The words terrorism and terrorist don't describe what has happened to our country since Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorists executed a major assault on a country that isn’t even ours.
Fifteen years later, our continued collective state of ‘terror’ needs no terrorists to perpetuate itself.
While I accept now his goal of terrorism, many people were willing to call Michael Zehaf-Bibeau a terrorist long before we knew anything about why he shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, then stormed Parliament. While a jury has (surprise, surprise) found John Nutall and Amanda Korody of, essentially, being terrorists committed to blowing up the B.C. legislature, I don’t consider them terrorists. They were capable of nothing before they were radicalized by police, anyway.
But a couple of incidents in the past few weeks provides the real punctuation. First, a nightclub shooting in Calgary. Three men pull a car in front of a nightclub and one guy gets out with a handgun and opens fire before he is tackled by security guards.
In the immediate aftermath, nobody knew what it was all about. The Calgary Sun and Herald newspapers reported what they knew; what happened and how the security guards saved lives. But the newspapers found themselves under scrutiny for what they didn’t report excessively on — the names of two of the shooters. Two of the men have the first name Mohammed.
So obviously the newspapers are either terrorist sympathizers or just too politically correct to point out it MIGHT be terrorism, according to some readers and right wing political pundits.
Never mind the fact Mohammed, and its variations, is the most common surname in the world. Never mind as well that video of the incident looks more like it was gang-related and that these are the worst gangsters ever to pull a gun. It took more time than anyone would have liked — a few days — before police confirmed they weren’t terrorists.
But still! We must talk about terrorism because terrorism!
Now all you Alberta-bashers can put away your clichés because the next event was Vancouver, where everyone is more civil, more educated, more worldly, more accepting and where their gangsters get stuff done.
Image Credit: Facebook
This time the “news” comes not from a newspaper where traditions of “thought” and “care” go into editorial decisions but from a website called VanCity Buzz, which would be far better off just doing sponsored content and restaurant reporting than confusing everybody by pretending to do “news.”
Someone leaked the website a minor inter-agency police bulletin that wasn’t important enough to be distributed to actual news outlets. Undeterred, the website ran with a story, headline and crystal clear photos saying police were on the lookout for three “middle eastern men” who were seen taking video at Pacific Centre Mall.
That’s right: shooting video. Even after it was quickly determined the three Britons were only guilty of being tourists while brown and had good reason for doing the completely legal thing they were doing, rather than call out the website for again creating unsubstantiated fear and worry, many readers praised them for bringing the “concern” to their attention.
Sure the tourists were branded as criminals, feared leaving their hotel room because their pictures were scattered across the globe and the world got a good laugh at Vancouver’s insecurity and inhospitality, but it all worked out in the end. VanCity Buzz got its clicks and their readers who need terrorism to validate their opinions of other cultures got their fix.
We should just drop the suffix on the word, as if the -ists created some kind of -ism, when it seems many of us just aren’t content unless there’s some brand of terror ever-lurking in the shadows.
Because given the absolute dearth of anything resembling actual terrorism in this country, the word terrorist would be better reserved for those who create, support, elevate and heighten this artificial sense of terror.
What else do you call them?
— Marshall Jones is the editor of iNFOnews.ca