Longer, more in depth article here on the whole shebang, but this might say it all:
Duggart’s attorney says his client has physical, including chronic pain, and mental impairments, including depression and an unspecified personality disorder. He is receiving psychological treatment as part of the requirements of his supervised release.
The armor piercing bullets, together with Doggart’s statements - "and if anybody attempts to harm us in any way… we will take them down”, seem to strongly indicate that in addition to killing Muslims, he was planning to kill any law enforcement officers that tried to stop him. I’d like to see a statement from local law enforcement on this one, because usually threatening to kill cops gets a strong response
Terrorism is commonly defined as violent acts (or the threat of violent acts) intended to create fear (terror), perpetrated for an economic, religious, political, or ideological goal, and which deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (e.g., neutral military personnel or civilians).
By this definition the subject of this article is definitely a terrorist and the people advocating universal health care definitely are not.
There are a few problems with this reasoning. Since people are generally afraid of dying, how could murder ever be differentiated from terrorism? Also, the legal charges of terrorism are more concerned with the intent of the accused. Since he didn’t actually kill anybody, there is no way to say that his actions caused anybody to experience terror. Also, there is the elephant in the room of trying to use something as nebulous and unaccountable as an emotional state to try defining the legality of tangible actions, which is probably never a practical idea.
From a government perspective, they tend to use “terror” an an umbrella for threats to national security from non-state actors. This is why a USian trying to kill another USian would typically not count as “terrorism”, while somebody from elsewhere trying to kill the same person would. It could also be applied to a USian who attacks the government rather than other citizens. The more accurate term is insurgency. But they prefer the term “terrorism” specifically because it is sensational.
They can probably prosecute the guy for hate crime, conspiracy, solicitation, and likely others. Maybe weapons charges. The problem with making the more grave charges stick is that he did not threaten any specific person. Saying that you will kill “anybody who gets in your way” will certainly get you watched for a nutter, in any case.
I don’t believe in “implied” threats. It’s 100% lazy prosecution. Governments duty is to induce people to have less emotional problems, not to exploit more of them. The only populations which are susceptible to “terror” are those which are emotionally incontinent. It’s all a matter of assuming too much about people’s intentions to make it easier to prosecute them for acts which are already illegal.
don’t get me wrong, i agree with the old proper definition, and that is how i use it myself. i have just given up on expecting others to use it properly and think it has become somewhat “thin soup” it is now so over misused.
a single person committing a mass murder or spree shooting isn’t a terrorist because there is typically no further threat of violence from them, they aren’t promoting a goal unless they are part of a group where future action is a threat. we are all sad that it happened, but we aren’t expected to give into any demands based on threat of future similar action. that is the dividing line.
Let’s say that some religious extremist doesn’t like the idea of girls attending school, so they start committing acts of violence against any girl seen holding a textbook. Now, obviously that crime directly affects the girls who are victims of that violence. But it also affects the greater society by creating a very reasonable sense of fear for any girl who might want to attend school.
In such a scenario the entire community becomes victims of violence and it would be callous and nonsensical to refer to those terrorized people as “emotionally incontinent.”
That’s a fair line to draw in some ways, but it can open the door to viewing white supremacists as lone wolves, despite the fact that they often act for similar reasons against similar groups and they may well have the implicit goal of terrorising minorities and influencing others to follow them. They may not be part of a group making demands, but their actions have the consistent effect of provoking fear and intimidation.
Publicly murdering civilians that you picked out simply because of differing viewpoints sends a strong message to everyone else who shares that viewpoint that they are simply not safe living out their lives.
From The Daily Beast:
“Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.” Doggart continued, “We shall be Warriors who inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”
“We will be cruel to them. And we will burn down their buildings…and if anybody attempts to harm us in any way… we will take them down.”
The intent is clear. Kill as many Muslims as possible. Simply because they are Muslim. How is this not terrorism? If the leader of ISIS or the Taliban said word for word, no one would question whether or not their intent was to terrorize. It’s simply because this guy is white and harder to demonize as an enemy that there is even any hesitation at all to label this domestic terrorism.
It creates a risk. How the community evaluate and act upon that risk is their decision. I see reason and fear here as being nearly opposite reactions. But legally, it needs to be decided to what extent the crime lies in the effect, or the intent. Not unlike the distinctions between murder versus manslaughter. I agree that courts do need to consider probable motivations, but I think it is an extremely sticky area. Because citizens are directly accountable for their actions, but not for the emotional states of other people. Is this intent established through evidence, or judicial discretion? Personally, I have precious little faith in judicial discretion.
But the community only become victims of violence according to how they decide to let such acts affect their actions. This was the US I grew up with: We don’t negotiate with terrorists, because deviating from “business as usual” is precisely what gives them the advantage of intimidation. While the more contemporary option of encouraging people instead to panic very much exacerbates the problem. The problem is that the government knows that there is more money and influence to be had by fanning the flames. I think it’s horrifically irresponsible.
I always expect to be killed, so I might be a bit jaded. But I grew up with the knowledge that daily life, politics, and the media are basically just forms of information warfare. I don’t change what I think of as the best ways to live in hopes of being allowed to live longer,
How does this follow if the guy never said that fear was his goal? This is typical of why IMO “terrorism” is hardly ever a useful term. It is mostly meaningless in how it is applied. Saying that you can claim a dubiously-defined charge abused by one party and doing the same yourself doesn’t help anyone. Try reading the laws (does anybody else ever bother doing this?) and see what, based upon actual evidence, the guy can be charged with. Stringing people up for emotional reasons with ignorance of evidence and law is never ok, it is a recipe for self-justification and abuse.
“The Operation in mind requires but <20 expert Gunners. Target 3 is vulnerable from many approaches, and must be utterly destroyed in order to get the attention of the American People… 20 Expert Gunners can do a lot [of] damage, both physical and psychological.”
Influence generally, fear sometimes in particular.
If your actions of violence convince a group of people to curtail whatever behaviour or acts prompted your violence not out of fear, but a reasoned response that the behaviour or act isn’t worth the inherent risk, that’s still terrorism. They need not be afraid.
Hebdo. Lots of people made the argument that a stupid carton wasn’t worth this or that, they were influenced by terrorism but not by necessity a fear of it.
As for this delusional, highly intelligent person who was on the path to massacre, does he need to say it specifically for the act to be regarded as an attempt at influence? He ran for political office, he targets people based on religion and/or skin tone, he said
which is a direct implication that the act is a statement. It doesn’t matter if “God” is a load of hooey, does it? If you believe in God, you are being addressed indirectly. If you don’t, he’s still seeking to influence those around you, or still you… you don’t want to make trouble with them…? See?