The water cooler discussion a week ago Monday was predictable, the Las Vegas massacre of concert goers and a vehicle assault on a police officer and Jasper Avenue pedestrians in Edmonton.
As would be expected, there was much grief expressed for those gunned down like animals in Vegas, and fear about what happened in Edmonton. But the comment that continues to haunt me was when the kindest person on staff said, “the one good thing, at least the Vegas shooting wasn’t a terrorist attack”.
Now the only possible rationale for such a comment would be an inner belief that the shooter in Vegas was not a terrorist because he was white with a traditional American name. Whereas the perpetrator in Edmonton was a terrorist because he was brown with an Arab-sounding name.
Even though the white guy had an arsenal of modified assault weapons to maximize carnage in Vegas, why would anyone consider him less of a terrorist than the individual in Edmonton with an ISIS flag?
This year in Canada there have been more innocent Muslims gunned down by a white extremist than the other way around. On January 29, Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire in a Quebec City mosque as prayers were ending, killing six and injuring 19.
Iman Hassan Guillet during the funeral for the six said, “Alexandre Bissonnette, before being a killer, was a victim himself”. “Before he planted bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than bullets in this head”, said Guillet.
Terrorism is any act against citizens by an individual or group that subscribes to an uncompromising ideology that can justify and rationalize violence on innocents.
Writer, Jason Burke, in “The Myth of the Lone Wolf”, reminds us that during the 1960’s and 70’s many home grown groups and lone wolves, on the right and left, were terrorizing Europe and America.
I remember Timothy McVeigh killing 168 innocent children and adults when he bombed a government building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and, in the same era, religious zealots bombing abortion clinics, killing adults to save babies.
And there are many more terrorist examples prior to and post 9/11 perpetrated by whites on the left and right.
Ironically, the Islamic extremists, who are fighting the infidels—democratic governments led by the United States—have much in common with white national extremists in the United States who are also fighting their democratically elected federal government.
Whether it’s 20 dead six-year old students and six teachers in Sandy Hook or 59 dead music fans in Vegas, mass shootings are wrapped up in American liberty and fear of their federal government.
In Canada we need to stop Americanizing ourselves with a steady diet of CNN, Fox News and The Rebel. We are better educated, more travelled and have a far superior governance and judicial system than our neighbours to the south. (P.S. don’t tell them, they think they’re the greatest!)
Terrorism is simply getting wrapped up in an uncompromising ideology that leads to the justification for violence.
Most important, we must always be mindful of our hate and the intensity of that hate because each one of us can be radicalized.
Terrorism is not colour coded.
by B.P. Schimke