There is something about April. From Columbine to Virginia Tech, from Oklahoma City to Boston, mid-to-late April occasions some of the most infamous massacres on U.S. soil. At least, these are the ones we are told to focus on. The killers are called terrorists. Unless they wear uniforms, as they did on April 19, 1993, just outside Waco, Texas. That time, as we are urged to believe, the terrorists were the ones who died. In all these massacres, regardless of specifics, the government portrays itself as all that keeps chaos at bay.
The state claims to stand against terrorism, but killing people is its stock in trade. Slaughters come in various forms, almost all of which feed the health of the state. The state conducts much killing outright. The state officially poses against other killing, while nevertheless encouraging it through its own violence. Even the killing that the state has no hand in serves as a pretext for the state to grow.
In Boston this Monday, someone left bombs that murdered three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and injured 176 others. President Obama called the crime an “act of terrorism.” The establishment definition of “terrorism” was always flawed, in that it categorically absolved the government, but at least it specified the targeting of civilians for political goals. Yet these days, even before the motive is known, such as at Boston, or when the targets are not civilians, such as American soldiers abroad, the U.S. government calls any dramatic acts of violence of which it disapproves “terrorism.”
This February, they called ex-cop Chris Dorner a terrorist. Then the police surrounded him in a cabin to burn him alive, asking the media to cover its eyes like at Waco. Everyone who knew how the state operates had no reason to expect he would get due process. They were going to hunt him down and kill him no matter what. The media dropped the formality of calling him an “alleged” murderer. The LAPD tried and convicted and executed him all on the same day and no one batted an eye. Meanwhile, liberals say all talk of American tyranny is irresponsible and conservatives continue to worship law enforcement
Today, violent resistance to the state is called terrorism. Many of the “terrorists” rounded up and imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay were at most guilty of defending their country against an invading army. Some of these people continue to languish in that dungeon, seeing their desperate hunger strike in protest of declining conditions go unanswered, except by an administration willing to cut off their water.