Painting white boys and men as lone wolves has become a tradition of its own. Men don’t want to be seen as violent or toxic, and they don’t want to address sexism and misogyny.
“I knew he had to be Black. I said it: You can tell this is a [redacted] because ain’t no rhyme or reason to none of these attacks.” Said my grandmother, circa October 2012, about the DC Sniper. Apparently because the shootings seemed random, instead of calculated (at the time) was proof of Black deficiency, of intellectual inferiority. A white mass murderer would have planned, calculated, deduced. This was one of my earliest memories of terror—distant terror because I lived in the Midwest. But terror all the same. I was twelve, and this was obviously right after 9/11. The DC Sniper’s name was Muhammad. That was enough for him to be labeled a terrorist without mens rea. (I learned that term from Legally Blonde
, by the way.) In actuality, according to this research, the amount of mass shootings committed by white men, Black men, etc. is directly proportionate to the population. The main common denominator, if we exclude military/imperialism, seems to be gender: men are more likely to commit murder or violence period, though the reasons why are oft-disputed. However, it seems that, while “terrorism” is the go-to name for Black and brown perpetrators of violence, there is a certain hesitation people have when the accused is white. Also, equally suspect is the fact that the definition of domestic terrorism was amended—not, it seems, to stop violence but for the US to be able to target activists, organizers, and protesters.