If we want to know why Americans are obsessed with terrorism, all we need to do is look at the coverage of the two home-grown “terrorist” attacks that took place last Sunday night. One was the pressure cooker bombing attacks perpetrated by Ahmad Khan Rahami in New York and New Jersey, and the other the mall slashing attacks perpetrated by Dahir Ahmed Adan in Minnesota.
Both of these guys are ungrateful radical converts who decided to screw over the country that welcomed their families into its proverbial bosom. Both proved to be incompetent terrorists, lucky for us. And both of these stories deserved some coverage, but not the wall-to-wall coverage that it received in the national press.
I normally Tivo ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir. I don’t watch the whole thing, but I’ll watch 10 minutes of whatever might be interesting to me and then delete the rest. Last night the first 10 minutes of the broadcast was devoted to nothing but these two attacks. Nobody got killed. Both guys mostly demonstrated their ineptitude. With one of the bombs not exploding and still having a cell phone attached to it, I knew it would take the FBI like 5 minutes to track that idiot down.
Here’s something we forget, something that I’ve certainly forgotten. Jeffrey Toobin recently finished his fascinating history of the Patty Hearst affair – American Heiress (The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst) – and he makes the point that in the early 1970s, there were on average about 1500 political bombings a year.
I seriously did not remember that.
But I have no reason to believe that it’s not true.
Somehow we weren’t as obsessed with domestic terrorism back then as we are now with every little act of homegrown “Islamic” terrorism that pops up on our radar screen these days. It’s not that these acts are meaningless. I’m not saying that at all. But put them at the end of the newscast and give them the proportionality that they are due. Otherwise every Trump-wannabe is going to crawl out of their bunker in the years to come and run for office screaming bloody murder relative to terrorism.
I didn’t know that either about Patty Hearst and the SDS. The two recent incidents were two young men who had some real anger issues and personality disorders regardless of their ideology. I agree. Way too much hype, especially right around the presidential election.