When tragedy strikes, we often flock to family and friends to gain support in understanding why things happen the way they do.

The recent mass shooting in Tuscon, Arizona left many Americans reaching out to those they value most to gain solace in a time of grief, to vent in a time of anger.  At Politic365, we are no different, and we are appreciative of the opportunity to engage with our extended family – the members of the JJP Community – to ponder just how and when things got this bad.

Earlier this week, one of our writers Charles D. Ellison, evoked a bit of William Shakespeare by putting a modern, political spin on one of the Bard’s most famous lines:  “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  In this case, however, we’re not talking about sweet nothings whispered by a “star-crossed lover,” but of the heinous acts of Jared Lee Loughner.

And so, we look to you now, family and friends, in thinking about the incident that rocked the nation nearly a week ago, and ask, when it comes to the Giffords’ Shooting:  Why Aren’t We Calling it Terrorism?

~Kristal L. High, Editor in Chief, Politic365

I can’t help but wonder why folks are so afraid to call the mass shooting in Tuscon, Arizona an act of terrorism.

The fear of the “T” word seems almost palpable in describing the gruesome events that took place this past Saturday.  There is little explanation or reasoning for the omission, except that it’s very obvious what most Americans won’t call 22-year old Jared Loughner.  It goes without saying that the man is deranged.  Fairly obvious that he’s unstable.  But, tell us what we don’t know.  Get straight to the core of the matter here.  Let’s not fool ourselves and everyone else struggling to make sense out of it.  Loughner is a terrorist, clearly fit within the strictest definition of the term.

While other top public officials tip-toed around it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton almost went there, just short of dropping the “T” word.  Instead, she chose “extremist.”  While clearly holding back, it was one of the braver rhetorical stands we’ve heard in the past few days.  Her comparison to the Middle Eastern “extremism” we routinely see plastered on global headlines is sure to raise a few brows and ‘how-dare-she’ remarks back home, especially since she said it while in Abu Dhabi.

But, let’s keep it real.  The “T” term gets quickly applied within every second a suicide bomber blasts a busy street corner in Pakistan or when a crowded European commuter train is vaporized.  We find some sort of geopolitical logic, however violent and horrific, to explain the indiscriminate mass killings of innocent civilians in various corners of the world.  Even before responsibility is investigated or admitted by some obscure political fringe group wanting their spot blown, we’re already using the “T” word.

When a “crazy” White guy with a gun, wound up on polarized talking points and manifestos, indiscriminately kills innocent Americans in broad daylight, it takes several days in the aftermath before the larger public will even accept a hint of pre-meditation.  Typically, the collective American psyche will initially trivialize the event by calling the perpetrator “deranged” or “mentally unstable.”  The social response script is fashioned to fake us into a false sense of security.  It’s isolated, they say.  Just one crazed nut with a gun.

That dude who flew his plane into an IRS building?  Isolated.  Or the cat who waited for, scoped, then killed three Pittsburgh police officers?  Crazy.  What about the man who shot at the Panama City school board then shot himself?  Off the edge.

Brown skin man with bombs strapped to his torso?  Oh, that’s a terrorist.

Yet, in every instance, the “isolated” or “crazed” Americans each expressed some form of political reasoning for committing the act.  Loughner, whose elaborate musings are outlined in lengthy Internet entries on Myspace and YouTube, was apparently hanging with anti-government dudes who probably have posters of Sarah Palin in a bikini brandishing a semi-automatic prior to the attack.

So, what’s the difference between a mass political killing in Tuscon, Arizona and the same in Any Town, Middle East?

(Full article available at Politic365)

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