What do the shootings of the guard at the Holocaust Museum and Dr. George Tiller, the abortion doctor, have in common? They were both killed within the late summer, Both were killed by far right Evangelicals who were not a part of, but associated with groups who failed to rule out violence as a option to eliminate what they were against- and they were victims of terrorism.
Since September 11, 2001, Americans have instantly thought of a 25 year old Muslim, trained by Al Quaida, Blindly hating this country as the face of terrorism. We have narrowed the definition of Terror to only include foreign born hatred, and forgotten White Supremacists who were once the ones we feared.
Names like Michael Ayers and Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) [Cited http://social.jrank.org/pages/1318/Terrorism-Domestic-Terrorism-Before-September-11-2001.html%5D no longer carry the fear and sorrow that they once did. Many say that there is no longer a reason to fear terror from within. Some will say that the Holocaust Museum shooting and the assassination of Dr. Tiller are tragic but isolated incidents- by, to use the words of Donald Rumsfeld commenting on Abu Grab, “a few bad apples acting alone.” But their numbers are growing.
But hidden among the celebrity gossip and “Making a Difference” [copyright NBC] reports on March 16, 2009, there was a story of a man, Millionare who who was killed by his wife after repeated abuse, upon which the ingredients for and literature on making a dirty bomb was found within his house. He was a member of the Nazi party, and an avid collector of Hitler memorabilia, and was missing only a few chemicals to make the bomb.
“Should this guy have been found out, I don‘t know, before he died and post-9/11, have we focused too much on stopping bin Laden again at the expense of potentially stopping the next Timothy McVeigh?” Before Rachel Maddow said this on her show, few had ever acknowledged that post 9/11 america was still vulnerable to domestic terror; this still may be the case.
But why are Americans so reluctant to admit that we have as much of a threat from an old man living in a small town in, say, Missouri, as from the Al Quaida and Taliban in Afghanistan? Perhaps it may be that we as a culture are more adept to an “us vs. them” war on terror. Or maybe this is because of our prejudice against a religion we don’t understand, so it’s easier for us to stereotype all Muslims as “evil.” Or maybe we just want to avoid a witch hunt.
I’m not saying that it will be easy to root out the future Unabombers without violating constitutional rights, but at least we must discuss preventing domestic terror. There are too many lives at stake to do nothing. In my opinion, the threat level should have been red for a while.