The nightmare in Austin, Texas is finally over, as the psycho behind the bombings that plagued the city these past three weeks blew himself up as police cornered him in his vehicle.
We know little about the Austin bomber. He was 23 years old, white, and unemployed. His name and face have been made public, but we as a society should not feed the fame he desperately desired or inspire other sociopaths by giving him notoriety.
But since his identity has been known, many on social media immediately labeled him as a “terrorist.” Even Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera called his string of bombings “terrorism.” So why is there this sudden rush to call him a terrorist? Well, there could be two reasons.
The first reason could be the ignorance of what terrorism actually is, or at least how the U.S. government defines it. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations says terrorism is “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” In other words, there has to be some sort of political or social motivation behind an attack in order to fit the legal definition of terrorism.
It has been reported that the bomber recorded a 25-minute video “confession” on his cell phone of him describing each bomb he constructed, but authorities say he did not include his motivation for making them. So until his motivation is discovered, what happened in Austin wasn’t terrorism, and if he were alive today, he wouldn’t be charged as a terrorist.
The second reason some automatically labeled the bomber a terrorist could be an effort of political correctness. Ever since 9/11, Islamic extremists have monopolized how many of us interpret terrorism. Whether it’s the shooting at a nightclub in Orlando or at a Christmas party in San Bernardino or driving a truck down a bike path in New York City, they were all defined as terrorism because there were political motivations behind those attacks, for all of which the Islamic State took responsibility.
However, there’s this continuous fear, particularly on the Left, that the general public is incapable of separating Islamic extremists from peaceful, law-abiding Muslims who make up the vast majority of Islam. So to counteract the dozens of attacks committed by Islamic extremists, they attempt to label a bunch of violent white guys “terrorists” as well.
That’s not to say that white terrorists don’t exist, because they certainly do. The monster down in Charlottesville who killed peaceful protestor Heather Heyer was a domestic terrorist. The loon behind the assassination attempt of GOP lawmakers in Alexandria, Virginia was a domestic terrorist. The gunman who attacked a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs in 2015 was a domestic terrorist. The Weather Underground, whose members were white, was a domestic terrorist organization. Note that these are all examples of domestic terrorism, because the political motivations are homegrown while Islamic extremist ideology originates overseas.
If we simplify the definition of a terrorist as “one who terrorizes,” then you can virtually call every serial killer, armed robber, and rapist a “terrorist,” because they all terrorize their victims. The downside to such simplification is that it diminishes actual acts of terrorism. And while all mass shooters and bombers terrorize people, that doesn’t necessarily make them terrorists.
At the end of the day, the truth may be too hard for some to handle. They’d rather dismiss rationality and what’s literally written in our laws because it feels good to call every violent white man a terrorist. But, as Ben Shapiro famously said, facts don’t care about your feelings.