A 2015 video has been making rounds on the internet these days showing an enraged man attacking TSA officers with a machete.
The attacker in the video has his machete drawn, in an obviously threatening posture, and sprays two approaching officers with wasp repellent. But the police officers approach him calmly. They don’t open fire at him, drilling bullets through his chest, or overpower and choke him. They understand that this man is agitated, that his life holds dignity, and that he does not deserve to die. A police officer shoots him in the thigh to bring an end to his rampage.
The man was identified as 63-year-old Richard White, a Jehovah’s Witness. White was going through the pre-clearance lane when an agent stopped him. And so began the attack. It was later revealed that White was carrying six homemade explosives, and this attack was obviously premeditated.
After the shooting, White refused treatment because it negated his beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness, and he died. White was remembered in the words reserved for men like him. His battle with depression was highlighted. The world listened to his sister as she revealed how he had suffered and had been failed by the system. His neighbors had only nice things to say about the deceased man, who was kind and loved to help others. A neighbor sent thoughts and prayers to his family. None of White’s kin was demonized, White’s upbringing was not questioned and nobody pondered over how his religion or his beliefs, yes the ones that led to him refusing treatment, could have led him to do what he did.
While this in no way belittles the suffering White may have experienced or ignores the negligence he likely underwent as a person with a mental disorder, for one moment, contrast the treatment and coverage he received with the kind that a Muslim "terrorist" or a black man would have received. The police did not raid his house, with media in tow to show to the entire country what was inside. The police were not caught yelling, “F*** this guy, I am going to kill him.”
White was carrying explosives, but is yet to be labeled a terrorist. He was shot at when attacking police officers, and not because he had been driving, unarmed, on the road, but he is yet to be branded a thug, a miscreant who was destined to die from a cop’s bullet.