In Today’s Episode of Radical White Male Terrorism

In Today’s Episode of Radical White Male Terrorism

Rachel CohenMonday,4 January 2016

Not even a week into 2016 and here we are with a domestic terrorist situation that has nothing to do with gun control and certainly sheds no light on the problem of racial inequality in America. I mean really guys; you couldn’t even give it a week?

By sheer luck (or vodka consumption) I actually found myself awake at 5am EST on Sunday morning, so I got to take in those early headlines reporting that “protestors occupy federal land.” Hmm, my foggy mind thought, that sounds interesting!

I don’t know if it was the connection to a wildlife refuge or the use of the word “land” but I somehow imagined these “peaceful protestors” the ABC headlines referenced to be sitting around a drum circle in defense of some rare earthworm, just waiting to put a bird on it. Again, my brain hadn’t showed up yet, so upon clicking through to the story it seemed just a little bit off that “peaceful,” ”occupation,” and “protest” were being used by media outlets to describe A BUNCH OF MEN WHO TOOK OVER A GOVERNMENT BUILDING WITH GUNS BECAUSE THEIR FEELINGS GOT HURT AND THIS IS ‘MURRICA.

This merry militia crew has taken up residence in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, as a show of solidarity with the Hammonds, farmers who were very upset that the government was telling them what they could and couldn’t do on government-owned land. In 2001 they set fire to over 130 acres OF A WILDLIFE REFUGE BECAUSE THEY WERE TOLD TO STOP POACHING. Oh, and then one of them did it again in 2006.

So here we are: a bunch of people with guns (claims vary from 6 to 150 people) have literally occupied a government building while armed and saying they are willing to kill or be killed. I am assuming they are prepared to fight “the government” with force should it come to that, but am I to believe that the idea of a few white men battling members of the American armed forces is an actual possibility?

At this point, it seems fairly clear that this is not a peaceful protest, and NOW is the time to start labeling these individuals as terrorists. The literal definition of terrorism from the FBI is:

“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

– Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
– Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
– Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

18 U.S.C. § 2332b defines the term “federal crime of terrorism” as an offense that:

– Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and
– Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including § 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and § 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the U.S.).

Pretty sure Oregon hits just about all of those points, without anyone actually getting killed. Yet.

You know what doesn’t really fall under this definition?

Protesting state-sponsored murder.

Peacefully standing up to college administrations.

Hmmm, if only there was some way to find a common denominator in this trend. But I guess that would require us opening our eyes.

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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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