Normally I have a policy about talking politics relevant to a specific tragedy so soon after it happens. After the massacre at Virginia Tech (my alma matter) in 2007, my in-box was flooded with emails saying one of two things, either: "This is why EVERYONE should carry a gun, and the policy of no guns on campus is BULLSHIT!" (which is completely idiotic) to "This is why we need to ban handguns!" (which is equally idiotic.) (Note: There were precious few moderate emails calling for 'common sense' legislation that would have made a difference at Va-Tech because under Virginia State Law at the time, Sung Hui Cho SHOULD NOT have been able to acquire a firearm!) In any case the lesson that I took away from it was, "No, you're BOTH wrong! And THIS is why you don't politicize tragedy!"
A friend of mine, who's a lawyer, (and one who predicted ahead of time that Justice Roberts would be the deciding vote in UPHOLDING the Affordable Care Act no less!)(we all thought she was CRAZY for making that prediction) (we listen to her more carefully now! LOL) put it a different way: Tough cases make bad laws.
And that was why, even though I saw the article the same day [Conchobhar] sent it, it didn't read it and didn't comment on it. BUT... I'll have to admit that this one is a little bit different. It's not overly political, in terms of pending, partisan legislation anyway, and it brings up an interesting question:
How do you define "terrorism?"
Which an important question, because it's kind of like defining "pornography." (You can't quite DEFINE it, but you know it when you see it!) And it IS a label that is often used self-centeredly but the media and politician with a certain agenda. For example: I just could see the Fort Hood shooting as "terrorism." I don't know why, exactly, but for some reason that label just didn't seem right. (Question: Would they have called it terrorism if he'd been a Christian? Or was not or middle-eastern decent?)
And, for me anyway, the idea of "state sponsored terrorism" just seems to be a contradiction in terms. Like... "Moderate Republican" or "Biblical Scholar." See... From my POV any violence carried out on the orders of a Sovereign State are acts of WAR. But that just my own opinion. That's not legally binding or anything. (Of Course.) But it's a CRITCIAL QUESTION, and one worth thinking about, because the answer can get you killed.
So... In the comments section, please let me know what YOU THINK a good, working definition of TERRORISM or an ACT OF TERRORISM is. What defines it for you?
For my part...
1) There must be SOME FORM of agenda in play. This excludes MOST random, psychotic, spree-shooters, although the jury is still out on this asshole in Colorado.
2) It must NOT be "state-sponsored."For me, that makes it an act of WAR.
3) If the targets are CIVILIAN, that helps clarify it. Which is not to say that MILITARY targets can't be victims of Terrorism, but other factors must be considered in those cases. I think this is why I didn't see Fort Hood as "terrorism," but I'll admit that I couldn't exactly argue WHY I felt this way. After all, terrorists attack Military targets ALL THE TIME.
4) I'd also like to see a weapon that goes beyond a mere handgun or even rifle. I'm not saying it HAS to be BOMB, per se... (no bombs were used on 9/11 after all!) but... IDK... A guy with a gun... once shot or apprehended? The threat is OVER. But a bomb goes off in a theatre? (Or planes are crashed into buildings?) That shit reverberates for a WHILE after the event. The point here is this: Was John Muhammad more a terrorist or a serial killer? And, more importanly, WHY do you feel that way?
And in the end it still all adds up to an issue of JUDGEMNENT. Subjective judgment.
So... I'm curious. What, in all y'all's minds, constitutes an acceptable definition of "terrorism?"
And also... How does the idea of "insanity" play into it? I didn't touch that, though it's a big theme in the article Conchobhar sent me, because I'll admit... I just don't know how to consider it? I have a hard time believe that ANYONE who would hurt or kill people for a cause - who aren't even involved in opposing said cause - cannot possibly be in their right mind. But that's not even close to the CRIMINAL definition of "insanity," let alone a useful one for use in terror case.
So I'm curious: What does the word "terrorism" mean to you, and how do you define it?