White Privilege

Yes, Mass Shootings Are Terrorism

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.,
from The Wall Street Journal,

But focusing on white nationalism or even politics would miss most of them.

Let me do the New York Times editorial board one better: We should try to stop mass shootings even if they aren’t motivated by white-nationalist ideas. The Gray Lady this week discovered one category of mass shooting that requires invoking the powers of the modern surveillance state, the kind carried out by people who profess white racist sympathies. Its reasoning might have been taken from a column here after the 2017 Las Vegas massacre. As I put it then, Stephen Paddock would not have gotten as far as he did if, in addition to canvassing the country for large planned gatherings and hotel rooms from which to fire on them, as well as acquiring an arsenal of 47 guns and smuggling 23 into a casino suite, he’d spent 30 minutes on an al Qaeda website.

Then again the question of motive may be a red herring. The shameless exploiters are always first out of the gate after a mass shooting, but the public and press quickly come to see a political motive, if any, as one more symptom of a warped individuality. Extremist politics may attract such people (and exploit their vulnerabilities), but mass shootings are decidedly a psychological, not a political, phenomenon. The Times is right, though, that mass-casualty attacks have a lot more in common with terrorism than with regular gun crimes, even in the absence of a professed ideology.

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