Responding to the El Paso shooting on Saturday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s eldest son, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, issued a stern statement decrying the rise of “white terrorism.”
“I proudly served in Afghanistan as a Naval officer where our mission was to fight and kill terrorists,” he said. “I believe fighting terrorism remains a national priority. And that should include standing firm against white terrorism here in the US.”
He continued, “There have now been multiple attacks from self-declared white terrorists here in the U.S. in the last several months. This is a real and present threat that we must all denounce and defeat. All terrorism must be stopped. I am praying for the victims of the shooting in El Paso. And I am asking that all Americans stand firm against all forms of terrorism.”
— George P. Bush (@georgepbush) August 4, 2019
The El Paso shooter is indeed a white man. Moreover, prior to the start of the shooting on Saturday afternoon, he shared a manifesto online littered with grievances about “race mixing,” “non-white Americans” and other concepts that white supremacists tend to dislike.
While Democrats and their media allies have tried to link both shootings to President Donald Trump, the other content of their manifestos — complaints about big corporations, environmental damage, income inequality — parallel the views of the left, not the right.
In the case of the El Paso shooter, however, he did also complain about illegal immigration, which is an issue that the president has campaigned and led on.
The El Paso shooter’s manifesto is all over the place, politically speaking. It’s only in regard to race where one begins to see an established pattern, ergo why Bush chose to refer to him and the Christchurch shooter as “white terrorists.”
A number of other notable figures, including former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger, and conservative author/columnist Seth Mandel, have echoed points about “white terrorism.”
Check out those reactions and more below:
George is right. Killing random civilians to spread a political message is terrorism. FBI classifies it as domestic terrorism, but “white terrorism” is more precise. Many of the killers are lone-wolf losers indoctrinated to hate through the internet, just like Islamic terrorists. https://t.co/uyyjkoh1fR
— Rod Rosenstein (@RodRosenstein) August 4, 2019
Today’s attack in El Paso has the flavor of a pogrom — the massacre of people for their race, ethnicity, or religion. I believe American law enforcement will beat this stuff, or greatly reduce it. They are ingenious, hard-working, inspirational people — long have been.
— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) August 4, 2019
Just shattering news in El Paso to come back online to. My heart breaks for all those affected, America grieves with you.
As I have said repeatedly and will continue to: There is an ISIS-style ‘jihad-in-place’ threat from white nationalists, and it should be treated as such.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 4, 2019
Language matters. Let’s call white terrorism what it is. https://t.co/h2OkUA1hP4
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) August 4, 2019
“White terrorism.” A far more direct description coined by a key Texas GOP official. https://t.co/WKxTmKidpR
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) August 4, 2019
Pleased to see George P. Bush naming the issue for what it is. Others should do the same. https://t.co/6czXg44F33
— Mark R. Yzaguirre (@markyzaguirre) August 4, 2019
Some have pushed back on this point by arguing that the term “white terrorism” is too all-encompassing. It’d be equivalent to complaining about “Muslim terrorism,” when in reality terrorism is committed by only a small minority of radical Islamists.
Similarly, perhaps this problem that Bush calls “white terrorism” should be more aptly called “white supremacist terrorism,” his critics have argued:
There is no such thing as “Muslim terrorism”, there is however, “Islamic extremists terrorism” There is no such thing as “white terrorism,” there is however, “white supremacist terrorism.” Both are evil, neither are representative of any group larger than the evil people involved https://t.co/aOIjK558qU
— Johnny (Joey) Jones (@Johnny_Joey) August 4, 2019
It certainly fits better than Bush’s “white terrorism.” How so? Because the majority of terrorist incidents/attacks that have occurred since October of last year have in fact involved white supremacy, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“I will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” he revealed during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month.
He added, “In terms of number of arrests, we have through the third quarter of this fiscal year had about give or take 100 arrests on the international terrorism side, which includes the homegrown violent extremism. We’ve also had just about the same number — again, don’t quote me to the exact digit — on the domestic terrorism side.”
In other words, radical Islamic terrorism and white supremacist terrorism are virtually equivalent threats.
“We take domestic terrorism or hate crime — regardless of ideology — extremely seriously, I can assure you, and we are aggressively pursuing it using both counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering closely with our state and local partners,” Wray said when pressed over whether the FBI is giving white supremacist terrorism enough attention.
“Our focus is on the violence,” Wray added. “We the FBI don’t investigate the ideology, no matter how repugnant. We investigate violence. And any extremist ideology, when it turns to violence, we’re all over it.”
On that note, perhaps it would be best to just refer to people like the El Paso shooter, the Christchurch shooter, and the Pulse nightclub shooter as just extremists and terrorists?
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