Friday, April 26, 2013

The exception to the rule...

ter·ror·ism [ter-uh-riz-uhm] - noun
1. The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

Why is it that we declare people who plant bombs to kill and maim people, to illicit fear, terrorists, but we call people who do it with a gun just crazy individuals? What's the difference?

We have very little information as to the motivation behind the bombing that occurred at the Boston Marathon last week. However, the information that has trickled out seems to point to extremist views that ratcheted up to the point of committing a heinous act of violence. But so far we have no actual information linking the brothers to any terrorist group or terrorist training.

I've heard talking heads throw out the fact that they used the pressure cooker bomb as evidence, because it's been used by terrorists in other parts of the world. But I counter that anyone with even a limited knowledge of the internet can get access to the anarchists cookbook. Until I hear some definitive evidence that either one or both of these terrorists have specific links to a terror organization, I don't find it advantageous to conjecture.

Which brings me to the main issue, which is what makes someone a terrorist. It seems that by media standards, one can meet the threshhold of terrorist with any of the following:
(a) any immigrant that commits an act of violence against a U.S. citizen
(b) any person that uses a bomb to commit an act of violence
(c) any Muslim that commits any act of violence whatsoever
(d) any person that commits an act of violence after traveling to a majority-Muslim country

This criteria is bullshit. The media is wrong. The Tsarnaev Brothers are terrorists, there is little to no doubt about that (unless of course the police have the wrong person). But so is the shooter at Sandy Hook, so is the shooter at the Sikh temple, so is the Aurora shooter, so is the shooter in Tucsom, so is the shooter in Fort Hood, so is the shooter at Virginia Tech, and on and on and on.

These are all terrorist acts by the definition provided above. But because most of them were committed by "normal" young, white men, they are not deemed as such. Added to the fact that our nation's obsession with guns, and the gun lobby's huge influence, diminishes the impact that guns and gun violence have on the national conscious. I've never heard someone say, "bombs don't kill people, people kill people", but for some reason our society allows the same to be said of guns.

We are a nation that lives in fear. I've heard way more times than I'm comfortable with that people are stock-piling ammunition because they want to be prepared when "stuff goes down". I'm not exactly sure what they mean by this, or what they think the government is planning, but THAT is a the threat of violence that intimidates and coerces.