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At least one of the vignettes from Tom Begnal for Jan 29, 2012 deserves wider attention:

Lilburn, Ga. -- A 22-year-old man was fatally shot about 10 p.m. Saturday after the GPS in his car directed him to the wrong driveway as he went to pick up a girl who lived in the area to go ice skating. On seeing the car in his driveway, a 69-year-old man suspected a home invasion, so he got a gun from his house and shot it in the air, then he shot at the car as it was leaving, killing the victim. The victim’s 15-year-old brother and a female were also in the car, but not hit. The shooter was charged with murder.
This is a tragedy -- and a predictable, preventable one. The term 'stochastic terrorism' has been applied to cases where public-officials are targeted. But I think it applies here, too.

(More after the orange-squiggle.)

For some background, see e.g. "Stochastic Terrorism:  Triggering the shooters" by G2geek http://www.dailykos.com/... (among 50 other diaries and more than 400 comments on it. [And more discussion below, in a comment I added.])

Here's the mechanism spelled out concisely:
The stochastic terrorist [e.g. NRA and GOP officials] is the person who uses mass media [e.g. Fox] to broadcast memes [e.g. 'home-invasion', 'stand your ground,' 'cold dead hands,' prepper 'survivalism', etc.] that incite unstable people to commit violent acts.  
One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act. [...]
The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm [we're] not responsible for what people in my [our] audience do."
The lone wolf who was the "missile" gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves. [...]
Finally, there is no conspiracy here: merely the twisted acts of individuals who are promoting extremism, who get access to national media in which to do it, and the rest follows naturally...
22 year-old Rodrigo Abad Diaz, with his 15-yo brother and a friend in the car, drove to the wrong house (because his GPS led him there). 69-yo Phillip Walker Sailors was afraid it was a "home invasion." So he shot at the car -- as it was leaving! -- and killed the young man. (Perhaps someone can post their pictures.)

Who has spread this meme of fear about "home invasions", to the point that someone will shoot at a retreating car, with no further provocation?  The NRA and the GOP, through their Fox vehicle.

More news updates, here: http://www.google.com/...

This is hardly the first such case. If you're a regular reader of Tom's series, you'll also remember the father who shot and killed his own 16-yo son, by (stochastic) 'accident', when the son was caught climbing into his neighboring aunt's house in the middle of the night wearing a mask. It won't be the last such case, but we can all work to reduce the odds of tragedies like this from happening.

----------------------------------------------------------------
Update 2:Thanks to occams hatchet for the diary "Former NRA political director: 'Somebody drives up my driveway, I'm gonna greet 'em with a gun'" He quotes Richard Feldman, former NRA regional political director and author of Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist, from an interview for the 2011 HBO documentary, "Gun Fight":

I always keep a few guns around - there's a gun in my bedroom as well. And yes, they're loaded, because when I'm home, they're in use. Doesn't happen very often, but somebody drives up the driveway - it's almost always someone properly here - but if I don't know who they are, I'm gonna greet 'em with a gun in my hand.
Sound familiar? (Rodrigo Abad Diaz' girlfriend says he was already leaving and rolled down his window to apologize and explain that he wasn't doing anything wrong, when Phillip Sailors shot him in the head.)

Update 1:  with thanks to theboz for energizing this point, and apologies for the hasty cut-and-paste, let me add more on the meme of the phrase "home invasion." From my comment below:

Frequency of phrase "home invasion," 1945-2008:
Did Frank Luntz wire up a focus group, to come up with the phrase "home invasion"? Probably not, but the effect is the same. Little is more sacred and personal than the notion of one's home (e.g., "a person's home is their castle"), and little is more terrifying and intrusive than having this sacred private space invaded. Before 1982, such incidents were typically referred to as breaking and entering combined with assault with a deadly weapon (! -- what's happened to the 'weapon' in the new meme? gone!?), armed (!) burglary, (murder if it occurred), etc.

Since 1982, and especially since 1992, the use of 'home invasion' as a meme has skyrocketed. Take a look at the nGram chart below, which graphs the frequency of use of the phrase 'home invasion', from 1945-2008 (in books as measured by Google):

Frequency of use of the phrase "home invasion," 1945-2008.
Perhaps the number of such armed burglaries with a deadly weapon has also increased to match the use of the new phrase? (Does anyone have good data on this, from 1945-2008?) If so, it strikes me as plausible that this is in part a result of the increasingly widespread availability and ownership of guns. It also strikes me (as at least a plausible hypothesis) that 'home invasion' is a political slogan adopted by the NRA, the GOP, and spread via Fox 'News', in order to spread fear and advance their political agenda(s).

I'm guessing that fewer people of an older generation -- who formed most of their mental categories pre-1982 -- would use the phrase 'home invasion', although (like any good slogan) they can recognize what it means when others use it.

Words matter a great deal, in politics, surveys, polls, news, etc. We all know about the 'death tax' (vs. estate tax or inheritance tax), 'Clear Skies Initiative' (vs. deregulate EPA), 'Contract for America' (vs. the Gingrich Who Stole Christmas), etc. Describing burglars armed with guns as 'home invaders' gives a different spin to everyday life -- a spin that may have spun out of control in Phillip Walker Sailors' case, resulting in him murdering the innocent Rodrigo Abad Diaz in cold blood.

Originally posted to Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:39 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So many guns in the hands of "responsible" gun (18+ / 0-)

    owners!

    It sounds like a facile attempt to use the GA version of stand your ground law.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:45:58 PM PST

  •  How sad. (8+ / 0-)

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:11:48 PM PST

  •  Not to defend the NRA (5+ / 0-)

    Home invasions are all over the news.  Several occur each day in most cities, so they always feature at least one on the news.  Also, if you live in a suburban environment bad people often drive into your neighborhood to steal things in general.  I know of one bad home invasion in my neighborhood in the past year, although vandalism from teens is a bigger problem.

    None of that excuses what happened or the fact that right wing propaganda created that much fear in the homeowner.  Even in the event of a real home invasion, you don't shoot at someone unless they are in your house.

    •  in a nation with sensible gun control (12+ / 0-)

      he wouldn't have been able to shoot at someone.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:14:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Driveway is not a free fire zone. (9+ / 0-)

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:19:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Frequency of phrase "home invasion," 1945-2008 (7+ / 0-)

      Did Frank Luntz wire up a focus group, to come up with the phrase "home invasion"? Little is more sacred and personal than the notion of one's home (e.g., "a person's home is their castle"), and little is more terrifying and intrusive than having this sacred private space invaded. Before 1982, such incidents were typically referred to as breaking and entering, assault with a deadly weapon (! -- what's happened to the 'weapon' in the new meme? gone!?), armed (!) burglary, etc.

      Since 1982, the use of 'home invasion' as a meme has skyrocketed. Take a look at the nGram chart below, which graphs the frequency of use of the phrase 'home invasion', from 1945-2008 (in books as measured by Google):

      Perhaps the number of such armed burglaries with a deadly weapon has also increased to match the use of the new phrase? (Does anyone have good data on this, from 1945-2008?) If so, it strikes me as plausible that this is in part a result of the increasingly widespread availability and ownership of guns. It also strikes me (as at least a plausible hypothesis) that 'home invasion' is a political slogan adopted by the NRA, the GOP, and spread via Fox 'News', in order to spread fear and advance their political agenda(s).

      Notice how easy it is to adopt this meme, even in a short paragraph:

      "Home invasions are all over the news.  Several occur each day in most cities, so they always feature at least one on the news.  ...  I know of one bad home invasion in my neighborhood in the past year... Even in the event of a real home invasion, you don't shoot at someone unless they are in your house."
      I'm guessing that fewer people of an older generation -- who formed most of their mental categories pre-1982 -- would use the phrase 'home invasion', although (like any good slogan) they can recognize what it means when others use it.

      Words matter a great deal, in politics, surveys, polls, news, etc. We all know about the 'death tax' (vs. estate tax or inheritance tax), 'Clear Skies Initiative' (vs. deregulate EPA), 'Contract for America' (vs. the Gingrich Who Stole Christmas), etc. Describing burglars armed with guns as 'home invaders' gives a different spin to life -- a spin that may have spun out of control in Phillip Walker Sailors' case, resulting in him murdering the innocent Rodrigo Abad Diaz in cold blood.

      Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

      by Sharon Wraight on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:00:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is a qualitative difference, though. (0+ / 0-)

        It's not breaking and entering.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:00:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What was it called pre-1982? Or, if it didn't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oh Mary Oh, SilentBrook

          happen often enough to have a name before then, why not?

          Why did you only mention 'breaking and entering', when I specifically highlighted the role of weapons in the phrasing of 'assault with a deadly weapon' and 'armed burglary'?  I'm not a police officer, but is there even a charge of 'home invasion', or do they use the older terminology? (Murder if it occurs, assault with a deadly weapon, armed burglary, kidnapping, forced entry, or etc.)

          [Btw, my Firefox crashed before I could save or post this reply the first time, so my apologies if it's more terse than originally intended. IMHO, data-loss from computer-crashes should not happen; not since 2000. Grrr.  >;-|  ]

          Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

          by Sharon Wraight on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:29:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sharon, the term was Breaking and Entering (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LilithGardener, Sharon Wraight

            If in the possession of a weapon, of any nature, it would be "armed robbery" and no longer a burglary.

            One is forcible taking, the other theft.  If no one's home, the matter becomes complex, as the armed intruder has no one to threaten.

            So, you have a B&E charge, a weapons charge, and a burglary or attempted burglary charge - depending if apprehension is with property and on-premisises.

            "Home Invasion" became a popular term in the Cocaine Wars.
            When 2 or more armed actors would crash into a house and often kill the occupants, at times taking cash and drugs.

            When this happened at non-drug locations, often to do with mistaken identification, the term stuck and became widely adopted.

            •  learning (0+ / 0-)
              So, you have a B&E charge, a weapons charge, and a burglary or attempted burglary charge - depending if apprehension is with property and on-premisises.
              Thanks! I'm completely new to these categories and distinctions, so am just learning about them.
              "Home Invasion" became a popular term in the Cocaine Wars.
              Do you mean the crack-cocaine period, c.1984-1990? That doesn't seem to fit the frequency of usage -- the term might have originated then, but why has it taken off? Perhaps it is more tied in to the use of methamphetamines? That would fit the timing better, and -- if so -- might suggest mandatory annual drug-testing as part of getting and keeping a license to own a gun. (We wouldn't want our 'militias' so unregulated as to include illegal drug-users, would we? ;-)  And surely no squeaky-clean NRA Republican would want junkies to have a gun. Might be an area of common ground?)

              From what little I've read (admittedly limited to unreliable sources like Wikipedia and random .gov or .edu links), 'armed robbery' can also include a 'stickup' that does not involve housebreaking. (In some states, housebreaking is by day and burglary is by night.)

              Robbery includes a 'trespassory' [sic] but this can include 'trespass to the person' and 'trespass to chattels' and not only trespass to land. (Trespass to the person: threats, assault, battery, wounding, mayhem, and maiming. Trespass to chattels, also known as trespass to goods or trespass to personal property: an intentional interference with the possession of personal property … proximately caus[ing] injury.)

              WP: "Burglary (also called breaking and entering and sometimes housebreaking)..."

              There is a Wikipedia article on 'home invasion', not the best, but it has some factoids:

              It is not a legally defined federal offense throughout the United States, but is in several states, such as Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, Louisiana, and in Las Vegas, Nevada. Home invasion laws also have been introduced in [SC, MD, and NH]...  Home invasion as such is not defined as a crime in most countries other than the US.
              Why only in the US?
              The first published use of the term "home invasion" recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary is an article in the Washington Post on 1 February 1912, with an article in the Los Angeles Times on 18 March 1925 clearly indicating the modern meaning.
              "Home-invasion robberies" were highlighted in June 1995, when the term appeared in the cover story of The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin in an article written by Police Chief James T. Hurley of the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida...
              Hurley also worked in Trophy Club, TX, and Ft. Lauderdale for 25 years. He wrote Florida's Home Invasion Robbery Statute. I'm not sure of his political leanings. (FundRace seems to have disappeared??)

              Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

              by Sharon Wraight on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:15:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  You know, I'm starting to dislike the NRA. And (11+ / 0-)

    I'm starting to dislike angry old white men.

    What BTW have white men got to be angry about or afraid of? This country was made for them, it's their playground.

    I'd challenge the Ron Pauls and the Wayne LaPierres and the rest of the brain dead but penis-equipped wingnut cadre:

    Live for just one day as a young man who can be murdered for turning into the wrong driveway.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:15:21 PM PST

  •  Rodrigo Abad Diaz: (15+ / 0-)

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:18:34 PM PST

  •  Shit, this won't be the last of how many thousands (8+ / 0-)

    of deaths in at least marginally comparable situations over not really anywhere near a long time period.

    And the standard "NRA talking point" always has been and always will be "oh, that's different, because...".

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:26:58 PM PST

  •  Here's an absolute minimum proposal (9+ / 0-)

    Anyone who keeps an operable firearm in the house has to pass at least a written exam on self-defense law.

    This could have been prevented if the homeowner had been without a gun or if he'd been deprived of his ignorance.

  •  The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRAILA) (9+ / 0-)

    is pushing "armed citizen" stories on its website.  There are hundreds of them and you have to wonder how many were just cold blooded murders.  

    "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

    by leftreborn on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:39:25 PM PST

  •  "Stochastic terrorism"=Stalinist craziness (0+ / 0-)

    Let's steer a wide berth around that obnoxious notion.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:59:26 AM PST

  •  While I understand the concept (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    and agree that it is happening, the term Stochastic Terrorism is so removed from the blunt truth that it doesn't get traction unless you are already thinking in those terms.
    I have a good vocabulary and I had to look stochastic up (I was confusing it with stoichiometric) so the potential to misunderstand the concept starts there.
    And Terrorism, the word has so much baggage and has been so thoroughly distorted that many people are going to have trouble seeing Rush Limpdyk and Phillip Walker Sailors as terrorists, partly because they aren't swarthy foreigners.
    The term might be correct in fact, but in interpretation, it doesn't work.
    The term that was used in the past for people who incited violence was "Agitator", as in "outside agitators turned the demonstration into a riot"
    And I don't know what you'd call a panicked old idiot with a gun, juiced up on hate radio, but terrorist is a stretch when the guy is on his own front porch.
    There's also the point that the responsibility for Sailors actions are entirely with Sailor, just the way when that kid killed himself to "Don't Fear the Reaper", it was not Blue Oyster Cult's fault. To attach this action to RWMedia (even though I believe there IS cause and effect) is to open the door to severe censorship, because you know that every rapper that has ever mentioned guns or drugs or any other kind of crime will then be charged with Trrrrrrrrrsm.
    There has to be a better way to say this that will connect with people. This term fails.
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:18:55 AM PST

    •  George Carlin is great! +more on stochastic terror (0+ / 0-)

      I'm a big fan of Carlin. Doesn't mean I always agree with him -- nor would he have wanted or respected that, of anyone, is my guess. His riff on the transition from 'shell shock' to 'PTSD' is good. And yet, most of use PTSD. Why is that?

      There are reasons why thinkers resort to complex phraseology, as they decipher new patterns and concepts. (There's a famous op-ed from a post-modernist on this, can't lay my hands on it, right now.)

      I'd assumed that most DailyKos readers had heard the phrase 'stochastic terrorism' before, so I didn't spend much time on it, but you're correct that it's new to most people. On dKos there are about 50 diaries and 400 comments on it, if this is helpful:
      diaries: http://www.dailykos.com/...
      comments: http://www.dailykos.com/...

      I understand the concept and agree that it is happening
      I'm happy with that, even if we don't agree the term is useful! :-) Common ground, where one finds it, is good.
      the term Stochastic Terrorism is so removed from the blunt truth that it doesn't get traction unless you are already thinking in those terms.
      I'm hopeful that a few more people are now thinking in these terms, having read this diary, than before.
      (I was confusing it with stoichiometric)
      Ouch! "Stoichiometry is a branch of chemistry that deals with the relative quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions." I had to look up that one. Looking up words is often a good thing, no?

      Agreed, it's useful to look up 'stochastic':

      Stochastic: Randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted.
      'Randomly determined' -- most of us aren't experts in statistics nor probability.
      so the potential to misunderstand the concept starts there.
      Fair enough. For me, it is worth using a $10 word in this instance. Gotta break eggs to make an omelette? [Aside: why does DailyKos' spell-checker not recognize the word 'omelette'? Too Frenchie for us?]
      And Terrorism, the word has so much baggage and has been so thoroughly distorted...
      True, although most often by the Bush-Cheney-Giuliani and other right-wing crowd, not by progressives or Democrats. Turnabout is fair play?
      many people are going to have trouble seeing Rush Limpdyk and Phillip Walker Sailors as terrorists, partly because they aren't swarthy foreigners.
      A few points:
      * Phillip Sailors isn't the terrorist in this concept, he's the 'lone wolf'.
      * One could say that Rush is, and Wayne LaPierre, and NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman ("Somebody drives up my driveway, I'm gonna greet 'em with a gun"), and Glen Beck, Roger Ailes & crew, etc.
      * Although, in this concept of 'stochastic terrorism,' it's not clear to me that one can meaningfully speak of a single 'terror ist' -- it's more the diffuse phenomenon that is important, by definition, as the meme is spread. (Meme: "An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation." It takes many people to spread a meme. E.g., 269,000 google hits for "Megyn Kelly" and "home invasion," as Fox spreads the meme, from Wayne, Charlton Heston, Ted Nugent, and hundreds or thousands of others.)  
      * The FBI report on right-wing extremism highlights the risk of 'non-swarthy non-foreigners'. (Salon, Aug 2012, "FBI: Right-wing terror is real", CNN Aug 2012 "Right-wing extremist terrorism as deadly a threat as al Qaeda?") It is important for progressives to further educate the public on this homegrown risk.
      The term that was used in the past for people who incited violence was "Agitator", as in "outside agitators turned the demonstration into a riot"
      Ah, but that's a different concept! Agitators work alone or in small groups, out of sight of the media, working in the shadows and stirring up trouble among an already-susceptible mob. We might think of the anarchist agitators who use anti-plutocracy or Occupy protests to stir up vandalism. But 'stochastic terrorism' is not as direct, it refers to the use of extremely visible mass-media, and the 'agitators' are not intentionally provoking violence. In fact, I'd be almost certain that Limbaugh and LaPierre and Beck et al. do not want random acts of violence (especially if innocent white Christians are killed!). And yet, they say things that -- statistically-probably but not predictably, i.e. stochastically -- make violence more likely.
      And I don't know what you'd call a panicked old idiot with a gun, juiced up on hate radio, but terrorist is a stretch when the guy is on his own front porch.
      We agree: Phillip Sailors is the 'lone wolf'.

      You write:

      There's also the point that the responsibility for Sailors' actions are entirely with Sailors, just the way when that kid killed himself to "Don't Fear the Reaper", it was not Blue Oyster Cult's fault.
      G2geek's definition of stochastic terrorism, as quoted above, says:
      The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm [we're] not responsible for what people in my [our] audience do."
      That's part of the reason for the $10 phrase, to get at this nuance about responsibility.
      To attach this action to RWMedia (even though I believe there IS cause and effect)
      Again, I'm glad we agree on the cause and effect.
      is to open the door to severe censorship, because you know that every rapper that has ever mentioned guns or drugs or any other kind of crime will then be charged with Trrrrrrrrrsm.
      No, I don't see the connection to censorship (severe or otherwise). One can -- and I believe we should -- condemn cultural leaders who incite violence. (And parents should work to insulate their young children from harmful influences.) But that's different than calling for government censorship.

      I find the phrase 'stochastic terrorism' to be useful.

      Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

      by Sharon Wraight on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:39:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rwanda was stochastic terrorism on steroids. (0+ / 0-)

    "...pero mi corazón me aconseja, que los nacionalismos - ¡qué miedo me dan!" - Enrique Bunbury (El Extranjero)

    by JustGiaco on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:09:37 AM PST

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