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Maybe We Are Focused On The Wrong Thing

“A guy walks into an airport...”

Please forgive me for interrupting my bad joke, but I think it is important to frame it for you. I came across an interesting little tid-bit earlier this week. It caught my eye for a couple reasons. First, it happened just a couple hours from where I live in North Carolina. Second, and most remarkable, I have a hard time understanding why this story did not get national attention. I can only come to one conclusion. Anyway, back to my bad joke.

“...with a bag full of explosives. He is arrested and charged with attempted malicious use of explosive materials and unlawful possession of explosive materials in an airport. And the press said…NOTHING!”

Funny, right? No, I didn’t think so either. This happened on Friday, October 6th. When I read about this I first had to check and make sure it was not some of that “fake news” the Left is constantly trying to bamboozle us with. After, all, it did come from one of the bamboozley sites that I love to follow (link to Upworthy piece).

So, I went to the national news to look for it. CNN, FOX, MSNBC, PBS, Washington Post, and so on. Nothing. The only outlet that reported the story within a day after it happened was USA Today, and they picked up the story from their affiliate The Asheville Citizen-Times, which was where it actually happened.

Since then a couple of the larger outlets have run small pieces on the failed terrorist attack, but it has hardly risen to the level that you would think an attack on an airport would rise to. Failed or otherwise. This seems to deviate sharply from the narrative that we have been fed about how we are supposed to think about these issues.

Just to make sure I’m not the crazy one, let me break it down a little further. We are constantly told that we how we are supposed to fear the dark and ominous cloud that is terrorism in America. Didn’t this guy fit the bill?

A guy left a jar filled with explosives and shrapnel in a public space of an airport. It was set to go off just as a wave of passengers were leaving, causing maximum carnage. He said that he wanted to "Fight a war on U.S. soil." Aren’t these the triggers that are supposed to kick our Pavlovian reflex into high gear? Oh wait, he’s not a Muslim and he was initially reported as White. Okay, I guess that explains it. Not sure why I don’t feel better though.

Maybe because in the wake of recent events like Charlottesville and Las Vegas we need to start being more honest about the nature of crazy and who’s doing it. American history is polluted with crazy White men who act crazy out on us all. This is by no means to say that religious extremism in not a problem. We have no problem giving that front-page coverage. We make racial animus the hot button we can't wait to push. When will we get to the point where we focus on these kinds of issues with the depth and complexity that they honestly deserve?

To be fair, it has come out in more recent reporting that the would-be attacker may affiliate as Native American, but that was only revealed days after the attack. And even if he does so identify, that does not dismiss or explain what seems to be the obvious.

Maybe this man does not identify as White, but he was initially seen as white. Even if, in this case, it is not a crazy White guy issue; maybe we can use him as the example to look at the overarching nature of why we keep ending up here. Why do so many innocent people have to get hurt? Worse still, why do some groups have to carry the unfair burden of responsibility for these acts?

I put much of this at the feet of the media and what they choose to put the focus on. I know you cannot report everything, but here would be an interesting exercise to undertake for the sake of living up to the public good.

Put all the domestic terror attempts and attacks into one big pile. Bombings, shootings (both police and civilian), tactical car attacks. People who do this because they say they want to bring down the government and people who hate those that are different from them. Pile all them together, then run them through the religious or ethnic spin news mill you use. I think the results would shift our focus. Report that.

Until then, I just don’t think I get the joke. And it’s killing me ( and others as well).

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