Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » WDBJ Shooter - is he a terrorist? (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   
Author Topic: WDBJ Shooter - is he a terrorist?
Rafi
Member
Member # 6930

 - posted      Profile for Rafi   Email Rafi       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Before we know for sure, it would be interesting to discuss what are the criteria that we would use to determine whether the WDBJ shooter were a terrorist or just a violent insane person.

There is one piece of evidence that the scenario is not unlike the radicalization of Muslim extremists. Flanagan faxed a lengthy manifesto to ABC News the night before the shooting indicates that his plan had been some time in the making.
quote:
“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15,” Flanagan wrote. “What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

“As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE (deleted)!!!”

The putative manifesto has not been released in its entirety but likely goes deeper into racist ugliness
Posts: 793 | Registered: Jul 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, I think that the question might be fair to at least consider. Is it the existance of a hate-filled document that differentiates an insane person from a terorist? Is it the words out of the killer's mouth? I don't think that we have an effective way to determine insanity apart from medical indicators, and even that determination may be subject to some judgement calls (there may also be biochemical markers that aid in diagnosis).

But I will also note that Rafi has so little credibility because of his demonstrated, continuous pattern of distortion and lies that any positions that he advocates or any quotes that he cites deserve an additional level of scrutiny and debunking. His suggestion that this is similar specifically to the radicalization of Muslim extremists because both involved premeditation and planning is silly; premeditation was also associated with Timothy McVeigh and many people who commit murderous acts.


Rafi's question is phrased as if there is a moral equivalency between the Charleston shooter and this guy, as if that scores a "point" for the right-wing. And to some degree, if there were a wide-spread promotion of explictly racist anti-white symbols that this new shooter advocated, I would be in all favor of ceasing to fly them over state capitols. But that situation only applied to the anti-black racists

Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rafi
Member
Member # 6930

 - posted      Profile for Rafi   Email Rafi       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I read the screed and rather frothy personal attack before I realized who posted it (mobile device screen too limited). Once I did, I understood. Didn't realize my point was so accurate and would be made so quickly! [Wink]
Posts: 793 | Registered: Jul 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshCrow
Member
Member # 6048

 - posted      Profile for JoshCrow   Email JoshCrow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
After watching a video of a WDBJ executive describing this guy's activities in the workplace, this whole affair strikes me a new kind of beast entirely. It seems like the perpetrator had something resembling a persecution complex - in this case, manifesting through perceptions of racism against his person. Whether there was any substance to those claims is unknown - and whether that would mean anything if it WAS known is fair game for discussion, but I doubt anyone would take the position that anything rational was behind this violent response.

My suspicion right now is that this was a mentally unbalanced individual whose craziness took an acute form: hypersensitivity and maybe paranoia.

What interests me at the moment is how this is a monstrously exaggerated version of the problematic mindset of "identifying as oppressed", by which I mean "making one's oppression a part of one's identity". Our society has made a virtue of being oppressed (which, to be fair, had little else going for it - it DOES suck to be oppressed). Thus, people now scrambling over each other to fight against "offensiveness", and a resurgence of political correctness.

What happens when one's core identity is built around being wronged by society? Well, usually nothing, but sometimes, when mixed with a bit of crazy - this.

Posts: 2281 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshCrow
Member
Member # 6048

 - posted      Profile for JoshCrow   Email JoshCrow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As to the OP's main question, I would not classify this person as a terrorist (as of yet, based on what I've read). It seems more like a mentally unstable person - even with a rambling manifesto. The victims being people the individual knew personally adds to that sense.
Posts: 2281 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wayward Son
Member
Member # 210

 - posted      Profile for Wayward Son   Email Wayward Son   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Since I don't know all the details of this murder, I can't say for now whether it is terrorism or not. But it does raise an interesting question:

If I shoot my dog for political purposes, is it terrorism?

I mean, if I left a rant about something or other, and then went out and committed a crime unrelated to any sane political aim, is it still terrorism?

I don't see how shooting two reporters advances a political cause. Shooting army recruiters and soldiers, certainly; targetting a black church, without a doubt; but shooting two reporters? How is that related?

There has to be some method to this madness, some way the person can expect that his actions will cause terror in a given population. What was his goal in attacking reporters? Terrorize the news media? [Confused]

So I would have to learn more about his rant and how he expected his actions to cause terror before I'd call it "terrorism."

Which, of course, doesn't mean you can't be crazy and a terrorist at the same time. For instance, if I thought my dog was Dick Cheney... [Smile]

Posts: 8681 | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
What was his goal in attacking reporters?
He believed the two people he killed had specifically had a hand in getting him fired.
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jasonr
Member
Member # 969

 - posted      Profile for jasonr   Email jasonr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If the person's actually a paranoid schizophrenic I don't see much utility in characterizing it as "terrorism" in the same breath as, say, Al Qaeda. Certainly even if there is an overlap between the two acts, (indeed, there is nothing stopping a paranoid schizophrenic from fitting the definition of "terrorist") the underlying cause is so different as to render the use of the same term for both phenomena misleading at best.


In any event, it appears the term is destined to be bandied about for political purposes.

quote:
As to the OP's main question, I would not classify this person as a terrorist (as of yet, based on what I've read). It seems more like a mentally unstable person - even with a rambling manifesto. The victims being people the individual knew personally adds to that sense.
Almost all murderers, and certainly mass murderers, are going to have some degree of mental instability.

If I was to propose a bright line it would be this - when someone's fundamental grasp of reality has been distorted i.e. the person is experiencing actual paranoid delusions, that should by definition exclude the person from true Strong terrorism.

Vince Lee is a classic example of the Weak terrorist. He beheaded Tim McLean because he actually thought McLean was a demon. He was afflicted with hallucinations. Had Lee been convinced McLean was, say, a communist plotting to take over the world, or a feminist or whatnot, that would not have made it any more an act of "terrorism", even if Lee was trying to make a statement or intimidate other feminists or communists or whatnot.

By contrast, I'd classify Marc Lapine more as a terrorist. He hated feminists and blamed them for ruining his life. While his grievances were certainly paranoid and distorted by some manner of mental illness, personality disorder, narcissism, whatnot, he wasn't outright delusional. A distorted worldview or an inaccurate world view (for instance, like in radical Islam) should be distinguished from true mental illness.

Posts: 7629 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Actually, I think that the question might be fair to at least consider. Is it the existance of a hate-filled document that differentiates an insane person from a terorist? Is it the words out of the killer's mouth? I don't think that we have an effective way to determine insanity apart from medical indicators, and even that determination may be subject to some judgement calls (there may also be biochemical markers that aid in diagnosis).

But I will also note that Rafi has so little credibility because of his demonstrated, continuous pattern of distortion and lies that any positions that he advocates or any quotes that he cites deserve an additional level of scrutiny and debunking. His suggestion that this is similar specifically to the radicalization of Muslim extremists because both involved premeditation and planning is silly; premeditation was also associated with Timothy McVeigh and many people who commit murderous acts.


Rafi's question is phrased as if there is a moral equivalency between the Charleston shooter and this guy, as if that scores a "point" for the right-wing. And to some degree, if there were a wide-spread promotion of explictly racist anti-white symbols that this new shooter advocated, I would be in all favor of ceasing to fly them over state capitols. But that situation only applied to the anti-black racists

Mental illness has nothiing to do with whether an act is terroristic.

The manifesto makes this crime at least as terroristic as, say, Columbine.

If the Norwegian Brevik had a personal vendetta against the ministers and party leaders, would his bomb and mass shootings have been less terroristic?

Another question is whether it was a hate crime.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
The manifesto makes this crime at least as terroristic as, say, Columbine.
I would say it's almost as "terroristic" as Columbine. That he had specific targets, though, and was not going after a population, makes it seem slightly less so to me.
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The manifesto makes this crime at least as terroristic as, say, Columbine.
I would say it's almost as "terroristic" as Columbine. That he had specific targets, though, and was not going after a population, makes it seem slightly less so to me.
He wrote a manifesto and he took pains to carry out the murders on the air. Klebold and Harris' terroristic footprint was much slighter: they picked Hitler's birthdate, arguably a provocation to make the story hit the press. Their journals sometimes speak in 2nd person but aren't organized as manifesto; they simply slip into manifesto language.

In both cases, the murderers felt persecuted, and there was a vindictive personal aspect, and yes, those are elements that do not support a terrorist intent -- but neither do those elements weigh AGAINST terrorism, either. The fact that an act is not PURE terrorism, doesn't mean that it isn't terrorism.

Tom, if a 1950 sheet-head gathers his buddies and tracks down and publicly lynches a black man who had had an affair with the sheet-head's wife, and if the lynching place is right in the yard of a Black Church, does the fact that it's (1) an act of personal revenge and (2) a hate crime change the fact that it's also (3) an act of terrorism?

Terrorism is to public relations what war is to diplomacy. Terrorism is a message written in the blood of noncombattants. If you can identify the actor's target audience, a discernible message, and if the primary victim of the actor's violence is a noncombattant, then you've got an act of terrorism. Regardless of whether there are other factors and motives at play.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"hat he had specific targets, though, and was not going after a population"

You can't rule out terrorism using language and thought so completely oblivious to what terrorism actually is, Tom. You speak as if the actual violence victims were sole "targets." The manifesto and the on-air venue for the murders make a compelling case that these violent were a message targeted towards some more generalized audience.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Fenring
Member
Member # 6953

 - posted      Profile for Fenring   Email Fenring       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
There has to be some method to this madness, some way the person can expect that his actions will cause terror in a given population. What was his goal in attacking reporters? Terrorize the news media? [Confused]

Based on this definition Dylann Roof was not a terrorist, since his explicit intent was not to terrorize any population but rather to rally potential supporters to a hateful cause. Did you choose to refer to Roof as a terrorist in that thread? I distinctly remember several people there uninterested at the time with the detail of whether his intent was to send a message to the black community (e.g. 'be afraid') or if it was to use them to send a message to others like him. If the latter then by your definition Roof wasn't a terrorist, but just a mass murderer hate criminal.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Oct 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KidTokyo
Member
Member # 6601

 - posted      Profile for KidTokyo   Email KidTokyo       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dylan Roof wanted to frighten an entire population.

Based on what we know so far, today's TV shooter wanted revenge on people he felt had personally wronged him.

They are miles apart. Only Roof counts as a terrorist.

Posts: 2336 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KidTokyo
Member
Member # 6601

 - posted      Profile for KidTokyo   Email KidTokyo       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
18 U.S. Code § 2331


(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.


Emphasis added. General rules of statutory construction mean that any of (B)(i), (ii), or (iii) when combined with (A) and (C) are sufficient under US Code to qualify as domestic terrorism.

Posts: 2336 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Fenring
Member
Member # 6953

 - posted      Profile for Fenring   Email Fenring       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Using the only criterion applicable to Roof, B(i), you'd have to show he was trying to intimidate or coerce the black population. It seems he certainly wasn't trying to coerce them (since he had no demands), but maybe intimidation? Here's Roof' statement of intent:

quote:
I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.

Unfortunately at the time of writing I am in a great hurry and some of my best thoughts, actually many of them have been to be left out and lost forever. But I believe enough great White minds are out there already.

He wanted to go out and fight for the white race, as he called it. Maybe this was a call to arms, maybe in some weird way it was an act of war. Either way he seemed to have no motive in terms of communicating anything to the black community, and nothing in his message either addresses them or has any concern for what they think. The manifesto is obviously intended for a white audience as a general statement about race relations and 'taking the country back.'

It seems to me that using the legal code as a reference Roof doesn't meet any criteria in (B) to qualify as a terrorist, which accords with Wayward's mention above of this incident not being terror since 'terrorizing' a population or government wasn't the objective. Roof seems to me to have been a hateful mass murderer, or alternatively a racist vigilante. This, of course, is affording him all credit in the mental health department and assuming his thoughts on the matter were clear. But while Roof used terrible methods to try to rally white people to his cause, the actual use of violence wasn't intended to force anyone to do anything; it was just a message.

I am hesitant to call any wanton act of killing or destruction as "terror" precisely because at present both the FBI and NSA are very eager to demonstrate that they fight domestic terror, and in order to justify both their budgets and also the tools at their disposal they must try to paint every incident as terror-related so that it can be shown that techniques such as warrantless wiretapping, spying (even on government officials), and even torture are required to do this. It has therefore become, subsequently, something of a pastime for the population to look for the same bogeyman of terror whenever possible.

I doubt anyone on this site is using the word "terror" with any thought to contributing to this chimera, but I believe the terror meme originated with government and it ultimately serves them rather than us to use such words to describe cases that don't warrant it. It's pretty obvious what terrorism is, by and large - the use of force to make demands, pure and simple. It's very easy to tell when this is the case, and if one has to wonder then it's not terrorism.

[ August 27, 2015, 12:56 AM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

Posts: 1636 | Registered: Oct 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
18 U.S. Code § 2331


(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.


Emphasis added. General rules of statutory construction mean that any of (B)(i), (ii), or (iii) when combined with (A) and (C) are sufficient under US Code to qualify as domestic terrorism.

That's one current legal definition of terrorism, but it certainly is not comprehensive. Furthermore the "APPEAR TO BE INTENDED" clause is irrational and a failure of due process as you know from law school you cannot discern mens rea by "appearance" of intent. [Roll Eyes]

USC § 2331's definition would arguably make some of Martin Luther King's activities "terrorism" because while not violent, they were arguably involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State.

USC § 2331's definition also would make most governments that fight conventional war against the USA "terrorists. The Confederates by USC §2331's definition were all "Terrorists." That's the sort of statist law and logic that we should expect from the People's Republic of China and not from the USA.

USC § 2331's definition is underinclusive as well as overinclusive, since you follow that legal standard, then neither 9/11 nor Oklahoma City were "terrorist acts" since anyone who bothered to read OBL, Dylan Roof, and McVeigh's pronouncements would realize that those acts were NOT intended --
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping--

but rather to INCITE a sympathetic population to rise up and join the struggle.

This is why it makes more sense to define terrorism more broadly to encompass all PR intent, and to describe specific categories acts rather than make US and state law the arbiter of terrorism everywhere.

Fenring quotes scumbag Dylan Roof as saying:
quote:
I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.

Unfortunately at the time of writing I am in a great hurry and some of my best thoughts, actually many of them have been to be left out and lost forever. But I believe enough great White minds are out there already.

No intent to intimidate or coerce government: Roof, like OBL and McVeigh and today's Mumia-wannabe, was trying to get like-minded bastards to rise up and carry the torch or burning cross or whatever. It was PR.

[ August 27, 2015, 02:01 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
Based on what we know so far, today's TV shooter wanted revenge on people he felt had personally wronged him.

I've already addressed that nonsense argument earlier this evening.

I said:

quote:
The manifesto and the on-air venue for the murders make a compelling case that these violent were a message targeted towards some more generalized audience.
I'm annoyed you didn't respond to those points but simply reiterated what I'd already addressed. Revenge does not preclude terrorism. Saying that it can't be terrorism because it was revenge is like saying it can't be rape because he was wearing pink socks.

What Manifesto Bryce did is terrorism even by that generally inadequate "domestic terrorism" definition you just provided.

[ August 27, 2015, 01:51 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"If the person's actually a paranoid schizophrenic I don't see much utility in characterizing it as "terrorism" in the same breath as, say, Al Qaeda."

The utility is clarity and consistency. A sane society that respects civil rights will define big Ugly Accusations like Rape, Murder, and Terrorism by a specific ACT, with a specific INTENT. Lefty want to tweak crimes so that they don't count if the person that commits it is black, and statists want to define them in ways that allow the state to act with impunity. When these words get redefined for political exigencies, all law loses any sort of correlation with morality, and things fall apart.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Fenring
Member
Member # 6953

 - posted      Profile for Fenring   Email Fenring       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
When these words get redefined for political exigencies, all law loses any sort of correlation with morality, and things fall apart.

This was more or less my point as well, although while my preference would be to call fewer things terrorism you have suggested calling more of them terrorism. I suppose it doesn't matter all that much as long as the terminology is consistent and isn't being used to further an agenda.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Oct 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
When these words get redefined for political exigencies, all law loses any sort of correlation with morality, and things fall apart.

This was more or less my point as well, although while my preference would be to call fewer things terrorism you have suggested calling more of them terrorism. I suppose it doesn't matter all that much as long as the terminology is consistent and isn't being used to further an agenda.
When I was a law school research assistant for Professor Blakesley ("Terrorism and Counterterrorism") we were looking at different definitions and I created a list of maybe 90 different incidents which might or might not be terrorism, depending on how it was defined. I respectfully submit that the quality utility and moral validity of a definition can be measured by what it includes and excludes. Does it make moral sense to say that 9/11, Oklahoma City, and Roof's church shooting were NOT terrorism, but that Columbine and Hiroshima were? To say that if the Sheetheads lynch a black man in front of his church, that it's terrorism, but if they burn him alive at a Klan rally just to get the Sheetheads excited before they go on a pogrom, that's not terrorism?
Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Fenring
Member
Member # 6953

 - posted      Profile for Fenring   Email Fenring       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pete, it seems to me that what separates terrorism from other crimes is the use of threats over a civilian population to achieve one's demands. Killing is actually not the act of terrorism as I see it, but rather the use of killing as an example to threaten further killing unless the people or government comply. Murdering some people and leaving it at that isn't terrorism, it's mass murder, even if there was a 'reason' for the killing. Although intent is necessary to establish crime, when it comes to determining what sort of crime has been committed I don't think the agenda or intent of the criminal ought to matter so much as the tool they use to achieve their ends. If they steal they're a thief; if they kill they're a murderer; if they threaten to kill civilians they're a terrorist (even if they have not killed anyone yet). All three cases may have some cause behind them (steal to further the cause, kill to further the cause, extort the populace to further the cause) but I would say that only the latter should be called terrorism.

As a sort of corollary to my opinion on this, it seems that to be a 'terrorist' one would probably have to be considered the weaker party (e.g. if the government threatened to kill people it would be tyranny, not terrorism) whose only means of coercing the population is threats, since outright force would be out of the question being the weaker party.

Overall it seems like the reason to separate out terrorism from all other crimes is because in general the tolerated use of force is restricted to the dominant party in a region. Petty crimes that are committed are done by stealth or surprise, since if the authorities were present the criminal would be overpowered. Terrorism is such a concern, then, because even as the dominant force in a region the authorities are powerless to stop someone threatening the civilian population no matter how much overwhelming force they can bring to bear in general. Terrorism is special because even the weak can employ it successfully and can mount the equivalent of a challenge of force without having to actually have much force; much as guerilla warfare is to an organized military, so is terrorism to an organized police force.

Posts: 1636 | Registered: Oct 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For my part, it really depends on what the guy was hoping to accomplish. Roof's manifesto made it clear that he was picking targets of opportunity from among representatives of the government to, he hoped, spark a war; from what I've heard of this case, the opposite appears true: Flanagan was apparently looking for justifications to "avenge" himself on coworkers whose success offended him. I obviously don't have access to his "manifesto," but the remarks he left on social media make him come off like your typical paranoid schizophrenic.

(For what it's worth, by the way, I don't personally consider Columbine to be an act of terrorism, and find it ludicrous that it's sometimes included as such. Not all mass murder is terroristic.)

Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wayward Son
Member
Member # 210

 - posted      Profile for Wayward Son   Email Wayward Son   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I distinctly remember several people there uninterested at the time with the detail of whether his intent was to send a message to the black community (e.g. 'be afraid') or if it was to use them to send a message to others like him. If the latter then by your definition Roof wasn't a terrorist, but just a mass murderer hate criminal.
Well, for one thing, I consider hate crimes to be a form of terrorism, which is why I believe it deserves special status. Both are intended to intimidate a group or population for the purpose of influencing their behavior. Usually that behavior is to simply bow to the wishes of the terrorist and/or his group, whether those wishes are specified or not at the time.

Sending a message to others like him is an intent to create fear and intimidation among blacks. So, by my definition, Roof was acting like a terrorist.

Posts: 8681 | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Seriati
Member
Member # 2266

 - posted      Profile for Seriati         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's hard to define "terrorism" because it means different things to different people and has become, over time, a dumping ground for a number of related but dissimilar concepts (or it could be unrelated but similar concepts, take your pick).

To me, the key distinguisher, though fuzzy in application, is that while repugnant, terrorism is a rationale philosophy. It's generally used by those seeking to achieve a disproportionate impact to the effort applied. For groups out of power that may be the only way they can really have a chance of victory, for groups in power it may allow them to satisfy conflicting priorities (e.g. you may need less secret police, than you would need soldiers and police to maintain order). What's really scary about it, is that people who kill as terrorists may not be "crazy," they have just made a decision that the deaths they cause are less important than the cause they are pursuing.

Even in the subset of persons who take actions that could actually invoke terror, if they are taking actions that no rationale person could see as reasonably designed to advance their goals, it's almost certainly something like mass murder or just plain crazy rather than terrorism. When the goals themselves are the result of crazy (rather than the methods of implementation) it's much easier to see it as terrorism (though there can still be cases where the goals are just too irrationale).

Posts: 2309 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KidTokyo
Member
Member # 6601

 - posted      Profile for KidTokyo   Email KidTokyo       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
That's one current legal definition of terrorism, but it certainly is not comprehensive. Furthermore the "APPEAR TO BE INTENDED" clause is irrational and a failure of due process as you know from law school you cannot discern mens rea by "appearance" of intent
As I "know from law school" and from several years in the actual practice of law, the argument that the statute is "irrational" is the mother of all losing arguments in a courtroom. [Razz]

Have you asserted that in any briefs, Pete? "This law is dumb"? How did that go?


quote:
The manifesto and the on-air venue for the murders make a compelling case that these violent were a message targeted towards some more generalized audience
Telling the world you want revenge on specific journalists does not equate with terrorizing the general populace, nor even a specific population.

Now, if the intent was to silence journalists in general, then there would be a case that this is terrorism.

[ August 27, 2015, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

Posts: 2336 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Fenring
Member
Member # 6953

 - posted      Profile for Fenring   Email Fenring       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
Now, if the intent was to silence journalists in general, then there would be a case that this is terrorism.

Or just, you know, a good deed [Wink]
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Oct 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rightleft22
Member
Member # 2832

 - posted      Profile for rightleft22   Email rightleft22   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Though all murder creates fear and intimidates to be a “terrorist” I would argue that the intention must be to intimidate others in order to force compliance.

The WDBJ Shooter was not a terrorist as his motivations seem to have been to make himself known/seen and justified by a perceived injustice done to him and not specifically to intimidate.

Perhaps engineering a ‘media event” allowed him to attach meaning to the absurdity of which he was deluded. He gets his 15 minutes and will be forgotten.

quote:
ORIGINS OF THE TERM TERRORISM
reign-of-terrorThe root of the word terrorism is taken from a Latin term that means “to frighten”. It became part of the phrase terror cimbricus, which was used by ancient Romans in 105BC to describe the panic that ensued as they prepared for an attack by a fierce warrior tribe. Many years later that fact was taken into account during the bloody reign of Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution.

Terror is a feeling of intense and overwhelming fear, and that is exactly what Robespierre brought to the people of France. Any opposition to the power of the Jacobins was immediately squashed, and people lived in fear of retribution.

This period of time was referred to as the Reign of Terror, largely in homage to terror cimbricus. After nearly a year, the Terror came to an end and Robespierre was overthrown and executed. When it was over, people started to use the word terrorist to describe a person who abuses power through the threat of force. A journalist in the United Kingdom wrote about the Reign of Terror in The Times newspaper, and created the word terrorism as a way to describe the actions of Robespierre. The word became so popular it was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary three years later.

Today the term terrorism has basically the same meaning, although it has become better defined over the years. Whatever the definition becomes, it will still be used to describe intentional acts of violence that are designed to harm or kill citizens in order to intimidate others.


Posts: 935 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
Have you asserted that in any briefs, Pete? "This law is dumb"? How did that go?

I have asserted that a law or policy was unconstitutional, and I was winning that argument at the 9th Circuit when the government settled and let my client off with time served.

If you'd read half your assigned cases in law school, you would remember cases where laws underwent 14th amendment scrutiny because they were "overinclusive and underinclusive."

Here, we aren't in a court of law. We're asking if the WDBJ shooter should be considered a terrorist. The question of whether he's a "domestic terrorist" according to USC whatever, is a related question, but since you're trying to make that the end of the discussion, please get the blackboard eraser out of your ass.

In any event, the WDBJ shooter fits both the stupid unconstitutional law you cited as well as the conceptual definition that I've offered. So you're being obtuse when you ask questions like
Have you asserted that in any briefs, Pete? "This law is dumb"? How did that go? [Roll Eyes]

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Krystalnacht was state terrorism both intended to intimidate Jews and to manipulate the nonJewish population; the death camps were not terrorism since they were kept secret.

Any disagreements there?

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Not all mass murder is terroristic.)

Obviously. Mass murders where the bodies are concealed and the murder hidden, clearly aren't terrorism. But when someone takes steps to stick the murders in the public eye, it's usually terrorism, regardless of whether there are other motives involved.

quote:
For my part, it really depends on what the guy was hoping to accomplish.
I agree. If he's just trying to kill someone, that's one thing, but if he's trying to create a publicity event, that's terrorism. I don't see a significant line between the Unibomber, who killed to draw publicity to a cause, and say the Zodiac killer, who killed to get publicity for its own sake.


quote:
Roof's manifesto made it clear that he was picking targets of opportunity from among representatives of the government to, he hoped, spark a war;
So you agree that it doesn't have to be an attempt to create fear or intimidation? Trying to spark a war, by inspiring others to commit acts of violence, is exactly the most interesting point of dispute between me and others here.

quote:
from what I've heard of this case, the opposite appears true: Flanagan was apparently looking for justifications to "avenge" himself on coworkers whose success offended him. I obviously don't have access to his "manifesto," but the remarks he left on social media make him come off like your typical paranoid schizophrenic.
Seems to me that a typical paranoid schizophrenic would be more likely, not less likely, than the average mentally healthy person, to become a terrorist. Wasn't the Unibomber a typical Schizotypal case? Or do you not consider the Unibomber a terrorist?

quote:
(For what it's worth, by the way, I don't personally consider Columbine to be an act of terrorism, and find it ludicrous that it's sometimes included as such.
Terrorism doesn't require mass publicity. Wouldn't you agree that part of their purpose was to intimidate and feel power over the vast majority of persons in the school? They did intentionally leave some survivors.

Depending on facts not in evidence, I could go either way on Columbine, or on this WDBJ shooter.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DJQuag
Member
Member # 3582

 - posted      Profile for DJQuag   Email DJQuag       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll just point out that in his manifesto, this latest shooter specifically said that if Dylan Roof wanted a race war, then he could have one. He then went and shot two white people to death. On live television.
Posts: 476 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
I'll just point out that in his manifesto, this latest shooter specifically said that if Dylan Roof wanted a race war, then he could have one. He then went and shot two white people to death. On live television.

Exactly. His purpose is the same as Dylan Roof's; i.e. to start a race war. And like Roof, he uses public violence against noncombatants to achieve it.

They should be buried in the same coffin. Let them fight their little race war in hell and leave us alone.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DJQuag
Member
Member # 3582

 - posted      Profile for DJQuag   Email DJQuag       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I wouldn't go that far. I don't think his main purpose was to start a race war.

I'm just saying that it is undeniable that there was a racist element to this attack.

Posts: 476 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"I'm just saying that it is undeniable that there was a racist element to this attack. "

Agreed. Although there are some sillies that will say that it's impossible for a black man to be "racist" against whites.

"I wouldn't go that far. I don't think his main purpose was to start a race war."

Agreed again. I didn't go as far to say that starting a race war was his *main* purpose, either. Just that he manifested the intent to use the killings to inspire others to commit other acts of racist violence. He wanted vindication, not just revenge; he wanted to wrap his selfish grievances in the banner of a broader "race war" so he could pass himself off as some sort of a martyr rather than a vindictive petty little loser.

But if you look at the average suicide bomber, that's par for the course. If we cut out the mentally ill, the suicidal, the narcisists, and folks with vindictive and selfish motives ... there wouldn't be many terrorists left at all. Terrorism isn't some pure religion. It's an act. And it really should not surprise us that most people who commit ****ed up acts have a variety of ****ed up reasons.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Kid, I don't recall any rules of this forum that limit us to making arguments that we'd use before a court. While judges do have some limited discretion to toss out unconstitutional laws (which includes, since passage of the 14th amendment, laws so irrational that they have no rational basis) we're free here to have legislative discussions, or to argue about meaning.

If we don't follow a coherent and sane definition of terrorism, we end up like early Nazi Germany with political leaders using existing power to declare their political opponents "terrorists" over simple political, economic, and social differences of opinion.

Kid, I'll also point out that you failed to answer my previous question. Do you think it's fair or rational to refer to the entire Confederate secession as "domestic terrorism" or are you going to claim that the acts of the secessionists don't fit the modern statute that you cited? Please analyze.

[ August 28, 2015, 04:33 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rafi
Member
Member # 6930

 - posted      Profile for Rafi   Email Rafi       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
I wouldn't go that far. I don't think his main purpose was to start a race war.

I'm just saying that it is undeniable that there was a racist element to this attack.

The guy was disturbed, maybe not clinically or legally insane but clearly he was not mentally stable. He would have latched on to any popular issue to "justify" his acts. In this case, racism as it's incredibly popular right now and race relations have been intentionally worsened over the last 6 years to stoke just this kind of thing.

He's not a terrorist, just some angry nutter that succumbed to the rhetoric of the race industry.

Posts: 793 | Registered: Jul 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KidTokyo
Member
Member # 6601

 - posted      Profile for KidTokyo   Email KidTokyo       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pete,

quote:
I have asserted that a law or policy was unconstitutional, and I was winning that argument at the 9th Circuit when the government settled and let my client off with time served.

If you'd read half your assigned cases in law school, you would remember cases where laws underwent 14th amendment scrutiny because they were "overinclusive and underinclusive."

I was not responding to your statement as to constitutionality, but rather your statement that it was "irrational." FWIW, I don't follow your mens rea requirement regarding "appearance" and in fact the requirement is itself irrational, since terrorism is fundamentally about propagating an image -- that is the mechanism. Obviously, any law on this basis is deeply problematic.

Whether the law is proper or not is certainly debatable and in fact I agree that the US definition is potentially over broad. However, I take it that the gist of this thread is not whether we define terrorism correctly, but whether we identify it consistently by whatever standards we espouse, be they good or bad standards. So, if you want to argue we should define terrorism differently than we currently, that is another conversation. I am at the moment only interested in whether our standards are consistently applied.

quote:
Kid, I don't recall any rules of this forum that limit us to making arguments that we'd use before a court. While judges do have some limited discretion to toss out unconstitutional laws (which includes, since passage of the 14th amendment, laws so irrational that they have no rational basis) we're free here to have legislative discussions, or to argue about meaning
I don't recall preventing you from saying whatever you please. Did I complain about you breaking forum rules? No.

quote:
Kid, I'll also point out that you failed to answer my previous question. Do you think it's fair or rational to refer to the entire Confederate secession as "domestic terrorism" or are you going to claim that the acts of the secessionists don't fit the modern statute that you cited? Please analyze
I'm sorry. This question just makes me yawn. I don't see the relevance. Ok fine. I think the secession went way beyond terrorism. Calling it domestic terrorism is entirely too kind.

quote:
Here, we aren't in a court of law. We're asking if the WDBJ shooter should be considered a terrorist. The question of whether he's a "domestic terrorist" according to USC whatever, is a related question, but since you're trying to make that the end of the discussion, please get the blackboard eraser out of your ass.
Oh, that's hilarious Pete. Laws aren't just for the courtroom. Did you forget that? We are not in a court of law "here" but we are in a nation of laws and the federal laws apply to us. I would gladly accept for purposes of this conversation that the federal definition is horribly mis-drawn but we would still need to ask whether we apply our standards fairly or not.

Without reference to the law this conversation is purely academic and even more pointless than lawyerly parsing, which at least serves some pragmatic end.

Notably, I neither addressed you personally by name in my earlier posts nor made any argument on the basis of me being a lawyer. But you leapt in and made it personal and with your condescending reference to "law school."

And now you have the temerity to repeatedly harass me for not answering your questions while stating that this forum is not a courtroom.

And you think I'm the one with a blackboard eraser up my ass? [LOL]

I'm re-instating my policy of ignoring everything you say because I don't have the time for this agita.

[ August 28, 2015, 11:34 AM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

Posts: 2336 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am not sure we can categorize any act as 100% terrorism with 100% certainty. We can never fully understand intent, there may always be a component of the motivation for such acts that is dependent on the person and not the ideology (whether it be labelled as a form of mental illness, personal anger/outrage, or evil).

So we have to do the best we can, applying laws and definitions that have been generated within our civilization and culture - an imperfect system, but it is the best system of justice that we have.

Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Fenring
Member
Member # 6953

 - posted      Profile for Fenring   Email Fenring       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
So we have to do the best we can, applying laws and definitions that have been generated within our civilization and culture - an imperfect system, but it is the best system of justice that we have.

This would be nice, except that the currently used definitions of terrorism in federal law enforcement have not been 'generated within our civilization and culture' unless you mean by this 'law enforcement culture.' My posts on this topic have been an attempt to establish a definition more in keeping with the common sense understanding of terrorism, and less to do with terms now being used by the FBI. But if you want to speak of the system of justice then I guess you have to go with the FBI's definitions.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Oct 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KidTokyo
Member
Member # 6601

 - posted      Profile for KidTokyo   Email KidTokyo       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Fenring,

What is the point of calling someone a terrorist as opposed to merely calling them a criminal? Why make the distinction at all? What purpose does it serve?

Posts: 2336 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1