When is it okay to call something "terrorism?"

I remember when BoingBoing used to rail against the over-application of the word “terrorism.” Now they’re worried about it not being applied early enough?

Terrorism is the illegal application of violence and/or intimidation to further a political cause. What we have here is illegal, sure. You might even call it violence. I’m not sure sure about intimidation. But what’s the political motive? Without knowing the motive, I think it’s premature to label this as terrorism.

To me, it seems plausible that this is a couple of gun nuts firearm enthusiasts who grew bored with shooting beer cans and heard that you can see cool fireworks by shooting into a power substation.


It’s just that there have been several of these incidents, and in the instance where the people were caught they were pretty clear about their intentions. Would you destroy the local electric for the lulz if you weren’t sure your home wouldn’t be affected? Would you drive far enough from home to do this for shits and giggles?


When that word was being applied to random BIPOC and every racial justice protester, yeah. Way over used. But the cops, both fed and local, refuse to use the word “terrorism” when it is a white person actually engaging in terrorism. Because knocking out the power during a huge winter storm? That’s terrorism. For them, it isn’t terrorism when the person who commits the crime is white. It is a glaring bias that we are all going to pay for.


Every difference looks hypocritical if you ignore the reasoning behind it…but maybe the question isn’t whether terrorism is named too early or too late, but whether it’s named in accordance with evidence.


First, BoingBoing is not a person.


the wise man bowed his head solemnly and spoke: “theres actually zero difference between good & bad things. you imbecile. you fucking moron”


No, we pretty much just spent the next decade and a half harassing Muslims and ignoring the larger problem of right wing domestic terrorism.

They were correct, because pretty much anyone who was a Muslim (or was brown, so white people thought they were Muslims) were very much overly identified AS terrorists. But the right wing terror network that has long been the REAL problem has been underestimated.

Terrorising the “libs”… Lone wolf actions are meant to be unpredicable and seem just like an individual gone crazy. But there is very much a political motive, of creating a white ethno-state.

Dude, they have tried to over throw the fucking government. Wake up.

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White supremacist terrorism has always been the major terrorism problem in America… hands down.


I missed this the first time. You really think some gun nuts went out in subfreezing weather on roads that have likely not been plowed or salted to shoot at a substations for funsies?!

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Remember this “outrage?”


cached version (no paywall)


The American Legion formally requested an apology

oh of course it did

You Can't Do That!: The 100% American Legion | Libertarianism.org

Star-spangled fascism: American interwar political extremism in comparative perspective


I think there is a funny internet meme that describes this situation using a kind of mock pantone color chart.




Fox News is much more straightforward.


With that Union Jack it needs a Irish accent caveat.


The point is that Boing Boing is a number of different people and expecting (or posing) corporate positions is generally done in a bad faith, and in awareness of a range of opinion and disagreement which attentive readers can familiarize themselves with. In two posts we’ve gone from “Boing Boing used to rail about” to “Boing Boing is fairly consistent”—perhaps a third will get us to “Boing Boing has a vague inclination toward” and thence to “Boing Boing has occasionally gone a day without publishing blatantly self-contradictory malarkey”. One day we might eventually get to the 15 year old posts by a retired editor which I can but guess form this ghostly editorial board to which we must now comport! :innocent:

(All that said, if anyone remembers the Day of Climate Change Skepticism they can award themselves a no prize.)


That’s what’s in the safe!!

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Also, don’t the same people sort of whinge about BB going “corporate” and “selling out”… I mean, what precisely do they want here?

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And of course, let’s not forget that the vast majority of terrorism in American has historically been white supremacist terrorism. Thousands of people were lynched, in some cases, there were entire communities attacked and driven out, all in the name of white supremacy. But despite that which continued on into… looks at notes RIGHT NOW… some people expect us to have a higher standard for calling that terrorism vs. Islamist attacks, which if a Brown person does it, it MUST be terrorism. I’m pretty fed up with people who obviously don’t know shit about the history of racial violence/terrorism, but insist that the rest of us are ignorant and jumping the gun. The fuck we are. Ignoring decades, centuries of white supremacist violence, including one civil war and trying to argue that these low-level attacks are not related is just the height of twisted-pretzel logic absurdity in light of the Jan. 6th coup attempt. We are losing this country, if we don’t start calling things what they actually are - which is white supremacist terror.


Ha, because of course there’s a weirdly specific charge.