When is it terrorism?
In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of debate over what violent acts count as terrorism. The big acts such as the Paris attacks are easy to classify as terrorism, but what about some schmuck shooting up an abortion clinic?
The dictionary definition of terrorism – at least from the dictionary I have – is “the act or practice of terrorizing, esp. by violence committed for political purposes.” That seems like a good definition, but it seems like trying to stuff this amorphous blob called terrorism into a neat, little box. So I started thinking about this and I came up with three, broad categories of situations where people kill other people.
First category – the person kills people they know for personal reasons. An example would be some guy who breaks into his ex-wife’s house and stabs her and her new husband. This is your run-of-the-mill murder.
Second category – the person kills people they know or don’t know for medical reasons. By medical reasons I mean either they are impaired by drugs or alcohol, or they have some psychological issue. This ranges from a drunk driver running over a pedestrian to someone hallucinating – for whatever reason – and strangling someone because they think they’re a demon. This gets into manslaughter and whatever your lawyer can get you.
Third category – the person kills people (usually ones they don’t know) for ideological reasons. This I call terrorism. If someone blows up a plane to please Allah, that’s terrorism. If someone blows up a gay nightclub to please Jesus, that’s terrorism. If someone tries to cleanse a country of a certain type of people – Jews, Muslims, liberals, etc. – to please their own bloated self-importance, that’s terrorism. If they start making progress in the cleansing – or worse yet if they succeed – then that’s genocide.
I don’t know if any good will come of this, but I guess you can just call this my attempt to “make sense” of these types of events.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/question-question-mark-response-1015308/ by McLac2000