ANOTHER school shooting by a 17-year-old white student at Santa Fe on May 18 and another round of ‘prayer’ by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Republican governor of Texas, and other important and not-so-important Americans! They admired the courage of some students, teachers, policemen, and mourned the deaths of 10 victims of the attack, which was the 22nd of its kind in the past five months across America.
Nobody singled out the obnoxious second amendment to the US constitution that allows US citizens to carry arms, as many and as lethal as possible. All in the name of defending freedom! The most aggrieved Americans — with some exceptions — questioned as to how the killers get access to the weapons! The overwhelming majority of Americans simply do not believe that guns kill. They single out some ‘crazy’ or ‘mentally deranged’ people for the ongoing school shootings. None has so far has used the ‘T’ word to designate these white Christian killers.
To the bulk of naïve and prejudiced Americans, only Muslims resort to ‘terrorism’, non-Muslim American killers, especially white, are either ‘mentally disturbed’ or ‘evil’, even if they kill indiscriminately innocent people, including schoolchildren. The average Americans are so narcissistic, vain, and prejudiced against Muslims that after white terrorist Timothy McVeigh had killed more than 200 people with homemade bomb at a building in Oklahoma City in 1995, not only laymen, but experts and terrorism analysts also believed some Muslim terrorists had been behind the ghastly killings. Some of them came up with op-eds and editorials in newspapers appraising the various aspects of ‘Islamic terrorist attack’ in Oklahoma City.
It is not irrelevant to mention here that during the past 11 years of my teaching global and America’s homeland security at undergraduate and graduate levels, at military and civilian universities in the United States, I have never come across books and courses on domestic terrorism in America ever mentioning school shootings and random killings of civilians as terrorism. The ‘T’ word seems to be a taboo here, it is only used when the killers happen to be Muslims.
America has since long been a nation which loves to kill people, within and beyond its borders. Before they became a nation in the 1780s, white European settlers killed tens of thousands of indigenous people, then they enslaved black Africans. Many of them had been killed before they reached the shores of America. Then they had been brutalised in all possible manners for three centuries or so. Even after the formal abolition of slavery, African Americans faced the worst discrimination in human history for another hundred years. Their suffering did not end with the civil rights in the 1960s. They over-represent the prison population and face discrimination every day in every sphere of life.
Last but not least, African Americans get killed on a regular basis at the hands of white cops. White Americans are simply fond of killing humans, preferably non-whites. They killed civilians in Mexico, the Philippines and elsewhere in Latin America — tens of thousands. They toppled regimes across the world almost in every continent for several decades. In the Middle East, Syria was the first victim of America’s ‘Regime Change’ operation. In 1949, it toppled the democratically elected president Shukri Quwatly. Then the CIA toppled Iran’s elected prime minister Dr Mosaddeq in 1953, with the help of (bribed) Ayatollah Kashani. They killed millions of people from Korea to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, and then Iraq again, Syria, Libya, Bahrain (by proxy), Palestine (Gaza and West Bank), Pakistan, Somalia, Indonesia and in so many places in Latin America. Now the gun-crazy white Americans are killing schoolchildren, bulk of whom are white. In short, America has staged at least 10,000 9/11s across the world. They would love to kill more in North Korea, Syria, Palestine and elsewhere.
Many Americans are just abnormal people, many of whom psychopaths. The NRA and the KKK are just two heads of a hydra-headed monster. I do not think there are so many psychopaths and serial killers anywhere in the world, who kill innocent people just for the sake of killing. The Santa Fe school shooter wore a T-Shirt displaying his ominous message: ‘Born to Kill’. And he is only 17-year-old!
Now Donald Trump and his associates are publicly warning, in the event of North Korea’s refusal to denuclearise itself, America would ‘Libyanize’ North Korea! Soon after 9/11, the Bush administration warned Pakistan that the country’s refusal to let American troops use its territory to invade the Taliban regime in Afghanistan (which had sheltered Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of 9/11 attacks), America would bomb Pakistan to the ‘stone age’. America’s arrogance, threats of invasion, and invasions imply only one thing that is America (and its allies, including Israel) are the only countries entitled to make, and use nuclear weapons — when ‘necessary’ — against other countries. America’s jingoism, and proclivity to using violent methods to kill people within and beyond its territories are not separable from school shootings and killing of African Americans in America.
What Americans shy away from admitting that all these school shootings and random killings of innocent people and total strangers (and African Americans) by police and white civilians is terrorism. The killers have an ideology. They want to ‘Make America Great Again’, which they believe the election of Barack Obama (twice) made ‘America Dwarf’, and they should reverse the process. Trump represents the KKK and the NRA, and the bulk of the white killers admire Trump, the KKK, the NRA, and Hitler. So, the ideology behind these terrorist attacks is not that hidden, after all! Only when even a mentally deranged Muslim kills innocent people in America, the act become ‘terroristic’! One may assume that a significant proportion of the 40 percent of white Americans — who are die-hard Trump supporters — turn a blind eye to school shootings and killing of African Americans. They are very enthusiastic about ‘Muslim ban’, and invading countries right and left to kill Muslims and others to ‘protect’ democracy and freedom in the world.
In sum, school shootings are actually the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is at the core of American psyche, which is about promoting xenophobia, racism, and prejudice against ‘others’. Today, the most important questions are: Are Americans reverting to the pre-civil rights era? Does Americans’ blind support for the NRA not also reflect a section’s tacit support for the KKK? We must never forget that the KKK and the NRA were among the main sponsors of Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016.
Dr Taj Hashmi teaches security studies at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, USA. SAGE has recently published his latest book, Global Jihad and America: The Hundred-Year War Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.
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