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Everybody Gets it Wrong on JihadJane

March 10, 2010

According to mainstream media, the salient facts about JihadJane are:

  • She is an American
  • She’s accused of taking part in an alleged terrorist plot to kill the Swedish cartoonist whose 2007 drawing of the prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog enraged Muslims
  • She is an American
  • She is blond haired and blue eyed, says the Washington Post (but her eyes are green if you read the New York Times)
  • She is an American and she looks like us
  • She is 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs barely more than 100 pounds (Washington Post)
  • She is an American and she looks like us
  • For God’s sake, people, she is an American! She looks like us! She was walking among us and we didn’t know it!

But she is also reported in these outlets to be a high school dropout who was twice divorced and eager to marry again. She was convicted of writing bad checks and driving drunk. She spent time online posting violent YouTube videos urging others to help her “wage violent jihad” (Washington Post’s words). She went online and contacted alleged Muslim terrorists. She used the internet some more, to solicit money from other Americans to help her travel to Europe for the purpose of killing someone.

The FBI suspected her of being JihadJane – the online persona of a suspected violent person and possible terrorist – and interviewed her about this in July 2009. She denied it and they let her go without obtaining her computer hard drive(s).

The mainstream media’s takeaway: This case shows that Arab terrorists are targeting US citizens who can ‘blend in’ and move among us undetected.

The real takeaway: poorly educated, bitter, angry (and probably un- or under-employed) people who turn to the Internet’s seamier side to talk about committing violent terrorist acts and encourage others to commit violent terrorist acts are likely to actually commit violent acts of terrorism one day.

We should probably be keeping an eye on these people. But the FBI either didn’t or couldn’t get a warrant for the computer hard drive of a woman they suspected of being a violent extremist.

As usual, the mainstream media focus on the wrong thing: she’s white and she’s an American. What we should all be noticing is that the typical markers of a sociopath were there and prove again to be predictive. Profiling much?

Apparently not.

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