• Advertisement
My Photo

Tip Jar

Support Blog

Tip Jar

Official Second Life Blog


« A Girl's Game | Main | Duke University Mark McCahill »

March 25, 2010


Darien Caldwell

So basically, we shouldn't worry about it until it gets far out of hand? heh.

I think the fact that people think bringing guns to political rallies to intimidate the people they disagree with is not somthing that should simply be ignored, until after the first massacre.

You see that in news stories all the time, "why didn't anyone see the signs, and step in before this tragedy occured?" Well, I guess you're damned if you do and if you don't.

There is just no valid reason to bring guns to an idealogical debate, period. If you can't win your debate with words, bringing a gun isn't doing you any favors.

Once one side starts raising the stakes like that, if it's not stopped, then it's incumbent upon the other side to raise up too. And when both sides start waving guns around, well, it's no longer a civil debate, it's the makings of another civil war.

cube inada

the "press" your assailing-- they are what they eat.

the "reality of virtuality" - the illusion of the singularity by many in a world that still has many.:)

"Media Induced Psychosis" MIPS

its now in the blood of those plugged in for 40 years..

Is it any surprise that Sarah Palin had the JOB of VP candidate Chosen FOR her, and Reality TV host- the choice she made.

She was a communications major in the 80s..;)

What will all those GAME DESIGN majors in 2010 choose do at 40?

scary eh?

Prokofy Neva

No. We should look equally at the left as well as the right, for starters, dear.

I don't see anybody putting in a pushpin for Mumia? For the Black Panthers let out? For any number of violent, antisemitic attacks on Jews?

Did you know that there are more hate crimes committed against Jews than Muslims in the United States, according to FBI statistics. Startling, eh? Doesn't work like you think.

I'm use to "seeing signs". There were all those black churches burned down, and people constantly saying this was a racist right-wing plot. Turned out not to be.

There was that federal worker who was hung and people said it was inbred southerners lynching a G-man -- but it was the guy himself staging a suicide.

Er, could you please show me a debate where someone brought a gun? Shooting a gun by a window isn't bringing a gun to a debate. If someone *has* brought a gun, can you show me where it has been used to kill some politician?

You're crazed, like a lot of people on the left, and that fans the flames, as Eric Cantor rightly said. Goo for him.

It's incumbent on the left to stop being some infantile childish assholes. Their president is in power. They need to focus on promoting his agenda peacefully instead of continuing to win the election.

Civil war! Gosh, honestly. You are not credible. And we'll be seeing 8 more years of Bush-like stuff soon enough because of your idiocy.

Crap Mariner

"yet the killer in Fort Hood, who planned to kill multiple people"

Let's not hold back, shall we:

A fat radical Palestinian who was repeatedly rated as unqualified to remain in the armed forces or practice medicine.

I'm surprised that Obama hasn't pardoned him and replaced George Mitchell with him.


Katelyn Manamiko

I've started playing a game with myself - can I recognize if a post is by cube before I read the poster's name? So far I'm 10 for 10 :->

Also Prok, I disagree with your definition of terrorism, in that random civilians need to be the target. Any attempt at intimidation for political means is, essentially, terrorism. Beyond that, we're debating details.

And finally, please don't delete my post. I've noticed a couple in the past have gone missing.


Oh, so sorry Crap! The guy in Fort Hood might not be a terrorist you know! After all, he didn't kill too many, only 12, and if he didn't kill "masses" Prokofy's own definition on Twitter says he isn't a terrorist. And we'll never know what his state of mind was -- could be that he really believed those people were somehow directly related to his "issues" in which case (again by Prokofy's own definition on Twitter) he couldn't be a terrorist. I guess maybe he'd just have been making a "political statement" or something. Kind of like the folks who target doctors who perform abortions.

Do tell us more about what terrorism isn't, Prok! Inquiring, naive, ignorant minds want to know how a sophisticated mind like yours REALLY works!

Edward Orendorff


Civil War II yeehaw!

I'm so unimpressed by the lack of integrity within the mainstream media. All they do is feed the ignorant so they have something to say the next day at coffee break.

I also find it ignorant to toss bricks through windows for any reason. Gimme a fucking break. Fight fire with fire using emails, blogs, twits, hand written letters (remember those??) and hitting the voting machines.


Yea. Poland invaded Germany too. That is what the fucking Nazis reported as an excuse to start WWII.

Wake up dumbasses. You are being made a fool of.

Prokofy Neva

One of the reasons why the countries have a difficulty negotiating an agreement on the definition of terrorism is that there is never a shortage of countries, especially Islamic and communist, who want to define down terrorism to freedom fighting, and leftist NGOs who want to make sure no victim of human rights violations who may use violence but didn't have due process would be unfairly branded a terrorist. So it makes for a bad business.

I stand by my definition of terrorism, which in fact was said by a human rights leader I know in our conference call in the days after 9/11 discussing what kinds of statements to make to help prevent more violence and backlash.

Terrorism is attacking innocent people with whom you don't directly have a beef.

The Fort Hood shooter killed 12 and wounded 31. Of these, some were military, some were civilians, some were relatives of military, so indeed he killed not only mainly the soldiers representing a military power he was attacking, but the bystandards. In fact, it was opportunistic; he killed a soft target, people coming with families to a graduation ceremony, not high officials, because that was what he could reach.

And when someone kills lots of people in this fashion, that certainly qualifies as terrorism, and when he kills from an extremist belief system that justifies the killing, that also can be part of terrorism.

The Christian who killed the abortion doctor isn't in a sect of Christianity that actively organizes and plans and executes killings around the world, like Al Qaeda or Hamas; he's a Christian, but not in a group that is planning and executing terrorist act. No doubt some lefty secularist looking to play moral equivalency games will try to roam the planet looking for a Christian sect, or a Jewish sect (perhaps there is one) that plans and executes terrorist acts. The reality is, terrorist acts are by and large planned by communist or fascist groups or Islamist groups. I haven't heard of any Jewish or Christian suicide bombers lately, but again, do enlighten me, I don't get out much. Hassan shouted Allahu Akhbar as he killed people at Fort Hood. Did the murderer of Dr. George Tiller cry "Jesus Saves?"

In the Wikipedia article, the doctor compares the Christian murderer of the abortion doctor with the Muslim Fort Hood shooter, describing them both as having psychoses taking the form of ideological extremism. I find this objectionable on a number of counts. First, there's moral equivalency between two cases, even though one has methodically planned a terrorist act to kill multiple numbers of people without consideration of bystanders, indeed targeting them too in a soft target; the other is an extremist kook who has committed a vengeful murder in a spasm of self-righteousness believing to be taking a symbolic stand against the killing of unborn babies. Both have committed crimes but I'd view the Fort Hood shooter as the more severe crime with the more ideological and extremist underpinning tied to a world extremist movement. The shooter of the doctor might have a set of extremist beliefs, but it's not an organized sect and he has targeted only one person.

It's funny how people aren't willing to make judgements like this that are obvious. They are shackled with great fear of seeming not only politically incorrect but hard-hearted. I don't think it's right to kill abortion doctors, even personally opposing abortion. It's wrong to use or incite violation of any kind. But I can surely say that of two crimes, one is worse, one is more ideological and massive, one is terrorism, and the other is first-degree homicide.

The media, and the military under Obama, want you to forget Fort Hood, to think of it as a tragedy of mental illness. It's not, except in the sense one can argue that extreme cults are always in some degree about mental illness. The blogosphere doesn't want you to forget about abortion doctor murders, even though the list is a short one compared to the list of victims of Islamic terror around the world -- they want you to overemphasize these and beat your breast in guilt over such horrible things happening in America, because ultimately, they don't want morality of any sort to intrude on their personal lives, and certainly not on their sexual lives. It's the hallmark of their times.

Both murderers could justify their crimes by a sense of righteousness and justice and a perception of themselves as valiant fighters for purity and vindication of innocent victims. Let's put it this way: Hassan had lots of company with those sentiments. Roeder, the abortion doctor murderer, did not as much company.

So yeah, I think I do have a bit more sophistication on pondering these awful events than Cindy Ecksol, whose only interest is in somehow having a spasmodic and gleeful "gotcha" attack at somehow guilty of "Hyprokisy". An old story.

Even Wikipedia (, with its political correctness and its moral equivocation on abortion doctors, hunting for the perfect balancing act, has to say that the Fort Hood shooter was hooked up to an international extremist movement, directly in touch with al-Awlaki (

Roeder ( also was said to have ties to and belong to extremist groups in the U.S.

When you look at some of them, such as the Montana Freeman, you don't see that they don't specifically seem to have an agenda of committing anti-abortion violence, the way Al-Qaeda has an agenda of killing civilians always and anywhere where they can make a point; they have a different extremist agenda, overthrowing the government. They were charged with bank fraud.

Meanwhile another extremist group, Army of God, was reported as advocating the killing of abortion doctors. But Roeder's fellow Army of God member told him not to kill the doctor. It does not appear that the mission of this group was to plan and execute killings of doctors.

Let's look around now and see the map of the world with push pins in it wherever terrorist attacks occur.

How many can you book to Al-Qaeda, and how many can you book to the Army of God? You don't want to justify either, but comparing the two and noting that one appears to be more organized, deadly, and more a serious threat than the other is just what rational governments and civil societies would need to do, if they weren't to dissolve into hysterical misleading statements that would cover up an Islamic attack murdering 12 people and wounding 31, and call it "a psychotic episode," but then decide to characterize tens of thousands of demonstrators against Obama all around the country as either tacitly supporting murder of abortion doctors, or ready to endorse such crimes, and ready to "lock and load". has a list of all kinds of organizations, from Christian to Jewish to anti-abortion like Operation Rescue, which condemned the murder.

Lots more of those statements on this case than Muslim clerics denouncing the murders at Fort Hood.

Prokofy Neva

Katelyn, um, sorry to rain on your gleeful gotcha parade and daily spasm of self-righteousness, but your posts aren't deleted. If you provide a first and last SL name that is recognizable, or a valid RL or bloggers' name, you are allowed to post any old hateful piece of shit you like. Be my guest.

That's rule no. 1.

Rule number 2 is you can post any hateful, malicious, libelous, false, etc. post you like about me with your name, as long as you do not *incite or cause damage to me in RL or SL*. That means you can't call me up at home in RL; in means you cannot crash my sim in SL.

I think most people will find my threshold for the concept of damages is pretty high; IBM's Dale Innis took about 235 posts badgering and heckling me and posting deliberately mischievous JIRAs and hate pages about me and blasts of me on outside blogs before I finally said, hey, this is enough.

So post away Katelyn, typepad eats posts sometimes. Can't help you. I find my own posts mysteriously missing or in the spam file at times; I don't always have time to go looking through it all to retrieve things.

cube inada

when talking about "terrorism" one can also examine the weapons - not the bullets or c-4- but the "Actors" used "for the cause".

I do believe that the mental conditioning that breaks down the individuals internal compass and levels of self preservation in the face of a desire to find approval from an ideoloigical leader is leveling between the so called 3rd world and our 1st world.

THIS is an affect of the electric network media and its standardizing interface of machine needs. Mcluen meets Drupal.

Left or Rt- the message has become so mediated, that those drowning in the flow--- are in many ways becoming the same.

Im afraid the number of "american idol" grown who choose terrorist methods will be growing.. who their gurus are, well thats up to the programming they get.

Darien Caldwell

"Er, could you please show me a debate where someone brought a gun?"

I used the wrong word. Rally, not debate. But problem is the same.

And why should we wait for one to shoot somebody?

Prokofy Neva

Well, that's an important difference, dear. When you say "debate" that sounds like *a town hall meeting in a government building*. That's quite a different thing to bring a gun to than a "rally," which could be a tractor pull on an empty lot, or on someone's private property, or all kinds of things, not necessarily with a permit.

The problem for you in your effort to incite hysteria on this one is that guns are legal to carry in some states. So if someone comes with a gun into Starbucks, the left can cringe at their icon of the lib latte-sipping life appearing next to somebody exercising their right to bear arms, but it is legal.

I'm glad all you leftists are suddenly newly sensitive to the concept of how guns, even if "they are right, aren't right" (as the blogger said) and how inciting violence, and creating situations where hate leads to violence are all despicable and politically irresponsible acts. So can we count on your to end your infatuation with Mumia now, for example? Or do you still need to indulge in that awhile longer?

Can we count on you to denounce Palestinian violence even just a little now? You never do.

How about Fort Hood, can you raise a tear for the families of the victims now? Or do you still have to keep explaining that it's psychosis and not radical Islam.

If you don't like guns -- I sure don't -- then lobby to have laws changed so that they cannot be carried in public places.

Don't whip up hysteria by imagining that people carrying weapons in public legally plan to use them as a political message-bringing.

Their main political message is that they have the right to bear weapons and don't want Obama to take it away from them.

You keep sounding this alarmist and self-righteous note that works like this:

"OMG, can't you see how serious even one incident is and you can't wait for it to get worse and how dare you minimize it! You scoundrel!"

But I don't give in to emotional blackmail of that sort, and I rationally respond to it: but this isn't terrorism, it's not a mass political movement with violence as its credo (like the Black Panthers); it's not even small sects like the Army of God or something in Montana.

Failure to distinguish among kinds of violence and movements and the wish to blend them all together helps incite more hatred and confusion. The left is infuriated when someone can't tell the difference between a communist, a socialist, and, oh, Obama. Yet the left is in a rabid fury now imagining that Sarah Palin is telling her followers to shoot people.

cube, once again, you're talking in hippie obfuscatory talk, that you imagine as you write it is a clear-as-bell epiphany, but which comes out looking like what you wrote while on an LSD trip, and then realized after you "came down" was...nonsense.

Worldwide, historically, and in America, far, far FAR more violence, mass murder, and crimes against humanity have come from the left than the right.

This is something that left finds especially hard to stomach and admit, and while like tantruming children, they keep chanting "Bush lied, people died," even if Iranian-backed terrorists and Al Qaeda are doing all the terrorist massacring in Iraq. It's pretty nauseating, the chasm of moral blindness.

You're far too facile in merging left and right and generations and pretending America is "levelling down" to the third world.

Try to hear that a rock through a congressman's window and hundreds of dead people laid out on the grass in Nigeria are very, very different things. If you can't tell the difference, I can't help you.

Of course, in America, people have very high standards. They don't accept people being gunned down in stadiums and react sensitively at the least threat going in that direction. In a way, that's why you don't have to worry about America, given all those people on their toes.

But what Frank Rich is doing is horribly irresponsible and just plain *a lie* and *wrong* -- and that's what worries me, when the liberal newspaper of record can't sound better than Workers' World sectarian nutters.

Speaking of sectarian nutters, it's helpful to find out that Cindy Ecksol, getting into such a lather on twitter and accusing me of contradictions because she can't distinguish between terrorism, a more serious mass crime, and political violence leading to murder, is one of the freaks from the CDS that happily merged into the Islamic sim Al-Andalus -- despite her claims to "First Amendment rabble-rousing in SL" (!).

Wonder where she was when dissent was being raised against the forced imposition of a religious theocracy in SL.

BTW, here's a good example of the sort of distortion, hysteria, tendentiousness and moral blindness that this set-up induces:

Here's Jamie Palisades instructing the comrades, er, the...faithful, I guess we have to call them now, in how to ignore that Hater, Prokofy:

"Ignore haters and let history be your guide. Haters *usually* prefer separatism to ecumenism. Accordingly to the overwhelming report of diverse professional historians, the "Arab" values in the Andalusian period were a model of tolerance and cooperation ... and the reaction of Prok's beloved "Judeo-Christian ethics" was the culture-smashing, genocidal torturefest called "the Spanish Inquisition", which made George W. Bush look like an amateur."

If you have any sense of critical mind and knowledge of history, don't you have to marvel how the empty-headed sectarians like Jamie go roaming through history, selecting out of the thousands of years whatever fits their cramped vision? So out of thousands of year of Christianity, they pick only the Spanish Inquisition, universally condemned, and hold *that* up as the hallmark of Christian culture, of course, ignoring entire other centuries of enlightenment, peace, and prosperity, and then, while on that historical fishing expedition, lurching around, they dredge up a very utopianized and idealized Al-Andalus out of the bin, and present *that* as emblematic of all Islamic culture and history, patently ignoring some very bloody and brutal chapters that of course continue on in our time.

So, um, the Spanish Inquisition and George Bush, amateur torturer that he was, are our "take-home" from the millenia of Judeo-Christian civilization, but as for the "take-home" for Islam, we're to patently ignore all the "special features" of Sudan, Saudia Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran brutalizing and murdering masses of people, we're to forget all that, look the other way, and peer into the dim past to fashion an, um, harmonious culture where...let's see...there are daily prayers by Muslims, but for some reason, I don't see Gwyn's weekly talks on esoteric Christianity.

Where are those, er, "Arab values" today that are a model of tolerance? Are we going to develop a theory of "hostile Christian encirlement" like the Soviets did about hostile imperialist encirlement to explain away why they couldn't manage to reach their socialist ideas, ever?

Prokofy Neva

Here's a good legal discussion of "Roeder as terrorist" by Jack Balkin who is a respected legal scholar. I find him sometimes to be too far left in his views on certain things but he has a huge following:

Here's where I don't agree with him:

his claim that terrorism is a method, not a religion.

But terrorism *is* a religion, and is an entire embedded belief system. The concept of holy war and jihad to be used against those perceived as a threat *is* religious and an integral belief. It is a more organized and networked belief system among radical Islamic sects than you can claim is the case among fundamentalist rightwing Christians.

There is a huge, worldwide, significant, dangerous terrorist network, not necessarily united or coordinated always, but sharing many similar beliefs, and responsible for killings of thousands of people all over the place.

No matter how you stretch it and try to force-fit the facts, you can't come up with a Christian equivalent.

The line about the fellow in the sect that Roeder was in who *tried to talk him out of killing the doctor* says it all; it wasn't a core, integral belief of this sect in the way killing of infidels is.

I see a horrible laxness on this in European thinking in particular, but of course on the American left. There's a huge, felt, pressing need to try to "match" the abortion doctor killing cases to Islamic terrorism, so that they can argue backward to several key propositions:

1. That there should not be a war on terrorism, but only a series of separate police actions and criminal prosecutions
2. That treating terrorists as combatants in a war is to fuel them.
3. That violence in America is morally equivalent to violence in Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan; we are "no better".

and so on.

But you don't need to believe that Roeder and Hassan are morally equivalent in order to safeguard the rights of terrorist suspects. You can have a healthy respect for reality, and acknowledge the difference between religious extremists gone over the edge to murder, killing four doctors in 17 years and wounding or threatening hundreds of others, and the kind of mass slaughter that the Taliban and Al Qaeda and the Janjaweed are guilty of.

cube inada

"cube, once again, you're talking in hippie obfuscatory talk, that you imagine as you write it is a clear-as-bell epiphany, but which comes out looking like what you wrote while on an LSD trip, and then realized after you "came down" was...nonsense."

nope, no lsd, no hippie trips, all very lucid.

Frank Rich is/was a drama critic. Now a NYT OP Ed writer-- That's the leveling, . Your blog, more of the the same. you should get that.

These killers were dancing to the beat, they were not reading the lyrics.

big borgs dont cry.

Prokofaux Nympho

Prok, do you ever re-read yourself?

Micha Sass

No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance, however in the USA we have :


The USA PATRIOT Act defines terrorism activities as "activities that (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or of any state, that (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 U.S."

No mention here of how the body count is any part of the definition.

" I haven't heard of any Jewish or Christian suicide bombers lately, but again, do enlighten me, I don't get out "..some might say that Jews and Christians have no need to perform suicide bombings, the reason?, they can "influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion" using airplanes, tanks, and long range missiles. Of course they are the good guys so this is OK.

Be it a single rock, or a medium sized nuclear warhead. Its all terror.

Fear is the mind killer.

P.s. Awesome post earlier Cube (i did not know it was from your hand until i read the posters name ;P (i like having to interpret a post, rather than having a post that tries to bludgeon me with an opinion)).

Micha Sass

In relation to Islamic extremism you stated :

"No matter how you stretch it and try to force-fit the facts, you can't come up with a Christian equivalent."

IRA? Orange Volunteers? Iron Guard? Lord's Resistance Army? KKK? Army of God?

Checkout for some wholesome all American freedom fighters. Oh no, we already said freedom fighters are terrorists.

Micha Sass

If you live in Amarillo and run a shop selling books on Wicca..Army of God is gonna get you.

Micha Sass

True, these guys are more of a push-back against what they hate (gays, wiccan), than a real paramilitary. But the vibe is all there. They are organised, they have soldiers (only for prayer at this time), and they preach a hatred about people they see as the enemy. The moment these people begin to use violent force, then the USA has a huge network of very hateful people, twittering and blogging and connected. They are already bristling with guns quite legally.

I just pray they stick to prayers and not use their guns instead.

P.S. very sorry about edit here.

Brinda Allen

Perhaps one major problem in all of this is.....
Well the correct term might be a lack of education, not school education but the education one receives by becoming a member of the world community. Being a little old fashioned I prefer "stupid".
I don't remember the stats now but I remember being shocked at the number of people that can't find Iraq on a map.
Why on earth would I expect them to have a reasonable discussion about anything.

Prokofy Neva

As I noted, countries argue endlessly at the UN over the definition of terrorism, and as a result, there isn't a definition in international law, and as a further result, international human rights groups can become unacceptably vague and inactive on this grave form of human rights abuse.

I'm not an expert on this issue, but U.S. doesn't refer to "body counts" because mass crimes against humanity, which *is* accepted in international law, and is in U.S. law by virtue of having ratified the genocide convention, *does* provide for responses to mass crimes.

I recall at the time of 9/11, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mary Robinson, said that the killing of 3,000 people was a mass crime against humanity. Of course, this has never been adjudicated by any international court. This concept never got too far, even by its original articulator because human rights groups got more preoccupied with looking for human rights violations they believed were caused by the "war on terrorism".

It might be a good idea to try the 9/11 suspects at the ICC rather than the U.S. where they are unlikely to get a fair trial and where some countries will go on second-guessing it unless it is internationalized. They certainly can't get a fair trial in New York City, where it will become a spectacle.

Generally in international and domestic law people don't make crimes that have multible body counts in them as a way of making the crime more severe; they simply make multiple charges, a person then faces 10 counts of murder and has an impossibly long sentence then.

I'm interested in moral definitions of terrorism, because morality is what I can work on right now. I stand by my moral definition of terrorism: it is when a person kills others not directly related to the target of his grievance and when he deliberately attempts to kill large numbers of people.

While Jack Balkin may find that U.S. law helps you characterize the abortion doctor killer as a terrorist, I don't see that the FBI and courts have made that determination, and I don't see that this is due to some kind of "ideological bias".

I think it's highly important to make moral distinctions between targetting and killing one person with whom you have a beef, and randomly killing others, especially in large numbers. It's important because a) it *is* an intellectual distinction anyone can see and admit if they are not lacking intelligence or if they are not trolling and arguing insincerely b) it does go to the heart of the matter, which is intent.

Intent can be very hard to determine without violating other rights yet nevertheless, criminal law has the concept of premeditated murder and so on and so it does look at gradations of planning and method and such.

U.S. law, created to deal with international terrorism as its intent and scope (which is why you don't see a struggle to define domestic terrorism) has a principle:

"appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion"

The abortion doctor murder is an attack on a specific doctor who commits abortions to "execute" him because the murderer believes he is doing wrong, and in order to stop what he sees as the greater crime of killing the unborn, "intervention" is needed.

He is not using terrorism, trying to kill many more other people who are bystanders, or uninvolved people -- perhaps even people who happen to oppose abortion -- because he is trying to target one person. The killing of one abortion doctor doesn't frighten the whole population; it might specifically frighten other abortion doctors or women going to a clinic. Meanwhile, once you have successfully terrorized an army base by killing 12 people and injuring 31, you've significantly instilled fear in the military and the general population.

Obviously people might argue endlessly on whether Hassan really was a successful terrorist or a terrorist at all, and Roeder was in fact a more ambitious political violence perpetrator who got a terroristic effect from his act.

But I'm arguing my position, which I believe helps to have moral and ultimately legal clarity on these cases.

A key reason for why I'm interested in separating cases where people deliberately kill those uninvolved with their direct grievance, innocent civilians not directly the target of their beef, versus those people who commit political violence, including assassination, of a specific individual directly associated with their grievance, because I think that those who cannot make this distinction are setting themselves up to decide whether a person is a terrorist not by a moral boundary like this, but by whether they like the cause, and whether they think the cause is just.

So, a lot of people hate the anti-abortion movement, hate the idea of anyone interfering with their privacy and sexual enjoyment and reproductive choice, so they perceive the cause of the violent anti-abortion activists as one that defines its terroristic quality.

Meanwhile, the cause of opposing Israel, or supporting the Palestinian people, or opposing the U.S. anywhere it does anything, are causes that leftist like, so they tend to excuse the political violence and terrorism used in this cause, which they feel is just.

These leftists then apply their morality on the question of the nature of the cause, deciding if it is just or not, not on the morality of the act, deciding if it has a greater, more deadly scope or not.

Inevitably they are morally blind and selective in this kind of application; they also don't have company in believing the cause of killing the unborn or destroying Israel is just.

Those who then insist that no, they see *both* types of violence as equal and equivalent and are not exonerating the terrorist with the "otherwise just cause" have in fact succeeded in inducing moral equivalency favouring the destruction of Israel as a moral injustice over the killing of the unborn. They do this because they have made equivalent two kinds of acts even though one kills more people and more people accidently who are uninvolved -- and simply fails to look at that dimension of the problem.

Everyone can see that Hassan killed more people, and people who are merely rank and file soldiers or civilian workers or relatives; he did this to reach the maximum number of victims to "make a point" regardless of whether they were actual "decision makers" or "leaders" (i.e. unlike someone who attacks an actual leader). Roeder followed the career of George Tiller and targeted him specifically to literally stop what he was doing. He may succeed in intimidating other abortion doctors or clinic users but not the general population.

The argument that Cindy keeps making is that "you can't say one is less even if it is less" and that "unless you condemn the smaller act it can grow".

But I think you have to acknowledge scope and scale, and say that if something is less, it is less, and is not morally equivalent. You have to save the moral outrage for the morally worse act. And you haven't deprived yourself of acting by making this distinction, because you can still condemn and vigorously prosecute an abortion doctor murderer without pretending, for political aims and incitement of hatred in a polital war, that "Americans have domestic terrorists and should shut up about international terrorism".

That's of course ultimately the aim of this equivalency and insistence on equalizing outcomes and arguing back from them without distinction -- to minimize international terrorism and maximize domestic political violence to give it the same sinister hue as international terrorism.

An intended consequence of this position is then ultimately to minimize international terrorism as committed by people either with unhappy childhoods or who have "poverty" or "injustice" issues that they feel justify their killing.

A person with the moral equivalency position ends up reducing the importance and significance of international terrorism and makes it merely a political struggle in which regretably, violence is used. It saves the "terrorism" scare word mainly for those who fight what he doesn't like, i.e. anti-abortion causes, and gets squishy if it is terrorism against Israel.

Applying the word "terrorist" to describe any sort of political violence run by anybody anywhere, the leftist doesn't end up making the crimes against Israel just as bad as the anti-abortion killers; instead, they have the opposite effect; when all acts of political violence are terrorism, the meaning is watered down, and then people begin to distinguish their priority as greater or lesser evils by implying that the content of political causes is all that matters.

The chief purpose of people rushing to call domestic violence "terrorism," and not only to call abortion doctors "terrorists" but merely anybody throwing a rock through a window, is to minimize and delegitimize the focus on international terrorism, to reduce it in significance (the way Jamie Palisades and Gwyneth Llewelyn are always scornfully implying that there are only a tiny number of radicals within Islam and it's not a problem -- as if the terrorist attacks in Europe itself haven't been enough to convince them that it goes deeper and wider!).

But with my position, you don't accept either, and you don't minimize either because both are condemned. Whether political violence or terrorism, it is wrong legally and morally.

The reason I call Cindy "ignorant" and "morally blind" is not merely to be petulant but because she couldn't even see any distinction between someone who kills a direct target and someone who succeeds in blasting a public building and killing more people, or having a rampage that kills 12 and wounds 31. She just couldn't see any difference, which is stupidity and blindless.

One could argue against my position:

1. Claim that differences in intent and outcome don't require distinct categories of "political" versus "terrorism" because both are wrong and illegal and prioritization should not be made (or made to focus on the domestic rather than the foreign).

2. Claims that in fact the abortion doctor killer, in intimidating other abortion doctors and clinic users is instilling more fear in people beyond his actual traget whom he had identified with his grievance, and therefore is achieving a terrorist-like end that should be recognized as such, even without scaring of the general population as such.

But these arguments aren't used by Cindy; instead, she denies there is a difference at all, even though everyone knows the difference viscerally between someone targeted directly and someone accidently hit, resulting in more fear.

It's one thing to say "yes, there's a difference but it doesn't matter and here's why" but it's another not even to see a distinction, and imagine that to make this distinction is "a contradiction" or "failure to incorporate U.S. legal defitions".

Prokofy Neva

It's interesting that despite having legal guns (which doesn't make it legal to randomly kill people or target political figures with them) and having these networks of hate groups, the U.S. doesn't produce waves of violence as in other countries, whether the Philippines or Uzbekistan. Now, why do you think that is? Because most people abide the law and even if they oppose abortion or didn't vote for Obama, do not believe in using force to get their way.

Even in the wacky "Army of God," a fellow member was found to try to talk Roeder out of actually killing the doctor. Interesting, that. Is there a similar equivalent in the organization of Al-Qaeda? It doesn't seem so.

Micha, if you are the praying sort, despite being a secular humanist, I'd suggest you pray about Great Britain. There's a distinct threat there from both radical mosques and mullahs and angry Muslims with a beef as well, in ways that you simply don't find in the U.S., where frankly, there is more toleration for immigrants and more economic opportunities for immigrants.

Your prayers on behalf of the prevention of more rocks in the window or another killing of an abortion doctor are all helpful, I'm sure, but since prayer life is limited, you might want to focus on the larger looming events of the liklihood of another attack on the tube, and the presence of a networked Hizb-ut-Tahir that wishes to establish a caliphate, and is vague about how that will be done if people won't convert.

Again, let me stand by my position:

""No matter how you stretch it and try to force-fit the facts, you can't come up with a Christian equivalent."

People might come up with this little sect group here or there, like "the Army of God," which might have people in a compound in Montana and likeminded "survivalist" groups it is in touch with, but is not a mass worldwide movement, the way Al Qaeda and its various sub-franchies are.

The IRA may have Catholics in it, but it is not a tenet of the Catholic religion to commit political murder, and the IRA doesn't even invoke the Catholic concept of a just war (Islam's "just war" concept goes a lot further than the Catholic concept itself and its application).

The IRA doesn't say that its political violence is religiously justified; they don't incite religious benefits from political killing; there are no virgins waiting in heaven. Instead, they simply have a political philosophy that their killing of symbols of oppression is politically just.

The Lord's Resistance Army is a good example of a group engaging in political violence, which then eventually crossed frontiers and become a "threat to international security" such as to have the Security Council take it up," and which eventually became classified as a "terrorist," because of large numbers of kidnapping and killing large numbers of people, and of course involuntary servitude of child soldiers.

The IRA also began with a specific beef with political violence and moved to become a terrorist organization proscribed by the UK government.

The KKK may have conservative Christians in it, but it is not a religious ideology but a political ideology of hate. KKK members do not claim religious advantage or imperative to put a cross on a lawn; they claim social and political imperative.

The problem with the "Christian violence is terrorism just like Islamic violence is terrorism" is that it is much harder to demonstrate a logical and direct line between the Christian faith and the ideologies of the sects that use violence. The sects themselves tend to take political forms rather than religious forms, or when they take religious forms, it is of the delusional type like "God told me to kill this person."

The Islamic terrorists on the contrary draw from a rich vein of belief about martydrom and vengeance (the Shi'ites) and about jihad as a form of violent struggle (yes, we all know that it can mean "struggle against vice" as well as an individual reilgious act but it is also widely used in war on infidels).

One of the key ways you can see this problem play out is in the scarcity of condemnations by Muslims of Muslim violence. That is one of the things that aggravates interfaith dialogue and ecumenism.

For example, in the debate with the Muslim or pro-Muslim (he doesn't give an identity) on, he refuses to acknowledge that any Muslim religious organizations should be required to denounce violence at the extreme end of their religious spectrum because this would be like a MacArthyite loyalist test.

Meanwhile, I as a Catholic don't have any hesitation in denouncing the use of violence to pursue the abortion cause, or attacks on gays or blacks by some wacky religious sect also invoking some of the symbols of Christianity like crosses. I don't suffer a crisis of legitimacy by condemning any and all forms of violence made in the name of any belief system including my own.

The Muslim has a much harder time doing that. Why? I suppose it is because it induces a crisis of legitimacy in a religious movement that doesn't brook dissent.

For example, I believe the Pope should resign over the current scandals of child predator priests. I don't view that as inducing a crisis of legitimacy in my faith or inducing a weakening of the Catholic Church; if anything, I see it as strengthening the legitimacy of the organization founded by Jesus Christ.

Checkout for some wholesome all American freedom fighters. Oh no, we already said freedom fighters are terrorists.

Prokofy Neva

I think if you read even the Wikipedia history of the KKK, you'd have a hard time justifying it as a religious, rather than a political organization that also has likeminded religious group members in it:

It describes the history of the use of the cross from Scottish clan insignia.

You can also read about how historically, U.S. courts defined the KKK as "terrorists," and given the huge numbers of people killed and intimidated, that seems like a fair definition to apply to the KKK, morally and legally. They are terrorists because they killed a lot of people and intimidate large numbers of people even beyond their initial targets of people they don't like, which is a large list of blacks, government officials, Catholics, Jews, journalists, etc.

Again, I see a useful tool of moral clarity here in whether or not people can condemn a sect like the KKK as terrorist, and make a distinction between that and a mainstream or even an alternative religion. I and millions of other Christians have no hesitation in denouncing the KKK. Rather easy to do.

But the Muslim hesitates. He does not condemn as a matter of immediate morality. He begins to argue either that he should not be required to condemn violence; he begins to hedge and explain that it is justified in the case of Israel or when U.S. troops have murdered his fellow Muslims; or maybe he is even silent, agreeing that it is wrong but fearing retribution from the violent fellow believers.

I think this is a key difference: Christians have the readiness to condemn and work to prevent violence among their own ostensible fellow believers, or a clearcut distinction that despite the symbols of commonality they are *not* fellow believers but a crazy sect they can easily disassociate themselves from and robustly condemn. Muslims have that reticence and equivocating and silence and even belligerence about Islamist violence. To be sure, there *are* Muslim clergy who *do* condemn violence but then they themselves are under pressure, and even killed themlves. This is really, really telling and I think it's a useful moral distinction..

The need to make the KKK a distinctly religious organization; the need to describe it as a violent arm of Christianity did not rise as a descriptive of its actual role in the Christian communities of the U.S. or as an actual description in courts of law or the media. Instead, it was a felt politically-correct exigency to cast around and find an equivalency in the U.S. to Islamic terror that would somehow force Americans to minimize their concern about Islamic and international terrorism, and tell them they should "sweep around their own door first".

It's a moral equivalency gambit, ultimately designed to discredit all of American culture and Christian culture, and exonerate the violent extremes of Islamic culture in a "just cause". I find that reprehensible, and I'm not interested obviously in endorsing it or being bullied into conceding it. I think it's important to go on making a key moral distinction between civilizations that lead to mass killings and civilizations that don't lead to mass killings. The mass killings of Europe were made overwhelmingly in the name of communism, which also opposes any religion, and in the name of the pagan cult espoused by Nazism. That Christians, even Catholic bishops enabled or failed to condemn the Nazis does not make Nazism a Christian movement.

cube inada

"Now, why do you think that is? Because most people abide the law and even if they oppose abortion or didn't vote for Obama, do not believe in using force to get their way."

This is what Im not seeing as the "Amercian" trend. And as any tech geek can tell ya. Numbers can change real quick with a faster processors sold with cheaper value.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Advertisement


  • Advertisement
Blog powered by Typepad

Networked Blogs

  • Networked Blogs