Are You Labeling Your Terrorists Correctly?

I remember hearing someone say back in the Reagan days, I think it was a reference to the contras. “The only difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist is who you ask.” I always liked that one, justification is in the eye of the beholder.

Fast forward 30 years and, at first glance, you might think most people now generally all agree on who the terrorists are. We’ve certainly all seen those horrible images of planes, buildings, buses, trains, hotels, and other public places turned to mayhem when someone or some group of people unleash their master plan on the unsuspecting public.

But, as with most right-wing paradigms, those on the Right in charge of labeling people only label those outside of our WASP culture as terrorists when the killing occurs. If it’s a white guy or group, he/they are described as mentally ill, deranged, had a history of blah, blah, blah…etc.; but not quite a terrorist.

Why? Here’s my take on it: Nowadays we like to refer to our terrorists as “Muslim terrorists”- evil doers that, somehow, were put under a spell by that book of dark magic, the Qur’an, ready to fulfill its explicit instructions to destroy ‘Merica and all that is WASP and good. I won’t even go into the many levels of idiocy involved in that mindset, that’s for another blog.

However, I would like to point out the hypocrisy within the idiocy.

I’m sure, in the minds of the terrorists, they are acting in good faith toward their religious beliefs which they have twisted from the mainstream into some kind of rationalization to do others harm. This is certainly NOT unique to Islam.

Just this morning a guy was arrested in Spain for plotting to kill protesters attending the Popes’ visit, he’s a Catholic Terrorist.

Let’s take Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian guy who killed all the kids at the camp. Using this same naming convention for terrorists, Mr. Breivik is a Christian Terrorist. He is a well-known right-wing Christian conservative who acted on his belief system. He is, no matter how you slice it, a Christian Terrorist.

I’ve run that phrase by a few righties and they wince involuntarily when I say it, but have a hard time arguing with the logic. (As they always do.)

Don’t get me wrong, my definition would be: if you cause terror, you are a terrorist; I don’t care why you did it. As many have noted before me, it is ironic that the majority of terrorism is rooted in religious fanaticism of one flavor or another. However ironic, I think it is certainly explainable. If someone is so impressionable that they could be neck-deep in any organized religion it wouldn’t surprise me that they could go the few extra steps and go right off the cliff.

In the end, my takeaway is this: label your terrorists for what they are. Terrorism rooted in religious fanaticism is an equal-opportunity mental illness, not prone to only one religion.

Edited By: Alexis Atherton