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Boston Bombing Question

 
 
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 01:36 am
If it's discovered that the bomber is a crazed individual who's only purpose was to kill as many people as possible in a public event instead of a political or coercive act....Is it still an act of terrorism?
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 03:07 am
@johnmarson,
I'd say no, but then, people are addicted to the concept of terrorism now. Saying that such an event is an act of terrorism is an emotive trigger, which justifies enormities and allows public figures to appear resolute and to claim they are displaying leadership.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 05:16 am
@Setanta,
I agree completely. The President's statement that any use of a bomb is terrorism is completely wrong to me.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 05:34 am
Indeed--Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph can be considered to have been terrorists because their bombings were politically motivated. Ted Kaczynski, however, although characterized as a terrorist, had no coherent political goals, and i don't consider him to have been a terrorist. I see him as a murderous son of a bitch with an inchoate grudge against modern society.
George
 
  4  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 06:11 am
My view of terrorism is that is the use of violence as a way to inflict fear
and force others into or from a course of action.

That's also my view of war.

The difference is that terrorists have limited resources.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 07:12 am
@George,
But blowing stuff up because you are sick isn't terrorism. I think there used to be a line between criminal activity and terrorism and that line has been erased. Everyone who commits a crime these days is a terrorist and anyone who claims otherwise is soft on terror.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 07:43 am
@johnmarson,
johnmarson wrote:
If it's discovered that the bomber is a crazed individual who's only purpose was to kill as many people as possible in a public event instead of a political or coercive act....Is it still an act of terrorism?

I would say "No". In order for the word "Terrorism" to have any real value in the language it can't be so broad as to be indistinguishable from more common acts of violence or insanity.

I think the word "Terrorism" needs to denote an intention by a person or a group of people to illicit terror in a population in order to further a larger goal.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 08:05 am
If the person or persons had a political motive, it would be terrorism. The unabomber mailed bombs to individual universities. Choosing a very public event such as the Boston Marathon makes me believe the motive was political. It certainly resulted in causing people to fear public events, a typical goal of terrorism.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 08:15 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
Ted Kaczynski, however, although characterized as a terrorist, had no coherent political goals, and i don't consider him to have been a terrorist.


I hate words games of this kind as it does not matter a bit how coherent or not coherent someone political views happen to be as far as results are concern.

Ted build his bombs due to his hate of all of modern technology society and a middle east bomber due to his hate for the Western world with special note of the US having a first amendment that allowed people to disrespect the Prophet.

The vol one of the terrorists magazine Inspire go into details of this problem with allowing attacks on the Prophet therefore justifying mass killings. I strongly suggest that for anyone not living is a country such as the UK where you can go to prison for downloading the magazine you do so and look at it.

A mad bomber is a mad bomber is a terrorist no matter what is in his or her sick mind.

A 1950's bomber claiming to be getting back at New York Edison or a nut getting back at the whole western world for not stopping people from disrespecting the Prophet and allowing people to draw cartoons it all one and the same thing.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 08:19 am
@wandeljw,
I
Quote:
f the person or persons had a political motive, it would be terrorism. The unabomber mailed bombs to individual universities. Choosing a very public event such as the Boston Marathon makes me believe the motive was political


Somehow I do not see the difference between serous retail and wholesale murders however Ted did try to blow up an airliner also if that matter one way or another.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 08:35 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
But blowing stuff up because you are sick isn't terrorism. . .
Agreed.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 08:45 am
@George,
Quote:
But blowing stuff up because you are sick isn't terrorism. . .
Agreed.


So you are of the opinion that blowing up people at random is sane and not a sick act if that nation allowed the disrespect of a religion figure!!!!!!!!!!!!!
George
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 08:47 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
. . . So you are of the opinion that blowing up people at random is sane
and not a sick act if that nation allowed the disrespect of a religion
figure!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 08:53 am
@George,
Seems like you trying to have it both ways my friend and once more I suggest to all people that are not living in a nation where you can go to prison for doing so downloading the middle east terrorist magazine Inspire and read their justifications for mass murders.

The word sick came to my mind after reading this materials.
George
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 09:09 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
Seems like you trying to have it both ways . . .
What are "both ways"?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 09:39 am
The attempt to use terror as a weapon, either in warfare or in individual acts, is intended to have an effect on events precisely because it is thought that people will be terrorized, and therefore will be manipulated. I was not suggesting that someone like that lunatic the Uni-Bomber was not a danger, nor a criminal. I was simply distinguishing between someone who does an act of political revenge (McVeigh) or an act intended to alter the course of events by intimidation (Rudolph). Kaczynski was not revenging himself on anyone he alleged to have harmed him or society, and in attacking university staff he certainly was not in a way to effect change in society. For all that university professors are honored for the their learning, they are arguably among the least politically influential people who can be considered prominent in society.

I will also note that terror has never proven to be an effective weapon either in warfare nor in insurrections nor in individual, murderous acts.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 09:44 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
I will also note that terror has never proven to be an effective weapon either in warfare nor in insurrections nor in individual, murderous acts.

I don't know I'd agree with that. Gangs/organized crime groups who murder anyone who testifies against them have been very effective in convincing people not to come forward with information. Wouldn't that qualify as using violent acts to induce a change in behavior?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 10:03 am
@engineer,
Do you allege that that constitutes terrorism? As has already been noted, the word terrorism is being used so broadly as to make it almost meaningless--it seems to have become just a synonym for murder, or for criminality.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 11:51 am
@Setanta,
Yes, I would say that using selective violence to make the general public fearful of going against your wishes qualifies. I think that actions against military targets rarely qualify, especially if the group has declared it is resisting the government so the USS Cole bombing by Al Qaida is not terrorism nor are efforts by rebel groups when directed against their governemnts.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Apr, 2013 12:21 pm
I've just looked at several definitions of terrorism to be certain of my reply. They all specify acts of violence or threats of violence to attain a political end. That a street gang can terrorize the residents of a neighborhood constitutes intimidation to attain their ends, can hardly be considered violence or the threat of violence to attain a political end.

This is the number one result of a google search:

The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

This is from the Free Dictionary-dot-com:

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

This is from Dictionary-dot-com:

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.


This is excerpted from the Concise Encyclopedia:

Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.

This is excerpted from the beginning of the Wikipedia article on definitions of terrorism:

There is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus regarding the definition of the term "terrorism".[1][2] Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of "terrorism". Moreover, the international community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed upon, legally binding definition of this crime. These difficulties arise from the fact that the term "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged. (emphasis has been added . . . obviously)

Terrorism and terrorist have been invested with a powerful emotional meaning, as the Wikipedia entry points out. It is very much germane to the question of this thread. For the purposes of our contemporary society, terrorism almost always implies actions toward a political end. The attack on USS Cole, for example, was carried out because the United States still had troops in Saudi Arabia, and Al Qaeda wanted to affect the withdrawal of "infidels" from anywhere in close proximity to the holy places of Islam. It is worth noting that bin Laden was a Wahhabi, a member of a fundamentalist sect of Sunni Muslims so conservative as to merit the title of reactionary.

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion on the matter--just as i am entitled to respond to it with scorn. I consider that you are being argumentative for the sake of argumentation, and not because you have a plausible case.

 

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