One of the mixed blessings of the modern information age is that one may be halfway around the world in Patagonia, as I recently was, and still hear about two recent mass killings in the United States: the assault on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, and the attack on an office party in San Bernardino, California. These were just two of what has become literally a daily occurrence in our country, as deranged people with access to high-powered weapons find their victims, either randomly or with some particular grievance.
How is it that the perpetrators in San Bernardino are terrorists, while the homegrown perpetrators are just wackos?
How is it, when such violence has become commonplace, that the attack in San Bernardino can become the centerpiece of an American (particularly Republican) obsession with security, while the attack in Colorado (or the one in South Carolina, or the one in Connecticut, or the one in…) are greeted at most with a little passing hand-wringing?
How is it that the perpetrators in San Bernardino are terrorists, while the homegrown perpetrators are just wackos? How is it not terrorism when a man plans and executes the killing of people he doesn’t know at a Planned Parenthood clinic and later defines himself as a “warrior for the unborn?” How is it not terrorism when a man plans and executes the assassination of a bible study class in a South Carolina church, telling one of his African American victims, “You must die so that we may live?”
We have become a terrorist society, in which anyone with a real or imagined grievance conceives himself (almost always HIMself) to have the right to go out and kill people. And yet somehow, when Muslim foreigners do it, that’s a grave security threat. When American citizens do it, they’re just exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.