Euphemisms won’t stop bombs from exploding and knives from slashing

by: Benjamin Weingarten

Yesterday’s events in Seaside Park, N.J., the neighborhood of Chelsea in New York City, and St. Cloud, Minn., are the latest reminders that our free and willfully blind society is highly vulnerable whether such incidents are motivated by jihad (in the case of St. Cloud) or “intentional acts” of violence.

I say “intentional act” because this is the language of New York’s ardently leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio. His use of this phrase during a press conference in the late hours of Saturday night leads us to ask the inevitable question: “What distinguishes an “intentional act” of blowing up a dumpster on a street in Manhattan — with a pressure cooker device found a few blocks away — from a terrorist act?”


Is “intentional act” the new “man-made disaster”? Our euphemism-generating, PC leaders seem to be fighting a war most aggressively on the English language at this point.

Perhaps the parsing of “intentional act” without giving it the imprimatur of “terror” is merely the newest label when law enforcement cannot yet tie a specific actor to a general group. And perhaps New York City was playing coy publicly while privately tracking down a cell or those linked to a known perpetrator or perpetrators.

But of course “terror” itself is a misleading label. Terror is an act. The ideology that animates the actor is what actually matters. Terror without a modifier itself plays into the notion that “violent extremism” is an ideology, when it is, in fact, a nebulous non-entity explicitly meant to group a series of ideological movements: jihadism, white supremacism, radical environmentalism — which differ significantly qualitatively and quantitatively.

Moreover, since ideology is at core what matters (even though our political leaders are dedicated to a national security and foreign policy paradigm that argues we are fighting nihilism), whether an individual acts according to his interpretation of Islamic ideology by himself or as part of a jihadi franchise — what is chiefly important is that he is a jihadi.

The pipe bomb wired with several devices that exploded Saturday morning in the shore town of Seaside Park has been linked by many in the media to what occurred last night in New York. It is incredibly fortunate that although the bomb exploded in New Jersey, it did so without hurting any of the multiple thousand members of a charity race for U.S. Marines or the children who had just completed a “fun run” in the area.

While we have no idea as of yet whether these events are explicitly tied, what we do know is that it would be consistent with jihadist ideology and tactics to target military members and their families with a pipe bomb (in Seaside Park), and to target Chelsea residents — a highly liberal (culturally and politically and disproportionately gay) neighborhood — with some form of bomb made out of a pressure cooker.

Regardless, the safe rule it seems in the wake of jihadist attacks is that the longer authorities go without letting us know who the perpetrators are, the greater the likelihood the attacker is an Islamic terrorist. Ironically, government officials undermine their own false narrative that the Islamic supremacist threat is under control and no more powerful or widespread than any other threat to the homeland.

Additionally, the government’s inability to treat acts by all people the same — in terms of publicly disclosing information regardless of race, color, or creed — creates such speculation.

Last but not least in the trio of attacks yesterday was the rampage that occurred in St. Cloud.

The Star Tribune reports that during the series of stabbing attacks, the assailant “asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them, and referred to Allah during the attacks.”

In spite of the fact that the perpetrator reportedly sought to kill non-believers while sparing fellow Muslims — a telltale sign of a jihadist act — St. Cloud police Chief William Blair Anderson reportedly refused to call the act “terror.”

“Anderson declined to call the stabbing a terrorist attack, saying the motive for the attacks isn’t known yet,” according to the Tribune.

Anderson follows in the footsteps of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who claimed after jihadist Edward Archer had literally confessed to shooting and killing a police officer “in the name of Islam” that the act had “nothing to do with [Archer’s] being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”

Of course, while Chief Anderson focuses on the act of terror instead of the animating ideology, at least Mayor Kenney recognized that ideology was really the issue — even though Kenney was protecting the ideology (i.e. the political belief system) from acts perpetrated in its name.

Fifteen years after 9/11, it is clear that our streets are as vulnerable as ever. Thanks to our immigration policies and a politically correct, self-righteously suicidal emphasis on “countering violent extremism,” the homeland is arguably in significantly worse shape than we were immediately following that sunny, fateful September day.

Were we really serious as a nation about defending ourselves against this existential threat, we would be devising a policy that stopped Islamic supremacists from entering into the country and deal with the existing Islamic supremacist threat already on our soil by studying its threat doctrine and devising policies to counter it.

This all holds true regardless of what further revelations come in the wake of last night’s chaos.

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Ben Weingarten is a contributor to Conservative Review. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Originally published at