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Leonard Pitts: Demanding an Honest Accounting on Homegrown Terrorism

Leonard Pitts

Anti-loon Leonard Pitts demands an honest accounting of right-wing terrorism. It is time for the right-wing to call out and distance themselves from the extremists in their midst instead of giving them aid and comfort.:

Demanding an honest accounting on homegrown terrorism

by Leonard Pitts (Miami Herald)

Can we finally say the thing we have not said so far?

Last week, a white supremacist shot up a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, killing six people and wounding three. It is considered likely that the shooter mistook the Sikhs, whose men wear beards and turbans, for Muslims. The massacre came a few weeks after a characteristically baseless charge by Michele Bachmann and several other conservative legislators that a Muslim aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ties to Islamic extremism.

The juxtaposition of those two events is emphatically not meant to suggest Bachmann somehow “caused” the Wisconsin rampage. No, the point is that we are looking for terror in all the wrong places. Or, perhaps more accurately, that we are not looking for it in all the right places.

In the almost 20 years since the first attack by Muslim extremists on the World Trade Center, the following things have happened:

The bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City leaves 168 dead and 500 injured; one person is killed, more than 100 wounded, in a bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta; seven people are arrested for plotting to attack U.S. military bases; Dr. Barnett Slepian is shot and killed in Amherst, NY; five people die in a shooting spree near Pittsburgh; the FBI arrests a man who tried to buy ingredients for sarin, the deadly nerve gas, from an undercover agent; Dr. George Tiller is shot and killed in Wichita; a man and his daughter are killed in their home in Arivaca, Ariz; a man flies a small plane into a building in Austin, killing himself and one other. And now, this.

These incidents and dozens more make up a list maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center. What they all have in common is that they spring from motivations (i.e., opposition to taxation, government, immigrants, blacks, gays, abortion and Muslims) that more or less define modern, mainstream, conservatism.

So yes, it is time to say the obvious thing no one seems to be saying:

America is under attack by right-wing terrorists.

And here, again, it is necessary to say what the point is not. Namely, it is not that conservatism equals terrorism. These criminals are fanatics, and fanaticism is restricted to no particular ideology. Ironically, that’s an argument to which conservatives often turn deaf ears when it is made on behalf of Muslims, but that doesn’t make it any less true — or applicable here.

That said, what’s telling is that we won’t even call this what it is. When the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Weather Underground were committing violence in the 1970s, we were not slow in decrying leftwing terrorism and requiring progressives to disown it. When al Qaida kills and maims, we are not shy about branding it Islamic terrorism and requiring moderate Muslims to disown it.

For some reason, though, we are reluctant to call right-wing terror by name. And you can forget requiring conservatives to distance themselves from it.

Rather than see a pattern that grows more glaring every day, we see a series of discrete events — this individual tragedy here, that one there, regrettable certainly, but surely not suggestive of any larger picture.

Maybe this is because the perpetrators of these crimes are overwhelmingly white Christian men and thus, invisible in a nation where danger is routinely defined as Them, not Us. Maybe it’s because media have become cowed and self-censoring, reflexively flinching from that which might bring accusations of anti-conservative bias.

Either way, one wonders how we can confront what we won’t even name. These plots hatched in the fetid backwaters of conservative paranoia ought to be called what they are. The blood of victims demands an honest accounting.

We have given them a dishonest silence instead.


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  • Inn Fidel

    Thanks. That’s not me. I don’t support the views of Loonwatch regarding the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  • Inn Fidel

    I still don’t know what a concern troll is; you made the accusation- define it and I’ll respond.

  • truth

    Thought I was the only one who knew that Inn fidel is a concern troll.

  • Yusuf

    Is Inn Fidel a hotel in Cuba?

  • Inn Fidel

    What’s a concern troll?

  • Franczeska

    “Inn Fidel” = Concern Troll

  • Inn Fidel

    NurAlia: Nowhere in my post do I take offense. I’m trying to develop a strategy to deal with these loons. If this site is more interested in demonization than dialogue, so be it.

  • NurAlia

    @inn fidel.

    You are the prima facia case for what the article is trying to convey here.

    People like you take offence when people who claim to have ‘conservetive views’ murder terrorise other’s who dont support, speak or act against what they claim as ‘consevetism’. The ‘media’ is not free to tell the full truth about the offender and the motive, because people like you (as you did to a commenter) take PERSONAL offence, as if it is an attack against your ideals.

    Dont get me wrong…do this too. Rather than seeing hate and bigotry in a pure form as the underlying cause of ‘Islamophobia’, Muslims in the west take attacks on Muslims PERSONALLY, and draw personal attacks against Muslims to further the incitment.

    Muslims are reacting in the way the bigots want us to, that is, to take it personally. I notice that when the EDL (example) protests, it is the White British citizens who protest against them, and the Muslims stay at home. I think rather then whining about the ‘Islamophobia’…Muslims need to join with those who are against bigotry and hate, organize and march beside them against the Neo Nazis.

    Conservetism is an ideal, not a political party or organzation, and YOU and people who belive like yourself should seperate the two.

  • inn fidel

    Conservative doesn’t always mean right wing. I am pro choice, pro gay marriage, support the Dream Act and am a member of Amnesty Itnl. I loathed Bushco as ardently as anyone, since I’ve been concerned with Neocolonialist b.s. for years. I see the Responsibility to Protect doctrine as a nifty recolquista ploy, as do many.
    On issues of private property, land use rights, net freedom, 4th and 2nd Amendments… I’m conservative. Most farmers are. I’m here because I’m NOT a racist, white supremist, bunker dwelling loon. And I don’t wish to be identified with them.

  • Octane

    I like people like Inn Fidel (the clever name schema alone shouts originality) they clearly show how the right functions, namely in that they choose to be ignorant, they choose not to self reflect despite evidence showing contrary to their beliefs and their fervored zeal and hate for all things Muslims.

    The main point here is that there is no self reflection. The few that do are enlightened to the ways of their governments perpetual war against the world. But most Americans even the most liberal ones will not acknowledge it. Really when it comes to it if Muslims are the enemy they are made out to be and are trying to take over the country and the world one has to ask why is there such a push from Christian zealots for a good Christian President? Why do you need to see him praying? Going to church? Why cant he be an atheist? Why do you have Pat Robertson praying for God to anoint politicians with victory because of their Christianity?

    The fact is Christian Right Wing Fundoterrorists are the ones pushing for it. They are also the ones pushing for war varied wars in the Middle East to hasten a religious apocalypse and call forth the rapture.

    Lets look at another angle. World domination where Muslims are supposedly taking over. Easy question what country has the most military bases around the world? Which country out of the western world has been in the most active militarily both overtly and covertly in the past 20 years? From Panama to Africa to the Middle East to South Asia to the Pacific?

    The US has sent more boots on the ground to more countries for securing natural resources than any Muslim/Islamic nation. I don’t remember Pakistan invading Africa or Saudi Arabia jumping to control Panama.
    And when for that matter do any of these countries as bad as some may be sending out Drones and killing civilians day after day who have done no harm to anyone?

    People on the right like to pontificate with great gusto and zeal about how great America is. America used to be great. It was better when right wing zealots and the uneducated were a minority and when Law, Justice, Honor and Truth actually meant introspection without bias.

    But that is not the case now. Those days are long gone and alas we are left dealing with people parroting unsupported truths and afraid to call a spade a spade. Inn-Fin here is the canary in the cave of things to come, unless of an intelligentsia tide can rise up smack back the small minded bigots.


    Oh and cool article


  • @inn fidel No amount of deflection and denial on your part and other white bigots will hide the fact that what journalist Leornard Pitts said is absolutely true.

  • Crow

    Right wingers wont disown right wing violence because there are no moderate right wingers (by right wingers I dont mean republicdn or even conservatives, Im talking about the teabagger scum). Its just like the right wing zionist scum that celebrated the earthquake in Iran that killed innocent Irainians or rub their hands togather and salivate over an attack on Iran then are outraged when Iran answers back with violent aggressive rhetoric. Right wingers zionest or otherwise are basically racist, bigoted fascists

  • @Emperor

    Hopefully, he’ll get what he wants. We really need to look at the reality of the situation.

  • mindy1

    Wonderfully stated sir.

  • Beautifully put! Thanks Loonwatch/Emperor for posting this spot on column by Leonard Pitts.

    The only thing he failed to mention is when the Department of Homeland Security, early on in the Obama administration warned of right-wing extremism, the Republicans in Congress had a fit which did have a cooling effect on Homeland Security’s efforts.

    These people are not just crazy. They are also consumers of right-wing hate groups and websites that, in my opinion, are trolling for assassins.

    Thanks again!

  • Inn Fidel

    Nice article equating terrorists with American conservatives and, as always, quoting the SPLC. I love this site, but folks here are so far behind the curve it’s truly sad.

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