Thursday, October 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

When "terrorists" look like Stu Bykofsky

When "terrorists" look like Stu Bykofsky

 

Stu Bykofsky weighs in on the inevitable implications of, in his words, "when terrorists look like us."

JIHADJANE has a message for racial-profiling fans: Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.

JihadJane blew up the notion - never really widely held - that being a blue-eyed blonde should slide you through airport security like grease through a goose while everyone with a Middle Eastern name, a swarthy complexion or a turban should be strip-searched by Transportation Security Administration screeners.

Well, he certainly has a point about racial and ethnic profiling -- it will be interesting, if I get a chance, to hear Smercomish's take on this. But I think the broader point here is that Colleen LaRose was a woman with a world of problems before she discovered al-Qaeda. In all honesty I think it makes more sense to view her as Act III after the Austin IRS attack and the Pentagon shooting -- people who were deranged or narcissistic or both and who turned their demons toward something political. And I think that is a commentary on our times:

For too long in America we've had people committing random acts of violence -- usually toward their own family, unfortunately, and occasionally at crowded places like a McDonald's; in 2010, the focus is anti-government and anti-Americanism -- that's partly a reflection on the deep anxiety in U.S. society right now and partly because of the hypercharged media atmosphere (and yes, I mean on all sides) that we live in today. The Internet, in particular, enabled all three of these people -- to obsess on conspiracy theories or to post a death rant where millions could read it or, now, for a blonde, blue-eyed and deeply troubled woman from the Philadelphia exurbs to hook up with al-Qaeda. And if you believe in free speech and unfettered Internet access, as most of us do, there's no easy solution for that.

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