Try this exercise. Yesterday morning I thought about terror attacks here in the United States and as the day went on I wrote them down. I ended up with two lists: One of Muslim perpetrators, one of white males. Guess which is longer. The lists are in no particular order and are by place not shooter.
-Boston Marathon Bombing (one US Citizen, one green card)
-Fort Hood Shooting (US Citizen)
-Chattanooga Recruiter Shooting (US Citizen)
– San Bernardino (one US Citizen, one legal resident)
– World Trade Center
White Male Killer:
– Charleston AME Church
– Oregon Community College
– Aurora, CO movie theater
– Atlanta Olympics (plus his other bombings)
– Colorado Planned Parenthood
-Murrah Federal Building
-Lafayette, LA movie theater
– Gabby Giffords and others
– Sandy Hook Elementary School
– Boston, MA Planned Parenthood
These lists are not the result of any research except to see which Muslim perpetrators were citizens and to confirm the race of the shooters when I wasn’t sure. I know I haven’t remembered all the incidents as there have been too many. Some who read this may not remember some of them like the Texas Tower sniper as they are not recent, but I remember them. I have not included the SDS/WeatherUnderground incidents as I believe the only people killed were the bombers themselves.
Do your own list. Let me know what I have forgotten.
And most of all, remember this list when Donald Trump and others start talking about excluding Muslims. Many of the Muslims involved were citizens. Do you think the way we talk about their religion had anything to do with their becoming violent?Remember who actually dominates these lists. I am not saying there is no danger from Islamic extremists, but I am saying that our own disaffected white men are also a danger. Our culture perpetuates violence. We need make the guns and ammunition less available not scapegoat a particular group and stir up hatred.
Photograph: Travis Dove for The New York Times