The double standard among conservatives over what constitutes terrorism has long been obvious. If a Muslim kills a bunch of people, that’s terrorism. When a right-wing extremist does it, that’s just a “lone wolf” with no connection to right-wing ideology at all. Bobby Jindal has this pattern down pat:
“This should never happen anywhere, but you certainly never imagine, you never imagine it would happen in Louisiana, never imagine it would happen in Lafayette,” the governor and presidential candidate said at a news conference late Thursday night.
Since he spoke, a clearer picture of the shooter, who held a number of right-wing beliefs and acted as a “lone wolf,” has emerged. But Jindal has yet to speak out about the individual and the threat of the radicalized right.
When mass shootings fit into Jindal’s view of “radical Islamic terrorists” posing the gravest threat to our country, he is quick to condemn the violence as acts of terrorism. But when the incidents are results of lax gun control laws and radical right-wing shooters — which more frequently lead to terrorism in the U.S. — he simply calls the situation tragic and is quick to move on.
After a shooter killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina last month, Jindal called President Barack Obama’s calls for stricter gun control “completely shameful,” and like he did Thursday, offered only prayers. But when a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kuwait opened fire at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee earlier this month, Jindal released a statement saying the incident “certainly looks like an act of terrorism” and “underscores the grave reality of the threat posed to us by radical Islamic terrorism every single day.” He went on to say, “the truth is that radical Islam is at war with us, and we must start by being honest about that.”
To the Louisiana governor and many Republican lawmakers, when white men open fire in public places it is “tragic” and “awful,” but when the shooter has a connection to “Islamic extremism,” the act becomes terrorism.
Since 9/11, terrorism inside the United States has been committed more often by right-wing extremists than by Muslim extremists, and more people have died from those attacks as well. Yet if you dare to suggest that right-wing extremist ideology is to blame, conservatives scream to high heaven and feign terrible outrage over it. When a Muslim engages in terrorism, that’s an existential threat to the country and this is clearly a result of a twisted, violent ideology. Silly rabbit, consistency is for kids.