Washington Post attempts to blur terrorism
In "Austin revives a question: What is terrorism?" (3/24/18), the probing response would be: revives a question by whom? The Washington Post and its agenda-driven news reportage?
The article starts with the following: "The string of bombings in Austin revived an ongoing debate over how the government investigates and prosecutes terrorism, revealing a split between the way many Americans think about terrorism and the way the U.S. law defines it." This begs for the response: how do Americans think and by what metrics or studies does the Post make such a claim? All of this is absent from the article apart from a few anecdotal quotes that reflect a sample size nowhere near the number necessary to make any sort of educated claim.
The Post then states that "law enforcement officials also found themselves dealing with a familiar question: Why don't they call this terrorism?" But this quote is not attributed to any law enforcement official. Surely, if it were so "familiar," the Post could have found someone to attribute it to.
The article states, "Law enforcement officials have repeatedly said that the Austin bomber terrorized the community." They also "made clear that they have not found indicators that he was inspired by any foreign terrorist group" or any hate group, for that matter.
Yes, there is a difference between "being terrorized" and "terrorism," which raises the question: what is the point of the article?
And then we learn. The Post continues, "[I]n an era when a disturbed person with a weapon can kill randomly in public, the legal distinctions between terrorism, hate crime and a killing rampage can seem less meaningful." The Post then quotes a Professor Lankford – a so-called expert on mass killers – who talks about how "a lot of people talk about a double standard being used." Did a college professor really state a professorial view by using the evidence of "a lot of people" with no study backing it up? The professor then brings up the following: "if this guy's Muslim you're going to call him a terrorist, and if he's not, you're going to use some other label." Of course, all cases of Islamic mass murders in America and Europe have included the murderer shouting "Allahu akbar" – an Islamist war cry.
We keep getting closer to the point of the article: "Lankford said that whatever mass killers' particular motivations might be, they tend to share certain psychological traits that may be more important than their agendas. Such traits include a sense of victimization, a pattern of seeking negative attention, and being suicidal or not caring whether they live."
Voilà! The Post is aiming to blur all types of killing. It is clearly an attempt to defend Islamic terrorism in presenting that all mass murder is basically the same.
The Post leaves the truth of the situation to the end, when most readers have already quit the article, with a quote from Brian Levin, head of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino. Levin states, "If all violence is labeled terrorism, then the definition fails as well." That seems to be the goal of the Washington Post with the printing of this article.