“Selective Terrorism” An Editorial by David Banner

April 19th marked the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh. While many gathered on that day to commemorate that tragic event, the act and others like it, continue to shed light on a fundamental hypocrisy in American society. The hypocrisy in question is the refusal of the American public to apply the term “terrorist” to anyone other than Black or Middle Eastern, Islamic radicals.

The lack of application of the term “terrorist” to Americans or Christians is certainly not due to a lack of evidence. For example, it would not be hard to recognize the brutal and destructive nature of slavery in America as institutionalized terrorism.  Just as easy would be a recognition that groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other Christian-based, White supremacist organizations have repeatedly engaged in terrorist acts. Add to this list the lynching of Black people and the genocide of Native Americans and we soon realize that domestic terrorism in the United States is as American as apple pie.

Despite these historical realities, the refusal to label anyone other than Muslims as terrorists has recently reached epic, hypocritical proportions. So, when Middle Eastern, Islamic radicals, due to their hatred of the U.S. government, flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center on 9/11, they were rightly called “terrorists”. But when Andrew Joseph Stack, a White, American, software engineer, posted anti-government language on the internet then flew his plane into an IRS building in Texas, media reports simply described him as a “pilot” and a “tax protester”.  When another group of Islamic radicals flew a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11, they were, again, rightly referred to as “terrorists”. But when John Patrick Bedell, a White, anti-government, conspiracy theorist opened fire in March of 2010 at the Pentagon injuring two, he was labeled in news reports as a “gunman” and the “Pentagon shooter”. We’ve even been told that there are supposedly Islamic “sleeper cells” secretly living among us waiting to carry out terrorist acts on U.S. soil. But when the all White, anti-government, Michigan based “Hutaree” were recently arrested for their intricate plan to murder a law enforcement official, then blow up the rest of his colleagues at his subsequent funeral, they certainly weren’t described as terrorists. Rather, they were portrayed in the media as an “anti-government” and “Christian-based” “militia”. These three instances alone are indicative of the bias inherent in the usage of the term “terrorist”.

Some may argue that the sole application of the term “terrorist” to Islamic radicals is due to the inordinate threat they pose to American society. This argument is easily dismissed by the facts. According to the FBI, between 2002 and 2005, there were 24 acts of terrorism carried out in the United States. Twenty-three of the 24 incidents were carried out by White, “domestic terrorists”. Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report in April of 2009 that detailed the resurgence of “Right wing Extremism” in the United States. Specifically, the report stated that economic downturns, as well as “the election of the first African American president”, are two of the main reasons “driving a resurgence in right wing extremist recruitment.” Going further, the report also noted that “the threat posed by lone wolves” and by white “terrorist cells is more pronounced than in years past.”

This Department of Homeland Security report came just after the killing of two Pittsburgh policemen by a right wing extremist and only two months before the shooting at the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC by James Von Brunn, an avowed white supremacist. And for the record, neither the Pittsburgh nor DC gunmen were ever referred to as “terrorists”, despite their anti-government and politically motivated murders.

Another excuse given for the one sided application of the term “terrorist” is that there is no clear definition of the term. This is also incorrect. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, terrorism is described as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.  As seen from this definition, all of the recent incidents cited above, as well as the Olympic Park bombing by Eric Rudolph, the actions of the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, and all of the 300 plus abortion clinic shootings and bombings between 1973 and 2003, fall comfortably within the established definition of “terrorism” by the federal government.

In closing, we are asked in the Holy Bible, “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” This is an admonition against hypocrisy and against holding others to a standard not met by ones self.  The American public would do well to heed these words. By broadcasting the terrorist acts of others while omitting America’s own terrorist past and present, we create an artificial sense of self-righteousness. This artificial self-righteousness insulates the public from the dangers that White, domestic terrorists continue to pose to society. This insulation ultimately gives way to the “beam” in America’s collective sight; a blindness to these acts in the eyes of society.

If not properly addressed, it is this blindness that will allow the future John Patrick Bedells, James von Brunns and Timothy McVeighs to make their terrorist mark on our society.

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26 responses to ““Selective Terrorism” An Editorial by David Banner”

  1. Wow, you really cut cleanly through the BS to make the point about this double standard in the use of the term by government and the media alike.

    Retweeting this right now!

  2. well put. I have been keeping up with some of your writings. The letter to Rev. Sharpton was good. I thought u went to Southern.

  3. Very well written and truthful. This country has and always will try to pull the wool over our eyes. In fact, the original “terrorists” reside in AmeriKKKa. Who else has used nuclear weapons?

  4. Your words are profound and blatantly exemplify the double standards that exist in America for minorities.

  5. So well put David. It’s a total shame that these same double standards exist throughout the everyday lives of many of us. Education, corporate institutions, etc. Great perspective on the dark truth of hypocrisy of our neighbors.

  6. American xenophobia is a major cause of that blindness. The irony is, domestic terrorism is potentially much more effective in damage, because our prejudices have caused us to fear the “Brown man with the beard”, while the “middle-aged White man” goes unnoticed. And no, “we” (read: Black people) are not immune. We are just as guilty of stereotyping and unfounded fear as everyone else.

    Thanks for your excellent article! Look forward to hearing more from you.

  7. Mr. Banner I agree with a ton of points in your article, and I see some points that I believe to be somewhat from a different perspective. So without further ado Let’s break this down.

    First- Yes media outlets absolutely have no idea what the word terrorism means anymore. They haven’t understood it from the moment newspapers, televisions, and radios were created. The definition of what a Terrorist or terrorist act has never changed in reality, yet the on the media’s terms it most certainly has. The word terrorist has become a euphemism, for way too broad a scale and has nothing but damaged any possibility of studying the actual field of terrorism because of it. If the Country is willing to stick by what CNN NBC Fox ABC CBS and other outlets’ definition of the word terrorism, we will only succumb to another broad spectrum of fear and ignorance for what the problem really is.

    Secondly- To put simply from he perspective that I have, My definition of terrorism is simply an act against a second party in order to send a message to a third party. This is usually the definition that most Professors use that research what terrorism is. Hutaree, Mcveigh, Peta, Unibombers, are all definitionally terrorists. Yes, Domestic terrorism is a harsh reality that not only America must deal with but every other country as well. Spain – Train bombings, England, Subway bombings, Japan – Subway toxins attack, India – Mumbai, to quickly glance.
    The Harsh reality though is this… and this is the main idea of where i disagree-

    The reason we broadcast other forms of terrorism, which usually end up being International such as 9/11 as the “true” terrorists, is because of the fact we don’t condone Domestic terrorists in America. Now you can say hey, the media doesn’t call it what it is then my response is you absolutely right… The media doesn’t want to call terrorists terrorists because they don’t fit an ingrained description… But lets not forget every Race does have its hand in this as far as domesticated terrorism…

    Whites, – KKK
    Blacks – BLA, and Malvos
    Asians – Tamil Tigers
    Hispanic- Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
    Middle Eastern – al Qaeda

    I mean the list goes on….


    Sorry If this has offended anyone, but this is just something I see thru my perspective….

  8. BRAVO….very well said my brother and soooooo truthful. America, wake up and smell the flowers !!!

  9. I agree totally. I feel so many times we as people are so busy going to work, school, extracurricular activities; that we fail sometimes to think about the little things.
    We all must wake up and educate our future generations so that the trend does not continue.

  10. Exactly, America “wake up” and see the speck in your own eye before you condemn the rest of the world.

  11. Of course, this assumes that Americans are actually practicing Christianity and not some perversion of it. Or, that they understand the Holy Bible instructs our society and not just our personal behavior.

  12. Awesome read. I hope you’re president someday, man, you’re probably too sane and honest for the job, but it would great to have at least one president who’s not full of shit before I’m dead.

  13. There are so many different definitions of terrorism. This word to “others” may represent POWER VS JUSTICE, UNFAIR LAWS, POWER AND GREED VS EQUAL MEN AND PEACE, or basically those who have been wronged and now trying to set things right whether it be flexible or inflexible. Its like when a person reaches the ledge, it doesnt matter no more…..there going to get there point across regardless of who it hurts. One thing HISTORY has taught me is that in every BELIEF there’s a LIE in between with some hidden truths. Politics and religion has always been a LOVE/HATE relationship.

    We all would like to be told the truth and dealt with fairly…..but some in power feels that everyone can’t handle the truth. So when people feel that they are being wronged…OVER TIME….its automatically a retaliation or an EYE FOR AN EYE. Now, there’s no PEACE because of a lack of understanding….basically IGNORANCE. So terrorism will probably always be selective because of the hyprocrisy, unfortunately! As far as fair…there no justice when one is being judged and the one who is the judge is just acting out and being a critic or “HATER” and do the most wrong with dreadful GREED…..not praticing what they preach…those in POWER living by the LAW….HAHAHA!!! So others are completely oblivious because of the lack of education and broken system of the world.

    This is bigger than AMERICA! This has always been the confusion….trying to have order within. What is ORDER? That also has different meanings around the world. How many people in the world are living by different govts of POWER. Look I definitely do not condone terrorism or hate….but just like my opinion as well as others….it takes a unit to be a POWERFUL VOICE of EQUALITY FOR ALL. So one comment wont change a thing because everyone is not going to ever be on the same level. Hopefully with continued growth and education, most of our children will matriculate and earn their way to freedom and peace. This all has been written before…..and the saga continues. WE ARE ALL HELD ACOUNTABLE……SEEK GOD our creator.

    I know….very challenging.

  14. mr. crump is right…. [[[if i may i add my own opinions on some things too respectfully their mine alone]]] with holding an ex-convict’s or an current prisoner’s right’s to vote up it’s an civil violation and a form of over looked domestic terrorism too…. entrusting an inmate to make license plates one of the most important and the lawfully needed items to operate plus merely store a vehicle the right to vote shouldn’t ever be taken away from even the dangerous criminal minds ex or current…. not even from the insane or criminally insane ppl neither anyone citizen 18-up if they only have 5 minutes of sense that allow them to count their here for a reason too and i am sure it’s not to take up space… how is it that wounded ex soldiers have to apply for ssi themselves why their not approve upon prove of their serious injuries omg when ppl have placed their very own life on the line they’ve given all and to all how can the country they loved that much ever put a wait sign on there foreheads…

  15. It has been said that most of the “Islamic Terrorism” done against the U.S. can be termed as the “Chickens coming home to roost.” This should be the beginning of the transparency of this Administration. We should send this to the Director of Homeland Security, HPSCI and SSCI.

  16. Man Mr. Banner. That’s so true! It will all come to past that one day theseso called Christian- based cells are going to show the White America that they rightfully desrve to be called terrorists when they blow up their own people and then see who has the “White Power”. Great Article!! Hey Where’s Cousin Jeff when you need him to reply?

  17. How can we expect the media to use the term terrorism correctly when they can call Hurrican Katrina victims refugees? Don’t give much credit to the media anymore, it’s all about the mighty dollar and what sells and not what’s real or the truth.

  18. Well Said Mr. Banner and very timely. Not only did I find the article on point, I take great pride in the fact that artists such as yourself exercise the ability to step out from behind the mic or production booth, and show our youth that it is ok to have an informed opinion and express it. Keep up the great work on all fronts Family.

  19. WOW! I’ve said it 10,000 times, and Ill say it again….YOU make me SO PROUD to be from Mississippi! This article is so true! The world (mostly the media) seems to be so hypocritical!!!! Im glad that SOMEONE finally brought this to the light!!!!

    P.S. Please continue to be my INSPIRATION and please FOLLOW ME on Twitter: @Ms_Mississippi

  20. Excellent and concise as always Mr.Banner! I have to agree with Mo the educator’s comments. IMO What has been called home grown terrorism is a clear and present danger to Americans and likely even more threatening than those from overseas who would like her destroyed, in part because there are so many, in part because they are already here. The most insidious part is as mentioned already the fact Americans are being trained to look with apprehension at Muslims while being lulled into a false sense of security in their own neighborhoods. People need to recognize threatening behaviour NOT focus on outward appearances such as beards, brown skin, turbans, even skin heads tattoos and doc martens can no longer be a tell tail of possible violence. Terrorists, real home grown ones look like anyone. And that’s exactly how they want it. Anonymity is what they count on.
    Re the media and their refusal to use the term terrorism when describing the incidents that you have described: I’ve often wondered if it’s partly because of a belief system that claims the people would panic if they knew the truth. That the people can’t think for themselves that they need to be protected by gov’t and media or else riots would break out, the economy would take a further tumble, parents would keep their kids home from school. In other words chaos would ensue. I think it’s high time to trust the American populace to do the right things in the face of stressful times. After all who rallied for New Orleans? The farming crisis? Haiti? The PEOPLE, it sure wasn’t the government.

  21. Fantastic blog! I actually love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the information are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which need to do the trick! Have a nice day!

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