‘To intimidate or coerce a civilian population’

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville notes that this Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was charged today with “one count of damaging a building by fire or explosive.”

But he was not charged with terrorism. Why not?

McEwan links to this AP story: “Authorities: Man charged in fire at Florida clinic says he was motivated by dislike for abortion

Authorities say a homeless man charged Thursday with setting a New Year’s Day fire that gutted a family planning clinic told investigators he acted out of a strong disbelief in abortion and was also fueled by seeing a young woman enter the clinic while he looked on recently with protesters.

Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, was charged with one count of damaging a building by fire or explosive and was being held Thursday at the Escambia County Jail in the Florida Panhandle region. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

In an affidavit, prosecutors say Rogers told investigators he went to the Pensacola clinic of American Family Planning around midnight on New Year’s eve with a fire bomb he had crafted from a 32-ounce beer bottle and gasoline with a wick made from an old shirt.

He told them he lit the bomb, threw it against the building and watched it burst in flames and ignite the building, the affidavit said.

… The two-story Pensacola clinic that was gutted by flames has been attacked before. It was bombed on Christmas Day in 1984, and in 1994 a doctor and a volunteer who escorted patients to and from the clinic were shot to death as they arrived. The gunman, Paul Hill, was executed in 2003.  Pensacola was the site of other abortion-related violence in 1993 when Dr. David Gunn was shot and killed at another clinic by an abortion protester.

The firebombing of the clinic in which Rogers was charged was an act dangerous to human life that was a violation of the criminal laws of the nation and the state of Florida. It appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, and to influence the policy of the government.

If that sounds like legal language, that’s because it is. Here is the definition of domestic terrorism in the U.S. Code:

(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.

Prosecutors accuse Rogers of “damaging a building by fire or explosive,” and that seems appropriate.

But it wasn’t just any building. He chose this building for a reason, and that reason was to intimidate and coerce a civilian population and to influence government policy by intimidation and coercion.

How is that not domestic terrorism?

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Postcards from the culture wars (4.12)
Hand me down my walkin shoes
They have always been here. If you didn't know that before, it's because you couldn't be trusted to know.
This is what abortion politics is for
  • Anonymous

    Oh Fred, you ignorant slut, don’t you know that only brown people can be terrorists?

  • Caravelle

    Was he Muslim ? Did he have brown skin ? Or a foreign accent ?
    Well there’s your answer then.

  • Hawker40

    As someone who shall remain unnamed once said, there are no white Christian terrorists.  Anyone who would use terrorism isn’t a Christian, therefor no true Scotsman.

  • Saito

    His targets were women, not human beings. Duh.

  • ritkiwi

    It maybe for the wrong reasons but maybe it’s the right charge? To many people get called terrorists who are not.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, how convenient that white people get a pass on being tarred with the
    “gol-darned terist” brush, huh?

  • ritkiwi

    Right result wrong reason. I’m sure your right its because he is white and a Christian? Don’t get me wrong what he did is despicable and he should be locked up for a long time. But terrorism? To easy to label every nut a terrorist. 

  • P J Evans

     Intent may not be magic, but someone who tries to bomb a clinic is as much a terrorist as someone who tries to bomb a government building. If the only way someone can be charged as a terrorist is to be brown and/or Muslim, then the law is not being applied correctly (and that seems to be the only set of criteria in use any more, even if charging them requires using entrapment).

  • Anonymous

    You are right in that someone blowing up a clinic is as much a terrorist as someone who tries to blow up a government building. Yes it is wrong that it would seem that the only way you can be charged as terrorist is if you are brown &/or you are a Muslim (or maybe a communist) I guess I was trying to say badly that it is to easy to label people. (by the way it is still ritkiwi just a change of name)

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    Forget about “every nut.” Let’s look at these actions. Like Fred said:

    The firebombing of the clinic in which Rogers was charged was an act dangerous to human life that was a violation of the criminal laws of the nation and the state of Florida. It appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, and to influence the policy of the government.

    That’s terrorism. By definition.

  • ako

    There’s a difference between labeling every nut a terrorist and labeling everyone who commits a violent act in order to perpetrate political coercion and intimidation a terrorist.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not easy to label every nut a terrorist. Words have meanings. Terrorism is defined in the U.S. Code. This “nut”‘s actions were terrorism, therefore he is a terrorist. See? 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS FACETIOUS BUT ACCURATE GLOATING ABOUT PRIVILEGE FOR SATIRICAL EFFECT.

    Well, how convenient that white people get a pass on being tarred with the “gol-darned terist” brush, huh?

    This is one of the many ways that being a white male is SO GREAT.  No matter what any other white male does, it NEVER reflects badly on me, personally!

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    That disclaimer is wonderful.

  • Lori

    Three words—Bobby. Joe. Rogers. Obviously no one named Bobby Joe can be a terrorist. A man named Bobby Joe is simply upset

  • Anonymous

    Ah, Fred, I love ya, but I think you’re over-reacting to this. The guy’s a homeless drunk with a long string of fairly petty crimes. He used an empty beer bottle, for crying out loud. Not like he was Randall Terry’s assistant or something.

    Well, I’ve received three responses. I thought we might have a bit more compassion for mentally ill homeless people here. If this is nothing but Fox News for liberals, then screw all of you!

  • pharoute

    You mean a voluntarily unemployed person using an IED right?

    /remarkable how words shape reality

  • JohnK

    The federal terrorism statute doesn’t really care how sophisticated the weapon is.  Richard Reid had a shoe. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had his underwear. And, if you think about it, neither of those two guys actually managed to hurt anyone (except for themselves) or damage any property. This guy burned a building to the ground.

    Will he be charged with terrorism? That discretion is and should be up to the United States Attorney. But does he fit the definition quoted in the article? Absolutely — he fits it at least as much as those other two guys.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    The federal terrorism statute doesn’t really care how sophisticated the
    weapon is.  Richard Reid had a shoe. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had his underwear.
    And, if you think about it, neither of those two guys actually managed
    to hurt anyone (except for themselves) or damage any property. This guy
    burned a building to the ground.

    Will he be charged with
    terrorism? That discretion is and should be up to the United States
    Attorney. But does he fit the definition quoted in the article?
    Absolutely — he fits it at least as much as those other two guys.

    Y’know, if this is representative of “Fox News for liberals,” I might need to re-think my anti-Fox News policy.  They’ve apparently switched over to reasoned debate based on actual precedence since that Beck fellow was let go…

  • Anonymous

    There’s no mention that I saw of him being mentally ill, and in any case, that’s immaterial to the question of whether or not his crime meets the legal definition of terrorism. (If anything in this story would indicate it doesn’t meet that definition, it would seem it’s the fact that he set the fire at midnight.)

    Anyway, don’t let the door hit you in the ass etc etc.

  • Lori

     
    Well, I’ve received three responses. I thought we might have a bit more compassion for mentally ill homeless people here. If this is nothing but Fox News for liberals, then screw all of you!  

    The issue here is not “compassion for the mentally ill”. We don’t even know that he was mentally ill. Also, mental status needs to be strongly considered during any plea bargain discussions, at trial and at sentencing, but it doesn’t change what the man did. His action meets the definition of terrorism. 

    The issue is the raging double standard we have in this country that says that the only crimes that will be charged according to the terrorism statute are those committed by the scary Muslims. If a Muslim had committed a similar crime to Bobby Joe’s he would virtually certainly have been charged with terrorism and somehow I doubt you’d be here arguing that he just needed compassion. 

    So no, this is not just “Fox News for liberals” and the fact that you think it is says far more about you than it does about any of us. 

    Pretty solid flounce though. I give it 7.75/10.

  • http://twitter.com/pooserville Dave Pooser

    But the flounce only gets a 6 from the Russian judge…

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    [6.35]
    =o/=

  • Lori

    Well, now that there is no East German judge the Russians have to fill the “hard grader” slot. That’s how it goes :)

  • JohnK

    I think you’re misunderstanding our point. I don’t think anyone is saying that this guy deserves to rot in Fort Leavenworth for the rest of his life or anything like that. The point of this post (at least, as I read it) was to comment on the perceived disparate treatment of people who commit acts that fall under the federal anti-terrorism, based on their religion and skin color. If the definition were quoted was applied uniformly, there’s no particular reason why this guy wouldn’t be considered a terrorist while those other guys (who did more or less the same thing for similar reasons) would be.

    There are probably other, very good reasons why the AUSA hasn’t (of yet) charged this guy with terrorism or (perhaps more pertinently) why news coverage hasn’t painted this guy as a “domestic terrorist” rather than just an arsonist or a bomber. That really isn’t the point of the post as I understood it.

  • Anonymous

    Not accusing someone of something because they’re homeless is hardly better than not accusing them because they’re (presumably straight) white, Christian dudes.

    I’m compassionate for the homeless. I’m not compassionate for homeless terrorists. And mentioning his mental illness is kind of disingenuous. Disregarding people’s actions because they’re “nuts” is something that’s been going on for roughly forever with a lot of right wing terrorism. Disregarding someone’s actions because they’re mentally ill is hugely problematic at best because it minimizes the problem and pretends it’s just a small string of isolated events committed by a few “nuts”. When the reality is, this is a systemic problem practically endorsed by half our government, including a number of arbitrarily “sane” people.

    Not to mention, it’s highly offensive to folks with mental illness. Having a medical condition does not a murderous asshole make.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Pelikan/100000903137143 Jonathan Pelikan

    This needs to be said in the absolute clearest language possible, just so there’s no confusion, danallison. I am not trying to engage with you or reason with you, because such efforts are evidently fruitless. You are not worth even one of the responses your opinion brought upon you. Your response to good people making good points (better than I could, and certainly better than you) was a sneering, boundlessly ignorant contempt that reflects far more on you than on them.
    Go fuck yourself.

  • DW

    Right back atcha, Dana. 

  • Anonymous

    I have no compassion whatsoever for someone who thinks they know better than me what I should do with my own body.

    But this person took that one step further. He decided that not only is his thinking right, he was going to act on it. He cost people jobs, healthcare and much needed aid.

    And you’re writing this off as a petty crime?

    Pull your head out of your ass.

  • Macacanadian

    The 911 hijackers used box cutters. The tools aren’t important – only the result and the intended reaction.

    This guy used violent means to achieve a political goal, inspire fear and destroy a building that didn’t agree with his political/religious beliefs.

    That is terrorism.

    He wasn’t charged as a terrorist because, in the United States, it is quite clear that one of the definitions of a terrorist is to be muslim.

    It is also worth mentioning that the so-called massive left wing media conspiracy tows the line and does not mention the word terrorist at all.

  • Anonymous

    He was so pro-life he looped back around and met the pro-death crowd.

    I’m pro-life. I believe women should have lives, and that they should be trusted enough to have control over their lives and their bodies. I’m also pro-choice, but that overlaps with being pro-life.*

    This fellow as not a pro-life extremist, because obviously he opposed life. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be trying to take it in a literal and metaphorical sense from the people who need, and work at, that clinic. No, he was forced-birth anti-lifer, like everyone else who lies about “pro-life” while restricting the lives and bodies of women everywhere.

    * I’m trying to take this term back. Anyone wanna help?

  • Wade

    >I’m pro-life. I believe women should have lives, and that they should
    be trusted enough to have control over their lives and their bodies.

    I never understood this idea that it’s “the woman’s body”.  It’s not like a fetus is an organ or even comparable to one; it’s a separate body.  A separate person’s body.

  • Wade

    Just want to be clear that this guy did a reprehensible thing in his own right and that I have no intention of defending him.

  • Dave Jenkinson

    Its fair to have that opinion, but if all ‘pro-lifers’ were to go on a list and should this list be the majority women that don’t want their babies go through with the birth. Then after birth a ‘pro-lifer’ is selected at random and legally obliged to care for the child whether financially or mentally convenient or not. would you be happy with that decision? and if you are would every ‘pro-lifer’ be happy with that decision and stay on the list or sign off and hope everyone else keeps it that way for you?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh Jesus fuck not this “separate person” thing again.

    *MASSIVE FACEPALM*

    DID YOU MISS THE PART WHERE THE “SEPARATE PERSON” CAN’T LIVE ON HIS OR HER OWN BECAUSE THE “SEPARATE PERSON” IS IN A FREAKIN’ UTERUS?

  • Anonymous

    “DID YOU
    MISS THE PART WHERE THE “SEPARATE PERSON” CAN’T LIVE ON HIS OR HER OWN
    BECAUSE THE “SEPARATE PERSON” IS IN A FREAKIN’ UTERUS?”

    I like to put it this way:  “Persons do not live inside and batten on the bodies of other persons.”

  • Dan Audy

    Even if you credit personhood to a lump of cells or developing fetus – something that many people disagree with – you are left with the fact that this person is involuntarily occupying the woman’s uterus.  Just like I don’t get to appropriate your kidney just because you are a donor match to me without your consent because it could impair your health, mental wellbeing, your work, your goals, and your family – neither does a fetus get to do so to a woman without her consent.  Even if you are of the opinion that morally a woman is obligated to do so – again something widely disagreed with – legally* there is no basis on which to obligate involuntary organ donation from pregnant women.   To be at all consistent on this issue you would have to be willing disregard everyone elses bodily integrity and desires too if any other person would like to do so.

    *Our legal system recognizes several facts relevant to abortion.  No one (except in a very few specific professional duty cases) is obligated to take lifesaving actions and much inaction (unless one has a duty to do so) is also protected both criminally and civilly.  This means that if someone collapses in front of me that I am not obligated to perform CPR on them, donate blood if they need it, or even call an ambulance.  If I see a speeding hybrid rushing towards a crosswalk that a blind person is about to enter I am not obliged to warn them of the danger.  In these cases I might be a morally bankrupt asshole if I did so and people could condemn me**, but no criminal or civil action could be taken against me.

    **I haven’t seen any suggestions that people be denied their first amendment rights (or national equivalent) to loudly condemn abortion as being wrong, only that they can’t outlaw it or restrict it into non-existence.  In Canada despite having no first amendment, and in fact laws that restrict hate speech, no one has ever been stopped from saying abortion is murder (though we do moderately restrict their ability to harass and threaten women who are going to receive abortions).

  • Anonymous

    I never understood this idea that it’s “the woman’s body”.  It’s not
    like a fetus is an organ or even comparable to one; it’s a separate
    body.  A separate person’s body.

    Well, if you really don’t understand and would like to understand, perhaps you should make an actual argument as to what “separate” means and why it applies to a pregnant woman and her zygote/embryo/fetus?  Then you might get some responses that would help you understand.

    Alternately, if you’re just being Mr. Disingenuous, feel free to drop zingers like this and vanish into the night!

  • JohnK

    Careful who are you talking to there — based on his argument here, he must be none other than Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, of Roe v. Wade fame.

  • Anonymous

    Because he’s white and because the building was full of awful baby killers, that’s why. (It makes my head hurt to realize we’re still thinking like this is in 2012.) 

  • LunaticFringe

     Shakesville’s opinion should always be taken with a huge grain of salt. Linking there never goes anywhere good.

  • konrad_arflane

    Maybe so. But whatever you think of Shakesville in general, do you have any reason to disagree with their assessment of this particular case? Note that none of the quotes in Fred’s post are from Shakesville (they’re from the Associated Press and the US Code, respectively).

  • LunaticFringe

    That’s a good point, and also why it’s odd to link to the Shakesville post instead of directly to the article, sop I’m guessing that Fred isn’t well acquainted with their reputation. Just wanted to throw the heads-up that it’s a site with good intentions, but best avoided.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581585394 Nicholas Kapur

    And why, pray tell, do you think it is best avoided?

  • Dan Audy

    I can’t answer for anyone else but since I believe (and occasionally suggest) that it is a profoundly unhealthy community that diminishes the cause of feminism, I’ll hop in and explain why.

    The problem with Shakesville is Melissa McEwan.  Her primary problems are that she is very, very angry and unable to focus it on legitimate targets; she is unable to tolerate or respond to dissent; she consistently engages in bad faith discussion and accusations; and appears to seek out things to be offended about.  These are all interrelated problems that blur into each other and are hard to address without turning this into a massive post covering years upon years of internet drama that is both wasting my time and needlessly cruel. 

    In very brief, my experience (and the experience of several other people who I know both in real life and online) is that any disagreement with her posting immediately draws claims of ‘mansplaining’, bad faith, and personal persecution regardless of how minor that disagreement might be or even longstanding membership in the community.  She will delete non-offensive, non-hostile responses that point out the flaws in her reasoning or factual errors and counteract with massive frontpage posts denouncing people (though usually without actually saying their name) and exhorting her followers to attack them through other boards, twitter, etc.  The big problem this creates is that her comment section is an incredible echo chamber and those who aren’t driven out of the community emulate her behaviour making it one of the most hostile communities I’ve experienced which is made more offensive by its claims to be open and inclusive.

  • LunaticFringe

    Thank you for explaining it much more calmly and generally better than I could have.

  • Anonymous

    “That’s a good point, and also why it’s odd to link to the Shakesville
    post instead of directly to the article, sop I’m guessing that Fred
    isn’t well acquainted with their reputation.”

    And what “reputation” would that be?  Besides the “reputation” of being a site LunaticFringe does not care for?

  • Dan Audy

    Please make an effort to read the thread before asking for something that is already there.  I provide a brief explanantion of what is wrong with Shakesville up-thread that LunaticFringe basically agreed with a couple posts later.

  • Kirala

    I would take a wild stab that the terrorism charge would be too hard to make stick – prosecutors will not pursue a case they see as unwinnable, and frankly, I could see the lack of a general announcement of his intent being a major obstacle to proving terrorism. (“But he didn’t SAY he wanted clinics shut down until he was talking to the cops – how did he think to terrorize anyone into doing what he wanted if he didn’t say what he wanted?”)

    Add in the fact that no human was hurt, and it’s easier to level only the simpler charges.

  • P J Evans

     I wish I had that much confidence in prosecutors. They’ll do anything they can, including withholding evidence and lying, to get someone convicted, whether or not that person is actually guilty of the crime they’re being charged with.

  • Mertvaya Dusha

    He did it at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I’m guessing the clinic was closed at the time. Therefore there was no danger to human life, and not terrorism.

  • Mrs Grimble

    “He did it at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I’m guessing the clinic was
    closed at the time. Therefore there was no danger to human life, and not
    terrorism. ”
    So all those Irish terrorist groups who phoned in warnings before a bombing weren’t committing terrorism?

  • Anonymous

    Arson never carries “no danger to human life”. I really don’t think it’s a huge stretch to argue that the danger to security guards, people in neighboring buildings, and firefighters constitutes a substantial enough “danger to human life” to warrant the term “terrorism”.

    Look at how hesitant the FBI is to use the word to describe the various arsons and bombings carried out by the ALF and ELF, none of which have caused any injury or death.

  • Lori

     
    He did it at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I’m guessing the clinic was closed at the time. Therefore there was no danger to human life, and not terrorism. 

    Fred helpfully quoted the terrorism statute. Please quote the part where is says that lives have to be directly at risk.

    Also, the fact that a building is closed doesn’t mean there’s no risk to human life. There may have been a security guard inside. It could have spread to other buildings nearby. If a guy named Muhammad Abul-Aziz set a church on fire because he hates Christianity the guy would never have see the light of day again, even if the church was out in the middle of nowhere and no services were scheduled for days and the only people asking any questions about his mental health would be the dirty, America-hating Liberals. 

  • FangsFirst

    Fred helpfully quoted the terrorism statute. Please quote the part where is says that lives have to be directly at risk.

    Not defending the sentiment behind it, but I do believe that the quoted definition requires all three components, the first of which is “involve acts dangerous to human life” and the quote you were responding to directly rephrased that: “Therefore there was no danger to human life[.]”

    (the other points about fire’s inherent danger, of course, negate this, but in the interest of being certain whether an act fits the legal definition)

  • rizzo

    Because the FBI/ATF didn’t provide the materials and training like they did for most of the domestic ‘terrorists’ they’ve caught since 911.  If the FBI didn’t coerce you into plotting some kind of violence, it’s just a regular crime and not terrorism. 

  • Anonymouse

    If it’s federal law and not state law that defines terrorism as such, then unless the case is in the federal court system, the prosecutor can’t charge him with breaking that law.

  • JohnK

    The case is in the federal court system.

    I didn’t notice this last night, but he hasn’t even been indicted yet. It’s relatively common for the government to ask the federal grand jury for a charge other than what was in the original complaint. We don’t even know if they aren’t going to tack on new charges.

  • Anonymous

    Another theory that could have led to the lesser charge: You’re only a terrorist if you belong to a terrorist organization. This guy was acting completely on his own, so he’s just a common criminal.

  • P J Evans

    Unlike the ‘lone wolf’ terrorists like the guy at the MLK Day parade in Spokane last year..

  • Andrew Galley

    Robyrt, that might be a consistent and reasonable standard. I think the issue is what, precisely, is in the law, compared with how the law is applied in the real wordl.

  • fraser

    Timothy McVeigh didn’t belong to anything that qualifies as a terrorist
    organization, IIRC. And more generally I don’t see why being a lone-wolf terrorist should make you not a terrorist.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s see if ze sticks the flounce. +1 point for “I’ve never seen you before you flounced,” but loss of points for only throwing one accusation beforehand. I give it a 6.5.

    Why yes, certainly there’s no reason people would be intimidated by the continuing pattern of “lone wolf angry” not-terrorists showing up at women’s clinics to harass, threaten, shoot and bomb. Surely they’re not all picking targets that have specific similar criteria for any sort of reason!

    Criminy.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Why yes, certainly there’s no reason people would be
    intimidated by the continuing pattern of “lone wolf angry”
    not-terrorists showing up at women’s clinics to harass, threaten, shoot
    and bomb. Surely they’re not all picking targets that have specific
    similar criteria for any sort of reason!

    Brad Hicks:  “Right Wing Terrorism: It Works.”

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    (Sorry if this got double-posted.)

    Why yes, certainly there’s no reason people would be
    intimidated by the continuing pattern of “lone wolf angry”
    not-terrorists showing up at women’s clinics to harass, threaten, shoot
    and bomb. Surely they’re not all picking targets that have specific
    similar criteria for any sort of reason!

    Brad Hicks:  “Right Wing Terrorism: It Works.”

  • Anonymous

    Feds have to be involved, the charge of terrorism is not local.  Call the US Attorney in the AL jurisdiction and insist that both FACE charges AND domestic terrorism charges be leveled.  They just convicted the MLK, Jr. Day would-be bomber so the law is working.  But jurisdiction needs to be established, and that takes YOUR (folks in AL) insistence.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I think another angle to the obvious ‘White people can’t be terrorists’ thing is that ‘real’ terrorism is perceived as requiring a certain…. uppityness. I.e, it requires that the violent act in question be an attempt to upset the established order; American hegemony, the world financial system, the human right to dominate and slaughter other animals for the sake of consumption; some attempt to destabilize a set hierarchy, along with some negative statement about the government or culture of the US/West that wounds the pride of the hyperpatriotic. 

    This Bobby Joe Rodgers (Have the cops asked him anything about his doings at the Tallahatchie bridge?) was seeking to do what many Real-American types perceive as a return to the proper order; reestablish women as incubators for and of men.   I do not say this to slander anyone who is conservative or anti-abortion as a matter of conscience. Certainly most if not all people of such sensibilities know what he planned to do to be deeply wrong.  Still I think a large part of the visceral right-wing rage against terrorism (and violent crime in general) has nearly as much to do with perceiving these acts as rebellious as it does with the amount of human suffering these crimes cause.  Anti-abortion zeal by a man named essentially ‘Mr. America McWhitey’ isn’t perceived as being rebellious in the same way. 

  • Anonymous

    I think another angle to the obvious ‘White people can’t be terrorists’ thing is that ‘real’ terrorism is perceived as requiring a certain…. uppityness. I.e, it requires that the violent act in question be an attempt to upset the established order

    Which explains why nobody cares about the greatest of all American terrorist institutions, the KKK, and the reign they held over large parts of the US for decades.

  • Anonymous

    ‘real’ terrorism is perceived as requiring a certain…. uppityness.
    I.e, it requires that the violent act in question be an attempt to upset
    the established order

    Probably true.  Also ironic, since much Islamist terrorism is justified as an attempt to restore the established order, when there was a unified caliphate and Muslims were free from Western influence and secular corruption and everyone agreed on how to interpret the Quran and the Hadith.

    Everyone’s got their own version of the Good Old Days.

  • Anonymous

    terrorism…. (i saw the 9/11 terror attacks with my own eyes and I agree)

  • Dave Jenkinson

    Everyone deeply knows, just like the terrorism act, this discussion on in he a terrorist or not is utter nonsense.
    This guy is being dealt with correctly by THE LEGAL SYSTEM!!!!There are no terrorists in the world, every country has socio paths and whatever the creed of the offender they should all be dealt with in the same way without terrorism bills taking away civil liberties of the people.

    WAKE UP AMERICA

  • Anonymous

    There are no terrorists in the world, every country has socio paths and
    whatever the creed of the offender they should all be dealt with in the
    same way without terrorism bills taking away civil liberties of the
    people.

    While I agree with the last bit, are you seriously saying that there are not, there have never been, people whose goal in committing an illegal act was to strike terror into the hearts of the population against whom the act was committed?

  • Dave Jenkinson

    yes that is true, but the manipulation of the word terrorist is out of control thanks to mr bush.
    Although some political retaliations are provoked, they dont justify a ‘socio path’ going on a murdering spree. but we already have laws in place to combat this. the new laws only harm our own societies and divide the government establishments and the people even further.
    Any rapist, murderer or even bully at school inflicts terror on its victims. Its our governments definition which the media has helped everyone swallow is flawed. you cant say that someone who inflicts terror on a specified group is a ‘terrorist’ yet against another group isn’t. You could argue our actions in Iraq killing +1 million people makes us a nation of terrorists while we are fighting for our beliefs.
    We have to tread carefully because the only way we will ever win this ‘war on terrorism’ is leading by example.
    ask yourself when the last time was that you respected someone whom dictated a policy/idea to you that you strongly disagreed with? there are a percentage of the population in EVERY country that will retaliate by violence as they are unable to debate.
    In my eyes we are either all terrorists or none of us are, it’s merely a definition we have created and apply it when it suits us.

  • Anonymous

    you cant say that someone who inflicts
    terror on a specified group is a ‘terrorist’ yet against another group
    isn’t.

    Exactly our point. Which is why Bobby Joe here should get the moniker.

  • Dave Jenkinson

    well It seems we agree on most points, and if I’m not mistaken he is already facing a lengthy sentence. I’m just fed up of this terrorism definition, the future it holds for our nations and the racism in incites as this will inevitably lead to further wars. We are just talking about another criminal and not some ‘terrorist’ by our own definition. Lets keep the legal system as it was and trust the people of our nations a little more not to self destruct. :)

  • Anonymous

    this terrorism definition, the future it holds for our nations and the racism in incites

    Well if we used the word for white people too…

  • Dave Jenkinson

    that is true again but why use the word? do we need a system where people can be held without trial or legal representation? I suppose my point is, he is already being dealt with correctly and all we need to do is apply that same rule to the branded ‘terrorists’ without creating fear in the people to intimidate or coerce the population into changing laws that remove personal freedom. isn’t that terrorism by the pen?

  • Anonymous

    Your point about the PATRIOT Act is valid.

  • Dave Jenkinson

    thankyou, although yes by legal definition he SHOULD be branded a terrorist. I’m just glad he wasn’t as he is going to be punished accordingly. The legal system is in a mess and is being very hypocritical because the truth is we don’t need the act to punish criminals. 

  • ako

    The word “terrorism” describes a specific type of crime, and if used well, can help law enforcement successfully target the crime of using violence to inflict political terror (recognizing, for instance, that a terrorist assassin is likely to have a different pattern of behavior than a serial killer).  If used poorly, well, we get stuff like the PATRIOT act. 

    I think you may have confused enthusiasm for consistent and accurate use of the label “terrorism” with enthusiasm for the kind of punishments commonly given to people who get the label.  I don’t want to see anyone waterboarded, held in indefinite detention without trial, or subjected to extraordinary rendition and torture.  I think the accurate and consistent use of the terrorism label can ultimately reduce the desire to inflict excessive punishment on terrorists.  That may be the area of actual disagreement. 

  • Dave Jenkinson

    thanks for the summary, I fully agree. Patriot Act, NDAA and more to follow as media and gov use terrorism against us. Which is mainly why I was ranting as elements of our own society are no better than what we are branding elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    Ah.  When I read, and wrote, the word “reputation” I was interpreting and using it to mean “reputation”, not “Dan Audy’s opinion”.

  • Dan Audy

    I thought that providing some information on why it has the reputation it does was better than just saying ‘many people think Shakesville is X’ given that much of its reputation is extremely similar to how the feminist movement in general is frequently slandered.  I feel that offering something more substansive than ‘some people say Shakesville…’ he-said-she-said still discourse is part of having full faith discussions and something that this community is both capable of handling and aspires to.

  • Anonymous

    But neither you nor LunaticFringe have offered any evidence that Shakesville does have such a “reputation”.  I realize that “reputation” is a difficult thing to quantify, but it’s rather disturbingly easy to smear a site (and in the interests of full disclosure I should say here that I’m a regular reader and infrequent commenter at Shakesville) by conflating “personal opinion” — which, bluntly, is all you offered — with “reputation”.

  • Anonymous

    I’m also a mostly-lurker/sometimes poster at Shakesville — actually, I’ve seen a lot of crossover between S’ville and here and S’ville and Ta-Nehisi Coates, and some between TNC and here. There are a *lot* of people actively participating in two out of these three communities, a few actively in all three, and probably a ton of lurkers in all three; it’s likely that either a slim majority or a very large minority of the posters and lurkers here have not had your experiences with S’ville.

    The thing is, it’s very clear about not being a 101 site. There are a ton of READ THIS FIRST BEFORE POSTING links, a ton of warnings about what is and is not up for debate, a ton of guidelines about the things that are to be taken by all active posters as first principles. In my (5? 8? I know I’ve been lurking there longer than here) years at S’ville I’ve seen a handful of dramatic overreactions to innocent questions, and 1.278 metric assloads of fully justified banhammers coming down on posters who violated the clearly stated community standards. Often they did so without obscenity and without hostile or aggressive language; but the fact remains that they did so.

    If you don’t like the way it operates, you don’t have to post or even lurk. But, of all the communities at whose edges I’ve hovered over the past 1-2 decades, Shakesville is probably in the top 3 for very, very crystal-clear publicly stated, adhered to and enforced community participation standards. Which does make it something of an echo chamber, but, damn, at least it owns its echo-chamberness. They are explicitly interested in certain kinds of discourse, and explicitly closed to certain others. AFAICT, that’s how they’re known, too: a somewhat closed system, but an entirely consistent one, and one that has flogged out many of the same 101 issues over and over and is just done with a whole host of them. Rigid, but not remotely irrational or unpredictable.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X