This last one was an Australian eco-fascist obsessed with global warming, an Odinist hoping to spark civil war in the United States by provoking anti-gun riots.
To which I say: So what?
He was a murdering psychopath. His politics are incidental; they merely aimed him. Without those, he’d have detonated elsewhere.
And while we’re on the topic: When you call some schmuck who shoots up a church a “White Nationalist” or a “Muslim Extremist” or any other label apart from “Violent Madman”, you lend him a dignity he does not deserve. You group people with his madness that don’t belong there. And, by so doing, you take a tiny chance of radicalizing people who were not involved before you got there.
Don’t scoff. This guy was apparently radicalized online. How he got from climate change to shooting up mosques is beyond me, but that’s what he did.
I’ll leave you to think that one over, and move on to characterization by group. Follow along.
Most nationalists aren’t terrorists. They are people with a political conviction. They’re the sort to tear up when they recite the Pledge of Allegiance or sing along to “Proud To Be An American”. You can disagree with them if you like, but don’t conflate nationalism with terrorism.
White nationalists aren’t just nationalists who happen to be pale-skinned. The doctrine is one of racial superiority, a carryover from the pseudoscience of a hundred years ago. Most aren’t violent; they’re just deluded. They too will sometimes tear up while singing that “Our flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away!” But of course that doesn’t justify their odd attitude toward skin color, and it certainly doesn’t excuse the odium of their hate.
Nevertheless, most American white nationalists aren’t terrorists. They’re golfers. They aren’t deserving of your fear or hate, just your ridicule and — perhaps — your pity.
Someone shoots up a church, you’re talking a seriously twisted person, one with a diseased mind. Their politics pick their targets and dictate their methods; the Weather Underground differed from the KKK only in direction.
So yeah, I guess you could call this guy a violent anti-gun nut, or a white supremacist, or an ecoterrorist, or any number of other things. But why? Stick with “murdering psychopath”; that’s plenty.
“Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.” -TC