Apr. 19, 2014 by Darius
Today is the 19th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City. One hundred sixty-eight people died, making the bombing the deadliest terrorist attack in the US until 9/11. The Oklahoma City bombing was perpetrated by white American extremists who were also military veterans. Yet today, 19 years later, domestic terrorism still does not get the attention it deserves.
Just last weekend, a white American extremist who was also a military veteran shot and killed three people outside a Jewish community center in Kansas. It was clearly an act of terrorism: the shooter was a white supremacist targeting civilians with an intent to sow terror. The incident dominated the news for a few days and is now fading away.
Contrast the Kansas shootings with the Boston Marathon bombing, which was almost precisely one year earlier. The exact same number of people were killed in each attack. But the Boston bombings were carried out by a Muslim foreigner, while the Kansas shooting was carried out by an American bigot. Both attacks were lethal and politically motivated, but only one got serious, long-term attention. In the aftermath of only one of these attacks were there serious calls to suspend parts of the Constitution.
Why is it that Americans are so blind to the rottenness within our own society? If someone from outside the country attacks us, we invade countries. But if someone inside our country attacks us, it’s time to grip our guns and stand our ground. If the perpetrator is a Muslim immigrant, he must be a terrorist and we need to pull out all the stops. If the perpetrator is a white American, he must be a nut case and we shrug it off as if to say “so sad but what can we do?”* Well, actually, there’s a lot we can do. We just lack the will to do it.
*In case you think this is not true, I have a simple experiment for you: find 10 friends, relatives, or random people. Ask five of them if they know who Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is. Ask the other five if they know who Paul Ciancia is. Compare the results. One is a homegrown terrorist. One is not. One faded from view very quickly. The other is practically a poster child.