If the circumstances are right, you don't actually have to be completely repentant to get back in with mainstream America after a few years of political terrorism. You just have to look like you're not a threat to anyone. One of Patty Hearst's roommates in her terrorist club was Wendy Yoshimura, a tiny Japanese-American woman with a gift for pipe bombs. Where's Wendy today? Painting watercolors in San Francisco, free as a bird.
To be fair, who could stay mad at that face?
Bernardine Dohrn, one of the founders of the Weather Underground, a group that actually bombed the Capitol and declared war on the United States government, spent over 20 years as an adjunct law professor at Northwestern University. Her co-terrorist, Kathy Boudin, was involved in a robbery that resulted in the deaths of three people, including two cops. But unlike Assata Shakur, Boudin isn't hiding out in Cuba. She teaches at Columbia now. Another member of the Weather Underground, Cathy Wilkerson, used her dad's New York townhouse as a bomb factory. Three of her friends were killed when one of the bombs accidentally detonated in 1970. She teaches math in Brooklyn now.
If it wasn't so bizarre, it would be offensive: Americans refuse to be intimidated by white or Asian women, even when they're crazy women who blow things up.
No One Takes White Lady Terrorists That Seriously
When 19-year-old Shannon Conley was caught trying to join ISIS, her judge, once again, had mixed feelings about what to do with her. He said, "I'm not saying that her decisions were all a product of mental illness. ... But she's a bit of a mess." In the end, he sentenced her to four years in prison but also agreed with a psychiatric evaluation that determined "she is not a terrorist." Apparently, she just wanted the attention.
That's a weird accusation about someone who was once caught sketching pictures of the interior of a pro-Israel church that congregants thought she was going to bomb. It wasn't a kooky whim from some stupid Christians who didn't know any better -- Conley was casing the exact room where a gunman shot kids in 2007. Oh, and she went to church there so she could argue with the staff about Israel. If it was a different year and Conley was a different nationality, she could have found herself at Guantanamo for the next 10 years. But here, she's a silly, mixed-up girl who needs some psychiatric care.
Fifty-year-old Colleen LaRose, who goes by the stage name "Jihad Jane," didn't have the excuse of youth when she was caught conspiring to kill a Swedish artist who drew Muhammad's head on a dog. Since she couldn't work the "I'm a dumb young girl" defense, she went with "I have psychological problems," to which someone should have responded, "Don't we all, sweetheart?" but didn't because that would have sounded sexist. I can say it because I'm a girl.
Yes, LaRose got 10 years, but she could have gotten life. Her blond lady-friend recruit Jihad Jamie got eight years after her team described her as "a 32-year-old single mom from a small town in Colorado," going through "an extremely stressful and overwhelming situation." Which is probably true, but also true of every other person who has knowingly joined jihad. Jihad itself is a "stressful and overwhelming situation," I'm guessing.
The difference between LaRose, Conley, and all these white women dabbling in terrorism and every other terrorist out there is that society will probably conclude that they were only dabblers temporarily brainwashed by their evil brown-skinned boyfriends. But once they do their time and properly make amends with society, they might find themselves at a university teaching your kids, or at a dog show, making your dogs feel bad about themselves. There's practically no limit to what you can accomplish if you're an American girl terrorist!
Kristi is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked. For more from her, check out past articles here and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
For more from Kristi, check out 6 Vintage Ads Companies Would Never Get Away With Today and Ferguson, Eric Garner, and Why Death Should Outrage Us.
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