The XX Factor

Jihad Jane, Suburban Lady-Jihadi

A woman without a high school degree in America has very few options in life. Apparently one of them is to “wage violent jihad,” in the words of our next iconic American female outlaw, the ready-made New York Post headline, Jihad Jane . In another era, Jihad Jane-the 4’$2 11” blond, blue-eyed Colleen Renee LaRose from suburban Philadelphia-would have been a petty grafter. She has a trail of bad checks, DUIs, and failed marriages to her name. But in this age, when immigrants live in every suburb in America and Osama is the new Che, LaRose declared she was “desperate to do something somewhere to help” suffering Muslims. In this case, authorities are implying, she decided to become involved in a plot to attack Lars Vilk, the Swedish artist who drew a cartoon of Muhammed with the body of a dog.

Like Amy Bishop, the Alabama professor arrested for shooting her colleagues, and Holly Graf, the world’s nastiest navy captain , I imagine the story of Jihad Jane will resonate in an age when women can do and be anything-even killers-and their power has become, to many people, frightening.