Why Are White Mass Shooters Arrested and Black and Brown Mass Shooters Shot?
Updated: 2 days ago
It is truly a tragedy that people lost their lives during the most recent terror attack on London Bridge. My condolences to their families and praise to those who heroically took Usman Khan down. I could not have done what these brave members of the public and the police do the best to follow protocol in a tough situation.
However, I wonder if protocol always has to end in death, ultimately the suicide vests worn by Khan and other attackers were fake.
Khalid Masood, the Westminster attacker, was shot and killed by police even though he wasn't wearing a suicide vest. Following the Westminster Attack, Neil Basu, the UK's most senior counterterrorism officer, said: "Even the possibility that the Metropolitan Police Service lost the chance to prevent the murder of one of our officers is unacceptable, and we are deeply sorry." What about preventing the murder of all parties?
"Anti-Defamation League findings that between 2009 and 2018, far-right extremists were responsible for 73 per cent of murders, while Islamic terrorists were behind 23 per cent of murders."
Does protocol always have to end in death?
Why did they have to shoot Usman? I was disturbed to see a short video of Usman just before being killed. Why do we get gratification out of his death?
Perhaps they need to change the training manual for law enforcement.
'law enforcement has managed to stop about three-fourths of all attacks by Islamic radicals since 2001, only about one-fourth of attacks by far-right extremists had been stopped during that same time period."
What is the cause?
Ben Lindsay, a London Pastor, involved in community issues such as youth violence and racial justice. Ben, in his book We Need to Talk About Race, 'violence is never the cause it is the consequence of something else that has gone on'.n It's something else going on behind the scenes whether it is mental health issues, lack of belonging' (1).
Killing Usman is just dealing with the symptoms.
Boris Johnson blaming Usman Khan's release on legislation introduced under "a
leftie government" is the end of the story, not the beginning. Why did he go into prison? Why was he radicalised in the first place? Perhaps Khan's killings are the result of legislation under the right-wing government, of laws that led the hostile environment and further exclusion of immigrants and their children. Kenan Malik, a British Asian journalist, adds, 'social and economic policies that have made societies more atomised, polarised and unequal and made many feel abandoned and unheard.'
Extreme violence and terrorism, contrary to popular belief, are not mostly committed by radicalised black and brown young male Jihadis with a few fringe far-right white nationalists.
How bad is white terrorism?
The police say the fastest-growing UK terrorist threat is far-right.
In the West, white people, in particular, are reluctant to name white acts of terror for what they are, white terrorism. The laws need to change, as does the media's language (it is slowly) when reporting.
Even white-nationalists killers are prosecuted for equally heinous crimes as Black and Brown terrorists, they are not prosecuted as terrorists. US law does define domestic terrorism, however, there is no specific criminal charge for it. Meaning white nationalists are not prosecuted like terrorists affiliated with an international group. Such as the Islamic State would likely be; with white nationalist killers only being charged with crimes related to weapons, hate crimes and other laws.
The University of Maryland Terrorism Centre found that, while law enforcement has managed to stop about three-fourths of all attacks by Islamic radicals since 2001, only about one-fourth of attacks by far-right extremists had been stopped during that same time period. Anti-Defamation League findings that between 2009 and 2018, far-right extremists were responsible for 73 per cent of murders, while Islamic terrorists were behind 23 per cent of murders.
For example, Ch Supt Jon McAdam said of the recent arrest of a man over right-wing terrorism offences that 'this relates to extreme right-wing terrorism'.
Why do we mostly shoot terrorists of colour and arrest white terrorists?
Looking at five major terror attacks in the last five years by jihadists, none of them white, I found that they were all killed by police. In contrast, over the same period in the West, looking at five major terror attacks by white nationalists, I discovered all were arrested and not killed. In cases where the white nationalists murdered more people than that of jihadi incidents, such as the Christ Church Massacre the highest death count in the last five years It's worth mentioning, though apparent, white nationalists kill people of colour pretty much exclusively.
Why do they take away white murders so gently in handcuffs, while black men are thrown to the ground during traffic stops?
Five major Jihadi acts of terrorism in the last five years
2016 Ohio State University Attack - 13 injured - Abdul Razak Ali Artan (eliminated) - shot and killed by police due to misjudging his fake suicide vest as real.
2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting - 49 dead and 53 wounded - Omar Mateen (eliminated) - shot and killed by police as mistakenly thought his fake suicide vest was real.
2017 Westminster Attack - 50 injured, five killed - Khalid Masood (eliminated) - shot and killed by police, no jacket seen though feared he might have been wearing one.
2017 London Bridge Attack - 8 murdered and 48 injured - Rachid Redouane (eliminated) - 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22 Khuram Butt all killed by the police: Redouane was wearing fake improvised IEDs; as Zaghba and Butt appeared to be wearing fake suicide vests.
2019 London Bridge - two dead and five stabbed - ( (eliminated) - shot and killed by police as thought to be wearing real suicide "belt", which proved to be fake.
Following inquests, all police killings of terrorists were deemed to be lawful. Despite that fact that in all instances, the terrorists were not wearing real suicide vests. If they could determine the terrorists were wearing fake vests, there would be no need to eliminate them. I think the armed police dealing with terrorism could avoid misjudgment with better training in the same way law enforcement should receive different training in handling innocent Black lives. Should armed police make decisions based on fear or rationale?
In the 2017 Westminster Attack, police officers fearing he was wearing a belt, killed Masood. Officers did attempt to give first aid to Masood. Fearing? What if police officers were able to make decisions based on rationale, not fear? Have any of the terrorist in recent significant acts of terrorism ever worn a real vest? In all the above examples, they were not wearing explosives.
'Killing them is not going to solve the problem'
Five major white nationalist acts of terrorism in the last five years
2015 Charleston Church Shooting - injured one and killed nine Black people - Dylan Roof (alive) - fled and arrested.
2017 Quebec City Mosque Shooting - six dead and nineteen wounded - Alexandre Bissonnette (alive) - arrested after turning himself in.
2017 Finsbury Park Attack - one killed 12 wounded, 'this is for London Bridge' - Darren Osbourne (alive) - restrained and arrested police.
2019 El Paso Shooter - 22 people killed and 24 injured - Patrick Crusius (alive) - fled and turned himself in.
2019 Christchurch Mosque Shooting - injuring 40 and killing 51 practically people of colour, alive - Brendan Tarrant (alive) - pursued, stopped in the car and arrested. Police said two explosive devices were found inside a crashed SUV on Strictland Street, about three kilometres from the Al Noor Mosque.
In all the above events, not one of the white nationalist terrorists were killed despite instances of terrorists having explosive in their vehicles. When police pull over suspicious white males, do they ever have cause to kill them on the spot if they suspect they may have explosives?
A note on Dylan Roof (mentioned above who gunned down and killed nine African Americans who welcomed him into their church): the morning Roof was arrested–16 hours after being on the run and after admitting that had hoped to incite a race war–he complained of being hungry. A white police officer John Ledford, brought Roof food from Burger King, and reported, "He was very quiet, very calm... He was not problematic." Not problematic? AS Ruth King, MLK's granddaughter writes, "a White man admits he wants to incite a race war, yet he is not problematic, a bit crazy don't you think?"
So no white deaths, all Black and brown deaths. The Murder of Lee Ridgby is one instance of jihadi terrorism in the last ten years, where officers did not shoot the killers. In 2013, Lee Ridgby, a British Army soldier, was hacked to death by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowal. Lest we forget Jean Charles de Menezes though, who was shot dead by police officers on the London Underground in 2005. Jean had no connection to attempted bombings or terrorism. He was not carrying explosives, or a vest, or a belt, and senior police sources said that after being shot in the head seven times his body was "unrecognisable." At the time, a former commander of specialist operations for the Metropolitan Police, Roy Ram, said that the policy had been updated to allow police to "shoot to kill" potential suicide bombers, claiming shots to the head were the safest way to kill the suspect without risk of detonating devices.
"When young white males, especially those who have class privilege, violently act out, even killing, psychological issues are explored as possible explanations. Yet when black males act out the message the mass media send is that there "inherently" evil, floor beyond repair"
Is it fair to say that white-nationalist killers have never been killed by police?
After trawling through Wikipedia's list of killings by law enforcement officers in the United Kingdom - over 50 since 2000, and over 50 before 2000 listed - and cross-referencing and looking into the details of their deaths and crimes, to my knowledge not a single white person killed on that list was involved in a crime, which was motived by a white nationalist ideology, such as white supremacy, replacement theory or the notion of an immigrant invasion. As for Canada, there are 150 killings listed on Wikipedia'; and the US, just in the last ten years, there have been nearly 4,000 killings by law enforcement officers in the United States. I'll leave trawling through those killers for my Masters! There are none listed for New Zealand or Australia that details each killer on Wiki, only by a country's total in recent years.
How can we learn about young homegrown terrorists if they're all dead?
Killing terrorists is not going to solve the problem. As Craig Pinkley, youth worker and criminologist, says, "we need to ask two key questions: what are we missing, and what are we not understanding?" Could we learn more about jihadi terrorism if the terrorists who committed acts of terror were alive and not killed by the police? Better understand prevention, about the racism and exclusion they face?
Political scientist Michael G. Hanchard writes, 'in Britain and France, many youths who have joined groups committed to terrorist acts are citizens of immigrants and naturalised citizens who have had either a single, particularly traumatic exercise with racism, or recalled constant, low-intensity microaggressions as integral, formative experiences in their lives" (2). Structural racism and Islamaphobi are clearly contributing factors to the rise in the Jihadi homegrown terrorism, and also far-right nationalism. Our own head of state is 'pandering' to the far right and 'dog-whistling' Islamophobia.' According to Tell Mama, a monitoring group, Boris Johnson's comments on women wearing a veil led to a surge in anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of abuse. Johnson compared Muslim women in burqas to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers. How does that make brothers in the Muslim community feel?
'...the fundamental question of our time is whether we have enough respect for humanity to protect against white terror'.
Is our understanding around integration the problem?
Britain's most senior counterterrorism officer, Neil Basu, said, "integration is not assimilation". Recent research on terrorism shows that people with extremist views are moved to violence, not because of a lack of assimilation, but because they feel excluded. Basu's recommendation, 'create a sense of belonging, while not forcing people to give up things they may hold as sacred'. 'If we fail … we risk social exclusion turning to violence'. As journalist Afua Hirsch presciently points out, '.oo many people who profess their support for integration are talking about assimilation.'
Afua Hirsch again, in an interview with Sadiqu Khan, mayor of London, on integration at LSE sees 'integration as about encouraging meaningful interactions not just between people of different ethnicities, but also different ages, social classes,
sexual orientations and abilities.'
Or are the views of white-nationalist killers more widely shared than most whites would prefer to admit?
White-nationalists are not perceived as high a direct threat to law enforcement as jihadi terrorists are. Rightly so, during the Westminster Attack in 2017, Masood was intent on killing police officers. In contrast, white-nationalist killers tend to hand themselves in. For example, Anders Behring Breivik the Norway Attacker who killed 77 and injured at least 200 following two attacks surrendered. In the film, 22 July, based on the attack, after handing himself in Breivik had a, calm and candid conversation with the police handling him humanely. However, Anders was not just killing Black and Brown people that day he was killing mostly white people too. We are all being terrorised by primarily by other white people, and white people think that these tragedies having nothing to do with their ideas, believing the dangerous lie that the white-nationalist is an exception. As race scholar, Ibram X Kendi crucially writes, '... the fundamental question of our time is whether we have enough respect for humanity to protect against white terror.'
I admit there are holes in my argument, however, I wanted to stimulate some thought and conversation around the disproportionate killing of jihadi-terrorists.
Mass Media coverage of White VS Black and Brown men
Bell hooks in her tremendous book, We Real Cool: Black Mena and Masculinity highlights the difference in the portrayal of white and Black men who are perceived as committing evil acts, with whites being viewed more favourably than Blacks, receiving more empathy and and viewed as fixable.
"The violent acting out of white boys tends to be viewed as a psychological disorder that can be corrected, while black boys who act out tend to be viewed as criminals and punished accordingly," she writes.
"Reading in recent years when young white males, especially those who have class privilege, violently act out, even killing, psychological issues are explored as possible explanations. Yet when black males act out the message the mass media send is that there "inherently" evil, floor beyond repair."
1. Ben Lindsay, We Need to Talk About Race (2019).
2. Michael G. Hanchard, The Spectre of Race: How Discrimination Haunts Western Democracy (2018).