Current Affairs

The Christian terrorist you didn’t hear About

Daily Beast

Did you hear about the man who entered New Orleans’ airport with explosives and a machete? No? Well, you would have if he’d been Muslim.
A Muslim American man carrying a duffel bag that holds six homemade explosives, a machete, and poison spray travels to a major U.S. airport. The man enters the airport, approaches the TSA security checkpoint, and then sprays two TSA officers with the poison. He then grabs his machete and chases another TSA officer with it.

This Muslim man is then shot and killed by the police. After the incident, a search of the attacker’s car by the police reveals it contained acetylene and oxygen tanks, two substances that, when mixed together, will yield a powerful explosive.

If this scenario occurred, there’s zero doubt that this would be called a terrorist attack. Zero. It would make headlines across the country and world, and we would see wall-to-wall cable news coverage for days. And, of course, certain right-wing media outlets, many conservative politicians, and Bill Maher would use this event as another excuse to stoke the flames of hate toward Muslims.

Well, last Friday night, this exact event took place at the New Orleans airport—that is, except for one factual difference: The attacker was not Muslim. Consequently, you might be reading about this brazen assault for the first time here, although this incident did receive a smattering of media coverage over the weekend.

The man who commited this attack was Richard White, a 63-year-old formerArmy serviceman who has long been retired and living on Social Security and disability checks. He was reportedly a devout Jehovah’s Witness.

Given the facts that a man armed with explosives and weapons traveled to an airport and only attacked federal officers, you would think that the word “terrorism” would at least come up as a possibility, right?  But it’s not even mentioned.

Instead, law enforcement was quick to chalk this incident up to the attacker’s alleged “mental health issues.” That was pretty amazing police work considering this conclusion came within hours of the attack. There was no mention by police that they had even explored whether White had issues with the federal government stemming from his military service, if there was any evidence he held anti-government views, etc.

Perhaps Mr. White truly was mentally ill. Interviews with his neighbors, however, don’t even give us a hint that he had mental problems. Rather they described White as a “meek” and “kind” man who a few had spoken to just days before the incident and everything seemed fine. You would think these neighbors would at least note that White had a history of mental illness if it was so apparent.

Now I’m not saying definitively that I believe Mr. White was a terrorist. My point is twofold. One is that if White had been a Muslim, the investigation into his motivation by the media and maybe even the police would have essentially been over once his faith had been ascertained. If a Muslim does anything wrong, it’s assumed to be terrorism. (Apparently we Muslims can’t be mentally ill.)

In contrast, when a non-Muslim engages in a violent attack, even on federal government employees, law enforcement and the media immediately look to the person’s mental history, not possible terrorist motivations.

No wonder so many parrot the line, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” When the press uses the word terrorism only in connection with the actions of Muslims, the average person would assume that’s the case. However, as I have written about before, in recent years overwhelmingly the terrorist attacks in United States and Europe have been committed by non-Muslims.

My second point is that this could have in fact been act of terrorism. White clearly targeted only the TSA officers. He didn’t assault others in the airport, such as the passengers waiting on line at the security checkpoint. And for those unfamiliar, there has been a great deal of animus directed at the TSA by some conservatives and libertarians. Simply Google the words “stop the TSA” and you will see pages of articles denouncing the TSA as an organization hell bent on depriving Americans of our liberty.

For example, Alex Jones’ Infowars website is filled with anti-TSA articles claiming that the TSA’s goal is not to prevent terrorism but to “harass” travelers and get into “our pants.” Glen Beck warned in the past that the TSA was potentially becoming President Obama’s “private army” with the goal being to take away our liberties.

And in 2012, Senator Rand Paul lashed out against the TSA for what he viewed as the agency’s improper treatment of him. In fact after the incident, Paul penned an op-ed denouncing the TSA, writing that “it is infuriating that this agency feels entitled to revoke our civil liberties while doing little to keep us safe.”

Even more alarmingly, the attacks on the TSA have not been limited to words. In October 2012, Paul Ciancia traveled to LAX, where he took out a rifle from his bag and shot two TSA officers, killing one. Ciancia had written anti-government tracts in the past and was—to little media fanfare—actually charged months later with anact of terrorism.

Given this climate, how can the police not even mention that they investigated the possibility of terrorism and ruled it out? I spoke with Colonel Fortunato, the spokesperson for Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office, which is the agency in charge of the investigation. Fortunato explained that due to state law, they couldn’t release any additional information regarding White’s mental illness or reveal information regarding any treatment he may or may not have undergone.

When I asked Fortunato if they had investigated White’s digital footprint to ascertain whether he had visited any anti-government websites or had searched his residence to see if he possessed an anti-government literature or made or written anti-government statements, he gave me what sounded like a boiler plate response that the investigation has revealed no affiliation to any outside groups. Fortunato expressed his confidence that White had acted alone and that no ties to any terror groups. But he added that we will never truly know what motivated White given he died before being questioned.

But part of me actually believes that there are some in the media and law enforcement who prefer to use the term terrorism only when it applies to a Muslim.

Why? Because it’s easy to do. Muslims are viewed by many as the “other,” not as fellow Americans. But discussing domestic terrorism carried out by fellow Americans is at best, uncomfortable, and at worst, undermines the narrative that some in our country have a vested interest in advancing.

I’m not sure what will change this mindset, but if we want to truly keep Americans safe, law enforcement and the media need to understand that terrorism is not just a Muslim thing.

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3 replies »

  1. Jehovah’s Witness religion is NOT Christian?

    The answer to the question is, “No. It is not Christian.” Like all non-Christian cults, the Jehovah’s Witness’ organization distorts the essential doctrines of Christianity. It denies the deity of Christ, His physical resurrection, and salvation by grace. These make it non-Christian. In addition, to support its erring doctrines, the Watchtower organization (which is the author and teacher of all official Jehovah’s Witness’ theology) has altered the Bible to make it agree with its changing and non-Christian teachings.

    Typical with cults that use the Bible to support its position is a host of interpretive errors:

    – Taking verses out of their immediate context. – Refusing to read verses in the entire biblical context. – Inserting their theological presuppositions into the text. – Altering the Biblical text to suit their needs. – Latching onto one verse to interpret a host of others. – Changing the meanings of words. – Proclaiming some passages to be figurative when they contradict their doctrines. – Adding to the Word of God.

    Additionally, the Jehovah’s Witness’ organization requires of its members regular weekly attendance at their “Bible Study” meetings where they are repeatedly indoctrinated with anti-Christian teachings. This is done by reading the Watchtower magazine, following along with what it says, reading the questions it asks, and reciting the answers it gives. In other words, the Watchtower Organization carefully trains its members to let the Organization do their thinking for them. For confirmation of this, please read Does the Watchtower organization control the JW’s thinking?

    The Witnesses are told they will be persecuted when they go door-to-door teaching their doctrines. They are further told that this is simply the enemy fighting against God’s organization because they are in “the truth.” So, when someone disagrees with them, they are conditioned to reflect on what the Watchtower has told them. They then feel confirmed in being in God’s true organization on earth (like all cults claim). They are strongly encouraged to have friends and acquaintances that are only JW’s, thereby keeping outside examination to a minimum. They are told to shun those who leave their group, for in this way there is no way to see why someone has left and no way to find out that they are in error from those who have found the truth in Christ. They are conditioned to shy away from any real biblically knowledgeable person. An example of this is frequently found on the Internet. I was once banned from a Jehovah’s Witness’ chat room after I not only answered their objections to the Trinity and deity of Christ but also challenged them in return. Subsequently, my name was passed around to all other Jehovah’s Witness’ rooms where I was banned from them as well. This is a frequent occurrence on the Internet where the Jehovah’s Witnesses are alive and well. It is obvious that critical examination of their doctrines is not encouraged by the Watchtower Organization.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves to be Christians because they believe they are serving the true and living God. Like many cults, they think they are the only true church on earth. Yet, they deny the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the personhood of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ physical resurrection, and salvation by grace through faith.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses are discouraged from looking into Jehovah’s Witness’ history or old Watchtower literature which is replete with contradictions, altered doctrines, and false prophecies. Instead, they are indoctrinated repeatedly against basic Christian doctrines (Trinity, deity of Christ, etc.,) and into the notion that they alone are the true servants of God and that all others are either in “Christendom” or simply unbelievers.

    Primarily, the Jehovah’s Witness’ organization is a mind-control organization that uses its people to pass out literature and send in “donations” to the headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

    “Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization and not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible.”1

    The Watchtower organization of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a non-Christian organization that uses its people to promulgate false doctrines, collects “contributions” for distribution of a multitudinous amount of literature, and expands its grip into the lives of its members and their families.

    It is a non-Christian cult.

  2. JWs HAVE MORE IN COMMON WITH ISLAM

    Jehovah’s Witness religion is NOT Christian?

    The answer to the question is, “No. It is not Christian.” Like all non-Christian cults, the Jehovah’s Witness’ organization distorts the essential doctrines of Christianity. It denies the deity of Christ, His physical resurrection, and salvation by grace. These make it non-Christian. In addition, to support its erring doctrines, the Watchtower organization (which is the author and teacher of all official Jehovah’s Witness’ theology) has altered the Bible to make it agree with its changing and non-Christian teachings.

    Typical with cults that use the Bible to support its position is a host of interpretive errors:

    Taking verses out of their immediate context.
    Refusing to read verses in the entire biblical context.
    Inserting their theological presuppositions into the text.
    Altering the Biblical text to suit their needs.
    Latching onto one verse to interpret a host of others.
    Changing the meanings of words.
    Proclaiming some passages to be figurative when they contradict their doctrines.
    Adding to the Word of God.

    Additionally, the Jehovah’s Witness’ organization requires of its members regular weekly attendance at their “Bible Study” meetings where they are repeatedly indoctrinated with anti-Christian teachings. This is done by reading the Watchtower magazine, following along with what it says, reading the questions it asks, and reciting the answers it gives. In other words, the Watchtower Organization carefully trains its members to let the Organization do their thinking for them. For confirmation of this, please read Does the Watchtower organization control the JW’s thinking?

    The Witnesses are told they will be persecuted when they go door-to-door teaching their doctrines. They are further told that this is simply the enemy fighting against God’s organization because they are in “the truth.” So, when someone disagrees with them, they are conditioned to reflect on what the Watchtower has told them. They then feel confirmed in being in God’s true organization on earth (like all cults claim). They are strongly encouraged to have friends and acquaintances that are only JW’s, thereby keeping outside examination to a minimum. They are told to shun those who leave their group, for in this way there is no way to see why someone has left and no way to find out that they are in error from those who have found the truth in Christ. They are conditioned to shy away from any real biblically knowledgeable person. An example of this is frequently found on the Internet. I was once banned from a Jehovah’s Witness’ chat room after I not only answered their objections to the Trinity and deity of Christ but also challenged them in return. Subsequently, my name was passed around to all other Jehovah’s Witness’ rooms where I was banned from them as well. This is a frequent occurrence on the Internet where the Jehovah’s Witnesses are alive and well. It is obvious that critical examination of their doctrines is not encouraged by the Watchtower Organization.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves to be Christians because they believe they are serving the true and living God. Like many cults, they think they are the only true church on earth. Yet, they deny the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the personhood of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ physical resurrection, and salvation by grace through faith.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses are discouraged from looking into Jehovah’s Witness’ history or old Watchtower literature which is replete with contradictions, altered doctrines, and false prophecies. Instead, they are indoctrinated repeatedly against basic Christian doctrines (Trinity, deity of Christ, etc.,) and into the notion that they alone are the true servants of God and that all others are either in “Christendom” or simply unbelievers.

    Primarily, the Jehovah’s Witness’ organization is a mind-control organization that uses its people to pass out literature and send in “donations” to the headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

    “Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization and not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible.”1

    The Watchtower organization of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a non-Christian organization that uses its people to promulgate false doctrines, collects “contributions” for distribution of a multitudinous amount of literature, and expands its grip into the lives of its members and their families.

    It is a non-Christian cult.

  3. WHITE DIDN’T SHOUT “JEHOVAH AKBAR” or “ALLAH AKBAR”!

    TERRORISTS ALWAYS HAVE A MOTIVE – SICK MEN JUST WANT TO DIE!

    “DEATH BY COP” IS WELL KNOWN IN AMERICA!

    ITS WHERE THE SUCIDE MINDED PERSON USES THE COPS TO KILL HIM!

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