The three separate murders that took place around the small town of Wilno, Ontario on Tuesday morning gave results any terror group would be proud of.
Three women were gunned down in their homes by a jilted and, by most accounts, aggressive ex-partner.
Basil Borutski made three tragic stops on Tuesday before being apprehend in a wooded area 100 km west of Ottawa.
Many words have been used to describe him, but noticeably absent from the list is ‘terrorist’. When two soldiers were killed in separate attacks, two days apart last October, the two men responsible were immediately branded terrorists. This despite the fact that their targets both were military personnel and not civilians.
Glenn Greenwald, writing for The Intercept, pointed out that Martin Couture-Rouleau, the “lone-wolf terrorist” who ran down Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, had deliberately avoided attacking civilians while waiting two hours for his chance to attack.
So why is Basil Borutski a common criminal when Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the man who shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo on Parliament Hill, both terrorists?
Some would argue that their actions were directed against the state and for political purposes, making them terrorists, but there is a recent example of how hypocritical that response is.
Justin Bourque shot five RCMP officers, killing three and severely injuring the other two in Moncton in June 2014. Like the city of Boston during the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the city of Moncton went into a lock down while the RCMP searched for Bourque. The two-day manhunt caused understandable panic in the town, similar to how Boston was affected during and after the marathon bombings.
Bourque was not referred to as a terrorist even though his actions were against the state and caused great panic among the population. This is because the word ‘terrorist’ is only used to describe Muslim attacks on the West, or in Vladmir Putin’s case Chechen attacks on Russia.
The word ‘terrorist’ used to be applied to people or groups that used violence against civilians for political purposes. If the two white men who committed six murders against civilians aren’t terrorists because there was no underlying political message, how can the two men that killed two soldiers be terrorists? This is not a justification for killing soldiers on civilian duties, it is a reinforcement that the word ‘terrorist’ has lost all meaning.
As Greenwald points out, “The term ‘terrorism’ has become nothing more than a rhetorical weapon for legitimizing all violence by Western countries, and delegitimizing all violence against them, even when the violence called ‘terrorism’ is clearly intended as retaliation for Western violence.”
In the West we have the luxury of fighting our wars in other countries’ backyards. It saves our homes, roads and citizens from having to live through the devastation of war. It also allows us to detach ourselves completely from the actions of our governments, so when an attack occurs, it’s shocking, barbaric, and exactly what we are doing throughout the world.