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How Come It's Not Terrorism When a White Guy from the South Does It?

Posted by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 2:18 AM
  • 111 Replies



New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pictured in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on February 14, 2013. Bloomberg said Sunday he will invest $12 million in a nationwide ad campaign to counter the powerful US gun lobby and rally support for background checks

 

In late May, a threatening letter laced with the deadly chemical ricin was sent from Shreveport, Louisiana, to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a response to the mayor’s outspoken support for stricter gun control laws. Two identical letters, also containing the lethal substance, were addressed to both President Barack Obama and the head of the Washington D.C. lobbying group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is managed and funded by Bloomberg himself.

The contents of the letters are clearly the work of a right-wing gun nut and readas follows: “You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional, god-given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die. What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.”

Despite lethally targeting civilians and non-military officials far from any active battlefield, no one is referring to these acts as terrorism. Not the press, not political pundits, not the intended victims. No one.

In fact, Bloomberg himself was nonplussed by the whole ordeal, tellingreporters on May 30, “I’m not angry. There are people who I would argue do things that may be irrational, do things that are wrong, but it’s a very complex world out there and we just have to deal with that.”

Yes, Mike, it is a very complex world. This world is so complex, in fact, that an easily identifiable act of terrorism isn’t considered terrorism for one simple reason: it probably wasn’t committed by a Muslim, but rather by some white guy in the South.

Clearly, while white guys who send murderous mail are merely acting irrationally and doing something wrong, potential violence by members of the Muslim faith present a singular threat to our civilized society. So much so, in fact, that Michael Bloomberg himself believes our own laws and the bedrock of that very society are not good enough to defend against such a scourge to humanity.

In April, following the horrific Boston Marathon bombing, Bloomberg declared that the American obsession with privacy, civil rights and basic freedoms were antiquated and trite when compared to the dire threat posed by hypothetical barbarian hordes of “Islamists.”

At a press conference at the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, Bloomberg said, “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry. But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”

Yes, how complex it is. So complex that, although a 2010 study by Duke University and the University of North Carolina found that Islamic terrorism accounted for only six percent of all terrorist attacks in the United States between 1980 and 2005 while a 2012 analysis by the Center for American Progress reported that a whopping“[f]ifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists,” Michael Bloomberg has made it his duty to illegally spy on and harass Muslim communities in the New York Metro area.

Bloomberg has presided over a massive, illegal covert domestic surveillance and ethno-religious profiling program that have targeted, alienated and traumatized Muslims throughout the Northeast, despite the fact that, following the September 11, 2001 attacks, more Americans have been killed in right-wing terrorist plots than byIslamic terrorists.

“NYPD surveillance has impacted every facet of American Muslim life,” explains Nermeen Arastu, a volunteer attorney with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), which co-authored a March 2013report entitled, “Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and Its Impact on American Muslims.”

“The program has stifled speech, communal life and religious practice and criminalized a broad segment of American Muslims,” Arastu added, “The isolationism that comes with being a ‘spied on’ community means that American Muslims are getting a fundamentally inferior opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights.”

But, for Mayor Mike, just because a white guy tries to kill you by post doesn’t mean white people in general deserve to be spied on, rounded up, marginalized, and profiled. Keep calm and carry on, he says. These things happen.

Last week, on Chris Jansing’s MSNBC show, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page said it was “probably not fair to taint the entire gun rights movement with the actions of this disturbing letter because there is a serious debate and two sides to it when it comes to the issue of guns.” Jansing agreed. “Yeah, and it’s unfortunate that, for a few, it comes to this,” she said.

Not fair, she said. Unfortunate, she said.

Just last year, Bloomberg defended his Muslim surveillance program, claiming, “Everything the NYPD has done is legal, it is appropriate, it is constitutional,” and, unsurprisingly, by invoking that sacred strawman: 9/11. “We have not forgotten the lesson of that terrible day on 9/11,” he insisted, sanctimoniously adding, “We have to keep this country safe. … Remind yourself when you turn out the light tonight.”

Bloomberg’s insistence that, “We don’t target individuals based on race or religion. We follow leads,” is fascinating because, just six months after he said this, an Associated Press report on court testimony by the NYPD stated, “In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation.”

But Bloomberg’s targeting of Muslims isn’t his only method of rooting out the evil that lurks in the hearts of brown and black men. A month ago, the billionaire mayor defended his racistStop-and-Frisk policy by invoking – what else? – the ever-looming conversation-ender: the constant scourge and fear of terrorism.

“Look at what’s happened in Boston,” he said. “Remember what happened here on 9/11. Remember all of those who’ve been killed by gun violence and the families they left behind.”

Again he even claimed that our own laws and efforts not to discriminate against certain communities are making us less safe. “God forbid terrorists succeed in striking our city because of a politically driven law that undermines the N.Y.P.D.’s intelligence-gathering efforts,” he said.

Even the editors of the New York Times were unmoved by Bloomberg’s fear-mongering defense of racial profiling. “Mayor Michael Bloomberg trotted out shopworn, discredited arguments this week,” they wrote, “while defending the constitutionally suspect police program under which hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers have been detained and questioned on the streets every year.”

They note, “[G]uns were seized in only 0.15 percent of all stops. In addition, only 5.4 percent of all stops resulted in an arrest, and about 6 percent led to a summons. This means that in nearly 90 percent of cases, the citizens who were stopped were doing nothing illegal. In some cases, prosecutors declined to automatically prosecute arrests made in connection with the program because they knew that the stops were illegal.”

In 2011, 84 percent of all those stopped under the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk rampage were black and Hispanic, despite respectively representing 23 and 29 percent of New York City’s total population.

Under Michael Bloomberg’s reign, minority communities have been collectively punished for the criminal actions of a few. In his complex world, blacks and Latinos are all potential gun-toting killers, while all Muslims are jihadists-in-training. Yet, an actual gun-toting lunatic who actually tries to murder Bloomberg is an anomaly, an aberration, nothing to be concerned with. Simply something “we just have to deal with.”

But call it terrorism? No, never. Not if the perpetrator is white and not Muslim.

Glenn Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer and currently a columnist for The Guardian, has been addressingthis double standard for years. “Terrorism,” he writes, “is simultaneously the single most meaningless and most manipulated word in the American political lexicon. The term now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity. It has really come to mean: ‘a Muslim who fights against or even expresses hostility towards the United States, Israel and their allies.’”

So while the NYPD continues to terrorize minority communities and the FBI continues to foil phony Muslim terror plots that it itself devisesplans and funds, rest assured that all the well-armed and well-represented white folks in our noble nation will continue to live free from suspicion, scrutiny and surveillance no matter how muchpostal poison some of them send and how many mass shootings some of them carry out.

Maybe it’s not complex after all, maybe it’s just complexion. Remember that when you turn off the light tonight.

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog, Wide Asleep in America. He tweets @WideAsleepNima.

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City. His analysis of United States foreign policy and Middle East issues is published on his website, Wide Asleep in America.com

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 2:18 AM
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Replies (1-10):
JP-StrongForTwo
by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 2:37 AM
2 moms liked this

IMO america is racist (as a whole) its sad but true. We all wish it was other wise. One half wants to hold non whites (all non whites, not just blacks) on a pedastool, the other half wants to hold whites up high. 

Either way, both sides are racist. 

(again, in general, lol, of course most average every day person is not racist. but enough are, and a lot of our government is) 

grandmab125
by Gold Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:04 AM
4 moms liked this

 Get off your soap box, and get up to date before you post an obviously incorrect article.  It wasn't some right wing guy.  It was some little known actress.  She claims her husband made her send them.  But who knows, since she reported him as the one who sent them, maybe it was all just a plot to get rid of her husband by having him arrested and sent to prison for the rest of his life.

Texas actress charged with sending ricin letters to Obama, Bloomberg

SAN ANTONIO, Tx. | Fri Jun 7, 2013 5:04pm EDT

SAN ANTONIO, Tx.(Reuters) - An actress who tried to blame her husband for sending ricin-laced letters to U.S. President Barack Obamaand New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been arrested in Texas after confessing to sending the letters herself, prosecutors said.

The actress, 35-year-old Shannon Rogers Guess Richardson of New Boston, Texas, was charged on Friday in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas with mailing a threatening communication. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, according to federal prosecutors.

Richardson, who has played minor roles on TV programs including The Walking Dead, could not immediately be reached for comment. A lawyer for Richardson's husband, who the FBI had initially investigated, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. The couple lives in New Boston, a small town about 150 miles northeast of Dallas, near the borders of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The letters, sent last month, made threatening references related to the U.S. debate on gun control. A third letter, also containing ricin, was sent to the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by Bloomberg that lobbies for stricter gun laws.

The letters read, in part, "You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face," according to court papers filed on Friday.

The woman had told investigators in Shreveport, Louisiana, that her husband, Nathaniel David Richardson, had sent the letters and also said she was afraid that he would try to poison her, according to court papers.

When investigators questioned her husband, he denied any role in sending the letters and blamed his wife. On Thursday, she confessed to investigators that she mailed the letters, according to court papers.

Emergency workers who came in contact with the letters initially showed minor symptoms of ricin exposure, officials said.

"Fortunately, neither Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama, the director of the Mayors Committee Against Illegal Guns, nor those who processed the ricin-laced mail incurred serious illness or injury," said New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in a statement praising the arrest.

Ricin is a lethal poison found naturally in castor beans, but it takes a deliberate act to convert it into a biological weapon. Ricin can cause death within 36 to 72 hours from exposure to an amount as small as a pinhead. No known antidote exists.

A computer owned by the Richardsons showed signs of searches on recent ricin letters sent from Tupelo, Mississippi, which police believe to be an unrelated incited.

A Mississippi martial arts instructor earlier this week pleaded not guilty to charges he sent ricin-laced letters to Obama and other public officials.

(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Phil Berlowitz and David Gregorio)

 

Aestas
by Gold Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 5:00 AM
7 moms liked this

Islamic terrorism accounted for only six percent of all terrorist attacks in the United States between 1980 and 2005.

Repeating this because it's worth repeating.

Aestas
by Gold Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 5:04 AM
7 moms liked this

So? Shannon Rogers Guess Richardson is white. The fact that she sent the letters doesn't change anything about the fundamental points made in the OP.

Quoting grandmab125:

 Get off your soap box, and get up to date before you post an obviously incorrect article.  It wasn't some right wing guy.  It was some little known actress.  She claims her husband made her send them.  But who knows, since she reported him as the one who sent them, maybe it was all just a plot to get rid of her husband by having him arrested and sent to prison for the rest of his life.

JLo1486
by Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 5:08 AM
8 moms liked this
I missed the part where Timothy Mcveigh wasn't white. Or a terrorist. Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph too.
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Aestas
by Gold Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM

BUMP!

AdrianneHill
by Ruby Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:01 PM
1 mom liked this
Those wacky white kids and their weapons of death. It's just them feeling their oats I'm sure. No need to ruin their whole lives for a series of simple mistakes, right? Ricin falling into envelopes addressed to public officials every damn day.
tooptimistic
by Kelly on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:07 PM
3 moms liked this

It is hard to take propaganda from an Iranian magazine editor seriously.

SherryBerry106
by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:08 PM

 

Even if that were true - are you Pro- Islamic terrorism?

Quoting Aestas:

Islamic terrorism accounted for only six percent of all terrorist attacks in the United States between 1980 and 2005.

Repeating this because it's worth repeating.


 

nanama9
by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Ricin letters sent to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg

Two letters, one sent to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the nonprofit started by Michael Bloomberg, found to contain ricinThursday 30 May 2013 04.55 EDT

 Letters containing ricin sent to NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Both letters contained threats to Michael Bloomberg and an oily pinkish-orange substance, according to reports. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

Two threatening letters sent to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg contained traces of the deadly poison ricin, police said on Wednesday.

The anonymous letters were opened in New York on Friday at the city's mail facility in Manhattan and in Washington on Sunday at an office used by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the nonprofit started by Bloomberg. Chief New York police spokesman Paul Browne said preliminary testing done on Wednesday indicated the presence of ricin in both letters.

The people who initially came into contact with the letters showed no symptoms of exposure to the poison, but three officers who later examined the New York letter experienced some minor symptoms that have since abated, police said.

Both the letters contained threats to Bloomberg and an oily pinkish-orange substance, Browne said. He would not comment on what specific threats were made or where the letters were postmarked.

Word of the letters comes as a 37-year-old man is charged in Washington state with sending the toxin in letters to a federal judge, and about a month after letters containing the substance were addressed to President Barack Obama, a US senator and a Mississippi judge. A Mississippi man was arrested in that case.

Police said the letter in Washington, DC, was opened by Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He was working out of a lobbying firm office.

A mayor's spokesman also speaking for the nonprofit said he had no comment.

Federal officials were investigating. Browne would not say whether the letters were believed to be linked to any other recent ricin cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, vomiting and redness on the skin depending on how the affected person comes into contact with the poison.

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