I've got a more serious article brewing in my head about the entire situation – not merely the attack in Colorado Springs, but the attack in Minneapolis a week before, and the fact that there's a rising tide of terrorism within the US which both the media and the government seem determined to ignore – but that's not for tonight.
Right now, I just want to point out that when members of the radicalized far right in the US commit terrorist acts, they get human-interest pieces about their lives. Compare this, for a moment, to the stories we get when Muslims commit terrorist acts abroad (since they almost never do in the US): "should we expel all refugees?" Or the stories when an unarmed black man is gunned down, analyzing what he did that made someone shoot him.
And note that the radicalized far right has been the source of nearly all the terrorist attacks in the US for the past century and a half: the exceptions can be counted. (Anarchist and communist terrorism in the early 20th century; a few incidents from the radicalized far left in the 1960's; and 9/11) Yet this is how we choose to set our priorities.
Nor is the NYT alone in this; we have the Washington Post with the headline "Alleged Colorado gunman was adrift and alienated," showing off the editor's tic of saying "alleged" as an apotropaic talisman against libel suits; mercifully, that article is about how it was quite clear that he was a frightening and dangerous person for some time. But the article immediately next to it explains that "not until much more is known about alleged gunman Robert Lewis Dear Jr. and his motivations will the political implications of his actions become clear." (Have you ever seen this applied to a terrorist act elsewhere? Whence this benefit of the doubt?)
I won't even describe what's going on in the right-wing press, or on Twitter; look in to that particular pit of despair at your own risk. Let's just say that it's clear that there's a substantial fraction of the population which favors terrorism as well, and the news media is apparently split between "beholden to them" and "pusillanimous."
If I had not already been disappointed nearly beyond repair at the common sense of the editorial teams of many of our major newspapers, this would have done me in.
I have questions.
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