What is terrorism?

What is terrorism?  I had this conversation with my sister over the weekend about terrorism.  Terrorism is defined as the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.  

Sadly, terrorism has become part of the daily fabrics of our lives.  Yet the media, and certainly the Trump administration, refer to terrorism only if the person involved came from another country to wreak havoc on the citizens of the country that they entered and generally that means those people who are noted as terrorists come from the Middle East.

Data has shown that the majority of attacks inside our own country have come from our own citizens, not from people illegally entering this country.  The person who just shot people at the hospital in the Bronz, the person who shot at the Senators playing baseball and the person who shot and killed 49 people in the Florida nightclub, Columbine, Virginia Tech and more.  I don’t need to go on but because at this point we are all numb to the access to guns that are used for violence.

The point is that terrorism is terrorism.  The narrative must change that only people of Middle Eastern descent are the only time that the media notes an act of terrorism.  The concept that we are looking into a shooting to see if it was an act of terrorism is absurd.  Any act of shooting someone with the intent to kill because of anger, political differences, insanity or whatever the reason, it an act of terrorism, period.

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Very much agreed and the Wikipedia page is an interesting read. They source the origin of the term to the 1700’s period in France when the government performed state terrorism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

    1. Gotham Gal

      Interesting. Will read

  2. awaldstein

    I was speaking to a group of friends about this over dinner in Lisbon on Monday.The issue as well is that something behavioral in people has switched as well. That a teacher unhappy thinks the way out is to buy a gun, kill innocents and him/herself and that somehow this is acceptable and human!Certainly gun control will help but this is behavioral switch/mutation,something switched on that scares the shit out of me actually.I also feel this when I think of teen suicide honestly. Another truly behavioral scary trend.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Scares the shit out of me too

    2. JLM

      .In the debate about gun control, it is important to know the actual numbers. The vast majority of murders in the US in which guns are involved are perpetrated by criminals.Criminals are people who do not follow the law. Gun control laws are not effective in controlling criminals. They do not obtain their weapons legally. They do not use them legally. They are criminals. More laws is not the answer.It is virtually impossible to buy a gun lawfully in Chicago — the Murder Capital of the USA.What would be effective is a return to Federal sentencing guidelines in which a crime committed with a weapon earned a longer sentence because of the gun involvement.In Texas, we are at an all time high in gun ownership while being at an all time low in murder. Those facts seem to suggest that more gun ownership is the answer. Nobody really thinks that’s the case.We need the database mandated by the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban to be created and used. The ACLU and the Dems prevented it from happening while states like Texas did it and are, currently, using it.There is some low hanging fruit in the pursuit of preventing gun violence.We have a Big Data ability to track the purchase — the lawful purchase — of guns and ammunition. When someone buys 10K 9mm rounds, maybe a local detective ought to stop by and chat with him. There is a lot of stuff which can be done which does not impinge on the 2nd Amendment.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. LE

      That a teacher unhappy thinks the way out is to buy a gun, kill innocents and him/herself and that somehow this is acceptable and human!I actually don’t think you meant to say the last part. The person who does this obviously does not care what is acceptable and human. If you get to the point where you are going to take someone’s life and in this particular case you know you will almost certainly be caught or killed then you don’t fit the mold of a normal person in any way. As a result the last thing on your mind will be what is human. (As opposed to a spouse who kills another spouse still ‘defective’ but they think they will get away with it so it’s a bit different.)something switched on that scares the shit out of me actually.What switched is that there is more social proof out there for people who are nuts to get their 15 minutes of fame. There are more copycat acts. As a result the very very small amount of people that are unstable will see something that someone else does and be more likely statistically to copy that behavior. For example I don’t think the later assassinations that happened in the 60’s would be as likely to have happened if Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated. Likewise early school killings and particularly the attention we give them is what created the later killings.I am not going to rely on numbers to back up my argument either. It’s just common sense. It’s the same mechanism that causes any trend or behavior. Just in this case there is an exceedingly small amount of people who are defective in a way that they follow what they see others do.

      1. awaldstein

        Of course this is not normal.But yes, I do mean that.It is becoming normal as it is happening more and that is a behavioral change. That is when normal becomes abnormal and scary.Same with teen suicide. The prevalence of its occurrence has made the unthinkable normal. Same thing.This is a behavioral change and it is truly frightening in both instances.

        1. LE

          Re: Teen suicide.Don’t know a great deal about this but just turned up this interesting page:http://www.anikafoundation….One thing I don’t see mentioned as far as a reason (or a theory from my quick read) is the impact of the web and social media. Teens today have a great deal more reason to get jealous and upset than they did when we were growing up. And that can fester and grow in a fragile person. They see more examples of peers having fun (or appearing to have fun) and even with material goods or experiences that they can’t have. Both in their own communities and outside. Doesn’t explain everything but once again common sense certainly seems as if it would cause an increase.Growing up my world was my neighborhood and the school that I went to. And sitcoms from Hollywood.

          1. awaldstein

            I don’t understand the why, but the behavior is there. It’s crazy frightening and permeating all sectors of society. I have friends who have had serious issues with this with their teenagers.This is really scary shit.

  3. Rohan

    If you haven’t seen this bit from Trevor Noah on terrorism, it comes highly recommended 🙂 – https://youtu.be/U4_VQawaP6I

  4. CCjudy

    yes and we are living on a precipice

  5. JLM

    .You are living in a world without adjectival descriptors — there is terrorism, there is radical Islamic terrorism, there are serial murderers, there is plain Old School violence.It is patently false to suggest that the Trump administration has a singular view of the issue. Witness their assisting Chicago with their Murder Factory by sending ATF to assist Rahm and his feckless police force which cannot control their great city. This is a law enforcement augmentation, not a DHS activity.One thing that is good is that the Trump administration has confronted all of these forms of violence, something which was lacking in the past. How long was Chicago going to be allowed to be Murder Capital USA before somebody did something about it?As to guns, the challenge continues to be the same — in the 1994 Assault Rifle Ban there was a requirement to create a national database of persons who should be scrutinized more closely by sellers of weapons when these folks attempted to purchase a weapon. I refer to it as the “Crazy Person List.”The CPL was to have included persons who were graduates of mental health programs, persons using certain mental health prescriptions, violent persons, persons who had committed crimes with guns, felons of all stripes, domestic abuse persons — the list of people one does not want owning a gun.Each state was supposed to create their own — Texas did — and then there was to be a national database created.It never happened. Why? The ACLU and the Dems opposed it even though it was signed by Bill Clinton.A huge portion of the gun violence you mention would have been prevented if the Crazy Person List was created and then followed up as planned. It is currently being used in Texas wherein a person is subjected to a 5-day waiting period before being allowed to purchase a weapon. In that 5-day period, guess what? They get screened for being a CP. It works.Gun ownership in Texas is at an all time high. Murder is at an all time low.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  6. whitney doherty

    TOTALLY agree – we don’t hear Drumpf freak out when the terrorist is a white male….only when there is a hint of middle eastern to the person do we hear the outrage. it’s so myopic and small minded (but we can expect that from him and his cronies) This has been my problem with the crazy fear mongering since 9/11 – its really just a chance to create a boogie man. At one point in history it was the Jews, another time its the African Americans, another it was the Japanese. Can’t we exist without targeted hatred? We are all ‘other’ to another so let’s stop pointing fingers and be better at creating bridges – for now I think we need to turn from the nonsense and choose inclusion. Happy 4th. wd