Why Has Nobody Called Jared Lee Loughner a Terrorist?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard about the recent attack on Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. The media aftermath has—as expected—dissected everything that has anything to do with this story, from his political affiliations to the Loughner family’parenting technique. The L.A. Times even mused about “how far we’ve come” that the heroic intern who potentially saved Giffords’ life is gay.

But here’s one thing that hasn’t been discussed: whether Jared Lee Loughner is a terrorist.

As Cord Jefferson of Good magazine astutely points out:

According to the United States Law Code, terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” New evidence alleges that Loughner possibly planned for years to assassinate Giffords, a prominent politician. Sounds a lot like terrorism to me. But a whole host of major media outlets seem to disagree.

Why? Could it be because—god forbid—Loughner is white?

Jefferson compares this story to the attack on Fort Hood by Nidal Hasan, a Muslim:

Four days after the attack on Fort Hood, The Wall Street Journal published two stories suggesting that Hasan was a terrorist, one of which included the assertion that it was a terrorist act because Hasan spoke Arabic while he shot. The Los Angeles Times spoke to counterterrorism experts for this piece on Hasan. And, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, blogger Kyle Wingfield actually gave credence to a Forbes argument claiming that Hasan “went Muslim.”

Some will argue that Hasan’s terrorist intentions were proved by communications he had with radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, but, in fact, experts who reviewed the pair’s email exchange deemed it totally innocuous.

Whether or not you agree with Jefferson’s account of the details, you can’t deny the difference between how these two news stories “feel.” To remember Fort Hood is to remember a terrorist attack. To think of Tucson is to think of yet another mentally ill young person.

Good magazine sums it up in its headline for Jefferson’s piece: White Guy Shooting = Crazy; Brown Guy Shooting = Terrorist.

Granted, nobody’s ruled out the possibility that Loughner’s acts were driven by a terrorist directive. But a running list of Loughner’s descriptions in media outlets reads like the thesaurus entry for “crazy white man”:

Are all of these adjectives accurate? Certainly. Is this a double standard? You tell us. But as judge and philosopher Learned Hand once said, “words are chameleons, which reflect the color of their environment.”

And isn’t it all a question of color?

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About Lu Fong

Lu Fong was a staff writer and blog editor for the Good Men Project in its formative years. As the requisite woman on staff, her hobbies included cleaning, cooking, knitting, fainting, and childbearing. Follow her on Twitter @lufong.

Comments

  1. Thank you Lu and Good Men Project for calling this out! I was talking about this w/ a good friend and my wife just last night. I agree Loughner is clearly unhinged, crazed and an extremist but he’s certainly a terrorist as well. Corporate-controlled media has been doing our country a great disservice since 9/11 by placating special interests and not being the kind of watchdog a democracy needs.

    • It’s very difficult to call yourself a terrorist. This is apart of the system called white privilege, a term that the majority of all white people are in 1,000,000,000% denial of. Its the equivalent of volunteering information to sports officials that you use steroids and that you have an unfair advantage. But sadly, this is the only way that many losers can compete. No different here. Aren’t all people who commit these kinds of acts “mentally unstable” and “unhinged”. Ed Shultz even had Dr. Phil on his show trying to intellectually figure out “what happened”. It’s disgusting because I have never seen this “medical” approach to addressing issues of terrorist styled violence when it comes to dealing with people with color who commit the same acts.

      The shooter is a 100% terrorist. who sought to invoke fear in people and government officials through the use of specific and indiscriminate violence. What is even worse, neither left wing nor right wing pundits on the tube, not to mention your average Joe Blow who is without color, has the humility, intelligence, integrity, nor Godliness to call this man a terrorist. Pride is going to get you.

      This is one of the the main reasons why it is difficult to love and have pride in a country that is so inherently bigoted and ungodly. Jesus was a liberal……PERIOD. Mathew 25:40.

  2. Nobody’s calling this nut a terrorist until they know enough about him to do so. Right now as far as anyone knows he’s just a jackass with a gun. When the investigation is complete you can tag him with any label that fits and “terrorist” may be one of them.

    • We’re just recognizing the double standard here. If only ALL cases were given the same “careful” consideration that we give to this kid, rather than immediately calling a person a terrorist.

  3. Jared Lee Loughner: terrorist.

    Happy?

  4. I’ve heard musings in the same direction– “what if this guy was a Muslim?”– & I couldn’t agree more. Especially as the USA continues to focus on Islamic terrorism…all the while domestic terrorists are ramming planes into buildings & assassinating political figures. It is pretty nuts.

  5. Taylor Flanders says:

    Terrorist: a person who terrorizes or frightens others. I think this fits the bill.

  6. Jen Varani says:

    Thank you – thank you – thank you.

    I’m white.

    I bet my thank you’s would be taken differently by others if I said I were brown. Heh.

  7. Not labeling him a terrorist because he is schizophrenic.

  8. Anyone that doesn’t think that this guy was a terrorist doesn’t understand the term. Terrorist are not of any color, creed or any specific religion. Terrorist are anyone that creates terror. Anyone that would do anything like this is a terrorist because it makes people think twice before attending a simple meeting with a rep. of their government therefore AKA a terrorist!

  9. I believe Olbermann referred to it as “an act of domestic terrorism.”

  10. Timothy McVeig- Terrorist
    Ted Kaczynski- Terrorist
    Classified as such by law enforcement and were white.

    • Those are pretty old examples. What about, lets say, Joseph Stack?

      • White people are given the benefit of the doubt because of white privilege. It’s really disgusting. We truly protect our own and those of us with an ounce of integrity will admit it. We will never give up our subsidy. The recent acute hatred of Muslims that is promulgated in the media (both left and right wing) is all designed to shape the empty minds the average American who is primed for bigotry. White arrogance will not allow for this man to be called a terrorist, Terrorist are in the minds of most Americans are people with color. It’s the same moronic thinking that tells most whites that the majority of all welfare recipients are black or brown. And the majority of all social programs go to help lazy coloreds. In fact the opposite holds true. Most social programs in this country go to help poor whites, but the media’s spin forces us to think otherwise.

        Last I’m pretty sure most of us have heard and seen references in the media/culture that black people are animals, monkeys, apes, and savages. Once again, the this could not be further from the truth. In fact, science has now proven that All Non Africans Living Today Are Part Neanderthal. Basically, all are part monkey/ape/animal EXCEPT black people…….. Google it. Do your own research. Media spin is demonic and ungodly. The man is a terrorist.

      • Catullus says:

        Tell you what, Mordicai, we’ll have some white nuts commit vile acts every so often so that we have fresh examples of terrorism available. All to satisfy you that a double standard isn’t occuring. Jesus…

  11. Terrorist have goals they are trying to achieve and this was more than likely someone who was just completely unstable and we will have to see what comes of it.

  12. Absolutely, 100%, all the way. Even if this may not have been the case in the past, it certainly is now. Terrorist=Muslim Terrorist

  13. Alright…I’m going to throw you folks some dap (praise and respect) on this one.

    This guy is another Timothy McVeigh; some angry guy who is pissed off because he didn’t get his way. So rather than try to use a reasonable method to get his voice heard, he shoots some people.

    Good job, that.

    Frackin’ idiot.

    Sometimes, I despair for the human race. I see people like this and I find myself leaning toward nihilism more and more….

  14. The shooter at Fort Hood was not charged as a terrorist, but I do remember a lot of people shouting ‘terrorist!’ the moment they heard about it.

    • Catullus says:

      As did I after I read of how Nidal Hassan had the words “Soldier of Islam” printed on his card. What a gift he gave to the nut-job right in this country.

  15. Evil Pundit says:

    Because he’s not a terrorist. He’s a mentally ill lunatic.

    You racist idiot.

  16. I completely agree with the author that Loghner was an assassin and a terrorist. The act was premeditated and it was targeted at a political figure. Immediately, major news sources speculated about the man’s sanity. They even cited his posting of “favorite books” on Facebook as evidence of this. The legal definition of sanity and insanity is that a person who is sane can make a decision and act based on willful intent. It is hard to argue that Loughner’s decision did not stem from willful intent.

  17. As a Muslim, I strongly disagree with the thrust of this article. Terrorism is a horrible disease, but at its heart is inevitably a political goal. This guy wasn’t representing a movement, a political ideology, or a political idea – he was just gaga, off the deep end, looney…

    I agree that the word terrorism is misappropriated, misused, and poorly understood, but I’m afraid that all this article (which was written in good faith) does is to add to that confusion.

    Terrorism: “The infliction of terror on a population in order to achieve a political goal”.

    Jared has not put forth a coherent political goal. This is not political blackmail – this is a lunatic.

  18. Sadly white people are given the benefit of the doubt because of white privilege. It’s really disgusting. We truly protect our own and those of us with an ounce of integrity will admit it. We will never give up our subsidy. The recent acute hatred of Muslims that is promulgated in the media (both left and right wing) is all designed to shape the empty minds the average American who is primed for bigotry. White arrogance will not allow for this man to be called a terrorist, Terrorist are in the minds of most Americans are people with color. It’s the same moronic thinking that tells most whites that the majority of all welfare recipients are black or brown. And the majority of all social programs go to help lazy coloreds. In fact the opposite holds true. Most social programs in this country go to help poor whites, but the media’s spin forces us to think otherwise.

    Last I’m pretty sure most of us have heard and seen references in the media/culture that black people are animals, monkeys, apes, and savages. Once again, the this could not be further from the truth. In fact, science has now proven that All Non Africans Living Today Are Part Neanderthal. Basically, all are part monkey/ape/animal EXCEPT black people…….. Google it. Do your own research. Media spin is demonic and ungodly. The man is a terrorist.

    • Catullus says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble, you wanting to disparage “All Non Africans” and the like, but Neanderthals were human. They were of the genus Homo and displayed upright posture. QED.

  19. I would rather argue that all terrorists be labeled ‘just crazy people.’ In the meantime, though, I’d prefer people not try to use an attack for their own political gain, not do exactly what a terrorist wants, that is. Both of these are too much to ask, and yes, if he had ANY connection to groups advocating violence he IS a terrorist.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa Erny, The Good Men Project. The Good Men Project said: RT @good_feeder: Why hasn't anyone called Jared Lee Loughner a terrorist? Could it be because he's white? http://tinyurl.com/47s5muw [...]

  2. [...] Guy Shooting = Crazy; Brown Guy Shooting = Terrorist. Read this article and discuss. Is it a double standard that Loughner is not considered a Terrorist, simply [...]

  3. [...] number of pieces have opined on how Jared Lee Loughner would be treated differently (either more harshly or less) if [...]

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