Most of the white terrorists buy into the religious right, white supremacist, anti-goverment ideology and are not in fact “crazy”, just crazed. We do a disservice to label these people crazy. There is mental illness in this world and those who suffer never murder strangers. Some harm themselves, maybe those closest to them. They are acts not to be confused with terrorism from any source.

      • Is there any basis for believing that, say, Nidal Hasan is completely different to Wade Michael Page in terms of their ideological fanaticism or mental health?

  8. White Terrorists are never members of the NRA. Other Terrorists are

      • What is the difference between a “terrorist organization” and an organization to which terrorists belong? Many of the organizations listed as terrorist by our State department are not that different from the NRA in that they have members who happen to have extreme views and be violent.

        • The differences are that the NRA as an organisation doesn’t advocate blowing up buildings or shooting unarmed innocent people and exists to defend rights granted by of the Constitution (a secular, legal document). Terrorist orgs do advocate and carry out attacks on unarmed civilians and property and are not upholding rights granted by a secular legal document.

      • Cockroach,
        Understand the statement/premise: nobody said NRA is a terrorist organization itself. The premise is that terrorists are surprisingly never associated to the NRA, like if that wasn’t even possible.

        • The lack of association with NRA would be because the NRA don’t say “go shoot a bunch of people”, whereas Al-Qaeda spent considerable time planning and executing their various attacks over the years. The NRA are hence not accountable for attacks by their members: Al-Qaeda are.

        • The NRA are no more responsible for gun-related crime than the Cyclists’ Touring Club are for cycling crime (jumping red lights, not signalling, not carrying lights at night). The org is not responsible for its members actions unless the org encouraged those actions.

        • The NRA isn’t AB org for defending the 2nd ammendment. NRA SALES guns and sales the fear culture that helps sale more gun. Look at NRA advertisers.

      • The NRA OPPOSED regulations that would make it harder for terrorists to obtain weapons.

        Where I’m from, thats called “Aiding and Abetting”.

        And they’re not misguided, they’re greedy and evil.

    • they are part of the ira, kkk, Mudiad Amddiffyn, Cymru, ETA to name a few

  9. A while ago, when Pastor Terry Jones was threatening to burn a Koran if his demands (re. Ground Zero mosque) were not met, I asked whether using the fear of reprisal to effect a desired outcome should be considered terrorism. I never saw a compelling argument to the contrary.

    • sorry cockroach, That Boat dont Float no more. The NRA needs to step it up and start taking responsibilty for the message they send to people, instead of pretending that the gun violence problem in this country has absolutely nothing to do with guns and IMMEDIATELY going to the defensive when an incident occurs. And dont give me the crap about the 2nd amendment either. If it was really about citizens arming themselves for the protection of tyranny, this country would have overthrown the government long ago. America has a hard in for guns, violence, and prejudice. Period.

      • Michael Moore himself acknowledged in Bowling For Columbine that Canada has plenty of firearms but few shootings, and considered the problem in the US to be attitude towards one’s fellow humans rather than firearms ownership.

        The Second Amendment isn’t to protect against tyranny (where does it say that?) but to ensure that a large proportion of the population knows how to shoot and take care of a gun in case those skills are needed by the authorities. Anyone claiming otherwise needs to learn to read.

        The day that the NRA promotes racism, religious hatred, or xenophobia is the day that you can blame them for killings like Columbine or the Dark Knight Rises shooter.

        • The NRA WAS a hunter/sports non-profit. It is now a profiteering shill for the arms industry. Its CEO gets over $1 million/year. Less than 25% of its income is from membership dues. Take a wild guess where the rest of its funding comes from.

          Canadians actually own their weapons to hunt. Not to bolster their gonads on shooting ranges and in racist militias, egged on by a Canadian version of the NRA. To hunt, to eat what they hunt.

          Historically, guns were regulated federally since the 2nd Amendment was written, and by states since the 1800s, when states from Texas to Kentucky passed laws against concealed weapons, and cities and towns had visitors leave their guns at the sheriff’s until they were headed out again, or called on to support the militia, whichever came first. 2nd Amendment was drawn up to regulate weapons to make them available to local militias, not to regulate hunting equipment: “You can’t bear arms against a rabbit.”

          The NRA promotes hatred and fear, and more fear, and more fear. The rantings of its millionaire CEO have resulted in massive profits for weapons manufacturers, as the NRA is the biggest marketing partner for mass homicide weapons disguised as hunting equipment. There are as many guns as Americans in our country BUT only 1 in 5 Americans owns guns. That 1 in 5 is so paranoid he owns 2, 5, 10 of them, he or she rarely secures them properly, and often is robbed of them so they can be sold to criminals. And the multi billion dollar arms industry loves him for it.

          If guns made people safer, the USA would have the lowest homicide rate among democratic nations not at war at home. We have the HIGHEST homicide rate and suicide rate by guns.

        • Actually Michal Moore said recently on the Piers Morgan show (and I fully agree with him) that guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people…he also said that he is ashamed of his country…he doesn’t own a gun, though he had several death threats, he is not a chicken, like those millions of gun owners…I believe that ANYONE who feels a need to own a gun is a prospective killer…(incl. all those blood thirsty cops)

    • This goes along with:

      “7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.”

      …as “white” and “christian” are, clearly, neutral.

    • Actually Anders Breivvig (sp?) the Norwegian killer was photographed in his Freemasons regalia and never attended a church. Still he was described as a right-wing, radical evangelical Christian.

      • I actually read parts of Breivik’s manifesto, and while it was clear that his role for Christianity was to serve as a state church, subservient to his ideological leadership, he absolutely wanted the masses to be kept under the control of traditional European religion. That doesn’t mean he was a true believer. The Founding Fathers were so cynical about the subject that they actually discussed how to create a secular state religion to instill civic virtue in the citizenry. But Breivik was much more specific in his deification of Western civilization. Clearly only the very right-wing churches would be allowed to function under his New Order, as in Hitler’s Germany.

      • Actually, Anders B. Breivik stated himself through his “manifesto” that his actions was due to protecting the “foundation of christianity” on Europe, so; white christian terrorist…

    • Absolutely right. When a white person commits a crime he’s an individual, but when minorities commit a crime their whole community is accused with them.

  10. Blacks, Asians and Latinos belong to “Gangs”. Whites belong to “cliques.” Big difference when it comes to sentencing.

  11. I am so glad that you are pointing this double standard out. Another place that seems to have this particular problem is Israel, where the right-wingers were rewarded for assassinating a left-wing prime minister by the voters.

    The trick seems to be in our own selfish awareness of the difference in targets between “patriots” and any other kind of violent radical. As long as you look the right way, don’t work for the evil pinko government, don’t go to the wrong house of worship, and don’t protest against capitalism, Tim McVeigh-types are unlikely to intentionally target you… even though you might be an innocent bystander. We take it personally that there are people who target us because our tribal/national/economic bloc is ruining the planet in a hundred different ways. We share with the Nazis a belief that “our kind” should be allowed to dominate the Earth in peace since we’re so obviously superior, we differ in the mechanics of how to dominate.

  12. Baloney. Many families who have spawned Muslim terrorists have been interviewed. You just never see it because the media knows it wouldn’t do to see how they are rewarded for having a jihadist in the family. The Muslim military officer that went nuts was absolutely characterized as a disturbed loner. I could go on and on. Only by picking and choosing in a biased way can you agree with this essay.

    • If you think Nidal Ahmad was perceived as a crazed loner, you didn’t follow the congressional hearings tying him to al-Awlaqi etc.

      It is easy to contradict. You give no cites or examples.

    • they interviewed his family like once and when they didn’t give the answers the interviewers wanted, nothing about radicalism, everything about how his life had been made hell by his peers for wanting to serve his country despite being a muslim, they went and interviewed his peers, who he’d just shot at

  13. A reminder that the journalist Dave Neiwert did ground-breaking work on the violent right in America his writing on this topic is very good and can be found on his “Orcinus” blog which you can find here:



  14. it seems to me that there is a very large vested interest in the whole “Global War on Terror”….

    I think that money could be better spent by making people lives a little less awful- its a shame nothing was learned with the Soviet / Afghan War…..

  15. The killer at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin was described as “white” in news articles before his name was released.

    I didn’t see Timothy McVeigh described a “gunman” or as a “troubled loner.”

    • The FBI was looking for a Muslim for several weeks, however, before they began to find good leads on the case.

      • Several weeks before they found good leads? Um, McVeigh was arrested within 90 minutes, although on other charges, and quickly linked with the bombing, and Nichols turned himself in two days later, and both were charged with the bombing shortly afterward. They arrested and questioned a Jordanian-American, but he was soon cleared of any involvement. Because of the similarities in modus operandi to the 1993 WTC bombing, is it really so unconscionable that the FBI would thoroughly investigate the possibility of a Muslim terrorist link? The media played a Muslim hypothesis for awhile, as did friends of mine, until it was pretty securely pinned on McVeigh and Nichols. When I first heard of the bombing, my first thought was home grown terrorism. Previous to the bombing, the rise of home grown militias, and the great angers behind some of them, was one of the big topics in the nation.

    • a) that was because he used a bomb

      b) he most certainly was described as a troubled loner, and his links to religious white supremacists never have been followed up properly.

  16. Bravo. Political context, rather than racial, is everything though. Many of these points can be applied to Spain and the Basque conflict, where acts of violence committed by separatists are interpreted by the Spanish media and political class as symptomatic of Basque culture. There too, few in the mainstream speak out against the demonizing of Basques. Much the same occurred in Northern Ireland, where both sides identified political violence as stemming from cultural roots rather than political grievances.

    The difference in American politics is that race is the context, therefore nothing negative can be identified with “white/Christian culture” (though minority culture can be interpreted as the problem for many social ills).

  17. White terrorist is never identified by his religion or nationality.

    Non-white is always identified by his religion, nationality, ethnicity, etc.

    • Isn’t that because the white terrorists (McVeigh, Kaczynski) prevailing “religion” is anti-government or some other non-religious cause?

      For example, in the Wisconsin case, the gunman’s white supremacist background was noted heavily. I understand that’s not a religion, but it speaks to his underlying motives.

      For Islamic terrorists, I don’t think you can argue that their fundamentalist Islamic beliefs (obviously different from all of Islam) don’t factor into their motives.

      • White Supremacists uniformly are considered “Christians”, which is almost never remarked upon.

        Dr. Tiller was assassinated by “Christian” extremists, egged on by one Bill O’Reilly, but that story was buried very quickly.

        One and all, the members of Operation Rescue and Bill O are terrorists.

    • That follows for most news in America, though. Look through the paper sometime- if the person who is the focus of the story (either as victim, complainant, or perpetrator) is anything other than a white Christian (male or female), then their religion & ethnicity is always called out.

      Guy kills his wife and kids? You might see someone interviewed describe him as a ‘family man’, someone might mention he ‘went to church’, if he’s white. If not then the first few lines of the news story will read something like
      “Joe Jones, an Non-Christian Insert-Ethnic-Group-American is suspected of killing his wife and children today. Authorities are looking into his activities in Non-Christian Group for more information.”

  18. And we never hear from the ADL on the “terrorists” labeling. Could they,at least,praise Juan Cole’s observations?

  19. I actually want to point out that it rarely has to do with the color of your skin but more often the religion which you follow. There were plenty of so-called “white” Muslims who were called terrorists and there were no qualms about it.

    To name a few:

    Colleen LaRose known as Jihad Jane pleaded guilty for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists on 2/1/11.
    Daniel Patrick “Saifullah” Boyd indicted on 2/9/11 for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
    Adam “Yahya Gadahn” Pearlman who is a known terrorist.
    John Phillip Walker Lindh the “American Taliban”

    These all go to show what Glenn Greenwald, and many like him, have said over and over again: that terrorism is nothing but a politically-charged accusation that we throw only at Muslims and nothing more, regardless of their skin color. This isn’t about racism. This is about our fear of Muslims and Islam.

  20. With respect to #2 law enforcement goes to great lengths to ascertain whether a “white” terrorist (do you really mean “domestic” terrorist?)had accomplices or help in some fashion. Sometimes they do sometimes they don’t. Withe respect to #4 when you say “white terrorist” you really mean domestic. So its not hard for the local news media to camp outside the homes of a domestic terrorists extended family. Do you really think that is a workable concept for a foreign terrorist?

  21. another misused word, used as derogatory label … dissidents … drone kills 14 yemeni dissidents .. what the heck is that .. 14 people, ok?

    • Militants. Every single woman, child and old person droned to pieces is a “militant” – the US blanket term for “we couldn’t care less.”

  22. We should be thankful that the FBI steers their potential terrorist sting targets away from the most mundane, economical, and highly productive tactic: buy a gun and some ammo, pick a location, and start shooting people.

    But still, if the Muslim terrorist threat is so ubiquitous in the USA, why haven’t we seen a plethora of “grab a gun and start shooting” events conducted by the Muslim terrorists?

    • I’ve said this all along…this is a great example. If the threat is so ubiquitous, we would have seen many, many more attacks by Muslims before and after 9/11. You would not need a conspiracy or an airport if you were a Muslim ‘terrorist’. There are so many undefended weak points on public transportation, at landmarks, etc.

      The numbers alone prove that ‘white terrorism’ is currently a MUCH greater danger within the US than ‘Muslim terrorism.’

      • The figures prove that. 17 Americans were killed as a result of terrorism last year. All 17 were in countries were common sense dictates they shouldn’t have gone. On average, 8 American are killed by other Americans in the US every day. Yet, the billions are spent on “terrorism” and its related industry. In case there were any doubts.

      • White terrorism has been a MUCH bigger problem since the 17th century. Just ask any black, brown, yellow or red inhabitant of the planet. Nothing new or different.

  23. OK, I’ll readily admit that I have MAJOR problems with how we deal with “non-white” terrorism. Torture is wrong. Guantanamo bay horrendous. No trial by jury is criminal on our part. That there are those who claim Islam is by nature a religion of violence is basically libel. And I’m concerned by the recent strategy of targeted assassinations without trial.

    Moreover, I think Page and all white supremacist groups are evil. We should monitor them more than we do, and we should be willing to intervene to stop criminal actions.

    But, I’m going to have to call BS on most of this argument:

    1. “White terrorists are called gunmen. What does that even mean?”

    BS. It means they used a gun, and therefore were called gunmen. Those white terrorists who did not use a gun, such as Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph, are known as “terrorists.” Just look at their Wikipedia page, where the first sentence identifies each as “Terrorist.”

    On the other hand, look at Nidal Hassan, the ethnically Palestinian muslim who shot up Fort Hood in 2009. He used a gun, and so he was called “gunman.” So, for example, in these articles:

    link to
    link to
    link to
    link to

    “Gunman” isn’t a race thing. It’s about whether the guy used a gun.

    “3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.”

    Completely right here. I absolutely agree. There should be a DHS group dedicated to white supremacist groups. That the politicians ruined this is disgusting.

    4. “The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.”

    BS. Ok, I’ll admit that there is some difference here, but it’s not a white/non-white thing. It’s a domestic/non-domestic thing. Page’s family could be interviewed because they live in the United States. Many foreign terrorists do not have families in the United States or who are easily accessible, and so they aren’t interviewed. Despite that, I read an interesting piece recently which interviewed the family of Anwar al-Alwaki.

    link to

    But let’s go back to Nidal Hassan, whose family was interviewed:

    His cousins:
    link to
    link to
    link to

    His aunt:–us-army-killer-14555626.html

    In the early days, his Imam, army friends, and other relations were also interviewed. Most were surprised/shocked. Of what I’ve read, only the Sun Herald painted things ominously.

    (note that his parents are deceased)

    “6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.”

    Actually in the initial media coverage I looked at, Nidal Hassan was never tied to a conspiracy, but Page’s long-standing ties to white-supremacist groups was mentioned within the first day or two. Only 3-4 days after the fact, were Hassan’s possible ties with Al-Alwaki (visited his website, family funeral at his mosque) and his attempts to contact Al-Qaeda mentioned. At this point, Page’s links to white supermicist bands, websites, and gatherings are also mentioned. But neither seem to be “conspiracies” or depicted as such.

    “7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.”

    Hassan was labelled as of Palestinian descent, but often I read this in the context of explaining how his fellow soldiers tormented him for his ethnicity. And I would assume that Page being repeatedly linked with white supremicist groups would pretty clearly give his ethnic affiliation, too. But I guess if you want the line “Page, a white American” then you are right.

    “9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts, or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.”

    BS, I’ve seen numerous articles which address the mental health state of Nidal Hassan after the Fort Hood shootings, as well as discuss the general mental/psychological strain on soldiers as a whole. NPR even wonders if he was schizoid:

    link to
    link to
    link to

    But, yes, many articles discuss Page’s drinking in his past.

    link to

    The point is, it isn’t unequal treatment.

    As a whole, we have many, many, many major problems to work on regarding these issues in this country. To waste time making up BS arguments like this is unproductive. If you’d written an entire post on your point 3, we’d be much better off. I think some of the congressmen involved need to lose this upcoming election, and some of the bureaucrats behind it need to be fired.

    • Good job at bringing a sober counterpoint to the post. But I still think the broader point of the post if valid (as you imply from your support of point 3.)

      We need to reduce the level of hype that mainstream media creates to convince Americans that the many small acts of Muslim violence are part of a broad, organized threat emanating from the Muslim world as a whole against the U.S.

      And we need to increase the level of coordination in connecting the dots and challenging domestic political violence against the public. We should be using part of the Homeland Security budget (etc.) to prevent, investigate, and adjudicate “white terrorism.”

      • The bigger point may be valid, but the way to prove it is not by providing factually dubious points with the same generalizations that we ascribe to the other side.

      • I agree with this. With all the sophisticated (and in some cases, probably extralegal) systems DHS has, why was Page not on the FBI’s radar? He had been associating for quite some time with known racist skinheads of the “government takeover” type. Getting information about the reasons for his military discharge should have been a piece of cake (the government owns those records, after all) and may have given them even more reason to keep an eye on the guy. It’s like how the FBI “missed” known international terrorists booking flights on 9/11 all over again. No amount of strip-searching at airports is going to make up for lapses at that level.

    • Thanks for pointing out the details. However I would still give 7 and 9 to Mr. Cole. Although it may be possible that 9 is factually(partially) correct.

    • Bravo. I liked the article, but your comment has made me consider more carefully.

      While it makes some great points which I’ll go on to use myself, this article largely serves to make the people who agree with it feel great about themselves and contemptuous of others. I certainly did, initially. That may be great fun, but it does cast most fellow Americans as idiots – and worthless human beings. That’s not very consistent with the message.

    • A minor quibble. Hassan was not a paragon of medical practice. He was considered substandard, and probably should have been released from service… had we not been engaged in a pair of wars with 2/3 of our warfighting apparatus deployed, and medical officers not wanting to stay on active duty. As an officer, he may well have been harassed for his ethnicity and religion, but there ARE Muslims on post at Ft. Hood, and a couple of local Imams, and none of them were aware he was on the edge. His was a calculated action, against men and women he had worked with and with whom he was scheduled to deploy. He knew these people. He came in with a pair of weapons and ammunition designed to do maximum carnage. I’m not prepared to let him off as harassed and mistreated. If he’d felt that was the case, he could have used the recourse available in the Army which likely would have resulted in his release, and probably in discipline of any offending officers.

  24. Very sarcastic Mr. Cole but you really hit it. A miasmic fear of “terrorists” comes out of the corporate media and touches millions. People often forget that this is the most powerful country in the world and no group of terrorists or even an “axis of evil” should be a threat to it.

  25. when a Chinese plane crashes, US say: “Chinese-built plane crashes…”

    when a Russian plane crashes, US say: “Russian-built plane crashes….”

    but when an American plane crashes, US say: “Boeing or Airbus plane crashes…”

    just my add on ethnic painting by media.

    • When a Chinese or Russian plane is cited, the manufacturers thereof are known to a very few people; most people know “China” or “Russia”… or Boeing or Airbus.

  26. What a great piece! Glenn Greenwald has written extensively about the utter meaninglessness of the word “terrorist” as used by government and the media. It is entirely vague and devoid of objective definition but is used promiscuously to vilify those the government wants vilified.

  27. I think Sherm makes a lot of good points. You overstate and undermine your argument. First, you ignore nonwhite gunmen. They are the exception but think of the LIRR shooter, and the D.C. sniper. I also think you have to take into mind the ambition of the attacks of Islamic extremists (who target immense buildings, planes in the air, ships at sea, again and again), and their own sense that they are part of a larger, global, ongoing cause. I say that without meaning to take away anything from the evil of the attack on the Sikh temple and other recent shootings. Most American shooters do indeed seem like loners and on the fringe, compared to the bunch of guys who, yes, engaged in a long-running conspiracy to carry off 9/11, to use the most obvious example. And were they mainstream? Mainstream where? Were their actions celebrated widely in some parts of the world? Absolutely.

    • ” I also think you have to take into mind the ambition of the attacks of Islamic extremists (who target immense buildings, planes in the air, ships at sea, again and again), and their own sense that they are part of a larger, global, ongoing cause.”

      LOL! Compare that to a certain country that deploys its entire armed forces to invade entire countries, occupy them and blow them back to the Stone Age leaving as many as 1.5 MILLION dead bodies in their wake. Shall we even talk about the celebrations and the larger, global ongoing cause?

      Yet, THEY are the terrorists!

      • To refine MK Ultra’s point, note that these white far-right terrorists are the white men who think that our government isn’t violent and racist enough despite all its carnage. Plenty of “mainstream” supporters of war can live ordinary lives surrounded by entire communities who think just like them. It’s not surprising that the ones who wish to go much further are frustrated loners.

        • Or perhaps former military? That seems to be a re-occurring theme. Maybe these particular types have SEEN up close and personal the violence the US government has historically used against those it deems expendable and in the way of ‘manifest destiny’? Maybe it’s b/c those in the community at large are so ignorant of what really goes on thousands of miles away in distant lands in their name that they can continue to sit back?

    • “and their own sense that they are part of a larger, global, ongoing cause”

      What makes you think far right wing extremists don’t feel the same way? Many of them prattle on incessantly about ‘the survival of white civilization’ and the supposed common cause that people who have light skin and European ancestors share.

      • Very true, Jason. Breivik had extensive connections in the far right world, and his manifesto cited a lot of politicians who are in the mainstream of their country – including the former Australian PM, John Howard.

  28. I find it fascinating that everytime their is a crime, it must first be established who bats for who, ie, were they white, black, yellow, green brown, Muslim, Christian, Catholics, prossie etc. It’s enough to make me Sikh. It’s as though we are expected to choose sides. The more press, publicity and uproar these things get, the bigger the next nutter wants to go. The ‘You kill 5, I’ll kill 10’ theory. It’s about the attention. Lost souls these people.

    • You’ve just described the process by which a species consisting of hundreds of thousands of seperate tribal communities each with only dozens of members has evolved into a highly regimented population of 7 billion organized into only 200 legal nations, and an ever-declining number of languages and cultures. We have always chosen sides. The great elimination tournament is now down to the semi-finals: whomever wins becomes global hegemon and finishes off the smaller countries with cultural/economic imperialism.

      While I think this will prove a spectacularly bad idea, I recognize that I have obtained certain benefits by it.

  29. The fundamental difference can be easily described:

    We white Christun Amerikuns are not – I repeat – we are not, cannot, be terrorists. Only them brown A-rab Mooslems are terrorists.

    Got that?

  30. #9 is such crap! The Uni-Bomber has a degree from Harvard and I believe has a genius level IQ.

    • But that’s not how he’s depicted in the corporate media, is it? He’s depicted as the ultimate madman, one who dared to question Progress, and lived in a cabin with a scary beard. If he’d been a white supremacist, that would have been different because beard, cabin, and hatred of progress would have marked his patriotic nostalgia for what Limbaugh calls “The way things oughtta be.” But Kascinsky’s intelligence showed him that the problem was not black people, it was all people.

    • he was depicted as a loon who lived in a shoe box size cabin!

  31. Your 10th point makes the others almost irrelevant. It is one I had never considered nor heard before: we can’t control one but must spend billions to attempt to control the others. Brilliant, Juan.

  32. As the founder of modern conservatism once said,
    “Extremism in the name of liberty is no vice.”

    Once you decode what the white-collars and red-necks mean by “liberty”, you know why domestic terrorists are treated differently than the other kind.

    And what about abortion clinic bombers? They have been highly successful in making it impossible for doctors to offer abortions in many communities, and they have gotten away with it. A successful far-right terrorist movement, doubtless an inspiration to others.

  33. While I agree with the gist of Juan Cole’s analysis, I think our common understanding of a terrorist is that their acts are aligned with a larger goal, one that’s made known, and they’re typically associated with a particular, organized group and that group’s ideology.

    This *is* different than Columbine or the Aurora shootings, and inasmuch as the Sikh temple atrocity didn’t come with anything like a manifesto or demands, it makes these tragic acts of violence in America different than more strictly defined “terrorist” acts.

    Of course, being in the wrong place at the wrong time leaves you dead regardless of how political or apolitical the shooter might be.

  34. Beautifully explained. White people are not terrorists they say, while all others; block, brown, yellow red and pale are. Such a racist world.

  35. After hearing about the American cop who while strolling in a Calgary park felt ‘threatened’ when two men asked if he’d been to the Stampede yet. He refused to reply and left them ‘bewildered’. That is the main problem as i see it. The US culture of fear, fear of everyone. We Canadians do not view the world that way. If we are accosted by a couple of men in a park we chat with them.

    Personally, I would rather be shot, a very unlikely event in my own country, than have to shoot someone. I never feel threatened or afraid anywhere in my country. What a horrible existence it must be for all of you!

    But I, and several hundred of over fellow 55’s at a Florida airport did not appreciate having to remove our shoes. Your focus is all off kilter!

    • That’s the irony in a society that has such a violent history. When you are unyielding in your predation, you develop enemies every where. And if there are none, you create them to support your paranoid delusions. Americans see boogeymen EVERY WHERE except in the 1 place it has always existed–in the collective american psyche.

  36. An addition to”

    “4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.”

    If the terrorist happens to be Palestinian, his family’s home will be bulldozed.

  37. I don’t see how Juan is informed. Terrorism is largely defined as political action performed by organized people. Individuals do horrific crimes all the time, and they are considered criminals or nutcases. Further, we have two recent examples of Asian men committing similar crimes as the Colorado theater shooter at Virgina Tech and a college in the SF Bay area, yet Juan makes no mention of this. Juan is simply engaging in Reverse Hate white-male bashing, and he should be ashamed of himself.

    • Wow, reverse hate white-male bashing? Really? What I read was simply an analysis of the differential treatment of terrorist acts by the media – how they characterize the act and the actor. Related to that, the “ex-soldier” tag is becoming ubiquitous, being used whenever the shooter had any connection whatsoever to the military, no matter how many eons ago. It’s insulting to our vets and, for all its relevance, they may as well say “ex-altar boy” or “ex-go cart afficionado” or “ex-embryo.”

    • Were the lynch mobs of the Old South organized, or individual actions?

      You damn well know the answer if you’ve seen the photos of the entire white population of the town attending a lynching like it was a picnic. It was a cultural ritual designed to send a message. Yet it took many years of individual whites and KKK bands attacking black rights during Reconstruction to make that possible, when it seemed impossible in 1865. So how do we know that these new terrorists aren’t the beginning of another cycle?

  38. Sorry, Juan, you didn’t do your homework:
    “Alleged Killer in Wisconsin ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Was Not Local, Residents Say” link to
    “Authorities are considering his rampage an act of domestic terrorism, though his motive is not yet known.”
    link to
    “Police are calling the shooting at Wisconsin Sikh Temple an act of domestic terrorism after he shot dead six people and seriously wounded three more yesterday morning.”
    link to

    Sikh killer was described as a member of a white power rock band, a skinhead, and a member of various white supremacist groups. Members of groups are not loners.

    I could go on, but I think you get the drift.
    “Federal Investigators Treating Sikh Temple Shooting As Domestic Terrorism” link to

    You’re no more correct from the other way around:
    “France files charges against Jewish school gunman’s brother” link to

    • You’re being misleading because you know damn well that Wade the Loser’s attack will not be depicted as reflecting white people generally or even in significant numbers. Millions of hours of propaganda are being beamed around our country to the effect that Islam is a terrorist religion so as to justify more American mega-death invasions and the transfer of more trillions of tax $ from social programs to the war machine. Fox News is the reality of modern American media.

  39. There are so many elements to terrorism that are ignored in this fluff list it’s almost not worth commenting on. Be specific about the “white terrorist” organizations and their objectives. List them and contrast between other groups. Because other than a handful of white supremicist organizations that have been floating around for decades, I would like to know the groups you are speaking of here.

    • How about the Arizona anti-immigrant activist woman who stormed into the home of a Mexican-American family and killed a little girl several years ago, an event I didn’t know about until I clicked the Orcinus link above two days ago. Where was the round-the-clock media hype that should have happened when terrorism involved a hot media issue and a child-killer?

  40. I do not see what this generalized analysis of this serious issue accomplishes, but to pit, once again, them against us. The Southern Poverty Law Center in this country has tracked hate groups since the election of our amazing president, Barack Obama and they are on the rise. And yes, these murders (white), are refered to as “domestic terrorists”, not” gunmen” and are linked to larger groups. This is a small planet, let’s realize that we are all heartbroken and discouraged and lessened by all acts of terrorism, no matter the country of origin or the color of a terrorist.

  41. The neo-GOP fanatics hate democracy in America, and they will do anything, lie, cheat, ANYTHING, to win. Fanatics FIRST!!

  42. On number 4. Other terrorists families are seldom if ever interviewed because white terrorists might target them.

  43. Point #10 is my favorite — it basically points out that a lot of the terrorism hype is simply racism by another name.

  44. He forgot the main difference:

    11. The “Others” live in oil/resource-rich countries that must be invaded for profit. Hence the rest of the propaganda-driven differences. These self-righteous invasions will happen under Republican or Democrat administrations of course…same difference :-)

  45. some very educative comments and some highly disguised racist comments,fact remains what was published was quite realistic about how the media is directed by various vested interest groups to portray events….. the entire modern humanity must never forget the largest mass murder was that of the Red Indian on their own soil.”maybe some Arab or Commie was behind that also” and just as a closing realistic comment JESUS was also ARAB.

Comments are closed.