Thursday, December 03, 2015


Every story I've encountered on the San Bernardino shootings says the same thing. NBC:
Authorities said that no motive had been determined and that terrorism had not been ruled out.
The New York Times:
David Bowdich, assistant director of the F.B.I.’s office in Los Angeles, would not rule out terrorism.
The Washington Post:
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan ... and other law enforcement officials said that terrorism has not been ruled out.
Police have not identified a motive for the shooting. They have not ruled out terrorism.
But the message from the right is: Why won't the mainstream media say, "Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism"?

All this even though the message is exactly the same at Fox News:
Police, feds probe terror as possible motive in SoCal massacre
And Fox Nation:
Husband-Wife Team Identified as San Bernardino Killers ... Motive Unknown But Terrorism Not Ruled Out By Authorities
(Oh, but I forgot: These days, even Fox is sometimes considered suspect on the right.)

Over at FrontPage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield has already condemned the media for not saying what it actually is saying:
The evolving media narrative is that familiar standby of “workplace violence”. The sort of workplace violence involving an attack by multiple terrorists wearing body armor and throwing pipe bombs shortly after an argument at a party.

If you believe this version of the “workplace violence” story, the shooter stormed out of a party and 20 minutes later had managed to round up multiple heavily armed attackers to avenge his party argument.

It’s certainly a story. Even if it isn’t a very good story. And yet it’s a story that we keep hearing over and over again.

It begins with lies and ends with body bags.

Everything possible was done to deny Nidal Hassan’s terrorist motivations in the Fort Hood Massacre. His attack was deemed workplace violence. Even his own attempts to explain that he supported the terrorists were shut down so that he was reduced to smuggling messages to get his story out.

And despite multiple statements by Hassan that he was a terrorist, the official story is still workplace violence.
Ahhh, "workplace violence." That's one of those phrases, like "JV team," that make right-wingers' blood boil, and need no explanation. Angrily utter one of these phrases in wingnut company and it's like a secret handshake -- you're one of the tribe.

You can read -- even in The Washington Post, courtesy of columnist and ex-Bushie Marc Thiessen -- that President Obama personally referred to the Fort Hood hootings as "workplace violence." As far as I can tell, he never said that. It was a designation used for the incident by the government -- initially because, as AP reported a couple of years ago, "the Uniform Code of Military Justice does not have a punitive article for 'terrorism.'"
"They really didn't have an option," says Silliman, director emeritus of Duke University's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security in Durham, N.C. "He was an active-duty officer. The crime occurred on a military installation. … It was obvious he was going to face a court-martial."
The Defense Department resisted the terrorism label for what Hasan did, and resisted awarding Purple Hearts to victims, because it argued, Hasan's defense might use the designation to advance the claim that he couldn't get a fair trial. I'm not sure I understand that, or agree with the logic, but ultimately Congress passed legislation making the Fort Hood victims eligible for Purple Hearts, By that time, Hasan had been tried and convicted and sentenced to death.

I don't see how any conservative can object to those outcomes -- but conservatives continue to insist that every non-conservative applies the label "workplace violence" routinely to acts that are ultimately determined to be terrorism. It's not true in general, and it isn't true now. We need more definitive information about the San Bernardino incident, but I see no evidence that anyone is denying the possibility that it was terrorism. Yet every right-winger going forward will be certain that that's we all spent this moment in a state of denial.


Rand Careaga said...

I was telling my associates yesterday that applicability of the T-word would come down to whether the gunmen had names like "Cletus" and "Billy Bob" or like "Hassan" and "Nassim." In the former case, disturbed individuals; in the latter, we invade Syria once Obama is convicted in the Senate. I think we can see this morning how the episode will be spun in certain quarters.

Never Ben Better said...

And if the authorities did come right out and say "terrorism" the righties would shriek that they didn't say "Islamic terrorism! Jihadi terrorism!"

This one's a puzzler; has elements of both terrorism and workplace violence. I'm wondering if the guy had been brooding over perceived wrongs for a long time and assembling tools of vengeance, then the party incident was the last straw and/or he'd been planning to wreak his righteous havoc at the gathering ever since it was announced. All the tactical gear, pipe bombs, etc., are just as likely to be deployed by "lone gunmen" types, too, and they do brood and work themselves up to their bouts of carnage.

The wife's another puzzler, although there is such a thing as folie a deux.

Victor said...

I think @ Rand C, has it right.
A native born psycho white wanker who kills people, is a "lone wolf."
Extra-bonus points if the victims are women in, at, or near, a Planned Parenthood.

Any other shade darker than 'Sunburned Simpleton Inbred Honky Antique White,' and you're a terrorist.
Of course, if you're a "Christian," the terrorist grading is on a curve.

maxk1947 said...

Aren't these the same pundits who complained when the media reported that opposition to abortion MIGHT have motivated Robert Dear?

Aunt Snow said...

The Right sure is obsessed with Magic Words, isn't it?

David Margolies said...

Terrorists usually go for targets which most people can see themselves as potential victims (transport vehicles or stations, entertainment venues, restaurants, sports events, churches, public areas, etc.) These killers were loaded for bear. They could have attacked any number of places like those I have listed. Instead they attacked people at a very obscure (though very worthy) government building that the vast majority of people would never have any reason to enter (not even a post office or the DMV). One has to feel their motive was something other than scaring the general population.

Rand Careaga said...

David Margolies makes a cogent point I hadn't thought of, and hadn't seen elsewhere.

Steve M. said...

If it is terrorism, I think there's great value in creating the impression that any site is a potential target, however obscure. There's also value in sending the message that "you can't trust your innocent-seeming Muslim co-worker." ISIS wants us to feel increasing fear and hate, and to respond by alienating moderate Muslims with our mistrust, suspicions, and (ultimately) crackdowns. ISIS wants to force moderate Muslims out of the "grayzone" of coexistence with us into a stance of opposition, and wants to drive all od us into a stance of opposition to Muslims.

Ten Bears said...

Follow the money, so to speak: who benefits the most, who realizes the greater value, when we're all driven to a stance of opposition to Muslims?

By deception shalt thou practice the Art of War.