The Santa Barbara shooter is a terrorist

The people who commit mass acts of violence are crazy. Some are also ideologically motivated. We call them terrorists. And yet while in America we’re quick to recognize and politicize the broader implications of Islamic extremism, misogyny is treated not as an ideology but simply a sub-category of crazy.

That not only ignores but quietly allows misogyny-as-ideology to go unexamined in all its other forms, from domestic violence to date rape to street harassment to economic inequality and more—chalking injustice up to individual aberrations rather than a system of dehumanization that is both perpetuated and protected by our social, political, and economic structures.

If the Santa Barbara shooter had been Muslim, and left the same sorts of video screeds and more, our government and media would undoubtedly be labeling this incident as terrorism. Just as an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist sets out to kill American infidels simply because they are “American infidels,” the Santa Barbara shooter set out to kill women simply because they were women. You tell me the difference. To fail to label the latter terrorism suggests a politicized use of the term, one interested in defending Judeo-Christian Americans and values, but not women.

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