Kansas terror attempts reveal prejudice in the media

FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Jackson talks about the FBI's roll in stopping a bomb plot. Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall (left) announced Friday a major federal investigation stopped a domestic terrorism plot by a militia group to detonate a bomb at a Garden City apartment complex where a number of Somalis live. (Bo Rader/AP)

Three residents of southwest Kansas were arrested this past week for plotting to bomb an apartment complex that housed many Somali immigrants. The three men, Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen, were members of a domestic terrorist military group called The Crusaders. Supposedly, the trio planned to implement their attack on Nov. 9, the day after the presidential election, but they were thankfully arrested last Friday morning.

Their plan, according to an article released by CNN, was to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas that housed approximately 120 Somali Immigrants. The article goes on to say they had intended to “fill four vehicles with explosives and park them at the four corners of the apartment complex in Garden City to create a large explosion”. Many of the Somali residents living in the apartment building were Muslim, and one of the units in the building had been used as a makeshift mosque for the locals. After their attack, the men wanted to release a manifesto, proclaiming their hatred and intentions for Muslims and other immigrants.

The FBI, who infiltrated and arrested the trio, had placed at least one undercover agent in The Crusaders. This unnamed agent recorded several chilling conversations with the men, that included them calling Somali immigrants “cockroaches” and saying that the only way to turn the country around was with a “bloodbath”.

These men are not the first to be arrested on domestic terrorism charges and are not unique in their cause. However, one thing that is unique about this case is the complete lack of publicity. While most cases of terrorism or terrorist attempts in the United States are well broadcast, hardly anyone has heard of the plot in Kansas.

When the tragedy in San Bernandino happened, people knew. When the attacks in Pulse Night Club occurred, the country was immediately informed. The Boston Marathon bombing was covered worldwide. So why should this attempted mass murder get neglected in the media?

All of the perpetrators in these famous acts of domestic terrorism were Muslim, so the media immediately broadcast them as being radical terrorists linked to ISIS. The planned bombing in Kansas was set up by people who do not practice Islam, making them unfit for the stereotype. Just because this incident is the opposite of the bias many normally hold does not mean we should not inform people of it. The media is so quick to broadcast any bit of information that corresponds with public bias, that when a story comes along that goes against these prejudices they are reluctant to publish it.

It is just as important to publicize stories like this one in Garden City, as it is any other terrorist attack. Only recognizing and popularizing attacks against a certain kind of person and by a certain kind of person just furthers the stereotypes many already have. If we continue to only show people the same images and scenarios, we just perpetuate the hate that we have in this country. It is this hate that causes mass murder attempts like the one in Kansas to begin with.

While it is obvious that not having any sort of terror attacks is the ultimate goal, this goal will never be accomplished if we continue to hold onto the hate and prejudices that we collectively possess as a nation. The evidence that has turned up in Kansas is horrifying and is in no way a positive event. But it shows that our bias and stereotypes about terrorism are completely misguided.

A terrorist is not someone who believes in a certain religion or descents from a certain country. Terrorists are people who harbor hate, towards anyone, and act on it. They are not only found in one place in the world or one type of belief system, so we have to stop acting like they are. By not opening our eyes and seeing the hate that exists in every part of the world, we only serve to continue the cycle that allows tragedies like this to continue. We have to acknowledge all of the issues in our country, not just the prevalent ones, so we can strive to coexist peacefully as a society.


Emma Hungaski is an opinion contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.hungaski@uconn.edu.