Less than two hours after the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil since 9/11, FBI Director Robert Mueller announced that his investigators were “definitely not discussing terrorism”. Soon after President Obama urged Americans “not to jump to conclusions”. When reporters asked what the President meant by that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had no coherent answer. The initial stories by both the New York Times and the Associated Press gave great prominence to reports that the killer had been “harassed because he was a Muslim”, that he was “dismayed” by U.S. Policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he was “upset” about the “terrible things” he heard from soldiers returning from the war zone.
On the afternoon of the tragedy Americans channel surfing for updates on the massacre found an odd mix of reportage. Chris Matthews of MSNBC offered an impassioned monologue on the “horrible costs of war”. Other commentators amplified this theme of “the soldier as victim”.
Shepherd Smith of the much reviled Fox News obtained a live interview with Army Colonial Terry Lee who knew the killer from his time at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington. Colonel Lee related how the killer “seemed pleased” when a Muslim had shot and killed a U.S. Soldier in front of an Army recruiting office in Arkansas, and had also likened Muslim suicide bombers to those soldiers who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies. Colonel Lee also stated that any harassment the killer experienced was not because of his Muslim faith but due to expressing these kind of view in the presence of men who had seen friends and fellow soldiers killed in combat.
Apparently no other news outlet had been able to find Colonel Lee or any similar purveyors of “an inconvenient truth”.
On Friday when it was confirmed that before commencing his slaughter, the killer jumped on a table and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) the media story line began to shift, but not too much.
As soon as they learned that the killer was still alive various commentators began to pose the following weighty questions: “Why was the killer moved from a civilian to a military hospital?” or “Would wide spread prejudice make it difficult for the killer to obtain a fair trial or adequate legal counsel”? or “In light of Guantanamo, should the killer be tried in a civilian or military court? “ or“could a possible death sentence create a martyr and inflame the Muslim world” or “ does the fact that the killer purchased his handguns legally mean we need tougher gun control?” or “Was the Army culpable in failing to prevent this”
Perhaps the most bizarre line of inquiry was the assertion that if the killer acted alone and not as part of a conspiracy then the massacre cannot be viewed as an act of terrorism (See, Director Mueller was right!) but rather a case of a “stressed” or “demented” individaul who just “snapped”.
This rampant political correctness and willful blindness too facts is not just coming from the loony left like the Huffington Post which initially denied the killer was a Muslim or The Nation which denounced any mention of his religion or ethnicity as “Homophobia”, but from mainstream media and public officials who are responsible for the nation's safety.
Days after the massacre the N.Y. Times and the Washington Post still insisted the killers “ motives were unclear”. Even when it was known that the killer had praised suicide bombers, declared himself a Palestinian, sought to proselytize his patients, and carefully prepared for his atrocity- even giving away his possession- a Denver Post heading read “Clues Elusive in Killing”, and not a single public official from President Obama on down uttered the word “terrorist” or traitor or made the obvious connection to jihadist fanaticism- the preferred terms offered being “shooter” and “act of violence”.
In keeping with the summons and prediction of Obama bin Laden a Muslim fanatic perpetrated the worst act of domestic terrorism since 9/11 but our political leaders abetted by a craven media don't want you to know it, say it or even think it, and if you do “jump to conclusions”-however obvious- you will be called ignorant and bigoted.
If the next home grown jihadist gets hold of a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon, and kills thousands, will the reaction or story line be any different? How many Americans must die before our people in their righteous anger decide its time for a new story line and new leaders to honestly pursue it.
William Moloney is a Centennial Institute Fellow and former Colorado Education Commissioner. His columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, U.S.A. Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun , Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post.