On Sunday morning, I, like you, woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. A crazed gunman killed dozens of people during worship service at a Texas church. It was just a month ago that Stephen Paddock literally sprayed hundreds of concert goers in Las Vegas with a stockpile of automatic firearms, killing over 50 and injuring close to 500.
A little over a week ago, 8 people died and nearly a dozen were injured when a man plowed into them with a rented truck along a bicycle path in New York. The driver was shot in the stomach and has survived.
The 9/11 attacks were a huge wake up call, and for many the first time the term “radical Islamic terrorists” registered in the minds of most Americans. Since then, we’ve lived under a constant threat of terrorism. It has changed how we travel, and created a culture of fear and bias against Muslims.
This is unfortunate for those Muslims who just want to live peacefully and raise their families in the U.S. Each report of violent attacks by Muslims only makes race relations between Muslims and other groups much more difficult.
Until the Las Vegas mass shooting, the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history occurred in June 2016 when an ISIS-inspired man opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 53.
We’ve seen numerous attacks in Europe involving suicide bombers aboard trains and car-ramming in crowded areas. These senseless acts of violence would make you believe that terrorism is only tied to ISIS. But the truth is more terrorist acts in the U.S. have been committed by White American males.
Vox reports, “Between 2001 and 2015, more Americans were killed by homegrown right-wing extremists than by Islamist terrorists, according to a study by New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC.” A June 2017 study by Reveal and the Center for Investigative Reporting concurred the findings.
Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed in attacks by white American men with no connection to religion or Islam. The rise is due, in part, by the other terrorist groups Trump refuses to call out: White Supremacists and Nazi groups in the U.S.
Blaming a particular group may seem irrelevant if you or a loved one becomes a victim of terrorism. You just want justice—regardless of who the perpetrator is. However, until America comes clean about violence in this country, and who is really causing most of it, there can be no real solutions.
After the Paddock incident, authorities kept making the point that he did not fit the profile of a mass killer. They kept looking for links to radical Islam. They wanted to pin the blame on a convenient target, rather than call it domestic terrorism.
If we are to ever succeed in lowering the number of deaths due to gun violence, we must get real. First, stop trying to pin all terrorist attacks on ISIS or al-Qeda; second, stop acting surprised when a white man is responsible (It’s how they took over this country in the first place); and third, keep pushing lawmakers until we get some common sense gun control legislation passed. How many have to die needlessly? It’s ridiculous!
Americans can be terrorists too. It’s not rocket science.
But here at home, the bigger threat has come from a very different kind of attacker, one with no ties to religion generally or Islamist extremism specifically.
Here are just a few of the attacks that have occurred in 2017:
•Sunday night, a 64-year-old white man from Nevada opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 and wounding more than 200.
•In August, a 20-year-old white Nazi sympathizer from Ohio sped his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a woman and injuring at least 19 others.
•In June, a 66-year-old white man from Illinois shot at Republican Congress members during an early morning baseball practice, severely wounding several people including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House of Representatives Majority Whip.
•In March 2017, a 28-year-old white man from Baltimore traveled to New York City with the explicit aim of killing black men. He stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman to death and was charged with terrorism by New York state authorities.
•In May, a 35-year-old white man from Oregon named Jeremy Joseph Christian began harassing Muslim teenagers on a train in Portland, telling them “We need Americans here!” Two men interceded; Christian then stabbed and killed them both.
When President Donald Trump signed his since-revised executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, he claimed it was to protect Americans from “radical Islamic terrorists.”
“We don’t want ‘em here,” Trump told reporters at the Pentagon, where he signed the order in January.
The threat of terrorism by ISIS and al-Qaeda leaders prompted Trump to call for travel ban against 7 Muslim countries.
White American men are a bigger domestic terrorist threat than Muslim foreigners
Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners