Terrorism: The American Style
Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations 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 popular and common as this term has become in the recent years, for purposes of labeling the Muslim radical groups or condemning the more fanatical religious groups of usually Middle Eastern descent, no one has seemed to recall this common phrase following Jared Loughner’s unlawful use of force and violence against persons to intimidate or murder government officials, the civilian population, including a little child, in furtherance his unknown political or social objectives.
It is vital to note that although his political or social objectives have not yet been cleared or discovered by the hardworking lawyers, detectives, and agents, Loughner cited works such as Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto” as his favorite books which sheds light on his literacy and strong capacity to have an objective view.
Loughner’s act is parallel with the FBI’s clear definition of terrorism. FBI director Mueller announced that “he wouldn't rule out additional charges for Loughner under a federal domestic terrorism statute.”
By breaking away from the filtered masses, one could redefine the paradigms of terrorism in this country.
Consider, for example, the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, which was known as the first act of domestic terrorism in the United States prior to the 9/11 attacks. The act very similar to the Tucson shooting, shared similar plot and similar charges planned and executed by two American citizens.
When our country is so obsessed with bringing peace and democracy to regions plagued with terrorism and chaos, it often fails to acknowledge the terrorism intact in its own States.
In a very simple analogy, Loughner could very well be compared to suicide bombers in Iraq and Palestine that we so frequently hear about in the news. Some slight differences are adhering, yet many similarities exist.
A suicide bomber is part of a larger terrorism group who has been previously brainwashed and made to believe that the act is in fact a religious and noble one. Similarly, Loughner’s act may have taken root from personal or publicly fed objectivities not yet revealed. This is while many people who knew Loughner, have noted his odd behaviors both in and out of school.
A piece from CNN reports, “Loughner was taken to a hospital for alcohol poinsoning, according to Sheriff’s Department records. In 2007, he was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, but the charge was dismissed after he completed a pretrial diversion program, according to court records. In 2008, Loughner tried to enlist in the U.S. Army but was rejected for reasons that are protected by privacy laws, officials said. But an administration official told CNN that Loughner had failed a drug test.”
Aside from debates in how he attained his weapon, or why despite his not-so-clean record was he in fact granted permission to purchase his gun, it is important to tie the dots closley.
In Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine, and many other regions that face unrest and the presumable hope that they want to be rescued by the Americans, suicide bombers tend to be young adults. In this case, we have Loughner, a 22-year-old college drop out, who for “failing a drug test” did not get a chance to participate as part of the terrorism rescue group. However, he happened to be of the contrary, as he acted in similar violence and terror that the Americans are trying to content.
With all that in mind and perhaps more that the public does not yet know, similarities can be drawn between him and a malleable young adult in an Al-Qaeda group in Iraq, or as we in the U.S. tend to hunt down too quickly, a Lebanese young Muslim man living in New York City, who usually fits the profile of every wanted list.
A suicide bomber has an ulterior motive driven by high hopes of going to heaven and being accompanied by heavenly nymphs. This is while, for unknown reasons, Loughner’s motifs are not yet cleared; this may partly be due to the fact that we are so rarely faced with modern versions of suicide bombers at home.
Yet, if the picture was reversed and instead of our all-American boy we had an individual of Muslim and/or Middle Eastern decent no media outlet would in anyway miss the title of the “Terrorist attack.”
Hence the question remains blurry; is it the American public that defines who and what is perceived as a terrorist and an act of terrorism, or is the term defined by the violating act regardless of the race or the background of the person in charge—if so, then why has Loughner been exempted from such popular methods of labeling?
On the other hand if not, is terrorism only specific to Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent? Or, what are the chances of having such individuals at home—and if so, what are the stakes of acknowledging their presence on the same level that the public so generously does the terrorists of the other kind.
Reach reporter Tara Kangarlou here.