I Had Really Underestimated White, Christian Privilege

Consider the cases of Joseph Stack and Amy Bishop, who crashed a plane into an office building while 200 people were inside, and who shot up a bunch of colleagues at a faculty meaning, respectively.

Because I’m an arabist and I’m dead tired of seeing Islam being tied to terrorism, I’m going to point out that both of these characters have inherently Christian names. Yet there are no pundits proclaiming, “As soon as I heard the name ‘Joseph,’ I knew it was Christian violence,” or “What else would you expect from someone named ‘Bishop‘?” The news doesn’t bother to report on their church attendance, their church background or lack of it, or how many times a day they might have uttered the damning phrase, “Jesus Christ!” which we all know translates to “I’m going to kill you,” just like “Allahu akbar” does.

Amy Bishop shot her brother dead with a shotgun, brandished the shotgun at a stranger, and still managed to get a pretigious job and the respect of society and her peers. Joe Stack is actually being praised by various personalities. Yes, after the fact! A case in point is this archetypal white man over at Renew America (I will not be linking to it), as discussed on World-O-Crap:

This week, Chuck [Baldwin] examines the case of an Austin, Texas man who deliberately crashed a private plane into an office building, and points out that the real tragedy is the loss of a potential Chuck Baldwin voter.

These are Chuck Baldwin’s words:

In what was obviously a reference to what he was about to do, he wrote, “Nothing changes unless there is a body count.” … Stack wrapped up his manifesto by saying, “Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”

My heart goes out to Joe Stack! … We all share Joe Stack’s pain!

Chuck Baldwin, of course, is just a moron, but our newly-elected senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, who drives a truck, also expressed sympathy for Joe Stack’s position. Just as if he hadn’t committed an act of terrorism on US soil. From the Washington Monthly:

And while I have no real interest in the “debate” over the killer’s bizarre ideology, I couldn’t help but notice that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) seems to think he can relate to the deranged suicide bomber at some level.

Appearing on Fox News soon after Stack flew an airplane into a building, Brown told the national television audience that he “feels for the families” affected by the attack. In the next breath, however, the senator added:

“I don’t know if it’s related but I can just sense not only in my election, but since being here in Washington, people are frustrated. They want transparency. They want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things affecting their daily lives. So I am not sure if there is a connection, I certainly hope not, but we need to do things better.”

Brown added that an incident like the one in Austin is “extreme,” but added, “No one likes paying taxes obviously.”

So, let me get this straight. An anti-government nut flies an airplane into a building and Scott Brown thinks the incident reminds him of … his own campaign? Indeed, Brown almost seems to be rationalizing the actions of a domestic terrorist, as if Stack’s murders can be understood if we just appreciate how “frustrated” people are.

As for the ubiquitous unnamed officials, they rushed to assure the world that a man intentionally flying a plane into an occupied office building during the workday was something other than terrorism. After all, it’s not like he was brown.

The building set on fire by Stack’s suicide flight was still burning Thursday afternoon when officials confidently stood before reporters and said the crash wasn’t an act of terrorism, but others look at Stack’s actions and fail to understand how he differs from foreign perpetrators of political violence who are routinely labeled “terrorists.”

joe Joseph stack terrorist terror terrorism crash suicide irs building 200

The not-a-terror-attack aftermath

But a Muslim guy doing the same thing? Hoo boy. And even more so if he had uttered a prayer or spoken to a preacher recently.

The Christian Science Monitor believes it has neatly explained away why Joseph Stack’s attack is not terrorism but Nidal Hasan’s attack is:

But the pattern of the attack – including that Mr. Stack apparently lit his house on fire beforehand – fits less into the mold of a terror conspiracy and more neatly into a profile of the solo-flying rebel with a personal beef, the details of which are fueled by partisan rhetoric and current events.

A personal beef fueled by partisan rhetoric and current events is totally different when a white Christian does it, duh.

The New York Daily News has an article enumerating some sites and public figures hailing Joseph Stack as a hero.

THE FIRES in Austin were still burning yesterday when the Internet lit up with government haters cheering suicide pilot Joe Stack and calling him a hero.

“Finally an American man took a stand against our tyrannical government that no longer follows the Constitution,” wrote Emily Walters of Louisville, Ky.

Walters was one of at least two dozen people who founded Facebook fan groups to hail the homicidal pilot.

Most had only a tiny handful of members, but hers attracted more than 200 before Facebook removed it.

“Joe Stack, you are a true American Hero and we need more of you to make a stand,” tweeted Greg Lenihan, an engineer in San Diego.

One founder of a Stack fan club on Facebook, Rick Wagner, is a pilot in Minnesota. His “about me” quote, which one hopes is a joke, reads:

“When I go I want to be able to look back and tell all the passengers to quit screaming.”

This Fox News story clears up the identity of the naysaying government officials a little:

The Department of Homeland Security said it did not believe the crash was an act of terrorism.

If the DHS can’t recognize terrorism any better than that, why the hell are we wasting money on them? Hey, DHS, read your own publication:

Second, U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 113B, section 2331(5) provides a definition of domestic terrorism:
[T]he term “domestic terrorism” means activities that— (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Is there anything there saying if a guy with a name like Joseph Stack does it, it isn’t terrorism? Am I missing the “His name must include Muhammad” annex?

Back to Amy Bishop. In 1986 this woman got away with shooting her brother dead with a shotgun! She went on to use the same shotgun rob a car dealership. And look at how the police dealt with this white woman:

Polio, the Braintree police chief at the time, said yesterday that he knew Bishop had to be apprehended at gunpoint, but he said he did not know she had pointed the shotgun at Pettigrew. Polio said he allowed officers to release Bishop on the day of the shooting because the lead investigator, Captain Theodore Buker, told him she was too emotional to interview.

Then in 1993 she apparently got away with an attempt to bomb a rival:

[Huntsville, Alabama, police chief Henry] Reyes confirmed he is working with the FBI to learn more about why Bishop was a suspect in the attempted bombing of Dr. Paul Rosenberg, who received a double-pipe bomb in the mail on Dec. 19, 1993. He ran from his Newton home with his wife, escaping without injury. The bomb never exploded.

“She was quite cavalier about it,” [former colleague Sylvia] Fluckiger said of Bishop’s description of her interview with police. She said Bishop “grinned” as she described being asked by cops whether she’d ever taken stamps off an envelope and fastened them onto something else. “I cannot tell you what the grin meant,” Fluckiger said.

Here’s an abc news report that lightly addresses workplace rampages such as these.

Psychotics like Seung-Hui Cho, the student who who killed 31 at Virginia Tech in 2007, are particularly dangerous.

Killers like Cho view others as inconsequential and often humiliation can set off a psychotic depression that could make a person violent or suicidal, said Galynker.

Those with personality disorders, such as Eric Harris, who went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in 1999, are particularly dangerous.

Not mentioned is Major Nidal Hasan, presumably because too many people would go apoplectic at the idea that he was not an Islamic terrorist carrying out orders directly from al-Qaeda.

——————————————————————-
UPDATE: SulaymanF over at Daily Kos wrote a diary along these same lines here:

With apologies to Professor Cole for plaigarizing his idea, here is what else you will not see in the media:

Thomas Friedman will not write an op-ed for the New York Times about what is wrong with white southern Christian males that they keep producing these terrorists. He will also not ask why Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson are not denouncing Andrew Stack every day at the top of their lungs.

Daniel Pipes will not write a column for the New York Post suggesting that white southern Christians be put in internment camps until it can be determined why they keep producing terrorists and antisemites.

Retired Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney will not go on FOX News and claim that Christian males need to be “strip searched” before boarding airplanes.

The Transportation Security Administration will not announce new, “enhanced screening” tactics at U.S. airports, with a renewed focus on travelers from Southern Red states.

Steve Doocy of morning FOX & Friends will not call for racial profiling of Christians, because “all of the people who try to blow airliners out of the sky pretty much look alike”

And so on.
—————————–
another UPDATE: An enjoyable entry over at Jesus’s General (which sports some terrible Arabic in their banner). From there:

Services for the late Opinion are pending as of this writing, however when they do take place you can be assured they will be white: very, very white. And if you have a small, white child who wants to be a terrorist when he or she grows up, break it gently to the tender soul that such a lofty dream is impossible, explaining patiently that such a child cannot by definition be a terrorist–the best said child might hope for would be to grow up and become a traitor to the nation, and if lucky, a mass murderer to boot.

bad poor inaccurate wrong hosed Arabic Jesus's General

*snicker*


———————-
one more UPDATE: The son of the IRS employee killed by domestic terrorist Joseph Stack says:

“There was just too much going on about what the guy did and what he believed in, and enough’s enough,” he said. “They don’t need to talk about him. Talk about my dad. You know, some people are trying to make this guy out to be a hero, a patriot. My dad served two terms in Vietnam. This guy never served at all. My dad wasn’t responsible for his tax problems.”

—————————————–
UPDATE: Amy Bishop has now been brought up on charges in the shooting death of her brother. Read about it here. (June of 2010)

7 Comments

Filed under arabic, arabist, domestic terrorism

7 responses to “I Had Really Underestimated White, Christian Privilege

  1. On the Stack matter, cf. this morning’s column by Frank Rich:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28rich.html

    He draws some of the same parallels that you do.

    The old Chinese curse has proven true:
    We live in interesting times.

  2. zokilavabe

    Well, naturally you’d be against Stack’s point of view, as you are on the receiving end of the bounty procured by officially sanctioned IRS violence against innocent people.
    http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2010/02/tyrants-torturers-and-taxmen-pillars-of.html

    I guess when you actually want to give *more* money to the government, sympathy for those who just want to keep their own property would be damn hard to come by.

  3. Wow, that’s some link. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Nazi Schutzstaffel are either in cahoots or are in fact THE SAME THING.
    My mind has been blown.

  4. Henry

    There is absolutely no correlation between the actions of Stack and Bishop and an Islamic Fundamentalist who claims to act in the name of his/her God. And if Joe Stack is being praised by certain “personalities” you can sure bet that there were plenty of Muslims who were disappointed that the underwear bomber only burnt his butt.
    Sorry to disappoint you but it’s most likely that the followers of Islam will blow up a jet filled with the infidels.

  5. Mujahideen

    Henry you are a fool. There are many Christian organizations world wide that commit atrocities against humanity. Domestic Christian terrorism happens more often than you’d think or like to believe. Christians have this attitude about them that causes them to disregard logic and reasoning and to allow themselves to be like sheep following a paganistic religion like Christianity, in blind faith. “Christians” are, for the most parts, fideists. They also believe that they are “saved” and that they are not morally obligated to follow the same rules or laws like the rest of us because they have salvation through Jesus’ blood. Such cultists they are. Their rituals are disturbing. Drinking blood and eating flesh – are you cannibals? What’s wrong with you? Who in their right mind needs to eat the flesh of their “god” or drink his blood to be “one” with him? Pagans these Christians are. Christianity is a product of paganism, and ALL of its beliefs and rituals can be traced back to many pagan religions in the Mediterranean region of the world around and before the time of Christ. Christianity is a direct copy of the pagan religion of Mithraism [which refers to Mithra as the lamb and the son of god]. And also Horus from Egyptian myths as well as other greek gods all have similar stories to Jesus of the bible, however they were written and practiced BEFORE Christianity. Sad Christians are such tools.

    Also are you aware of the Christian terrorist organization in India that FORCES PEOPLE TO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY AT GUNPOINT? HOW MANY IRISH TERRORIST GROUPS LIKE THE C.I.R.A and the I.R.A USE BOMBS [car bombs c4 etc] TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR GOALS? IS IT ONLY MUSLIM “TERRORISTS” who use explosives? Our society is filled with double standards and people usually only associate the term terrorism with arabs however, terrorism is something that has been around since the begining of time and will continue until the end of civilization.

    The National Liberation Front of Tripura is a rebel group operating in India and is classified by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism as one of the TEN most active terrorist groups in the world. It has been accused of forcefully converting villagers and tribes to Christianity. Here is a link http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/tripura/terrorist_outfits/nlft.htm

    There are more groups but I feel I have provided enough information for now you silly Christian fool. The REAL terrorists are the ones putting people into a false state of panic and suppressing evidence.

    • peaceful anarchist

      Wow, Mujahideen you use argumentation tactics to include name-calling, belittling and lies. Have you been hanging around an elementary school playground lately? You state that domestic Christian terrorism happens more often than people would like to think and then neglect to back this up with a single, sound DOMESTIC example, instead refering to a relatively obscure separatist group in India, who have more of a political agenda then a religious one. Let me guess, you googled “Christian Terrorism” and that’s what you found? Again, where is your domestic example? I could think of a few but I am not aiding your fallacious argumentation. And also, your other “foreign” examples, were not even in the realm of Christian terrorism, but solely political examples. Back to the point, Joe Stack was not a Christian terrorist, but fed up with the FED, which is topically a subject many Americans are also upset about. His crime was heinous, as all violent means are to any ends, but he was not committing it in the name of Jesus, but for his concept of freedom. Let’s at least be truthfu, my irrationally, emotional compadres. How this turned to Christian bashing is beyond me. Mujahideen, I suggest you learn to properly analyze information and stear clear of your propensity for ad hominem argumentation which rendered your entire post – irrelevant.

    • Ryan

      People like you are the reason there are people that make assumtions of Islam, you blindly want to make accusations of Christanity. This is the same type of person who Blindly makes accusations of Islam. You want to speak about Religions being first before Christianity. Well my Good Friend Christianity was before Islam. This i have heard straight from the middle east. Also straight from the middle east an Arabic person reffered to Christianity as the sister religion of Islam. Your doctrine (The Qu’ran) is specifically similar. Think twice before you say something. I have been a Chrstian person all my life and never once made assumtions about Islam as you so do not point fingers accusing people of Disregarding Logic and reasoning. Before you want to go out of you way to try and upset people why dont you try Practicing Tolerance and learning something about Christianity, just as i have sought to understand our differences for sake of Tolerence.

      God Bless.

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