When a terrorist is not a terrorist?
“Why won't Trump call Austin bomber what he is? A Terrorist,” this is the title of the story by Alice Salles of Carbonated TV. The Austin bombing suspect is being called a domestic terrorist by people on social media, but why won't the media and the White House call him that?, she writes.
While police are still unsure of Mark Anthony Conditt's motive for having allegedly planted the bombs, many people have pointed out that if Conditt were Muslim, the media and elected officials would already have called him a terrorist, Salles said adding: But since Conditt called himself a conservative, was white, and had been raised Christian, President Donald Trump doesn't seem quick to jump on the word "terrorist" to describe the bombing suspect.
Tellingly, Conditt was part of a survivalist home school group that taught children how to use guns and discussed chemical reactions.
Conditt was part of a group of students called the Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT), an organization that engages homeschooled kids on activities that range from studying the Bible to learning how to use guns. Many of its members were also interested in learning about dangerous chemicals, according to BuzzFeed.
As Conditt sensed that authorities were closing in on him on Tuesday night, he took out his cell phone and recorded a 25-minute video confessing to building the explosive devices -- but didn't explain why he targeted his victims, interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley told a press conference on Wednesday.
The video made by Conditt, whose string of package bombs killed two people and wounded five in Texas, was found on his cell phone when police recovered his body Wednesday morning.
Regardless of his motivations being unknown at this time, Conditt’s actions are terroristic in nature, if we're to be consistent with other incidents that have been labeled as such, Carbonated TV said adding: whatever his reasoning, the bombings he perpetrated intimidated a community in Texas, and it seems like that was part of his intent.
“It’s hypocritical of some media outlets and lawmakers in Washington to fail to identify Conditt as a terrorist. Were he a person of color or a person who followed Islam, politicians would be throwing out the descriptor of “terrorist” without hesitation. That he isn’t described as much shows egregious discrepancies on the part of those more willing to do so in other situations, when white individuals aren't the ones committing the crimes,” Carbonated TV emphasized.
Before his death, federal criminal complaint and an arrest warrant were filed against Conditt on Tuesday night in connection with the bombings, Buzz Feed quoted the Department of Justice as saying. He was charged with one count of unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device. The complaint affidavit remains sealed due to the ongoing investigation, authorities said.
The charge was filed before he detonated the bomb early Wednesday as officers were attempting to apprehend him in Round Rock. He died shortly after. Austin police said Conditt had two roommates, who had been detained for questioning. One of them was released while the other was still being questioned. Their identities were not made public.
Online, activists questioned whether the bombings were racially motivated, since the two African-American residents who were first killed were members of well-known families within the city’s black community. They also questioned news outlets and politicians who are not calling the suspect or anyone else potentially involved with these bombings terrorists. Carbonated TV quoted a number of social media activists comments on Conditt.
Shaun King: The Austin Bomber was Mark Anthony Conditt - a 24 year old domestic terrorist.
Mel #PunchANazi@meli_melusine: Call Mark Anthony Conditt exactly what he was: a terrorist. A white, male, bigoted, hateful terrorist, radicalized by the surge of white nationalism and Nazism we've been seeing and allowing to grow for more than a year. He's a terrorist.
Khaled Beydoun: 63% of mass killers since 1983 look like Mark Anthony Conditt, the Austin Serial Bomber: White, male, and citizens. Redefine Terrorism.
Tony Posnanski: It’s funny how Republicans and the White House want to dissect the word “Terrorist” and spin the definition when the terrorist is white and has their same beliefs... Mark A. Conditt is a terrorist.
Callie is Sick 4 U: Mark Anthony Conditt the face of terrorism in America #AustinBomber
Brian Krassenstein: The Austin Bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt was a white man. No one in the White House is calling him a terrorist. Imagine if a young Muslim man had been sending bombs to white families. Do you think Trump would be yelling "Terrorism" and signing EO's left and right?
Benjamin O'Keefe: To be very clear: Mark Anthony Conditt was a domestic TERRORIST. Being a young white boy doesn't make you immune to the mass killings you are responsible for—several which were clearly race related.
To borrow Dr. Ejaz Naqvi, the author of Three Abrahamic Testaments, “it was perhaps ironic that the Austin serial bomber blew himself up, but when does a ‘serial bomber’ become a terrorist? When is a mass murderer reported as a terrorist? In the media reporting at least, it depends on who the culprit is, rather than the act itself. More specifically, it depends on whether the culprit is a Muslim or not.”
With how quick the media and Trump usually are to call any Muslim attacker a terrorist, it’s not far-fetched to believe that they fail to do the same with white perpetrators because of racism Carbonated TV said adding:
“Within law enforcement, we often see authorities treating certain suspects differently because of their skin color, so it isn't absurd to believe that if Conditt were, indeed, Muslim, he would have already been called a terrorist — even as early as the first reports of his suicide hit the news. It's time to put racism and religious bias aside and call out criminals for what they are in this case, terrorists.”
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net). He is the author of several books including Islam & Muslims in the 21st Century published in 2017.