Think Islamic Extremism Is The Biggest Threat In America? Think Again

Rethinking America’s History With Terror

David White
Dec 9, 2018 · 5 min read
(Credit Lukas Gojda)

On a hot summer day in August 1966, a man armed with an M-1 carbine loaded a large cache of weapons and ammo into a military-style footlocker. Dressed in workman clothes to avoid suspicion, he dragged the footlocker to the observation deck of a centrally-located tower on a Texas university campus. On his way up, he would bludgeon to death a young woman and then shoot and kill 2 others standing between him and his deadly perch.

Earlier that morning he had murdered his devout Roman Catholic mother in cold blood to prevent her from having to deal with the shame of his actions planned for later that day. After killing his mother, he returned home to slaughter his wife by stabbing her to death while she slept.

An expert marksman from an early age and later honed by the U.S. Marine Corps, the man would spend 90 minutes in the tower firing down a shower of lead onto innocent bystanders, killing 15 and wounding another 30.

A baby boy, still in utero, would be killed instantly just one month from his birth as a bullet from the terrorist’s gun tore through his 18-year old mother’s womb and into his skull. His mother would survive only to be tormented by her loss for decades to come.

News Director, Neal Spelce of KTBC sheltering behind a station truck, reported live over the radio telling people to seek cover and avoid the area. A campus TV camera aimed at the tower showed billowy puffs of white smoke from the gunman’s rifle each time he fired. The video combined with Spelce’s dramatic coverage was aired later that evening. It was the first time in the modern era media had covered a mass shooting.

Charles Whitman, a disgruntled white engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin would later be shot and killed by policemen Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy. It was just the beginning of the mass deaths to come at the hands of white males and would continue to plague the country for decades to come.

Luby’s Cafeteria Massacre

On October 19, 1991, a man with a history of drug use and consumed by a hatred for women crashed his Ford Ranger through a large window into Luby’s Cafeteria, a popular eatery in Killeen, Texas.

“He hated blacks, Hispanics, gays. He said women were snakes. He always had derogatory remarks about women, especially after fights with his mother.”

Jamie Dunlap

He got out of his truck and immediately began his shooting spree. Armed with a Glock 17 and Ruger 9mm purchased from a local gun shop, George Hennard murdered 23 people and injured 27 others. Over half of his victims were women. Survivors recalled witnessing him bypassing men to shoot women at point blank range calling them “bitch” as he pulled the trigger.

The carnage ended when a wounded Hennard ended his own life with a single gunshot wound to the head. It would be the worst mass shooting in U.S. history for the next 16 years.

Las Vegas Shooting

By 10:15P on October 1, 2017, Paradise, Nevada had gained the unenviable title of being the site of America’s deadliest shooting rampage. A 64-year-old white male named Stephen Paddock opened fired with multiple, altered, semi-automatic weapons on 22,000 unsuspecting music festival attendees.

Over several days, Paddock had outfitted himself for war, smuggling 24 firearms including 14 AR-15 rifles (equipped with bump stocks for enhanced firing capability) into his comped room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. At 10:05PM on the evening of the 1st, Paddock began firing a barrage of over 1,100 rounds killing 58 people. An additional 850 (422 sustaining gunshot wounds) would also be injured in the melee.

Paddock would be found by the police dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Just one month later gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, a 26-year-old white male would kill 26 members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX as they worshipped. He would later be found in his car dead also from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Studies vary widely about America’s actual rank in the world in terms of mass shootings, with some European countries ranking higher based on a per capita analysis. However, that debate doesn’t make the killings any less horrific or lessen loved one’s losses.

The one statistic that remains clear is most the perpetrators are “loner” white males whose terrorist actions are often triggered by loss, mental illness or low self-esteem.

Historically, terrorism conducted by white males in America is not isolated to just gun violence. American white males have a long history of violent acts against other Americans. Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph all of whom used bombs to spread their terror and kill hundreds of Americans.

America’s long history of terrorist activity originating from individuals residing within our borders also includes the activities of Christian Fundamentalists including David Koresh and the Ku Klux Klan whose slain will never fully be able to be measured.

This article is not about trying to vilify white males or even point the finger at them. Other groups in America have and continue to murder and terrorize American citizens. Tens of thousands of blacks have died at the hands of other blacks. Mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Washington Navy Yard and Dallas were all conducted by non-white citizens residing in America.

In no way is this article suggesting that Islamic Extremism doesn’t represent a threat to America. Islamic Extremists were responsible for the deaths of thousands on 9/11 and U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are Extremists both home and abroad that would like nothing more than to see the end of our way of life.

As we fight those abroad seeking to do us harm, let us not forget the Americans inside who continue to terrorize us every day.

Thanks for reading Writers Guild — A Smedian publication

Join our Facebook Group. Write for us. Share your many stories on

If you enjoyed this story, please recommend 👏 and share to help others find it!

Writers Guild

Hone your craft. Share your story.

David White

Written by

Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Friend and Patriot. Managing Partner of Juno Collective, a marketing firm located in Maryland.

Writers Guild

Hone your craft. Share your story.

David White

Written by

Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Friend and Patriot. Managing Partner of Juno Collective, a marketing firm located in Maryland.

Writers Guild

Hone your craft. Share your story.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store