Updated: Nov 5, 2019
I think sometimes we forget that people born and raised in the USA can be terrorists, too. Especially in recent events, with the pipe bombs being sent to CNN offices and the homes of political leaders, are we having a difficult time calling the attacks what they are: Terrorism. Cesar Sayoc, 56 from Florida, is a right-wing extremist who not only threatened the lives of Obama and Clinton, but countless other people just working in an office. An extremist, by definition, is a person who goes to extremes (especially) in political matters. A radical is a person who is favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms. What is it that we call terrorists from outside of our country? Radical and Extreme Islam? Then why can't we label our own people as terrorists when they perform acts of hate as well? Not to mention that in recent years most attacks on US citizens do not come from immigrants or Islamic peoples, but right-wing extremists. Since the year 2000, attacks from right-wing terrorists have increased from 6% to 35% as we entered into the 2010's. As times change and other people become more accepting of different social-norms, the ignorant people in our nation become hate-filled and communicate in the only way they know how; violence. These people should not be treated as just 'angry Americans' that are protesting the social advancements in the country, they should be treated as terrorists, and held accountable for their actions. Bombs are not the only violent messages being sent out, either.
Just recently there was a shooting in a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Matthew Shepard (a gay student) was bludgeoned to death for liking the opposite sex, a man hung a doll by a noose outside of a black families home to scare them, a driver beat a Hasidic man nearly to death in Brooklyn, a white man killed a black man and stated that we needed to purge other colors from the earth. These events all happened in the month of October in this year, in 2016 there was over 6,000 hate crimes in the US, and since then there has been a 12% increase in these attacks. Where does the violence end? Can't we just tolerate one another, despite our differences? I am disgusted by the way that people react to those that are different from them; it is time that these hateful bigots are labeled as terrorists and put away. We cannot keep living in constant fear that there will be an attack wherever we go.
I was at Columbus Circle, next to the CNN office, when the threat of pipe bombs became known. I watched as police flooded the area and people were evacuated from the building. I walked into class and listened as my classmates got calls from their parents and reassured them that we were all safe in our building, despite being unsure if we were safe at all. Some kids left to be cautious, others acted like it was no big deal. Isn't that sad? Acts of this kind have become so normalized that it has become 'no big deal', we get over the incident in a second and wait for the next one to happen. This cycle needs to end, we need to call out these right-wing extremists for their hateful acts, and we need to reform the way that we react to change. Violence is not, and never will be, the answer to our problems. We need to be radical in the way that we practice acceptance and peace, not in violence and hate.