Donald Trump‘s White House Press Secretary tweeted in an official statement today that the Texas man who allegedly killed two people and injured several others by sending them five bombs over 19 days had “no apparent nexus to terrorism.”
.@POTUS mourns for victims of the recent bombings in Austin. We are monitoring the situation, federal authorities are coordinating w/ local officials. We are committed to bringing perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice. There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 20, 2018
This answers the age-old question: Can a conservative white man (and murderer), who has been identified as a “devout Christian,” be considered a “terrorist”?
The answer, at least for this administration, appears to be, “No, that title is reserved for Muslim extremists.”
Regardless of your political views, it’s hard to deny that Mark Anthony Conditt (above) terrorized the community of Austin with his malicious acts. He struck fear into their hearts, intimidating people in the area, to promote his own agenda (whatever that was). That’s the very definition of terrorism.
The fact that Conditt isn’t being immediately described with the “T” word by people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders might have something to do with the fact that he was a homeschooled Christian who opposed gay marriage and abortion.
On abortion, he wrote: “First, if a women does not want a baby, or is incapable of taking care of one, she should not participate in activities that were made for that reason. Second, if we are going to give women free abortions, why not give men free condoms, or the like? Is it not up to the couple to take these preventive measures?
Arguing against gay marriage, he wrote that homosexuality is “not natural.”
“Just look at the male and female bodies. They are obviously designed to couple. The natural design is apparent. It is not natural to couple male with male and female with female. It would be like trying to fit two screws together and to nuts together and then say, “See, it’s natural for them to go together.”
It’s pretty clear that Conditt doesn’t meet the typical “terrorist” classification because of his background. Not only do his beliefs align most with evangelical Christian extremists, but his mother also said he once considered going on a mission trip.
His mother, Danene Conditt, posted a picture of him in February 2013 to mark his completing a high school-level education.
“I officially graduated Mark from High School on Friday. 1 down, 3 to go. He has 30 hrs of college credit too, but he’s thinking of taking some time to figure out what he wants to do….maybe a mission trip. Thanks to everyone for your support over the years.”
We don’t yet know if Conditt’s actions were linked to his religious or political beliefs, but when a serial bomber kills multiple people over several days, that’s an act of terrorism, even if he doesn’t practice Islam.
If his skin were a little browner, or his faith a little less Christian, how quick would this administration be to use the word “terrorist” to describe him? Even Breitbart referred to his actions as part of a “three-week terror campaign.”
Conditt killed himself this morning and details are still coming in, so perhaps more time is needed to assess the situation. But the point is that it’s hard to imagine this administration using similar reluctance to describe a terrorist who didn’t look like this guy.