Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 at 9:31 am
Author: Renee Martin
April 19th marked the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Timothy McVeigh was spurred to destroy the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by what he deemed to be the mishandling of Waco and the Ruby Ridge incident. Initially, after the bombing, the American media was quick to suggest that this was the work of Middle East Jihadists; however, it would ultimately prove to be an act of domestic terrorism. Since this bombing, the U.S has engaged in two wars in the Middle East. Yet the threat of domestic terrorism has steadily increased to the point where it is reasonable to wonder whether or not another domestic incident is perhaps more imminent than an outside threat.
In February of this year, Joseph Andrew Stack set fire to his home and then flew a Dakota-236, 235-horsepower single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee aircraft into an IRS office in Austin Texas, killing two and severely injuring 13 people. Stack left a rage filled suicide note on the internet. According to the Vancouver Sun, Stack wrote:
“I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at ‘big brother’ while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.”
Though his actions did not lead to as many deaths as that of McVeigh, the reluctance to declare him a domestic terrorist is alarming. Shortly after his death, Facebook fan pages were created in which Stack was declared a hero. Republican Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina attempted to justify Stack’s actions by stating that he is reflective of “the hopelessness that many in our society feel.”
In March, an FBI led task force arrested members of a self-described Christian Militia in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The Hutaree had amassed a stockpile of weapons in preparation for Armageddon. “Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment,” one of the group’s purported leaders wrote on its Web site. “We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren’t. We will still spread the word, and fight to keep it, up to the time of the great coming.”
According to Fox News, the Hutaree were planning an attack against police sometime in April, in the hope of initiating a violent confrontation with the government. Members had been undergoing paramilitary training, including learning how to shoot guns and make bombs since 2008, according to an indictment.
The conditions are ripe for a repeat of the Oklahoma City bombing and it is clear that social anxiety is continuing to rise. The Department of Homeland Security issued a report stating [pdf]:
“The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when rightwing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat toU.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.
During the 1990s, these issues contributed to the growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors.
A recent example of the potential violence associated with a rise in rightwing extremism may be found in the shooting deaths of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4 April 2009. The alleged gunman’s reaction reportedly was influenced by his racist ideology and belief in antigovernment conspiracy theories related to gun confiscations, citizen detention camps, and a Jewish-controlled “one world government.”
Fifteen years later, extremism continues to be an issue for the U.S. government, despite a determined organized attempt to infiltrate various groups. There is an undercurrent of rage amongst the White population that certainly can no longer be denied. It poses an imminent threat to law order as well as the stability of the government.
The Tea Party has been vocal in its rejection of President Barack Obama and has declared his government to be illegitimate despite his being legally elected. Protests have included spitting on government representatives, as well as the use of racial and homophobic slurs. There has been a tendency to reduce them to angry uneducated mob; however, recently it was revealed that their ranks are mostly made up of educated affluent White people.
The turmoil continues to rise as those who are used to historic class and race privileges find that they are unable to assert power in the same manner as their forefathers, even though they continue to exist with a large amount of privilege. From the celebration of the Confederacy and the complete erasure of slavery, what has become clear is that Whiteness feels threatened.
When people experience fear, they often react in illogical and unreasonable ways. This anger is further increased by political pundits like Ann Coulter who refer to the imminent elimination of a White majority as genocide. Right wing commentators hide behind the first amendment but the cost for their so-called free speech is going to be paid for by the innocent. Though the United States has elected its first African-American president, the division between people of colour and Whites continues to increase each day because Barack Obama has become representative of the government’s failure to uphold and maintain White supremacy.
It has been 15 years since Timothy McVeigh gave voice to the growing anger amongst disenfranchised White citizenry by blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and nothing has been done to quell the anger or hold those accountable for spreading hatred through speech that emboldened his actions. In fact, regulation has relaxed and this is evidenced by the fact that the right to carry concealed weapons has spread across the nation. This new freedom has not been accompanied by questions like: who do people need protection from and why is there such a driving desire to be armed?
It has become glaringly obvious that external pressures will lead to violence; however, waiting for a jihadist to jump out of the bushes ignores the very real threat that the angry, anti-government, White-Supremacist militia groups truly pose. McVeigh made it quite obvious that the face of terror is not necessarily Middle Eastern. Considering that appeasement proved to be problematic in the end to the allies, perhaps it is time to learn from the repeated lessons in history and tackle this situation with all of the attention and due diligence that it deserves.
Global Comment © 2012 | Design & Developed by : Slate