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Author Topic: Austin Plane Crash
Pyrtolin
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http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/02/18/texas.plane.crash/index.html

Main details so far are that it was an intentional crash, and the guy very likely burned his house down before doing it.

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Dave at Work
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I was reading about that just before lunch. It looks like he "had enough", so to speak, with the IRS.

The last I checked there was no reported dead and only one unaccounted for person among those who work in the building. Assuming that is accurate, things could have been much worse.

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RickyB
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You mean Austin act of terrorism, doncha?
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yossarian22c
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How long until Republican leaders/Fox News start talking about this as a terrorist attack and trying to use it to make Obama look bad?
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Mariner
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Probably as long until Democratic leaders/MSNBC start talking about this as a rabid right wing teabagger attack [Roll Eyes]
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JWatts
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How long before Liberals/MSNBC blame this on a right-wing government hating gun nut?

Whose most certainly a racist, tea-bagger to boot.
The personal pilot constituency tends more wealthy, white and male than the rest of the population after all.

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Dave at Work
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There was already speculation, followed by dismissal, about this being a terrorist act well before Pyrtolin posted the first post in this thread. Now that we know actual facts I doubt there will be any serious attempt by any but the most out there wackos to call this an act of terrorism.
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Dave at Work
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Look. He's white and male. He's probably wealthy too, lets tar and feather him and everyone he knows.

Edited to add: I should probably copy this over to the Teabag thread, as it seems to be a relevant comment about the discussion going on there too.

[ February 18, 2010, 06:03 PM: Message edited by: Dave at Work ]

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OpsanusTau
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Honest question:

If this isn't terrorism, what is?

I mean, obviously 9/11 was terrorism. Oklahoma City was terrorism. Members of the ELF & ALF commit acts of terrorism. What possible consistent definition of terrorism would exclude this act?

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TCB
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I could see an argument for this not being terrorism if he had no desire to effect political change (that is, if he was acting purely out of personal anger).
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Honest question:

If this isn't terrorism, what is?

I mean, obviously 9/11 was terrorism. Oklahoma City was terrorism. Members of the ELF & ALF commit acts of terrorism. What possible consistent definition of terrorism would exclude this act?

If he drove his car into the local McDonald's would it be terrorism? Just asking because they're still fixing the side of the one down the road from my house. [Big Grin]

No, seriously:

terrorism - the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

He apparently wrote a "a lengthy, anti-government "manifesto", so it's probably safe to classify it as an isolated case of terrorism.
Link

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Michelle
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The IRS probably had a lien on his house, or in the process of getting one. This is an act of outsmarting yourself.
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cherrypoptart
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In his manifesto, I heard he was mad about the GM bailout and wasting that government money that could have been used for healthcare, so the "good" news is that it looks like maybe he split the middle politically, and of course the better news is that it looks like he only killed himself.
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TommySama
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"If this isn't terrorism, what is?"

Terrorism is the use of terror to achieve a political end of some kind. So when the US pays for tens of thousands of civilians to be killed in Latin America, when religious fanatics fly planes into buildings, when the US bombs buildings in the ME to try (and fail) to hit one person we don't like, when the US supplies weapons and training to "freedom fighters," etc. But this was an isolated case of nihilism. Dude just wanted to take control by destroying stuff.

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stayne
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Interesting thoughts on 'is this terrorism'. It has the trappings, and it seems to meet a lot of the definition technically, yet it doesn't 'feel' like terrorism. It's different from 911 or OK City or the Unabomber. Seems more like 'going postal', or like the guy in "Falling Down."
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PSRT
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I think we try to identify whether or not things are "Terrorism," only because we are supposedly fighting a war against "Terrorism." If we weren't, we wouldn't spend any time trying to label this or other events like it.
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OpsanusTau
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quote:
Dude just wanted to take control by destroying stuff.
Well, I haven't read his manifesto and probably won't, but I did get the impression that he was trying to effect political change by bringing attention to his cause.

Does anyone think it's possible that this doesn't "feel" like terrorism because this guy is a lot like you in some ways? I mean, maybe we want to not call it terrorism because it is pretty easy for people who are white, middle-class, male, well-educated, and with centrist political views to understand where this guy was coming from. And if we can kind of identify with what his deal was, then he's not crazy and pursuing some bizarre agenda like those other terrorists, he's just an isolated nihilist (We believe in nothing, Lebowski), or going postal, or "had enough".

I don't know if that's true, but I'll put it out there as an idea.

And I'm still going to call it terrorism. Murder-suicide isn't necessarily terrorism, but crashing-your-plane-into-a-government-building-suicide-because-you're-angry, I think, is.

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TommySama
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"Well, I haven't read his manifesto and probably won't, but I did get the impression that he was trying to effect political change by bringing attention to his cause."

*Shrugs* I guess he could have thought his attack would have an effect, but I doubt it. Seems more likely that he was just pissed off that he was getting assaulted by the system, and struck back the only way he could: by destroying part of the thing he hated while destroying himself.

Terrorism might be one of those words we've trashed into meaninglessness. Like "communism" and "socialism." Words like that can't be used meaningfully because they've been watered down to mean "bad stuff" or "democratic policies," even when they are completely inappropriate.

"...I haven't read his manifesto and probably won't, but I did get the impression..." Wait, what?

[ February 18, 2010, 08:15 PM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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Greg Davidson
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From the reports I have heard, he strikes me as a political extremist who committed an act of terrorism (unless you are going to redefine suicide bombing and the 9/11 hijackings as "not acts of terrorism").

He was also probably mentally disturbed. And it is possible that we could have people from the left or the right who are mentally disturbed and commit such actions. Actually, some of the 9/11 hijackers might also have been mentally disturbed, and given the numbers, I am sure that some suicide bombers are mentally disturbed. The mental state of the terrorist doesn't make the burn victims or those who are killed feel any better.

Let me make a caveat before I go on - when I refer to extremism here I am not arguing Democratic vs. Republican policy; this is not about being in favor or against health care reform or capital gains tax cuts. Extremism is about demonization of the enemy.

I believe that the key political question to address is not the individual who committed the crime (after all, he got a form of death penalty, as did the 9/11 hijackers). The political question is in regards to the political extremism. Who presented the 9/11 hijackers with an ideology that over-rode civil customs and principles, and instead convinced them that they were in a life-and-death struggle in which murder was an acceptable option because of the evil of those that they opposed? What was the ideological basis for Timothy McVey and the Oklahoma City bombings?

There are the equivalent of madrassas in America today that teach hatred of American institutions and Americans. They regularly compare American individuals and groups to mass murderers. And I believe that these actions are morally equivalent to the Islamic extremists who preach hatred for America. This guy may be a lone nut, but I predict that there will be more anti-American domestic terrorists, and those who have aided this extremist ideology will be morally responsible for the murders that follow.

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yossarian22c
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I suppose I should have been more precise. This is an act of terrorism, however this is not terrorism associated with the "war on terror". I fully expect that semantic loophole to be exploited by people for political gain.
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stayne
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OT, if you yourself see a distinction between 'terrorism' and 'going postal', enough to suggest people use such descriptions to minimize something, then you're conceding there is a difference, aren't you?

McVeigh was clearly a terrorist, and so was the Unabomber. But were Dillon and Kliebold, the Columbine shooters? Are postal employees who flip out? They all attacked government institutions. I wouldn't call the latter terrorists.

What about guys who just walk into a McDonalds and start shooting? Terrorist or just berserk?

Some people just snap. We know it happens, and it is often triggered by severe stress. Anybody who ever tangled with the IRS knows they play rough.

I'm just using Occam's here. He said in his suicide note: "I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well." He then apparently burned his house down with his wife and step daughter inside.

He destroyed everything he stood to lose and dumped the rest on their heads, including his smoking corpse.

That doesn't sound like a terrorist to me. It sounds like a guy screaming "**** you!"

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cherrypoptart
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If this is terrorism, it's not the type of terrorism you can really do much about. What are you going to do? Ban private planes? Ban matches? Ban being mad at the IRS? Lower taxes? Raise taxes? Ban taxes? Ban the IRS? Make the government nicer? Make the government meaner? Be more lax? Be more strict? Ban people who criticize the government?

People always want to do something. Sometimes there isn't anything you can do.

Sometimes the solutions only serve to make the problems even worse.

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Greg Davidson
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He is a terrorist based on his actions.

To differentiate him from other terrorists is to assert you can see into the minds of others and make important distinctions (which is possible to to to some degree, but not with certainty). If you want to assess the motivation of everyone who commits a terrorist action before declaring them to be a terrorist. you can go ahead, but you should do so consistently.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
People always want to do something. Sometimes there isn't anything you can do.

Sometimes the solutions only serve to make the problems even worse.

I hope people will continue to react like this. The other solution is basically Big Brother. We already have our perpetual war, now if we get the invasive surveillance we'll be in Orwell's dystopian future.
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cherrypoptart
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That's kind of what I was getting at too. The Big Brother solution that is the knee-jerk reaction could serve to make matters much worse. It might just set more of these nuts off.

Is not going the big brother route surrendering to terrorism?

In fact though, according to his manifesto, it seems like this is what he hoped for:

"I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are."

It kind of seems like things are going more and more crazy.

But this guy seemed to be complaining about healthcare reform not going through while GM got bailout money.

"Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies."

I can kind of see his point, but on the other hand a government takeover of healthcare will result in more taxes and more intrusion of government into our lives, in fact it necessitates the insurance mandate. So the guy is pretty much a loon.

If I were forced to offer a suggestion, it might be to ignore him. He's a raving lunatic who flew a plane into a building. We should live on and debate the issues as if he never existed.

Maybe nobody else dying is God's way of telling us to do exactly that. I admit I hate when people do that and I'm agnostic myself so bringing God into it hardly makes sense so perhaps it should be karma or something, but my point is that the end, he shouldn't even matter. We don't listen to the opinions of crazy people.

I don't know though. I could be wrong.

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yossarian22c
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Not going the big brother route is the opposite of surrendering to terrorism. Accepting that bad things sometimes happen is part of living in a free society. Big Brother would be much worse than a few random shootings or attacks. It also would probably do very little to prevent such attacks. We would give up our liberty and get nothing in return. Fear makes people stupid and irrational though.

It amazes me sometimes how people who are terrified of a public health care option would consider supporting a big brother type surveillance program to keep them safe.

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Greg Davidson
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I believe that elevating rhetoric to a "big brother vs. terrorism" dichotomy is, in fact, promoting extremism.

The closest thing to big brother around here is the pernicious doctrine that enabled the President to unilaterally declare American citizens to be enemy combatants and to then to be able to torture and murder them. If that is proven to be true, it is truly evil, and while the Bush Administration actually commited the acts in question, the Obama Administration has not taken enough steps in my mind to counter this evil. But even with that specific evil committed on some number of people, we are a long way from big brother.

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LoverOfJoy
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We have developed lots of names for the act of killing someone else: homicide, manslaughter, first degree murder, etc. Technically, the different people who commit these acts are all killers but we rightfully see them a bit differently (though not entirely).

I imagine this is something similar but in an area where we haven't developed the different terms yet. Someone who commits a terrorist act because of a mental disorder is a bit different from another does it in a fit of passion who is also different from someone who calculates multiple terrorist acts over a period of years.

Do any of the lawyers in the house care to outline the different types of killings and propose an analogue for different types of terrorism?

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TommySama
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"I hope people will continue to react like this. The other solution is basically Big Brother. We already have our perpetual war, now if we get the invasive surveillance we'll be in Orwell's dystopian future. "

We already have our perpetual wars (drugs, terror) and our big brother to go along. The structure is in place. The intensity will slowly increase until we are all strangled. Its not a matter of fighting it. Its only a matter of time.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Oh, Big Bro is too cumbersome and impoverishing. Ask the Russkies.

Orwell vs Huxley

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
Wait, what?
You know. I get the impression, from secondhand news reports I have skimmed. [Big Grin] I'm not really claiming to have extensively researched or thought deeply about this topic.

You know, I hadn't really considered the Columbine shootings (and other school and mall shootings) as terrorism, but it fits in some ways. Though I guess I had excluded the postal employees gone postal in my mind because shooting up your school or your workplace or your family could be something more like a crime of passion.

But now that I read what more of you are saying, I come to the feeling that the core of terrorism might be "a guy screaming "**** you!" You know, not a targeted military action with a specific tactical goal, but the infliction of damage upon tangentially-related innocents in order to cause pain and sow terror or maybe just even teach the Great Satan or Big Brother or the Corporate Pigs some kind of lesson.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Foreign terrorism is so... Oughts. Domestic acts of random violence will be big in the '10s.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Never Marry a Shrink

This thing is so weird.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Good thing he doesn't pal around with guys like William Ayers.
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Daruma28
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Terrorism? Bah. This is hardly "terrorism." The only way this meets the definition is if the Government finds a way to use this to justify further empowerment of our growing police state.

This is a guy pushed to the brink in fighting with the IRS and he eventually went postal. He had no "political objective" to terrorize the populace. If anything, he was simply trying to take as many of his enemy with him as he could, once he realized he was not going to win his battle with them. Futile, but effective in gaining some attention to the unconstitutional, authoritarian and tyrannical nature of the IRS.

I read his screed/manifesto/suicide letter. Not surprisingly, I agree with about 90% of it - except he does veer a little more towards marxist class warfare rhetoric in it...like most "leftists" he mis-identifies the influence of 'big business" corporatist fascism as "greedy capitalism."

Here are some highlights of his "manifesto" for those of you who can't be bothered to read the whole thing before forming your opinion:

quote:
We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.
Heh. Could'be been written by myself. Have no fear though - I have no plans of making a similar styled statement...although I would certainly go out WACO style if an unjust and oppressive Government agency tried to storm my residence.

Here's another quote I doubt many of you here would find much to disagree with either:

quote:
Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?

Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies.

Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

That's only the half of it...

quote:
During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.
See, this poor schmuck found out the hard way that there is NO "fighting" the system through the "proper channels." Had he know from the beginning that such meaningless attempts to "do it the right way" where a waste of time, he may have not gotten suicidal when he realized how the system REALLY works.

quote:
After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.
The IRS - full of liars and bureaucrats who operate outside of Constitutional authority - they automatically treat any citizen they target as guilty until proven innocent, and they will seize your property, and treat you like a criminal for something as simple as an honest paperwork typo.

quote:
I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy **** up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution?

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

Here, here! Is this the ravings of a madman...or just a MAD MAN pushed over the edge? While his action may have been irrational, I find his rationale rather lucid. [Eek!]
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kenmeer livermaile
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But...but...aren't fanatical Mooslims also raving murderous lunatics?!?

Obviously, the guy is not a member of a *terrorist organization*, but does one need to be member of a group to be a terrorist.

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RickyB
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"Now that we know actual facts I doubt there will be any serious attempt by any but the most out there wackos to call this an act of terrorism."

So let me get it straight, now. When a Muslim commits an act of violence against civilians, leaving behind detailed evidence that he was motivated by rage against the government, it's terrorism. When a white man does it, it's not?

Please reconcile this for me.

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kenmeer livermaile
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The guy used to be a postman, RickyB. They're special.
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RickyB
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"I could see an argument for this not being terrorism if he had no desire to effect political change"

Muslim organizations stage terror acts all the time with the express purpose of vengeance.

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RickyB
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"Heh. Could'be been written by myself."

I was actually thinking of you as I read his manifesto. Make of that what you will.

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