Why is it that the media and the government never calls the “pro-life” groups who plant bombs at women’s clinics what they are: terrorists?
From the AP article, entitled “Explosive found at Austin women’s clinic”:
AUSTIN — A package left at a women’s clinic that performs abortions contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death, investigators said today.
“It was in fact an explosive device,” said David Carter, assistant chief of the Austin Police Department. “It was configured in such a way to cause serious bodily injury or death.”
The package was found Wednesday in a parking lot outside the Austin Women’s Health Center, south of downtown Austin.
Nearby Interstate 35 was briefly closed, and a nearby apartment complex was evacuated while a bomb squad detonated the device.
Actually, I shouldn’t say “from” the AP article. Because that was the whole thing.
Had that bomb been found outside a post office or a school, the headlines would have been hysterically running on about ZOMG TERRORISM TERRORISM IS AL QAEDA INVOLVED? And the right-wing warbloggers would be pissing their pants and hyperventilating about profiling Arabs and banning Muslims from public life and dhimmitude and how if they had been there, they’d have stopped it with their concealed carry and their extra-super special powers of righteousness, just like they saw in a movie once and BOMB IRAN! and 9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING!!! but they still have better things to do than join the military, but they’ll be happy to go into the woods and hunt Russians and shout WOLVERINES!!
But it’s an abortion clinic, so. Ho-hum.
For some reason, terrorism doesn’t count if it’s directed against women and their health care providers. It’s just not news, and the fact that it goes unremarked in the national media — and hell, even in the local media, as in the case of the Austin bomb — contributes to the idea that women are not important and that violence directed at women is not only to be expected, but to be dismissed. As Keely Savoie noted on WIMN’s Voices,
The national press? Aside from 97 words from the AP and a brief mention from CNN — nothing (according to a Nexis search at 5:15 pm today). In that lone CNN mention, we’re told that “Officials from the Homeland Defense Team, which includes police officers, also other Austin officers, the Department of Emergency Ordnance Disposal unit and the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives” were on the scene. Yet still, not a peep from the national press. Now, imagine if this clinic had been a bank, or a high school, or a sports arena. I bet we would have heard something about it then.
The media’s silence surrounding issues of violence against women is not only emblematic of a fundamentally dismissive attitude, it ultimately harms all feminist causes, and lends to the perception that feminists are all just knee-jerk alarmists railing against imaginary enemies. It’s easier to dismiss the need to constitutionally protect women from violence and discrimination if you erase all evidence that such things exist.
We saw something similar with the Virginia Tech shooting — the campus police initially dismissed the idea that the gunman would be a danger to anyone else — even though they hadn’t identified or caught him at the time — because they saw a dead woman and just assumed that it was a “domestic incident” and there would be no further violence. Clinic bombings are treated as the equivalent of shrugged-off “domestic incidents” — hey, it’s just violence against women. It’s not like it’s going to affect real people or anything.
And they never call it by its name: terrorism.
- Vocabulary Test by zuzu June 9, 2006
- Suicide Bombing in Iowa– and the media is silent by Jill December 3, 2006
- Ignoring Anti-Choice Terrorism by Jill July 2, 2007
- We Just Love Life So Much That We’re Happy to Threaten Yours by Jill May 22, 2006
- Violence-Abetting Anti-Choice Fanatics: Now in Congress by Jill June 19, 2009