The Sunday shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, left at least 26 people dead. In a news conference Sunday night, an official from the Texas Department of Public Safety described the scene: An armed man around 11:30 rushed into the church while firing an assault rifle. Victims were from all walks of life, from 5 to 72 years old. The officials said at least 20 others were injured and sent to hospital for treatment.
The attacker is former Air Force member
The shooter’s name was said to be Devin Jelly, 26. Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas safety authority, described the attacker as a white young man wearing all-black clothes. The man is said was wearing bullet-proof vest at the time of the attack.
Sources familiar with the incident reported that the gunman started the shooting outside of the church and kept firing when he moved in. The CBS report noted that Kelly was a former US Air Force member, serving the force from 2010 to 2014.
Trump’s duplicitous reaction
The American President Donald Trump who is on Asian tour presently in a Twitter post said that he was informed of the attack and that he was closely following the situation from abroad. He further tweeted that the FBI and the law enforcement authorities are in control of situation.
Such a relatively cold and ordinary response of Trump to the white man’s assault caught attention, with many analysts arguing that the reaction was never comparable to responses to similar incidents arranged by non-Americans, especially those with Muslim roots.
Five days before the Texas shooting, a truck driver rammed into the passers-by in Manhattans bike path, killing 8 people. The New York incident was treated as a terrorist attack, with the attacker named Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek migrant who went to the US in 2010 after winning a lottery.
But Trump’s reaction was fiery and tough enough that led him to call the suspect “animal”, signaling he may soon talk to the Congress to end lottery program.
“We may need to get rid of the lottery program as soon as possible.” He was quoted as saying.
But Trump’s cold dealing with the Texas attack is not his first reaction of this kind to some terrorist attacks, a behavior drew him criticism at home for double standards. He reacted with similar degree of coldness to the last month’s Las Vegas shooting by the American national Stephen Paddock who opened fire and killed at least 60 people, stopping short of calling the incident “terrible” in a Twitter post.
But the controversially coldest reaction by the American president to the terrorist attacks came when he addressed Charlottesvilles deadly car attack in mid-August amid a protest organized by the hardline supremacists. The white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr was the driver who killed at least 21 people. Trump in his address of the situation declined to condemn the racist whites, instead blamed both involved sides, namely the supremacist and the counter-racist protestor. His stances unleashed against him waves of rebuke. His critics disparaged his inaction to stop the racist nationalists.
Anti-Trump castigation went to extent that even some of his relatives in his companies resigned from their positions. Nancy Pelosi, who currently serves as Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives, lashed out at him, saying: “Trump has sheltered and encouraged the forces of bigotry and discrimination.”
Aside from the terrorist attacks in the US, even his extreme reactions to terrorist attacks in other parts of the world exhibit the fact that how much he seeks to downplay the Western-rooted attacks and on the other side look for excuses to attack the Muslims in other incidents.
In mid-August, when Barcelona came under terrorist attack of a young van driver who killed 13 people and injured some 130 others by slamming his car into the pedestrians, Donald Trump responded to the incident by reviving an already debunked myth about a US general dipping bullets in pig’s blood to fight Islamic militants more than a hundred years ago. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” he posted on Twitter. He was in fact referring to the atrocious execution of 49 Muslims by the American general during the US-Philippines war between1899 to 1902.
Moreover, the American president in reaction to the mid-September London tube bombing, which took no lives, described the measures to address such attacks as inadequate. Speaking outside the White House on Friday, Trump made no reference to her rebuke. “It’s a terrible thing,” he said. “It just keeps going and going, and we have to be very smart, we have to be very, very tough. Perhaps we are not nearly tough enough.” His comments were followed by the talk of necessity to tighten the rules to stop nationals of six predominantly Muslim countries from entry to the US.
Last December’s Berlin terrorist attack also drew his reaction. He, then president-elect, said that the attack was a substantiation of his proposal veracity to disallow the Muslims from entering the US.
Therefore, Trump’s double standards in dealing with terrorism becomes highly clear if we put his smooth responses to the attacks in which whites and original Americans or westerners are blamed beside his extreme reactions to assaults led by non-Western or Asian persons.
Perhaps this behavior makes the public opinion more and more aware of instrumental looking at the concept of terrorism by Trump to attack the Muslims. With this in mind, the present approach to terrorism is only providing the American leader with excuses to come against the Muslims and follow a racist policy rather than seriously fight terror.
Simple shooting or terrorist attack?
In addition to Trump’s duplicity in relation to terrorism, another thing catching attention in Texas attack is the media labelling of the assault as a simple act of shooting. Despite the fact that the police said that they were investigating to see if it was a terrorist attack, the past experiences from similar attacks show that they are described as shooting incidents in the Western media, with no such titles as terrorist attacks given to them.
Although there is no certain and comprehensive definition of terrorism, in many definitions there is a consensus that targeting civilians for racist, political, and religious reasons is an act of terrorism. Here is a question: Why do the American media decline to describe the Texas assault a terrorist attack?
In other similar fatal incidents in other American cities like Virginia or Las Vegas that Americans, and not the Muslims, are engaged, the media stopped short of branding them terrorist. They only talk about the police probe to determine if they are terror actions. So apparent as it may look, for the Western media only deadly incidents by Muslin origins are terrorist actions, while similar attacks by Western origins receive title of shooting and simple incident, something blatantly displaying breach of maximum requirements for Western media neutrality.