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Author Topic: WDBJ Shooter - is he a terrorist?
Seriati
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Greg is correct, one of the dangers we face as an overly legalistic society is forgetting to honor the spirit of a rule as well as the text. That's what makes strict adherence to the specifics of a rule as Wayward seems to be suggesting sometimes result in egregious results. A lot of people uncomfortable including fudge factors, but the truth is people are able to comprehend far more nuance than can easily be reduced to the written word.

In short perfect consistency is less important than substantive justice. It's more egregious to label an act terrorist incorrectly and prosecute someone unfairly, than it is to not label an act terrorist that arguably could be treated as such.

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Pete at Home
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"I was not responding to your statement as to constitutionality, but rather your statement that it was "irrational."

[DOH] Kid, if a law has NO RATIONAL BASIS, it's unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. If you are discussing the one, then you're discussing the other. But in the obtuse post of yours that I objected to, you did NOT address the rationality issue.

quote:
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
interesting. So you think one can actally become a terrorist accidentally?

quote:
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.
Please stop the obtuse posturing. Your micky mouse sermon might be appropriate if I'd proposed doing something that violates the law, or if I'd said that any person guilty under that act was not guilty because the law was dumb. But you are pretending to have forgotten that we are also a nation that makes and remakes laws, and I've argued that particular USC doesn't properly capture the gravamen of the crime we call terrorism.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
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?

That's even dumber than asking

What's the point of calling someone a rapist instead of merely a criminal?

or

What's the point of calling someone a murderer rather than merely a criminal?

Positive law usually works well enough in the courtroom, but it has no particular monopoly in a free discussion.

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KidTokyo
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Pete,

I don't want you to waste your time. So in case you missed it previously:

quote:
I'm re-instating my policy of ignoring everything you say
I will not be responding to you any further.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
Greg is correct, one of the dangers we face as an overly legalistic society is forgetting to honor the spirit of a rule as well as the text. That's what makes strict adherence to the specifics of a rule as Wayward seems to be suggesting sometimes result in egregious results. A lot of people uncomfortable including fudge factors, but the truth is people are able to comprehend far more nuance than can easily be reduced to the written word.

In short perfect consistency is less important than substantive justice. It's more egregious to label an act terrorist incorrectly and prosecute someone unfairly, than it is to not label an act terrorist that arguably could be treated as such.

Hitler, a great proponent of exercising positive law outside the courtroom, showed that such overreaches could be politically convenient. He started off calling his political enemies "terrorists" over differences in policy, and ended up, though strokes of the pen, declaring entire classes of people "criminal" for just being who they are.
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Pete at Home
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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

[delete posturing] I think the secession went way beyond terrorism. Calling it domestic terrorism is entirely too kind.

Thanks. OK, was Martin Luther King's brief second march at Selma bridge "domestic terrorism"? No question that it was contrary to law, since there was a temporary injunction and two days before the hearing that lifted the injunction. After what had happened the first time, there's no question that the act endangered lives.

Would make more sense to require an element of violence in terrorism, rather than merely a breck of fed or state law that creates a risk to life.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
. 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.
his purpose was a complement to Roof's. Not trying to _Start_ one, but rather, responding to the perception of a war started against him.

I count Roof as a hate crime, but not terrorism, because Roof's actions came from s position of supremacy and effectively done to maintain a state of dominance over an disempowered group.

Flanagan's crimes could be a weak form of terrorism if he had some manner of policy or political objective that he was trying to achieve. The manifesto would certainly provide guidance in that direction, but it could also show that he had no coherent objectives and was just unhinged.

quote:
Although there are some sillies that will say that it's impossible for a black man to be "racist" against whites.
There was nothing oppressive about his actions- they were prejudicial certainly, but did not carry the necessary power to actually affect any white people except those that he targeted. Racism is a form of oppression- specifically oppression along racial lines. It requires both prejudice and the power to use that prejudice in an oppressive manner.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
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?

As Pete mentioned, the word "criminal" by itself is not very useful, and in fact can only be employed to describe someone who has been convicted as a specific crime. No one is convicted of "criminality." I think what you mean to ask is what's the point of calling someone a terrorist instead of merely a murderer?

If this is what you're asking then my answer, at least, is that terrorism is a special kind of extortion where the threat of property damage or killing will occur if a demand is not met. Alternatively you can think of it as holding the population hostage for ransom. One doesn't necessarily have to kill anyone to be a terrorist, however, and likewise by killing people for a cause one is not automatically a terrorist.

As I mentioned earlier, the reason for law enforcement to treat terrorism differently than other crimes is because of the disproportionate power a terrorist has over a population in respect to their actual material armaments. Fear and the lack of a clear and present target is a psychological game and mind games are reserved for government.

Based on my comments you might well ask what the point is of not calling someone a terrorist, and my answer is (in addition to what I've said previously) that the word "terrorist" makes people nervous and scared, and calling various killers terrorists overblows the reaction people will have to an event.

"A killer struck!" - "Oh that's terrible to hear. I hope they got him."

"A terrorist has struck!" - "Oh my god, terrorism is here! No American is safe!"

Because don't tell me that the word "terrorist" in the minds of Americans isn't still swimming with images of Al Qaeda and ISIS. Employing the term in cases that don't merit it just serve to clutter language with these images to make an event into something it's not.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
I count Roof as a hate crime, but not terrorism, because Roof's actions came from s position of supremacy and effectively done to maintain a state of dominance over an disempowered group.

Flanagan's crimes could be a weak form of terrorism if he had some manner of policy or political objective that he was trying to achieve. The manifesto would certainly provide guidance in that direction, but it could also show that he had no coherent objectives and was just unhinged.

I am happy to report that in this case I agree with Pyr.
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Pete at Home
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I agree with Pyr's conclusion but his reasoning is appalling.

"I count Roof as a hate crime, but not terrorism, because Roof's actions came from s position of supremacy and effectively done to maintain a state of dominance over an disempowered group. "

Fortunately our hate crimes laws are not written so viciously, or else they would not have been passed. Yes, Roof committed a hate crime, but that has bloody nothing to do with "coming from a position of supremacy." A hate crime targets people for who they are.

A law written like Pyr proposes, where it's "hateful" for whites to harm innocent blacks out of racial animus, but not "hateful" for blacks to harm innocent whites out of racial animus, that would enable, incite, and provoke racial war.

quote:
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.
his purpose was a complement to Roof's. Not trying to _Start_ one, but rather, responding to the perception of a war started against him.

Oh, puhlease. [Big Grin] Don't you know that confederates and sheetheads like Roof completely live in exactly that self-pitying poor me world where they are only "responding" to a war started against them? You never heard of the" Waer of Naertharn Agreshun"
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
I count Roof as a hate crime, but not terrorism, because Roof's actions came from s position of supremacy and effectively done to maintain a state of dominance over an disempowered group

White supremists have not been in a position of dominance in this country for a good 50 years. In fact, they're one of the most reviled and discriminated against groups that exist. Nothing gets someone ostracized and ignored faster than self identifying as a racist.

As such, your premise that this an action coming from a positions of dominance over a disempowered group is faulty. This was the action of a very disempowered group against a less disempowered group, hence the need for a terrorist style attack seeking to gain disproportionate advantage.
quote:
Flanagan's crimes could be a weak form of terrorism if he had some manner of policy or political objective that he was trying to achieve. The manifesto would certainly provide guidance in that direction, but it could also show that he had no coherent objectives and was just unhinged.
Agreed. His rationale is clearly confused. As is the reason he chose to the methods he did.
quote:
Racism is a form of oppression- specifically oppression along racial lines. It requires both prejudice and the power to use that prejudice in an oppressive manner.
Racism doesn't require any power. The meaning of the word only requires prejudice. Racism is not oppression, racism can lead people to being oppressive or feeling entitled to be oppressive.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
I think what you mean to ask is what's the point of calling someone a terrorist instead of merely a murderer?

The biggest difference here is continuing danger. The danger murderers pose to additional victims is variable and may be zero, they've generally killed someone as the result of a particular dispute with such person and absent additional such disputes you wouldn't expect them to kill again.

Terrorists on the other hand kill for their cause, and absent some resolution of the causes or change of heart on the tactics used, can be expected to continue with such actions in the future.

So while it might be totally reasonable to parole a murderer, it may not be reasonable to ever release a terrorist. Figuring out the motivation and intent is absolutely key in correctly predicting the continuing threat.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
White supremists have not been in a position of dominance in this country for a good 50 years. In fact, they're one of the most reviled and discriminated against groups that exist. Nothing gets someone ostracized and ignored faster than self identifying as a racist.
One doesn't have to self identify as anything to be at the top of the heap. Supremacy is a state of being, not a specific philosophy. The fact that there is an explicitly philosophy called "White Supremacy" that makes furthering white supremacy its goal, doesn't mean that a state of white supremacy doesn't exist even if the movement itself is unpopular. In fact, it just serves to give cover to spurious replies like the one you make that ignore the substance of what's being said in favor of pointing to a disingenuous strawman.

When I say white supremacy, I am not talking about the movement, but the cultural/economic state characterized by a concentration of power and wealth in the hands of white people disproportionate to their representation in the population.

quote:
This was the action of a very disempowered group against a less disempowered group
Whites are far more empowered in society than blacks. Since the attack was made along those lines, your claim here is pure nonsense.

quote:
Racism doesn't require any power. The meaning of the word only requires prejudice. Racism is not oppression, racism can lead people to being oppressive or feeling entitled to be oppressive.
RAcism is defined by power. You've got no idea what you're talking about here and are just making up whatever works to try to obfuscate and confuse the issue instead of being able to clearly address factors at play. Racism is oppression along racial lines. Falling back on a misuse of the term for the purpose of making spurious accusations only serves to muddy the conversation instead of keeping meanings clear.
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KidTokyo
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quote:
As Pete mentioned, the word "criminal" by itself is not very useful, and in fact can only be employed to describe someone who has been convicted as a specific crime. No one is convicted of "criminality." I think what you mean to ask is what's the point of calling someone a terrorist instead of merely a murderer?
I'm a little but surprised that my use of the word "criminal" is being so badly misconstrued here, but I'll take responsibility for my lack of clarity and explain what I meant.

IN both the legal and "commonsense" usage, some kind criminal act is a necessary but not sufficient element of terrorism. So my point was, whatever the criminal act is that happens to represent that element -- property damage, murder, torture, etc. -- why do we not stop at naming the crime, but instead move past that to the greater charge of terrorism? I was using "criminal" in the general sense as it is used in the statute, and because I don't think any of us would define a terrorist act that did not involve some sort of crime.

We could have called the 9/11 attacks mass murderers. Why the additional label? And yes, I'm perfectly aware that the question is naive and obtuse. Those are the most important questions to ask sometimes because often its those "obvious" points that are most poorly understood or articulated because we do not question them often enough.

quote:
As I mentioned earlier, the reason for law enforcement to treat terrorism differently than other crimes is because of the disproportionate power a terrorist has over a population in respect to their actual material armaments. Fear and the lack of a clear and present target is a psychological game and mind games are reserved for government.
And that is a pretty good answer, in my view.

quote:
Based on my comments you might well ask what the point is of not calling someone a terrorist, and my answer is (in addition to what I've said previously) that the word "terrorist" makes people nervous and scared, and calling various killers terrorists overblows the reaction people will have to an event.
I would only add to this that there may be reasons why the political class might want to underplay the extent to which a particular group is terrorized.
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KidTokyo
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quote:
White supremists have not been in a position of dominance in this country for a good 50 years. In fact, they're one of the most reviled and discriminated against groups that exist. Nothing gets someone ostracized and ignored faster than self identifying as a racist.
I would argue that white supremacists and racistrs remain in power nowadays but are savvy enough to not identify themselves as such outright.

That being said, there are millions who have joined one Stormfront style group or another and there are many parts of the country where such racism may be expressed openly.

[ August 28, 2015, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Fortunately our hate crimes laws are not written so viciously, or else they would not have been passed. Yes, Roof committed a hate crime, but that has bloody nothing to do with "coming from a position of supremacy." A hate crime targets people for who they are.
Which is impossible to meaningfully do without the power to perpetuate such targeting. You have to be able to create the ongoing fear that people in that group will continue to be targeted for who they are, that it reflects the potential for other members of the community to also commit that act if they have the opportunity. IT's not just prejudicial targeting, but prejudicial targeting as a form of oppression that defines a hate crime.

quote:
Don't you know that confederates and sheetheads like Roof completely live in exactly that self-pitying poor me world where they are only "responding" to a war started against them? You never heard of the" Waer of Naertharn Agreshun"
Which is why the actual power dynamics matter, and not just the claims of individuals. Roof was acting as a member of an empowered group against a disempowered group, so such a claim would be spurious. On the other hand, they have weight when they're made by members of a disempowered group when defending themselves from attacks from an empowered group.

In the US blacks represent no real social, economic, or political threats to whites. While whites still such represent threats to blacks due to their ability to apply whatever net prejudice they may hold to them by virtue of the the disproportionate power they hold in those areas.

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KidTokyo
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quote:
In the US blacks represent no real social, economic, or political threats to whites.
I completely disagree. I think they are seen as a major threat by much of the right and at least part of the center-left, which is why such extreme measures are taken to keep them from voting, and to keep them in prison in vast numbers.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
quote:
As Pete mentioned, the word "criminal" by itself is not very useful, and in fact can only be employed to describe someone who has been convicted as a specific crime. No one is convicted of "criminality." I think what you mean to ask is what's the point of calling someone a terrorist instead of merely a murderer?
I'm a little but surprised that my use of the word "criminal" is being so badly misconstrued here, but I'll take responsibility for my lack of clarity and explain what I meant.

IN both the legal and "commonsense" usage, some kind criminal act is a necessary but not sufficient element of terrorism. So my point was, whatever the criminal act is that happens to represent that element -- property damage, murder, torture, etc. -- why do we not stop at naming the crime, but instead move past that to the greater charge of terrorism? I was using "criminal" in the general sense as it is used in the statute, and because I don't think any of us would define a terrorist act that did not involve some sort of crime.

We could have called the 9/11 attacks mass murderers. Why the additional label?

Because "mass murders" does not capture the essence of the 9/11 act, which was inspire stuff like ISIS. To preach a gospel that adolescent arab boys can bring about their wet dream of Muslim supremacy, through violent use of basic household objects and tools available to any citizen.

The deaths that occurred at 9/11 were not the full extent of the crime. New York was nothing more than the epicenter of the blast. 9/11 threw 40% of Americans into severe emotional problems, tanked the economy, and inspired murders pogroms and wars on a global scale. Yes we created a vulnerability things by going into Iraq, but negligence on the part of a surgeon should not let an intentional murderer off the hook.

Kid, if you meant to say why does our CRIMINAL CODE have to define terrorism at all, that's a completely separate question. I don't have a problem with Tim McVeigh or someone like the Fort Hood shooter being executed for treason and murder, without the terrorism tag being pinned to him. But outside the criminal code we need a definition for terrorism that does justice to how it operates and how it causes harm. I don't think most Americans who were severely depressed by 9/11 could have ever recovered if they didn't understand and deal with the fact that it wasn't just "mass murder" but was a horrific act committed with the explicit purpose of ****ing with people's hearts and minds.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Fortunately our hate crimes laws are not written so viciously, or else they would not have been passed. Yes, Roof committed a hate crime, but that has bloody nothing to do with "coming from a position of supremacy." A hate crime targets people for who they are.
Which is impossible to meaningfully do without the power to perpetuate such targeting.
The kid that repeatedly strangled my third son in a Las Vegas bathroom because he was white, had enough "power" to put his hands on my son's neck and squeeze until my son could not breathe. So what you're saying seems to me hateful gibberish.

quote:
You have to be able to create the ongoing fear that people in that group will continue to be targeted for who they are,
My son was the only white kid in his grade and that one kid was quite enough to make my son afraid that he would be continually targeted for who he was. And your clack says give the son of a bitch who hurt him a pass.

White males in many US prisons are oppressed with the ongoing fear that they will be targeted for who they are. In some places, Whites that went in without any sort of racism, end up having to join a white supremacist gang just in order to survive.

[ August 28, 2015, 03:56 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The kid that repeatedly strangled my third son in a Las Vegas bathroom because he was white, had enough "power" to put his hands on my son's neck and squeeze until my son could not breathe. So what you're saying seems to me hateful gibberish.
Your son is white people as a whole? Who, aside from your son was terrorized as a class here?

quote:
My son was the only white kid in his grade and that one kid was quite enough to make my son afraid that he would be continually targeted for who he was. And your clack says give the son of a bitch who hurt him a pass.
No, it just says that we can't layer on a charge that says they should additionally be held to account for making white kids as a whole afraid to go to school.

[ August 28, 2015, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Pyrtolin
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But, to be clear, if that school was the entirety of our society, then yes, it would represent oppression. But we live in a larger society that makes it clear that such targeting is exceptional, not the rule, and thus, as a class, it does not represent a threat to whites, only to your son.

It's a great illustration of exactly how an empowered majority within a culture can easily, if tacitly maintain a state of supremacy, and perhaps a reason for rules within that that zone of authority to be made to protect him from prejudicial treatment, but it doesn't generalize to the US as a whole.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
The kid that repeatedly strangled my third son in a Las Vegas bathroom because he was white, had enough "power" to put his hands on my son's neck and squeeze until my son could not breathe. So what you're saying seems to me hateful gibberish.
Your soon is white people as a whole? Who, aside from your son was terrorized as a class here?
Don't be obtuse. Terrorism =/= hate crime.

When the strangler gets to act with impunity, because leftwashed bureaucrats ignore the law and say it isn't a hate crime, that's precisely why all the white kids living in that area send their kids to private schools. There was a nice inexpensive private school for white Jewish kids, a nice inexpensive private school for Catholic kids, and a nice inexpensive school for Protestant kids. It was made quite clear at my son's grade that it wasn't the place for white kids.

Fortunately my older son was better at making friends.

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Pete at Home
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" But we live in a larger society "

Bull****. We don't generally live in a larger society. We live in a bunch of smaller societies, and you enable atrocities when you whitewash oppression in the smaller sub-societies.

If you're a white guy in prison, it doesn't make a bit of difference to what conditions are in Whitehole Texas. Your talk of a "larger society" being all that matters is as smug as Marie Antoinette, and stomps on the faces of the oppressed.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
IN both the legal and "commonsense" usage, some kind criminal act is a necessary but not sufficient element of terrorism. So my point was, whatever the criminal act is that happens to represent that element -- property damage, murder, torture, etc. -- why do we not stop at naming the crime, but instead move past that to the greater charge of terrorism? I was using "criminal" in the general sense as it is used in the statute, and because I don't think any of us would define a terrorist act that did not involve some sort of crime.

We could have called the 9/11 attacks mass murderers. Why the additional label?

If we accept my definition of terrorism for the purposes of this answer, the reason for the additional label is because a terrorist act is not merely the sum of its material violent parts. The primary danger value in terrorism is the threat of future attacks, and so while the previous attacks (if any) were criminal in whatever specific capacity they were conducted it is the act of using them to generate currency to back up a threat that is the real core of a terrorist action. This particular crime is not well described by merely naming the particulars of the violence done, which in a sense are irrelevant to the crime of extorting the populace. A terrorist may employ murder, or arson, or whatever else, but it doesn't change the essence of what he is doing.

America is very bad right now with naming crimes against the mind, although socially people are beginning to understand that psychic assault can still be assault. But while in criminal law in most cases a fist swung will always count while a psychological assault won't, terrorism is one case where a psychological assault on a population is, indeed, treated as a special crime independent of any violent acts that come along with it.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Don't be obtuse. Terrorism =/= hate crime.
Indeed. I didn't make that claim- there are other ways to terrorize people than through the crime of Terrorism.

quote:
When the strangler gets to act with impunity, because leftwashed bureaucrats ignore the law and say it isn't a hate crime,[
Why does he get to do that? You're talking like the acts themselves weren't actionable, only whether his acts have an impact on a racial class as a whole.

quote:
that's precisely why all the white kids living in that area send their kids to private schools.
SO what you're saying is that the situation was predicated by the fact that white people, in general were free to opt out of it and ghettoize the school. They could engineer a situation where they could choose to be elsewhere, because they had the power to establish whatever infrastructure they chose to not have to deal with it.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
If you're a white guy in prison, it doesn't make a bit of difference to what conditions are in Whitehole Texas. Your talk of a "larger society" being all that matters is as smug as Marie Antoinette, and stomps on the faces of the oppressed.

It's not all hat matters, in general. IT is what matters when you invoke societal problems, then try to make individual cases as if they were relevant to the global case. You're effectively saying that we shouldn't have speed limit laws because some individual somewhere might need to rush to the hospital in an emergency.

RAcism is a societal problem, not an individual problem. The issue isn't that prejudices can harm anyone in any direction, it's your attempts to coopt societal issues and claim them as individual ones.

The way your son was treated was abhorrent, and should definitely have been acted on. IT doesn't need to co-opt the concept of hate crime in order to be acted on, though, because the concept of hate crime is to protect people from oppressive actions as a class, not to protect any given individual from a targeted crime.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
If you're a white guy in prison, it doesn't make a bit of difference to what conditions are in Whitehole Texas.
That's exactly my point here. IF you're a white person in one place in the US, then the treatment of white people somewhere else has little bearing on you. That's not true if you're any other minority- for minorities, their treatment in one place suggests what their treatment in other places will be, which is why acts against them have to be investigated also as acts against the class they belong to for the purposes of identifying racism or hate crimes that may be at play.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
One doesn't have to self identify as anything to be at the top of the heap. Supremacy is a state of being, not a specific philosophy.

No, but one actually has to be at the top of the heap to be at the top of the heap. Your philosophy ignores the reality of individual circumstances in favor of "group" justice. It's fundamentally not consistent with a belief in individualism and responsibility for ones own actions. This was not a case of "white society" oppressing "black society", it was a case of a racist white boy engaging in terrorism specifically because his philosophy denied him any ability to utilize societal tools to achieve his goals.

You over-ascribe meaning to race in everyone of your answers.
quote:
The fact that there is an explicitly philosophy called "White Supremacy" that makes furthering white supremacy its goal, doesn't mean that a state of white supremacy doesn't exist even if the movement itself is unpopular. In fact, it just serves to give cover to spurious replies like the one you make that ignore the substance of what's being said in favor of pointing to a disingenuous strawman.
"Disingenuous strawmen" like reality and the actual facts and circumstances you mean?
quote:
When I say white supremacy, I am not talking about the movement, but the cultural/economic state characterized by a concentration of power and wealth in the hands of white people disproportionate to their representation in the population.
Which is virtually 100% irrelevant to the question of whether this individual engaged in a terrorist style attack because this individual was disempowered.

I have no doubt that if "white people" wanted a race war they could implement one. It's just a fact however that their opinion collectively goes the other direction, hence the ostracization of idiots like this kid.

And you still miss the point when you lump impoverished white people in with fabulously wealthy white people as empowered, yet exclude fabulously wealthy black people from the same concept. You are fixating on correlations without getting to the roots of causation, and then lecturing as if you've proved a causation.
quote:
quote:
This was the action of a very disempowered group against a less disempowered group
Whites are far more empowered in society than blacks. Since the attack was made along those lines, your claim here is pure nonsense.
Or as those in the real world like to say, 100% accurate but not in accordance with an ivory tower concept of what should happen. Accordingly, academics need to rewrite the reality that's clearly wrong to fit their personal theories which can't possibly include errors.
quote:
quote:
Racism doesn't require any power. The meaning of the word only requires prejudice. Racism is not oppression, racism can lead people to being oppressive or feeling entitled to be oppressive.
RAcism is defined by power.
We've been through this before. There are many definitions of racism and virtually all commonly agreed ones are not defined by power. They are defined by belief, either a belief of inherent superiority or one of inherent inferiority. One does not need to have any power to be racist.

In fact, by most common definitions your insistence that all issues can only be understood through skin color is a closer fit for the definition of racism than the behavior you attack.
quote:
You've got no idea what you're talking about here and are just making up whatever works to try to obfuscate and confuse the issue instead of being able to clearly address factors at play. Racism is oppression along racial lines. Falling back on a misuse of the term for the purpose of making spurious accusations only serves to muddy the conversation instead of keeping meanings clear.
Feel free to google a definition of racism. Your position has absolutely no validity. Your fixation on a specific and not generally agreed academic definition of racism does not change actual reality or make your accusations remotely valid.
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DJQuag
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Pyr

So, if there had been ten white kids in that school and not just one, and the person assaulting Pete's kid bragged that it was because the other child was white, that would be a hate crime?

Pete

Have you ever heard of something called Godwin's law?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Your philosophy ignores the reality of individual circumstances in favor of "group" justice.
No, my philosophy simply acknowledges that group dynamics actually exist along side of individual ones and, more specifically that societal issues happen at the group level, not the individual level.

quote:
This was not a case of "white society" oppressing "black society", it was a case of a racist white boy engaging in terrorism specifically because his philosophy denied him any ability to utilize societal tools to achieve his goals.
Expect that the incident is not isolated; it's part of an ongoing history of events along racial lines, and can only be meaningfully be evaluated in that context. I mean, you get the privilege of being able to look at it as an isolated event because you're not at the sharp end of the stick here. THe people targeted by it, on the other hand would be suicidal to ignore the trend (and the ones that don't pay attention to the pattern end up dead pretty quickly unless they're very lucky)

You're also being outright disingenuous when you try to confuse empowerment on one specific, relevant axis with overall social position. It's an active and pernicious lie to say individual power and wealth has any bearing on whether a specific class one is part of enjoys a relative position of empowerment.

No matter how rich or poor he was, or what ever other classes he might be a part of that contribute to his overall identity, society is not going to target him oppressively because of his race. Other forms of profiling may have led to prejudicial treatment, but not racial profiling. He was never going to be pulled over because he was driving while black. His race is never going to be a factor in oppressive or prejudicial treatment by society. That doesn't mean that he has individual power, just that he doesn't suffer from that particular set of prejudices (and tends to benefit from their complements)

quote:
You over-ascribe meaning to race in everyone of your answers.
When the discussion is about racism, everything is going to have some relationship to race. It's impossible to "overascribe" unless you mean that I stay on topic instead of letting tangents derail the conversation. If we were talking about something other than racism, then the issues of race would be similarly tangential.

quote:
"Disingenuous strawmen" like reality and the actual facts and circumstances you mean?
You're doubling down on trying to misleadingly claim that I was talking about a specific movement and not about a general social state then? It's not enough to implicitly misrepresent me, but you're actually going to explicitly say you intended to do so?

I did not talk about the White Supremacy movement. I talked about white supremacy as a general social state. It is actively disingenuous to try to assert that I was talking about the former, never mind to suggest that it's a fact that I was talking about it.

quote:
Which is virtually 100% irrelevant to the question of whether this individual engaged in a terrorist style attack because this individual was disempowered.
In many way, perhaps, but not on account of his race, and thus when analyzing the racial impact of his actions, the relevant empowerment of his race (or the pattern of disempowerment of his targets) is what's relevant. If we were talking about something other than racism, than other factors might also come into play, but they're tangential in context.

quote:
And you still miss the point when you lump impoverished white people in with fabulously wealthy white people as empowered, yet exclude fabulously wealthy black people from the same concept.
A rich white guy driving a mercedes is not going to be pulled over on suspicion that he stole the car because he's white. It happens frequently to rich black people. Class based empowerment is another factor in the overall mix, but it has nothing to do with the fact that real differences in treatment exist and are perpetuated along racial lines

Your arguments here suggest to me that you're pretty much completely ignorant of just how inequitably our society treats people along racial lines and are trying to assert that ignorance as if it's evidence of equitable treatment. Which is, again, a privilege that only those not under constant threat of inequitable treatment get to hold.

quote:
We've been through this before.
Indeed, we have, and no number of other definitions matter when one invokes an argument made from a specific definition. All the colloquial use in the world is irrelevant when one cites the claim that, in the US, racism does not target white people, because that claim is made specifically from the meaning of racism that refers to the oppressive social construct, not simple prejudice, and it's actively disingenuous to try to cite that claim in any way using anything but the definition of racism that it was made based on.

You don't get to have it both way; if you want to discuss the validity of the concept, then you need to use the definition of the words as used in the concept. You can't change their meaning, then pretend that you're meaningfully addressing what was said. If someone brings up the "Black people can't be racist against white people" claim, then I'm going to hold them to using only the meaning of "racist" that the claim uses, and not randomly changing the meaning to misrepresent what it's trying to communicate.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
So, if there had been ten white kids in that school and not just one, and the person assaulting Pete's kid bragged that it was because the other child was white, that would be a hate crime?

If the school represented the entirety of the society covered by the legal system defining the law, sure. But a hate crime is a societal level crime, not a localized crime. The entire point of the notion of hate crimes is to measure and add accountability for acts taken against oppressed groups _as a class_. "Because they're part of a class" is convenient shorthand, but it shouldn't be used to try to individualize the impact.

It's not just you targeted me because I'm X, but rather "The fact that you targeted me because I'm X means that all X (or a substantial portion thereof) fear being targeted because they're X"

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DJQuag
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I can't say that I agree with the concept of hate crime, buy your explanation is internally consistent.

I'm still trying to get a grasp on how you think. How would you describe the hypothetical that I gave above? Myself and most others would call it a racist attack, and the aggressor himself a racist. I'm assuming you wouldn't. Would you put any tags on an attack like that beyond assault?

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DJQuag
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Another question for you. South Africa has had an ongoing problem wherein white farmers and their families are being attacked and murdered. As this is a different society, would you consider these attacks to be racist in nature?
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Pyrtolin
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I would call it prejudiced for sure, and intimidating. It might even be somewhat classist, assuming a situation like Pete described where the population was so low because only those who couldn't afford to move were left.

But the RAcism in the situation (in combination with classism) is inherent in those who can exercising the privilege of flight instead of staying around to try to address the problems with violence. Racism is the creation of a ghetto, noth the reaction of those who have been ghettoized to their situation, even if the reaction is, in and of itself prejudicial and otherwise unacceptable. Because, I imagine, if you talked to the students (and particularly the parents) it's not by their choice that the school is so segregated, it's because anyone with the means to leave has left them behind.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
Another question for you. South Africa has had an ongoing problem wherein white farmers and their families are being attacked and murdered. As this is a different society, would you consider these attacks to be racist in nature?

I'm not entirely conversant in the balance of power in post-apartheid SA, but I'd guess on the side of yes, assuming that blacks now represent at least the dominant political and legal factions there now, and are acting with some cover from that majority. It's a study in what happens when power flips and what once was revolutionary behavoir against an oppressive class suddenly gets infused with formal power instead of stopping once its goals have been achieved. Without conscious and collective effort to break the cycle, oppressed people regularly become oppressive once given the reigns of power, both out of a sense of justice that calls for retribution instead of reconciliation and because it's what they learned was the prerogative of power when they were on the losing end. That's a huge chunk of human history summarized for you right there.
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Fenring
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I find it funny how many threads derail into investigating Pyr's definition of racism. I believe I got the gist of it several threads ago so I know what he means when he uses the term now, but this usage is apparently still successful at luring in unsuspecting English users who didn't get the memo.

That being said, Pyr, you may want to reevaluate this statement even within the context of your own definitions:

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
But a hate crime is a societal level crime, not a localized crime. The entire point of the notion of hate crimes is to measure and add accountability for acts taken against oppressed groups _as a class_.

At best I think you could claim that a hate crime is a societal level crime within an arbitrary area. For instance if there was a state where 95% of the people were black, it would be foolish to say that persecuting the white population there wasn't a hate crime (or racism) on account that the main power in the other states rests with white people. And the same could even go for a city.

Another thing to amend would be your statement that racism is only against "oppressed groups." You might rephrase it (in context of your set of definitions) to say that it's a group that is at present or historically has been oppressed. An example I can offer to explain would be someone drawing swastikas on a synagogue. This is universally with 100% agreement referred to as a hate crime, notwithstanding the fact that Jews are by no means an oppressed people in America; on the contrary, they could potentially be considered to be privileged over and above most other white people (triply so in New York). But the history of persecution against them is certainly enough to describe present vile acts against them for being Jews as being hate crimes, and also in describing people who are anti-Jew as being racists.

[ August 28, 2015, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Greg Davidson
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I'll stand with Fenring on this one - many bigoted groups are actually channeling anger and sadness from their history when they believed that they were oppressed (an obvious case is the Boers of Dutch origin in South Africa; they mistreated blacks but much of their culture was formed around them having been oppressed by the Bristish for so long).

Some American (and Israeli) Jewish communities can have a post-Holocaust mentality that at its worst can be inaccurately considered as innoculating Jews from moral responsibility for evil acts that they commit because they believe they are responding to an evil that they associate with Nazis.

I am uncomfortable with the idea that a shift in relative levels of political power overall can change the moral context of how one person treats anouther

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:

Pete

Have you ever heard of something called Godwin's law?

Isn't that some internet meme that if a group starts calling its enemies terrorists, burning books, justifying racial attacks and pogroms as righteous social justice, nationally identifying people by their ethnicity and sexual orientation in their job applications, rounding certain groups up, gassing them, and making lampshades out of their skins, that it's absolutely imperative that no one mentions the Nazis, because that's bad form?
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
If you're a white guy in prison, it doesn't make a bit of difference to what conditions are in Whitehole Texas.
That's exactly my point here. IF you're a white person in one place in the US, then the treatment of white people somewhere else has little bearing on you. That's not true if you're any other minority- for minorities, their treatment in one place suggests what their treatment in other places will be, which is why acts against them have to be investigated also as acts against the class they belong to for the purposes of identifying racism or hate crimes that may be at play.
Can you unscramble that for me? I could try to guess at what you meant and how you got there based on your past utterances, but let's give you the benefit of the doubt and let you restate, hopefully in the direction of NOT saying that beating up poor white kids and raping White Convicts constitutes some form of affirmative action. Do you or do you not concede that the focus on national oppression of "minorities" inspires oppression of whites where whites are the disempowered minority, such as prison?

tipping my hat to DJQ, both the sheetheads and the Nazis see themselves as victims, and justify their atrocities as some sort of grisly social justice. Or at least excusing it, as Italian KFOR troops in Kosovo did when they stood by and let Albanian mobs murder and pillage Serbian elderly in a nursing home.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:

Pete

Have you ever heard of something called Godwin's law?

Isn't that some internet meme that if a group starts calling its enemies terrorists, burning books, justifying racial attacks and pogroms as righteous social justice, nationally identifying people by their ethnicity and sexual orientation in their job applications, rounding certain groups up, gassing them, and making lampshades out of their skins, that it's absolutely imperative that no one mentions the Nazis, because that's bad form?
The law states that any internet conversation on any topic, if it goes on long enough, will eventually result in someone comparing the subject matter to Nazism or Hitler.
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