STRAIGHT THINKING ABOUT THE SIKH MASSACRE
By Harmony Daws
9 Aug 12
Any humane person who hears about the massacre of Sikh worshippers this week will react in grief and revulsion. It is almost instinctive to accept media and FBI’s description of lone, ex-military gunman Wade Page as a “domestic terrorist.” It is natural to agree that this is terrorism and should be punished as such. It is easy to disregard this use of language. But it represents the government’s power to create definitions beyond “criminal” or “violent criminal.”
Page’s brutal senseless crime offers the Anti-Defamation League and other reshapers of America the chance to legitimize the new phrase “domestic terrorist,” just as “hate crime” was legitimized after the Matthew Shepard slaying.
What does it mean to name Wade Page a “domestic terrorist?”
The reason to categorize crimes according to motive—“racist hate crime,” “homophobic crime,” “domestic terror”—is to try to control and prevent the beliefs and associations that allegedly motivate them. Inherent is the belief that the government should patrol the thoughts and beliefs of criminals and potential criminals for extremist beliefs charged with motivating violence.
This goes far, far beyond identifying and prosecuting actual crimes. It empowers government and non-governmental organizations like ADL to track American citizens who have committed no crime except to associate with beliefs or organizations believed to provoke violence. (The Southern Poverty Law Center had been tracking Page for years, along with countless other individuals—such as me—who have never and will never break the law.)
Current crime theory organizes potential criminals and also victims into separate identity groups. Some groups, such as white heterosexual males, are viewed a priori as potential perpetrators. Family and criminal laws slant heavily against them, as thousands of innocent fathers can tell you after the courts have robbed them of their families and incomes. Other groups, such as lesbians of color, are viewed a priori as victims.
This emphasis on group identities inevitably biases police officers, public defenders and even jurors who hold the power of ultimate force: the power to lock citizens in cages for life.
Wade Page is an evil man. He is a violent murderer, a criminal. There is no need to call him anything else.
Harmony Daws is a writer for the National Prayer Network.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative
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