It certainly has been interesting seeing the aftermath of the Boston bombings, the hunt for the suspects, and the reactions after one was killed and the other captured. I’m not trivializing the bombing. It’s horrific event, perpetrated by a couple of very screwed up, evil men. However…in what many are calling the first “terrorist” killing in the U.S. since 9-11, there were 3 people hurt, along with several score injured.
On April 15th, the day of the bombing, there were ELEVEN Americans killed by guns. The day after, on Tuesday, there were FOURTEEN Americans killed by guns. The next day? FIFTEEN gun deaths. And so on…and so on…and so on. Over 3,500 Americans have died due to gun violence, JUST since Newtown happened in December…a four month period. That’s an average of about 30 deaths per day. Gun deaths in the United States routinely top 12,000 a year, and nobody bats an eye. An AVERAGE day in America and many more are killed by guns than were killed by the one “terrorist” event in the United States since 9-11.
But then again…what constitutes a “terrorist”? If a Muslim guy blows up a bomb at a marathon? You bet, says America! It’s “terrorism”! It’s a no-brainer! A bomb is involved, and a Muslim is involved!!
But what if a young white man who is NOT Muslim commits mass murder? Is it called “terrorism” by the press? Are there calls to suspend Miranda rights? Are there calls to suspend due process under the law? No. If a white NON-MUSLIM commits mass murder, it’s a mental health issue, the act of a troubled young man. It’s NOT ever labeled as “terrorism”. An young guy equally as troubled as the Tsarnaev’s from Boston walks into a grade school in Newtown and takes the lives of over 20 young children, a death toll that far surpasses Boston, but the “terrorism” label was never applied to that case.
So again…what constitutes ”terrorism”? What consitutes a “terrorist”? ”Official” definitions for “terrorism” usually infer violence with a political purpose. However, in America, since 9-11, it seems that the term “terrorist” has unfortunately taken on religious connotations, with the religious background of the person evidently more important than the crimes that were committed. Were there any political claims made by the Tsarnaev brothers for the Boston bombings? Wouldn’t a “terrorist” claim responsibility in the name of a cause? The Tsarnaev’s certainly didn’t attempt to claim responsibility, and certainly didn’t pronounce the bombing was for some political cause. However, the event is widely labeled as “terrorism”, a label that has become further entrenched in Americans’ minds after it became known the brothers had at least some involvement in the Islamic faith.
It’s sad that we can spend SO much time and energy focusing on controlling “terrorism” in the United States, but completely ignore “everyday” violence that claims the lives of MANY thousands more Americans than does “terrorism”.
If “terrorism” can be defined as a “violence with a political motivation”, then America is FULL of (as yet) unrecognized terrorists. Look at how political the issue of gun control has become. Even a simple, sensible, straight-forward piece of legislation to increase background checks and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill is turned into a political argument. When I see THOUSANDS of Americans being killed every year by gun violence, I see MANY violent deaths that are ultimately due to political motivations.
With THOUSANDS of highly preventable gun-violence deaths in America each year, if we are to follow the standard definition of “terrorism”, those that ENABLE those gun violence deaths should be defined as “terrorists”, just as those who provide bomb-making equipment and training are considered as “terrorists”. If “Violence ultimately due to a political motivation” is the definition of a “terrorist”, then there’s little doubt that Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, should be considered the most dangerous “terrorist” in America. Thanks to the efforts of LaPierre and the NRA, criminals and violent mentally ill persons can easily obtain weaponry that no other Western culture allows such easy access to.
Boston was a sad event to be sure. The Tsarnaev brothers were sick, evil human beings. But it’s stunning to me that Americans can tolerate the equivalent of 10 Boston bombings PER DAY in America, in terms of deaths due to gun violence, and not get nearly as worked up as they do about a once-in-a-decade event.