A Living History of Violence

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1995.

Our collective history:

Remember in 1993 when an OB-GYN was murdered by an antichoice terrorist who shot him in the back three times outside of his reproductive healthcare clinic in Pensacola, Florida?

And nothing really changed because—

Remember the next year, in 1994, when a women’s healthcare provider, again in Pensacola, Florida, was walking into work at the very same clinic and he and his bodyguard were murdered with a 12 gauge shotgun at close range by an antichoice terrorist?

And nothing really changed because—

Remember that same year, in Brookline, Massachusetts, when two women’s healthcare clinic workers were murdered by an antichoice terrorist who shot them at work in two separate attacks on women’s reproductive healthcare clinics on the same day, and then the terrorist drove to Virginia to kill more people but got caught after shooting into yet another women’s reproductive healthcare clinic?

And nothing really changed because—

Remember in 1995 when that white supremacist terrorist filled a truck with fertilizer and diesel fuel and drove it up to a Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, lit two fuses, fled the scene, and the truck exploded and killed 168 people, including 19 kids in a daycare?

And nothing really changed because—

Remember in 1998 when a women’s healthcare clinic was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, killing an off-duty police officer providing security and it turned out the white supremacist antichoice terrorist bomber had also bombed other clinics, a lesbian bar, and the Olympics in Atlanta which injured over 100 people combined?

And nothing really changed because—

That same year, a women’s healthcare provider in Buffalo, New York was murdered at home when he was shot in the throat with a high-powered rifle through a window in his kitchen by an antichoice terrorist?

And nothing really changed because—

There was that one day in 2009 when a women’s healthcare provider was ushering at his church in Wichita, Kansas and an antichoice terrorist walked up to him and assassinated him by shooting him in the head with a handgun?

And no one did anything because—

Remember in 2014 when a white supremacist misogynist drove around Isla Vista, California and killed six people and injured fourteen more, because he had been radicalized to hate women in online misogynist forums?

And no one did anything because—

Remember in 2015 when a white supremacist terrorist walked into a prayer meeting at a primarily black Charleston, South Carolina church and shot and murdered nine people because they were black?

And no one did anything because—

Remember in that same year when an antichoice terrorist attacked a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado and killed three people, including an Iraq war veteran, a police officer, and a woman accompanying her friend to a reproductive healthcare appointment?

But no one did anything? And then—

In 2017, remember when a white supremacist terrorist got on public transportation in Portland, Oregon and started shouting racist slurs at a pair of Muslim women and some men stood up for them and he slashed and killed them with a knife?

But no one did anything? And then—

Later that summer, remember when a white supremacist terrorist used his car to drive into a crowd protesting for racial justice in Charlottesville, Virginia and murdered a woman, the day after a radical white supremacist march where Nazis chanted about replacement theory and the President of the United States said there were “very fine people on both sides?

But no one did anything? And then—

Remember in 2018 when a white supremacist terrorist walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and murdered eleven people and wounded six during morning services because he believed the work of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society “Liked to bring in invaders and kill our people”?

But no one did anything? And then—

Remember in 2019, when a white supremacist terrorist who had been radicalized online on 8chan, the birthplace of QAn*n, walked into a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas and murdered 23 people and injured 23 more, and he was targeting Latinos because of his anti-immigrant belief in replacement theory?

But no one did anything? And then—

Remember in 2020 when white supremacist terrorists started showing up in large numbers at state houses and COVID-19 protests and then to Black Lives Matter protests, heavily armed with assault rifles and body armor, and then, seeing that they could walk into the State Capitol building in Michigan, showed up in the gallery fully armed in an attempt to intimidate lawmakers?

But no one did anything? And then local law enforcement treated them as allies? And then—

Later that summer, when a white conservative drove across state lines from Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin with an AR-15 to intervene in a local Black Lives Matter protest and decided he wasn’t safe, so he murdered someone with his gun and when people tried to chase him down and stop him from killing more people, he murdered another person, injured another, and then walked past the police who were continuing to ally themselves with extrajudicial white supremacist groups and assumed he was innocent? And then a jury found him not guilty of murder? And then he continued to be treated like a celebrity by now-mainstream white supremacist conservatives and began to profit off of his celebrity status?

And then no one did anything? And then—

In December of that same year, a right wing terrorist drove an RV into downtown Nashville and detonated a massive truck bomb, demolishing a city block in a major American city because he believed in “long-held individualized beliefs adopted from several eccentric conspiracy theories” and then the FBI said “his actions were determined to not be related to terrorism?

And then no one even blinked because it happened on Christmas morning? And then—

Remember when, only two weeks later, thousands of radicalized conspiracy theorists who had been swayed by the political mainstreaming of QAn*n, stormed the United States Capitol at the behest of the sitting President of The United States and other political leaders, who were using them as a tool to stage a coup by murdering the Vice President in order to stop the ceremonial counting of electoral votes in order to overthrow the results of a legitimate Federal election? And they ransacked the offices of elected officials and beat and injured Capitiol police officers and set up a gallows and took zip ties into the building searching for specific Democratic legislators to abduct and “try”?

And no one did a fucking thing?

And just yesterday, back in Buffalo, New York, an 18 year old white supremacist terrorist posted an online manifesto extolling his now-relatively mainstream white supremacist political beliefs, and then, motivated by his belief in “replacement theory”, which has become a relatively mainstream idea on the #1 rated “news” channel on American television, pulled up to a grocery store with a Bushmaster XM15 with Nazi slogans and racist language written on it and murdered 10 people because they were black, live streamed it on Twitch, and was arrested without injury?

I was trying to remember where I had heard about that gun and it came to me—

Remember in 2012 when a man shot his way into an elementary school Newtown, Connecticut with a Bushmaster XM15 and murdered 20 kids aged 6-7 and six educators?

And then no one did anything?

People seem eager to speak about what peaceful protest should look like, about which political appointees should be protected from hearing from the people and where, about which freedoms are “deeply rooted in our history”, about who should have power and control over women’s bodies, over trans bodies, over LGBTQIA+ lives, over people of color’s lives and prosperity, over what is appropriate history, or gender expression, or love, or a family.

This post has barely scratched the surface of merely the last 30 years of the evolution and mainstreaming of white, right wing terror in this country. It stretches back for centuries.

So– who and what “deeply rooted tradition” does the Supreme Court continue to bolster while tut-tutting us about the credibility of their institution?

And when you open your mouth, when you act, are you standing with that history of violence, murder, and terror, or against it?