Today, Last Friday, and Every Day in Domestic Terrorism and Stochastic Violence

The weekly bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and the Anti-Defamation League is now back to Tuesdays.

The Anti-Defamation League says it received bomb threats at four of its offices Tuesday, the same day more Jewish Community Centers across the country were also targeted in a new round of threats.

The JCC Association of North America also released a statement, saying “several JCCs have received either emailed or phoned-in bomb threats overnight and this morning.”

This lovely fellow was arrested over the weekend for vandalizing a synagogue.* He’d also, apparently, upset quite a few people at a church with a primarily Hispanic congregation earlier in the year.

Another Sikh-American was targeted and shot last Friday because he was mistaken for being Muslim.

Kent police are searching for a gunman they say opened fire in the East Hill neighborhood.

Officers say the victim, a 39-year-old Sikh man, was in his driveway working on his car Friday around 8 p.m. when another man approached him and began yelling, “Go back to your own country.”

Police say the victim was shot in the arm. Authorities expect the man will make a full recovery.

The shooting suspect is a white male about 6 feet tall. Police say the man has a stocky build and was seen in dark clothing and a mask covering the lower half of his face.

Detectives are investigating. The FBI is also involved in investigation the possible hate crime.

Also last Friday another Indian-American, Harnish Patel, was shot dead in Lancaster, SC.

Patel was the owner of a Speedee Mart and was targeted on his way home. It is unclear from the reporting at this time if this was a robbery-homicide or if Mr. Patel was targeted because of his ethnicity.

Patel was the owner of the Speedee Mart on Pageland Highway.

Police said that he closed his store and left in his Toyota minivan at 11:24 p.m. Thursday.

Investigators believe he drove from the store directly home, where he was confronted by his killer when he got out of the vehicle.

Authorities have not made any arrests but are urging people to come forward.

“We ask anyone with information he or she thinks might be related to this incident in any way to please contact us,” said Sheriff Barry Faile.  “If you saw anything at the store, in the area of Craig Manor Road, or anywhere in between, let us know.  Even if you think it is not important, it could be the lead that solves this case.”

Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 283-3388 or email Crimestoppers.

Mr. Patel is survived by a wife and young child.

And it is important to remember, despite the fact that the anti-Semitic incidents, and, of course, those involving physical attacks, injuries, murders, and significant property damage, get a lot of press and coverage, we definitely need to keep in mind that every day in the US is today in anti-Muslim domestic terrorism and stochastic violence.

Most Americans don’t actually know any Muslims — at least, not personally.

More than 6 in 10 have seldom or never had a conversation with a Muslim, according to a study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute. Most Americans also say they know little (57%) or nothing at all (26%) about Islam.
Those numbers have barely budged in 30 years, even after 9/11, two American-led wars in Muslim-majority countries, local and national outreach campaigns by Muslim mosques and organizations, dozens of terrorist attacks worldwide, high-profile congressional hearings and copious media coverage of Islam. All of which suggests that Americans are not just widely ignorant about Islam and Muslims, they are also oddly incurious.
Muslims have been shot and killed, execution-style, in their living rooms and outside of their mosques. They have been fatally stabbed on their way home. They have been beaten in their stores, in their schools and on the streets. They have been kicked off airplanes, egged outside Walmart, scorched with hot coffee in a park, shot in cabs and punched while pushing their children in strollers. Their clothes have been set on fire and their children have been bullied. Men have come to their door and told them that they would burn down their house if they did not move away. They have been fired for wearing hijabs and for praying. They have seen their cemeteries vandalized and their Quran desecrated. A Muslim congressman has received death threats, and business owners have posted signs advertising “Muslim-free zones.
Heavily armed men have protested outside mosques in Texas and Arizona, arguing that it’s their patriotic duty to protect the country from Islam.
People have covered the doors of a mosque with feces and torn pages of the Quran, left a severed pig’s head outside a mosque, firebombed mosques, urinated on mosques, spray-painted the Star of David and satanic symbols on mosques, carved swastikas and crude drawings of penises into signs at mosques, set fire to mosques, threatened to blow up mosques and kill “you Muslim f****,” fired rounds from high-powered rifles into mosques, wrapped bacon around the door handles of mosques, left hoax bombs and fake grenades at mosques, threatened to decapitate congregants at mosques, sent suspicious substances to mosques, written notes saying, “We hate you,”“We will burn all of you” and “Leave our country” to mosques, rammed a tractor-trailer into a mosque, thrown bricks and stones through the windows of mosques, pelted Muslims with rocks as they left mosques and stood outside mosques shouting, “How many of you Muslims are terrorists?”
American Muslims have been told that a mosque, unlike churches and synagogues, cannot serve as an election polling station. Dozens of communities have fought to keep Muslims from building mosques in their neighborhoods, sometimes threatening violence.
From 2001 to 2015, there were 2,545 anti-Islamic incidents targeting 3,052 Muslims, according to the FBI. Last year, anti-Muslim hate times surged 67%, reaching a level of violence not seen since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and many Muslims believe hate crimes are underreported by victims and not pursued vigorously by police and prosecutors. This year, the FBI has begun counting anti-Arab incidents as well.
Much more excellent reporting by Daniel Burke at the link.

Here’s the link to the FBI’s 2015 Hate Crime Statistics information, which also captures the increase in anti-Muslim hate groups and actions. The 2016 has not yet been finalized.

In February I wrote that this is:

…an ongoing, coordinated campaign of terrorism. The point is to make the children attending these schools be afraid to go to school. It is to make their parents afraid to send them. And to make the teachers, administrators, and other staff afraid to go to work. It is intended to coerce all of these people, as well as members of the wider Jewish American community and the communities of other religious and ethnic minorities in the US. It is also intended to coerce and intimidate the neighbors, commercial or residential, of these institutions to demand they relocate in order to minimize the threat to themselves.

It is important to add that the campaigns of violence directed against Muslim-Americans, including the attempts to prevent them from opening new mosques or cemeteries or expanding existing ones is particularly dangerous. It is dangerous because the perpetrators can’t tell the difference between Americans of Arab, Iranian, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Sinhalese/Sri Lankan, or Tamil (of Indian or Sri Lankan origin) descent, and other Americans of color and just assume they are all Muslims. This results in attacks on Americans who are Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or any other religion they may identify with. The anti-Muslim animus among non Muslim-Americans is particularly dangerous because those who have it are not only ignorant about Islam and Muslims, they’re ignorant about Americans who are of North African, Horn of African, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Southeast Asian descent. The ignorance of the attackers increases the potential target populations. And these actions – both the physically violent and the non-physically violent – contribute to the ever present, ongoing, low level campaign of domestic terrorism and stochastic violence against the members of these communities.

And here too, as is the case with the attacks on the Jewish Community Centers and synagogues and Jewish-American organizations, the intention is to intimidate and coerce the victimized population to either change their behavior or leave. It is also intended to intimidate and coerce the larger American citizenry to take action against the victims. To push them to demonstrate against them because they are perceived as a threat or because by being targets they increase the likelihood of an attack. To rezone areas so mosques, community centers, and cemeteries cannot be built – again because they are a threat or because by existing they increase the threat profile within the community. To make Muslim Americans, and those mistaken for them, feel unwelcome in their homes, businesses, places of work, and places of recreation. To collapse the public into the private – destroying the Grey Zone, the civil space of American life – and then deny the victims and potential victims even the private portions of their lives as refuge. So that they feel unsafe in public and unsafe at home. To deny them any safe havens or respite.**

And while this is a good start, it does not go far enough.

This needs to be broadened to include anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh, anti-Indian American, anti-Arab American, anti-Pakistani American, anti-Hispanic American, anti-African American, anti-LGBTQ American, and any other at risk demographic. And they have to put the power of the public purse where their mouths are. They have to introduce and pass legislation that prohibits DHS from turning its Task Force on Violent Extremism into a Task Force on Countering Islamic Extremism or Radical Islamic Extremism. And to fix its problems and expand its scope, not narrow them in the pursuit of an ideologically incorrect agenda.

As always, we leave the last word to 18 U.S. Code § 2331, highlighting the relevant part:

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
(Added Pub. L. 102–572, title X, § 1003(a)(3), Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4521; amended Pub. L. 107–56, title VIII, § 802(a), Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 376.)
* I wonder if jackboots are deductible?
** This is also the purpose of the changes in immigration enforcement activity that have been reported over the past several weeks. Including actions taken against US citizens and legal permanent residents simply moving about the US. Though given that it is being directed by the state against the citizenry and non-citizen population, using the power of the state, it is state terror, rather than terrorism.

Sunday Morning Open Thread: Profiles


What’s on the agenda as we prepare for another week?

Not quite up to the standards of the last First Lady, but then…

And speaking of fierce woman warriors…

Not Yet Ready to Make Nice Open Thread: Trump’s Speech As Theater

Boy howdy, that was a quick 24 hours, wasn’t it?

This is worth reading, though — the Washington Post‘s pop-culture blogger, Alyssa Rosenberg, explains “Pundits are treating Trump like theater. They should learn from the real critics“:

On Wednesday, as a wave of positive headlines describing President Trump’s first address to Congress rolled in, Slate chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie tweeted in disgust, “This morning is a good reminder that so much of what passes for political analysis is just theater criticism.” On behalf of critics everywhere, I take a minor amount of umbrage: After all, we generally set higher standards for performances than “basic competence,” and we tend to address style as well as substance. But given that his real point is that the pundits who praised Trump seemed to be falling for mere optics, maybe political commentators could stand to take a few tips from those of us who practice criticism for a living.

1. When someone doesn’t tell the truth, the reason for the distortion matters as much as the distortion itself: One of the hot debates in pop culture criticism right now is what obligations fiction has to be historically accurate… The thing about identifying areas where pop culture diverges from the cultural record, or where a work of fiction embraces one school of historical interpretation over another, is that at the end of the day, it’s still fiction. So it’s generally more interesting to analyze what goals or ideas those diversions serve, rather than simply identifying that they exist. The president of the United States has a much, much higher obligation to tell the truth than movies and television do. But fact-checking is still a first step: Identifying what function Trump’s errors, distortions and outright lies perform in his presidency matters, too.

2. The presidency is a season of television, not an episode:… You don’t judge whether a television show as a whole is good or bad on whether the showrunners, writers, actors and directors can sustain what’s good about their work for an hour or two, the way you would judge a single episode of television. You judge it on whether they can do that for a season, and then for the majority of the show’s run. Political analysts need to approach a presidency the same way. The test of whether Trump has found a way to be presidential (if, in fact, you judge his performance last night as meeting that standard) is not whether he can do it for one night, but whether he can do it for years…

Or even, y’know, for a whole day, before getting derailed by his own minions?
Read more

Monday Evening Open Thread: Quick Notes


Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Tom Perez is off to a quick start, good for him…

One more thing to blame Lord Smallgloves (and his fussy little hand tics) for:

Today In Be Careful What You Wish For: Not So Strange Bedfellows Edition II

Shortly after the election the American Jewish Congress and the Islamic Society of North America formally entered into a civil rights protection and promotion and civil society defense agreement. Today, in response to yesterday’s violence and vandalism at St. Louis’s Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Linda Sarsour and Tarik El-Messidi have started a fundraising campaign to help repair the damage done.

You may remember Linda Sarsour, the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York, as one of the co-chairs for the Women’s March. Tarik El-Messidi is the founder of Celebrate Mercy, an educational outreach program intended to inform both Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam and the life of Prophet Muhammed.

So well done currently unknown dickheads and domestic terrorists – your stupidity has just drawn Muslim and Jewish Americans closer together. Give yourselves a round of applause for achieving exactly the opposite of what you intended to achieve: to scare Americans of different faiths and ethnicities in order to drive them apart and make them easier to prey upon in the future. Morons!


Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Out of the Shadows

From the Washington Post, “For decades they hid Jefferson’s relationship with her. Now Monticello is making room for Sally Hemings“:

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The room where historians believe Sally Hemings slept was just steps away from Thomas Jefferson’s bedroom. But in 1941, the caretakers of Monticello turned it into a restroom.

The floor tiles and bathroom stalls covered over the story of the enslaved woman, who was owned by Jefferson and had a long-term relationship with him. Their involvement was a scandal during his life and was denied for decades by his descendants. But many historians now believe the third president of the United States was the father of her six children.

Time, and perhaps shame, erased all physical evidence of her presence at Jefferson’s home here, a building so famous that it is depicted on the back of the nickel.

Now the floor tiles have been pulled up and the room is under restoration — and Hemings’s life is poised to become a larger part of the story told at Monticello.

When the long-hidden space opens to the public next year, it will mark a dramatic shift in the way one of the nation’s most revered Founding Fathers is portrayed to the more than 440,000 visitors who tour this landmark annually.

It’s part of a $35 million restoration project that will bolster Monticello’s infrastructure but also reconstruct and showcase buildings where enslaved people lived and worked. The man who wrote the words “all men are created equal” in 1776 was master of a 5,000-acre working plantation who over the course of his life owned 607 slaves.

“Visitors will come up here and understand that there was no place on this mountaintop that slavery wasn’t,” said Christa Dierksheide, a Monticello historian. “Thomas Jefferson was surrounded by people, and the vast majority of those people were enslaved.”…

To pinpoint that room, historians relied on a description provided long ago by a Jefferson grandson, who placed it in the home’s south wing. Archaeologists are now peeling back layers in the 14 foot, 8 inch-by-13 foot, 2 inch room to reveal its original brick floor and plaster walls.

We don’t know how Hemings regarded her involvement with her owner. Historians do not know exactly how old she was when she lived there; and no portraits or photographs of her exist. But step into the brick room, the floor still covered in red dirt, and it is not hard to imagine her sitting in a chair, warming herself in front of the fireplace…

Monticello historians hope the restored room will humanize the image of Hemings, beyond the gossipy old accounts of Jefferson’s so-called “concubine.”

“Sally Hemings was better traveled than most Americans, so we want to tell a story about her that doesn’t limit her to Jefferson’s property,” said Gary Sandling, a vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and runs Monticello as a museum…

Much more at the link. Whatever the hard truths of Sally’s relationship with Mr. Jefferson, it’s good to know that she did have the minor luxury of a room of her own.
What’s on the agenda for the new day?