Eight dead in Lower Manhattan: what we should be saying whenever a “terrorist” strikes
At least eight people were killed Tuesday afternoon when a speeding Home Depot truck plowed down riders on a Lower Manhattan bike path in a terrorist attack, sources said.
Eyewitnesses told police the driver… [ran] down helpless riders from behind, their mangled bodies left scattered behind his runaway rental truck.
The Middle Eastern man was arrested after police shot him in the rear end following a Tribeca crash between the truck and a school bus. Sources said he was waving an air pistol and a BB gun when cops reached the scene.
The truck jumped the curb near Houston St. at 3:04 p.m. and began bearing down on the unsuspecting bicyclists, sources told the Daily News. Video showed crumpled two-wheelers and four bodies left in the vehicle’s deadly wake.
The story is also being extensively reported by The New York Times, and (of course) American cable news outlets are giving it wall-to-wall “if it bleeds, it leads” coverage. You should have no doubt that an angry, exploitative Donald “Uncle Dotard” Trump will exploit it to the maximum of his ability.
To which I say, enough. Stop categorizing — for that matter glorifying — these people in the media as “terrorists.”
It exploits your fear. You should be far more scared about extreme weather, drunk drivers, or executive branch incompetence than violent extremists.
And it doesn’t matter the perpetrator of carnage shouts “White Power,” “Allahu akbar,” or “Sieg heil.” If you label them a “terrorist,” you actually make them a hero among their fellow travelers — look at the way that American racists and Nazis continue to praise Dylann Roof, and not just on the “dark web.”
Let’s start calling them what they are, because it doesn’t matter whether their “excuse” is religio-superstitious, racial hatred, or political hostility. It doesn’t matter that they are an “lone wolf” inspired by ISIS or the KKK. You don’t kill random multiple people if you’re of sound mind, even if you still have it enough together to plan and turn a public place into a slaughterhouse.
Yes, the “l” word has negative connotations, but at its root, every one of these incidents is rooted in mental illness.
But more importantly, when you don’t elevate the mentally ill criminal to “terrorist” status, it negates both whatever cultural motive the perpetrator wants to use as an excuse and its ability to leverage public fear.
it’s long past time that the “liberal [not] media” dumps the “t” word, disrupts extremist messaging, and makes these incidents a mental health issue.