Equal Opportunity Terrorists
In response to the news of Christian terrorists plotting to blow up protestors at Jerry Falwell’s funeral, Steve Benen offers this food for thought:
For my friends on the right, consider a question: if I told you that Virginia law enforcement had apprehended a young religious man who was caught with five bombs in his car — bombs which he intended to use — wouldn’t your very first question be about his faith tradition and nationality? Wouldn’t you necessarily label him a terrorist?
You’ll note that I applied the “terrorism” tag to my post this morning. Yes, these people were would-be terrorists. Still, I tend to put those like this guy and the idiots who run over university students in the name of Allah into the category of “nutjobs” and think of them differently than the calculated plotters who plan serious attacks.
Still, while I’ve taken plenty of heat from my side of the aisle for not finding terrorists under every tree, I would not go so far as David Neiwert, who claims “you’re far more likely to be harmed in an attack by a right-wing domestic terrorist than anyone from Al Qaeda.” Frankly, most of us are vanishingly unlikely to be harmed by either.
Starting with a list of deaths from terrorist attacks at Wikipedia, I eliminated those that occurred outside the USA unless it was immediately recognizable as an attack that targeted Americans and/or killed a significant numbers of Americans. For a variety of reasons, I excluded attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, which skew the data considerably in my direction.
- * 2,997 – September 11, 2001 attacks, (New York City, Arlington, VA, Shanksville, PA, United States, 2001)
* 307 – 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, (Beirut, Lebanon, 1983)
* 270 – Pan Am Flight 103, (Lockerbie, Scotland, 1988)
* 257 – 1998 United States embassy bombings 1998
* 168 – Oklahoma City bombing, (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, 1995)
* 38 – Wall Street bombing, (New York City, 1920)
* 33 – Virginia Tech Massacre, (United States, 2007)
- Red=Al Qaeda
So, by my rough calculations, the score is al Qaeda 3254, Christians 168.
Now, the list is incomplete, excluding incidents that killed fewer than 30 people. That omits two al Qaeda attacks that come immediately to mind, the 1993 WTC bombing (6 killed) and the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (17). It also leaves off KKK lynchings and abortion clinic bombings.
Still, al Qaeda’s toll is at least 3277. And, again, that excludes all Americans killed in Iraq by al Qaeda and its affiliates. The Christian count stands at 168.
To be sporting, let’s start the race in 1988, the earliest date al Qaeda can be said to exist, even in its prototypical state. And long before it murdered its first American. Have 3109 Americans been killed by domestic Christian terrorists that have been left off the list?