What can I say that I haven’t already?
British twenty year-old Michael Steven Sandford attempted to grab an officer’s gun at a Donald Trump rally with intention to shoot the prospective Presidential candidate. Reports state that he had been preparing for a year, had even gone to a shooting range to learn how to handle a weapon and had convinced himself that it was a suicide mission. His motive is unclear, however his target and his preparation gives plenty to speculate – if the media applied their standards equally.
Once again, we have another white, non-Muslim “terrorist” from Britain where reports fail to label him speculatively (as per the standard with Muslims) a terrorist, does not mention his ethnic or religious affinity, nor even hint at “radicalisation” and “extremism”. Plus ça change, mental illnesses (OCD and historic anorexia (?!)) are highlighted, whilst the discussion of the prevailing Western “ideology”, which, premised on individualism produces a culture that encourages a selfish “exceptionalist” attitude, is eschewed. Sandford, after all, like Thomas Mair, was a “loner” – an individualistic indication as opposed to a collectivist one.
This latter discursive component (ideology) has not precipitated op-eds, television talk shows and radio discussions about how other cultural malaises in Western society are rooted in liberalism and how liberalism needs reform. Which is a shame, because there is plenty to discuss.
A 2015 study by Adam Lankford, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama, suggests that one of the reasons for mass shootings is “a strong sense of exceptionalism and individualistic culture”.
According to British criminologist Peter Squires, “it’s our individualistic culture that puts us at greater risk of mass shootings compared with other countries where guns are prevalent”. He further states,
“…privacy and individualism is where some of the causes of crime and revenge can be found.”
Time to reform individualist Western culture?
The nauseating hypocrisy prevalent in the discourse on violence when it comes to non-Muslim, white perpetrators has veered beyond comedy. Jo Cox’s assailant Thomas Mair is facing the judge under “terrorism protocols”. Yet still mainstream media cannot stomach calling Mair a terrorist.
The purpose of this comparatism is to highlight double standards, hypocrisy and discrimination facing Muslims in a similar situation. It is not a call for this treatment to be meted out to other groups. Rather, the call is for sanity and equal treatment, and a mature discourse on political violence extricated from the culturalist, ideological neoconservative pseudo-analyses attuned to the War on Terror paradigm.