Two days before a knife-wielding assailant killed three people and injured 40 in an attack outside the houses of Parliament, a second act of terrorism went largely under the radar — and it happened in the heart of the US.
A racist white U.S. Army veteran hopped a bus from Washington to New York for one simple reason: to kill black people.
With a 26-inch sword concealed underneath his long coat, James Harris Jackson roamed the streets of Manhattan on March 20, looking for a target of his deep hatred of the black race, one he has harbored since he was a child.
He found it in 66-year-old Timothy Caughman, a man with a passion for celebrity gossip and recycling. While Caughman was collecting cans in midtown Manhattan, Jackson, 28, unsheathed his sword and repeatedly stabbed Caughman in the chest and back, for no other reason that the pigment of his skin.
Caughman staggered into a police station, bloodied and dying. Jackson surrendered to police just after midnight on Wednesday. “I’ve hated black men since I was a kid. I’ve had these feelings since I was a young person. I hate black men,” he told police, according to The New York Times.
He told detectives he hoped the killing, of which he has been charged, would be the first of several, but when he saw his picture publicized, he turned himself in.
Now, if you have listened to what our president has told us, that the best source of pure, unadulterated truth is what he posts on Twitter, you may have missed this act of domestic terrorism.
But it has been about four days since the attack, and President Donald Trump has yet to tell his 27 million Twitter followers about it. Instead, he posted about letting the Affordable Care Act explode and what time a certain Fox News show would air.
A terrorist randomly killed an American citizen in one of the most recognizable cities on the planet, and we can’t bother our president, the “law and order president,” to condemn it. But when it was revealed that an American was killed in the London attack, Trump immediately took to Twitter.
“A great American, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the London terror attack,” he tweeted on Thursday. “My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.”
Where are the prayers for Caughman? Where are the condolences? Where are the tweets? Trump offered none.
Luckily, hundreds of Twitter users took it upon themselves to honor Caughman’s life, tracking down his Twitter account and bringing to light old posts from the man that hinted at his personality and life. He was an autograph collector and a can and bottle recycler who lived in a homeless shelter. In one photo, he seemed happy to be waiting in line to vote in the presidential election.
But to Trump, Caughman’s death was not as important as Cochran’s, because Cochran’s came at the hand of a Muslim attacker, in a type of attack made famous by Islamic extremists, the very same Trump vowed to “exterminate.”
This isn’t the first time an attack that doesn’t follow Trump’s narrative has fallen on deaf ears at the White House.
On Jan. 29, a lone gunman killed six people and injured eight others at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada. While no Americans were harmed, surely a terror attack of this caliber just north of the U.S. would draw ire from Trump. It didn’t, at least not publicly.
Why not concede that terrorism comes in many forms? Why not show empathy for members of the global citizenry of all faiths, races and walks of life? We hope a member of the press pool calls on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer — or Trump himself — to answer this.
The president of one of the most powerful nations in the world has a responsibility to condemn acts of hate everywhere, at least in his own damn continent. That he hasn’t is an outrage.