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striking fear, part 2

striking fear, part 2

Humor me for a minute, ok?

Remember when I said that the DC shootings could be terrorism?

Is anyone with me on this yet or am I still alone in my own little boat?

Forget the tarot card. Let's just call that a red herring.

Now, let's think in multiples. Suppose there is more than one white van. There's a good possibility that could be the case. And that would mean more than one killer.

There is nothing to string the victims together in a neat little line. Nothing that says the killer(s) want to shoot women, children, brown haired caucasians, people who driver Jeeps, whatever.

What do they want, then? To strike fear into a community. To spread that fear in as wide a net as possible. To make people shudder as they hear a noise outside their windows, to make parents tremble with fear as they drop their kids off at school, to make something as ordinary as shopping an exercise in fright. That, folks, is terrorism.

The 911 line in that area is being inundated with calls about white vans. Yes, people are calling the emergency line every time they see a white van pass by.

Remember when the anthrax attacks started? Every enevelope was supsicious. Kids were sent to the principal's office if they left white powdered donut traces on their test papers.

Now it's white vans. If they had a description of this guy and it stated that he was wearing a denim jacket, people would be whispering into the phone lines that their Uncle Jimmy or their pharmacist is known to wear a denim jacket.

That's what terrorism does. That's exactly what this is.

Comments

I've been with you since day one. I'm open to it not being terrorism, but I think it is... It'll take a little more than arresting some redneck for me to think otherwise.

Oh, and I think that regardless of whether it is some redneck or not, the acts themselves are terrorism because of the fear they're creating (sorry, hit submit too quickly)

Last time I checked, that anthrax deal had been traced to the doorstep of a white, middle class, American male. If it's true, then he was taking advantage of our already heightened state of fear to inflict his sociopathic tendencies on the rest of us. It causes a state of panic and feelings of terror in many of the rest of us, yes, but I don't think it falls under the definition of terrorism.

I'm not seeing much reason to assume differently here. I'm really not. I'm going to be singularly nonplussed when they find out it's another middle-class white male who's disgruntled about who knows what, and who figures that he'll get away with his sick actions longer because people are expecting it to be some guy named Ahmed.

The whole mess is truly terrorism in its effect, but even if there are 20 vans, there is one rifle. Maybe it's a combination ... a Son of Sam meets Timothy McVeigh kind of deal.

Keep in mind, too, that I'm acting on the American Heritage Dictionary's definition of terrorism:

ter·ror·ism Pronunciation Key (tr-rzm)
n.
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.

We don't know what this person(s?) wants, or what they're trying to coerce us into doing. One might as easily take the string of child abductions this summer as evidence of terrorism. Certainly it struck as much terror and fear into a certain demographic, but I don't buy that that's terrorism either. No less evil, but not terrorism.

Jen, if you are talking about Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, it was never confirmed that he was, indeed, responsible for the anthrax attacks.

Yeah... Hatfill was never even called a suspect, and his life has been absolutely ruined by the media attention and bungling FBI. Also, not all definitions of terrorism include political motivation.

Here's another definition:

terrorism
n : the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments

Here's another definition:

terrorism
n : the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments

This is almost the exact same definition I provided the other day, and it still does not apply in this case.

Crime, no matter how terrifying, is not terrorism.

Wanting it to be terrorism doesn't make it so. Whether you want to accept it or not, shit still happens.

Brian,

#1: You don't think this sniper is using violence as a means to intimidate society?

#2: Who ever said I want it to be terrorism? Where would you get that idea from?

I think that, until proven otherwise, this is terrorism. The perpetrator(s) may have a very different agenda, and that may come out in due time. But for now, it appears to be terrorism. It seems systematic, and it's intimidating the hell out of everyone. What else can we call it?

I wish they'd just GO AWAY.

Bastard freak(s). I'd also like to find them and dismember him/her/them with teaspoons.

Is EVERY crime terrorism? Is ANYTHING that makes people afraid terrorism? Was Son of Sam a terrorist? Was Wayne Williams a terrorist? Ted Bundy? You are applying too broad a brush.

Ask yourself this: if September 11 had never happened, would you even be having this conversation?

Michele -- this is twice in a week that you've insisted that this shooting spree is terrorism. Sounds like wishful thinking to me. You're deliberately distorting the definition of the concept to fit a particular set of circumstances to agree with your own agenda.

And what is my agenda, Brian?

Wishful thinking? Why in the hell would I wish for this to be terrorism? It would make me feel a lot better if it was just one lone guy rather than a group of people out to destroy us.

I'm not insisting, Brian. I have no definitive proof, therefor I cannot insist. I'm just making my opinion and theories known.

Son of Sam, Ted Bundy and Wayne Williams all had something in common besides being serial killers. They all were after a specific segement of society. This sniper or snipers seem to be after society as a whole. That makes it terrorism in my book.

I never said it was political or religious terrorism. I never said it was coming from Saddam or bin Laden or anything of the sort.

So tell me, being that you seem to be able to read so much into my words, what exactly is my agenda?

Michele, I did say, 'if this is true'What I'm pointing out is that the clues provided didn't lead to some Middle Eastern guy with an allegiance to OBL, despite everyone's utter belief that it would.

And Brian has some excellent points, among them that this conversation probably wouldn't be happening except for September 11. Prior to September 11th, we'd most likely be wondering what sort of kook was running around VA, and how he managed to slip out of the loony bin, not assigning it to Terrorism.

Does the act(s) create a sense of terror? Absolutely. Is it terrorISM? Not necessarily.

Yes, but we are a little wiser to the ways of the world now, aren't we?

Brian:

This is not the right forum for you to be attacking the author. Personal attacks are for those who cannot support or espouse their own ideas.

This equation of the killings with terrorism is nonsense. Let's employ Occam's Razor, shall we? What does the killer do? Kills people. What does the killer want? To kill people. Everything else is subsidiary, a fringe benefit, if you will.

Terrorism. Americans learned a new word, and now they can't stop using it.

My husband and I were just talking about that this morning -- don't know if it's terrorism, but we're wondering if this isn't more than one person and more than one van. In fact, today's CNN story discusses both the composite of the "delivery truck," and another "Astro-type" minivan. Wouldn't be surprised if it was a group of people using even more white vehicles than that.

Hey, wait -- anyone considered whether this is a religous thing? Forget the Tarot card reference to "God" for a sec. Remember, the use of white equals purity/innocence/birth/holiness, etc, in some religions in the United States. (This isn't so for all religions or cultures within the US, which is why I'm making the distinction.) Now, logistically speaking, it would be far easier/safer for the sniper(s) to be using different color cars when they make their hits -- even more confusing for the public, no? Harder to catch a sniper when the car keeps changing, 'specially the color.

But they keep using white vehicles -- and white, of all colors, is the easiest to spot.

If there really is more than one person, and more than one vehicle, they're using the color white to make a point. They are pure, they are clean, they may even think they're "Angels of the Lord."

And I bet, when they're caught, that the vehicle they're in will be spotless.

(And I totally, completely hope with all my heart that I'm talking out of my ass about this whole thing, and it's one lone loony who just likes the color white.)

My husband and I were just talking about that this morning -- don't know if it's terrorism, but we're wondering if this isn't more than one person and more than one van. In fact, today's CNN story discusses both the composite of the "delivery truck," and another "Astro-type" minivan. Wouldn't be surprised if it was a group of people using even more white vehicles than that.

Hey, wait -- anyone considered whether this is a religous thing? Forget the Tarot card reference to "God" for a sec. Remember, the use of white equals purity/innocence/birth/holiness, etc, in some religions in the United States. (This isn't so for all religions or cultures within the US, which is why I'm making the distinction.) Now, logistically speaking, it would be far easier/safer for the sniper(s) to be using different color cars when they make their hits -- even more confusing for the public, no? Harder to catch a sniper when the car keeps changing, 'specially the color.

But they keep using white vehicles -- and white, of all colors, is the easiest to spot.

If there really is more than one person, and more than one vehicle, they're using the color white to make a point. They are pure, they are clean, they may even think they're "Angels of the Lord."

And I bet, when they're caught, that the vehicle they're in will be spotless.

(And I totally, completely hope with all my heart that I'm talking out of my ass about this whole thing, and it's one lone loony who just likes the color white.)

Eeeesh -- sorry, Michele, came up with an "internal server error" first time around. (Looking shamefaced...)

Not to be snippy, but the only thing that sets this apart from other sickos that have popped up in the past in the US is that this person is a little smarter than most about getting caught. Frankly, Stephen King wrote a little story called "Rage" about 20 years ago where the teenage protagonist loses it, and shoots up a his classroom. Another story of his ("Apt Pupil", I believe)sees its main character sitting atop a hill overlooking a freeway popping off drivers.

My point, I guess, is that someone not insane came up with these ideas long before. He is not a terrorist, just a writer. However, Columbine made it real. Just like what is happening now is not something new, it's just the first time it's happening for real in this country. Maybe it's just someone who's read too much Stephen King. It could just be some fucked-up teenager whose using his dad's work van to drive around and shoot people. The tarot card isn't all that mystical or inventive - it was the death card. Not all that cryptic. Why make it into something more than it has to be.

Prior to September 11th, we'd most likely be wondering what sort of kook was running around VA, and how he managed to slip out of the loony bin, not assigning it to Terrorism. I disagree with you, michele. I don't necessarily think we are wiser, just more frightened. Considering all the "...or the terrorist win" statements that have been hear since 9/11, I think the only one that is true is "If we are ruled by fear, the terrorists win." That's what I see happening with this sniper. It isn't a terrorist, it is simply a lost, sick person.

What if the sniper chooses his victims due to that a white van is close by or just passed by? Everytime a shooting happens the police are getting frantic about looking for said white van while the sniper sneeks out somewhere else unnoticed. I still think this is a lone sick person living out his sick and twisted reality. It's just too easy to put the lable terrorist and terrorism on events happening in this time and age. I just wish people would use it with a bit more thought, or else who knows who will be labeled a terrorist and sent off to a camp, prison or whatever holding facility you have open. We humans never learn do we...