Besides maybe the recent IRS Bomber, the word “terrorist” has almost exclusively become the realm of swarthy A-rabs and Pakis, usually evoking the same image of a bearded, head-wrapped Muslim with C-4 strapped to his nuts. But Americans have a long, proud history of explosive fanaticism too.
Besides maybe the recent IRS Bomber, the word “terrorist” has almost exclusively become the realm of swarthy A-rabs and Pakis, usually evoking the same image of a bearded, head-wrapped Muslim with C-4 strapped to his nuts. But Americans have a long, proud history of explosive fanaticism too. So in celebration of U.S. independence and pyrotechnics, here are ten American terrorists:
1. JOHN BROWN
Doesn’t he have a crazy look in his eyes, like he’s about to impale you with that flag? Sometimes called the “father of American terrorism,” John Brown was a militant abolitionist fighting just before the Civil War. He’s best known for the Pottawatomie Massacre, during which he led the killing of seven pro-slavery settlers as part of the battle to determine whether Kansas would be a free or slave state, and for the raid on Harpers Ferry, a failed attempt to storm an arsenal in hopes of securing weapons for an armed slave revolt. No wonder he looks deranged: He tried to ATTACK A WEAPONS DEPOT.
Goddamn fucking hippies. Named after a Bob Dylan lyric, Weatherman (or the Weather Underground Organization) was a radical left-wing group aimed at overthrowing the U.S. government in the 1970s. They conducted a series of bombings of government buildings in response for American military action abroad, particularly in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Weatherman campaigns include: the 1969 Haymarket Police Memorial bombing, the 1969 “Days of Rage” riot in Chicago, the 1970 Park Place Police Station bombing, the 1970 New York City Police Headquarters bombing, the 1970 Timothy Leary prison break, and the 1972 Pentagon bombing. At least you can’t accuse these hippies of sitting around all day smoking weed, singing, and dancing in hopes of peace.
3. ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT
Juxtapositions like this (the fatigues and a nursing lamb) are why animal rights extremists can’t ever be taken seriously. Although initially founded in England in 1976, Animal Liberation Front (ALF) began operating in the United States sometime during the 1970s. Besides raiding labs to free animal test subjects, destroy experimental data and equipment, and uncover evidence of cruelty, ALF has also been connected to the intimidation, kidnapping, poisonings (though most instances are thought to be hoaxes), arson, and bombings. They seem to forget that, though meat may be be murder, murder is always murder.
4. EARTH LIBERATION FRONT
Tree-hugging bomb-makers, Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is often considered the ALF’s little sister due to cross membership and a similar model of leaderless resistance group. The two are also both considered part of the “Green Scare,” a movement of radical environmentalists as defined by the FBI. Started in England, ELF began operating in the United States in 1994. Since then, the group has been connected mostly to the arson of new homes, resorts, car dealerships, and vehicles deemed damaging to the environment. Most of the attacks occurred in California, Washington, and Oregon, leading to the logical conclusion that liberal douche bags cannot be trusted with matches.
5. THE KU KLUX KLAN
(Photo by Anthony Karen)
The most notorious manifestation of the American white power movement, the KKK has come into being three distinct times in U.S. history: following the Civil War, following World War I, and during the Civil Rights Movement. Despite the absence of any overarching leadership, their M.O. remained intimidation through lynching, firebombing, and assassination. Their motivation also stayed the same: fuck niggers and fuck white collaborationists, and later came to include fuck kikes, fuck pinkos, fuck immigrants, fuck alcohol, fuck Catholics, fuck faggots — basically FTW. I think the Klan came up with “FTW.” Fun fact: Apparently Klansmen refer to their handbook as the “Kloran” without any irony because they dun’t know nuthin’ ’bout any git damn raghead books.
6. ARMY OF GOD/LAMBS OF CHRIST
Paul Hill, who was convicted and executed for the murder of Dr. John Britton, had connections to the Army of God.
Pro-life and pro-pipe bombs, these two anti-abortion terrorist groups have been connected to the assassination of doctors and their staff, and property damage to clinics by means of arson, bombs, and SUVs. Yes, SUVs. There have been multiple instances of angry Christians driving their cars into abortion clinics, the best of which must have been at the hands of David McMenemy, who crashed into a center, doused the lobby with gasoline, and started a fire all without realizing the place wasn’t an abortion clinic but just a women’s health-care facility.
7. LEON CZOLGOSZ
Though that name makes it seem like he just moved to Greenpoint from Polska, Leon Czolgosz was born and bred in the States. Despite being influenced by socialist and anarchist philosophy, Czolgosz was never fully accepted into any political group, with his talk of violence leading comrades to believe him to be a spy or agent provocateur. Thus he acted as a lone wolf and single-handedly assassinated President William McKinley for being an “enemy of the good people — the good working people” on August 31st, 1901, by simply walking up to him and pumping him with two revolver rounds. For his crime, Czolgosz was instantly beaten so badly by police that it was thought he wouldn’t make it to trial. When he did, he was sentenced to death by electric chair and afterward sulfuric acid was poured into his coffin to disfigure his body. Ah, justice!
8. THEODORE KACZYNSKI
Better known as “the Unabomber,” Theodore Kaczynski was an assistant professor of mathematics who went on a bombing spree via USPS. A child-prodigy and Harvard graduate, Ted left academia for the quiet solitude of a cabin in Montana without any electricity or running water, where he practiced survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient. He started sending out letter bombs after the wilderness surrounding his cabin was encroached upon by developers. Kaczynski killed three people and injured 23 over his 20 year bombing spree that targeted academics, executives, and airlines. He hates the Internets.
9. TIMOTHY JAMES MCVEIGH
A veteran of the U.S. army, Timothy McVeigh was convicted and executed for bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, better known as the Oklahoma City Bombing. He claimed the attack was in retaliation for the Waco Siege, a firefight between David Koresh/his followers and FBI/ATF officers that had ended exactly two years prior, and for the Gulf War. Fun fact: His last meal before death by lethal injection was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
10. BOSTON TEA PARTYERS
No, I don’t mean the angry middle-class white men who show up to Obama protest rallies with their handguns. I mean the group of American colonists who boarded three British ships in 1773 and tried to brew the world’s biggest cup of tea in Boston Harbor. Although they didn’t kill anyone or blow anything up, these old Yankees employed direct action and violence (property destruction) to further their political agenda (protesting taxation without representation) and affect public opinion in a way that’s consistent with some definitions of terrorism. And as everyone knows, the Boston Tea Party was one instance of the original thirteen colonies telling Great Britain to fuck off, and thus one middle finger in the road to American Independence. So way to go, you old white terrorists. These fireworks are for you.