Saturday, September 13, 2014


Here's a story you're probably not aware of, even though your right-wing uncle is probably obsessed with it, having learned about it from Fox or The Blaze, or from hearing this now-viral radio diatribe:

A New York radio personality is calling for increased attention to the June murder of a 19-year-old Livingston man, calling it evidence that "domestic terrorism is already here."

Todd Pettengill, host of WPLJ's "The Todd Show", discussed the death of Brendan Tevlin for more than eight minutes [Wednesday] morning, asking why the case has not received more attention despite the alleged murderer's admissions that he killed Tevlin as an act of vengeance for U.S. military actions in the Middle East.
Tevlin, a nineteen-year-old college student, was murdered in June in West Orange, New Jersey. In early August, four men were arrested on charges stemming from this murder and another June murder of a New Jersey teenager. One of those charged, Ali Muhammad Brown -- a suspect in three murders in Washington State who has an earlier conviction for a sex crime with a minor -- has cited Islam in relation to the Tevlin killing:
The shooter accused of gunning down at least four men in two states said he murdered a New Jersey teenager as revenge for Muslims killed overseas.

According to court documents, Ali Muhammad Brown described his June murder of 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as a "just kill" and said it was an act of "vengeance" meant to compensate for U.S. military killings in the Middle East.
But let's back up. Was this terrorism? From reports about the killings in Washington, it appears that Brown never many any attempt to spread the word that he was killing on behalf of Muslims. He seems not to have said anything like that until he got caught. If, as you kill, you're not getting out a jihadist message to the public, directly or by inference, then in my book you're not a terrorist. You're not telling anyone that they'll be at risk of violence at your hands if they oppose your belief system.

On WPLJ, Todd Pettengill tried to link this story explicitly to ISIS, specifically the notion that its spread threatens us stateside:
Tonight the president will address the nation and speak about the dangers of a new threat -- not Al Qaeda, but ISIS. He will, I’m hoping, tell us that unless we take action, domestic terrorism is a clear and present threat. I'm also hoping he will no longer refer to these terrorists as "the JV team," as he once did. The images of Americans being beheaded should teach us are that there are no such things as idle threats.

But what I want to say to you this morning is that it has already happened. Domestic terrorism is already here and no one is talking about it. Back on June 26, nineteen-year-old Brendan Tevlin was shot eight times at an intersection in West Orange, New Jersey.... The person ... arrested for the crime is a self-described terrorist....

Why is the President not speaking of Brendan Tevlin tonight? He was a young boy who was killed for being an American....

The bottom line is this: domestic terrorism is already here, and we need to talk about it.
But isn't this the exact opposite of the supposed ISIS domestic terror threat? As far as I can tell, Brown never went overseas to fight for a foreign jihadist organization. He didn't learn "combat skills" from an Islamist organization. He didn't get "terror training." He's just a regular American with a screw loose who allegedly killed strangers the way regular American with screws loose regularly kill strangers -- using ordinary deadly weapons that are readily available to just about anyone in the good old U.S.A.

Pettengill implies that this guy is Obama's fault. But the right has told us for years about Americans who reportedly killed for similar reasons. The Muslim-hating polemicist Daniel Pipes coined the phrase "sudden jihad syndrome" to refer to cases in which, in his words, "normal-appearing Muslims abruptly become violent." Lists of "sudden jihad syndrome" killers appeared throughout the Bush years, the most famous examples being "D.C. snipers" John Muhammad and Lee Malvo.

And yet the right-wing Muslimophobes who circulated these lists also told us that Bush kept the homeland safe after 9/11.

America is full of people harboring murderous rage, for a lot of reasons. America makes it very easy for many of these people to act on these impulses. If anyone finds that Ali Muhammad Brown conspired with actual jihadists on these murders, I'm all for bringing the hammer down on those people. But it looks to me as if he was just a marginal guy with bad impulses, who rationalized them in his head by invoking his faith. To me, he's just a common psychopath, though I could be wrong.

In any case, this has nothing to do with ooga-booga eek eek ISIS wants to send highly trained terrorists over the border to kill us all in our beds argh argh! America has 57 varieties of violently crazy people. This is just one of them. No one's shown me a shred of evidence linking this guy or any other domestic killer to ISIS. American crazies don't need to go join ISIS -- America gives wannabe killers all the tools they need.


Victor said...

We practically give-away guns and hunting knives.

Palli said...

Yes, notably seen in Ferguson, Missouri and Beavercreek Ohio.

John Kahler said...

Domestic terrorists - how about any of the wonderful boys who has brought mass shooting to the US following 9/11 - to nipeighborhood schools and movie theaters? Isn't that terroristic? A group of "sovereign citizens" open carrying is terrorism to folks who are afraid of people with guns. This started when we identified the 9/11 criminals as other than criminals, it gave them , Bin Laden and every group since extra cred by making them some "terrorist" special group rather than the criminals they are. Do these geniuses actually wet the bed every night in abject fear, or do they just hope that others do? cynical me thinks it's the second, along with the easy and, for at least some, ridiculously generous pay check they get for their efforts. Which is the greater evil?

Roger said...

I prefer The Rod Show.