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View Diary: Search continues for Dzhokar Tsarnaev (318 comments)

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  •  I'd call it a violent crime, for now (12+ / 0-)

    You can't call it terrorism unless you don't know the motive. Terrorism -- but any reasonable definition, including the U.S. government's -- is violence waged against civilians in pursuit of political ends.

    It's certainly possible that this was that, but we have no proof -- none -- that it was.

    •  right (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      david mizner, jfromga, PeterHug, poco

      the word "terrorism," in my mind, implies some sort of political motivation. We won't get any info on that for a little while yet. And in the interim, the speculation will be all over the map.

      Thanks to the internet, bullshit now travels at the speed of light.

      by nota bene on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 12:48:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We can quibble on definitions (6+ / 0-)

      the fact they targeted a MASSIVELY public international event transcends "violent crime".

      If you go on a shooting spree at your office or bomb a mall or burn down your ex-girlfriends apartment building or something, that's violent crime.

      But when you specifically target something like the Boston Marathon, the Super Bowl, a Yankees game, etc... specifically in a way to maximize carnage, then I find your motives less important.

      The crime was done for effect.  For sensationalism.  For shock.  I don't care if it was nothing more than a selfish "This way the world will never forget me." act of craziness.... that's terrorism.  It was done to invoke fear in the populace at large.  Not targeted at a specific person or group for any kind of deliberate criminal motive.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 12:54:58 PM PDT

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      •  I correct you (5+ / 0-)

        so now I'm 'quibbling?'

        When you call it terrorism, you are, by definition, jumping to a conclusion, perhaps even a dangerous one. Clearly, whether or not this is more of a Columbine, tortured-young-person act or more of a militant Islam related act will have a huge impact on the country's and the government's response.

        Hardly a quibble.

        Of course, it's possible (likely) that it will prove to some sort of combination of political and personal motives.

        •  Why are you taking offense? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib

          And I said "we" were quibbling.  And you did not correct me; you disagreed.  

          I do view Columbine as a violent crime.  Those kids were acting back against an institution and a group of people for distinct self-imagined slights.  It was some kind of imagined revenge against that specific community.

          But yeah.. this will probably wind up being a combination of motives.  Perhaps we should wait to find out....

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:07:28 PM PDT

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          •  Sorry, didn't mean to be sharp (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a gilas girl, poco

            I'm jury wary of reinforcing the messages coming from the hateful right:

            Peter King sees the attacks in Massachusetts this week as a wake-up call to local law-enforcement authorities to increase their surveillance and awareness of potential terrorists.

            “Police have to be in the community, they have to build up as many sources as they can, and they have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there.” The New York Republican congressman tells National Review.

      •  That may be a colloquial definition (4+ / 0-)

        of terrorism, but it isn't a legal one, I believe is part of the point.

        I tend to follow david mizner's logic here: you can't really identify a violent act as terrorism until you have some insight into motivation and intent.

        That doesn't change the horror of the outcome to the people who were victimized by the acts, so that our own reactions, especially those shaded with high degrees of empathy would call it "terrorism" because of how those outcomes feel, both to people directly impacted and to people observing it from the sidelines.  

        Sometimes, the "terror" part of the terrorism comes from our own reactions, however.  And the media frenzy that follows.

        If you think about it, the nation wasn't really terrorized by this act, even though we claim that, sometimes in solidarity and sometimes in a kind of emotional identification, but really, this was a pretty localized act.  Granted it was a high visibility venue, but still very localized.

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:21:01 PM PDT

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        •  If the intent is to terrorize, it's terrorism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib

          Bombs placed in public places that release shrapnel the purpose of which is to maim serve no purpose other than terrorizing people. The "intent" is completely clear from the nature of the attack

          And your dwelling upon the "localized" nature of the attack is bizarre. The Madrid bombings were localized to Madrid; the London bombings were localized to London. That means that those bombings were not acts of terrorism?

          I'm dumbfounded that we're even debating this.

          This is not a bloodless process. - Barack Obama, at the launch of the Hamilton Project....

          by Alexandre on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:36:51 PM PDT

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        •  I very largely agree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a gilas girl

          though would add that the Boston Marathon is a pretty international event, really. It's one of the world's major marathon events, and people come from all over the place to run.

    •  but it is certainly a measure of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl, poco

      the success of the campaign to normalize the term.  Some day, we will all be terrorists.

      "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

      by jlynne on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:09:06 PM PDT

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    •  i didn't know it was defined like that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco

      by the govt.  but i think it makes sense to do so.

      so that's why obama was loathe to use the term at first.  i couldn't see what the big deal was that he didn't use it.  

      Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

      by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:33:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As good a place as any for what I (1+ / 0-)

        inadvertently failed to post with the other definition of terrorism under U.S. law:

        (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.
        18 U.S.C. § 2331.

        With no evidence yet to prove (B)(ii) or (iii) -- though it may well appear -- the question is how big an armored vehicle can be driven through (B)(i) that would capture this incident but not Columbine or Newtown.

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