On Terrorism and the American Character… and Media

This belongs at Houblog, but it’s currently broken and I’m not going to fix it right now.

Boston Marathon bombing, Chechen brothers, yadda, yadda, yadda

What’s interesting about this is the stark difference between “home-grown” terrorists and the terrorists of the rest of the world. While these brothers recently obtained American citizenship, it’s fairly obvious that they’d not assimilated. Thus their act of terrorism, both in presumed motive and execution, doesn’t fit with the peculiar strain of American Terrorism, which is different from that practiced anywhere else.

Non-American terrorists invariably attack people who have nothing to do with the cause they espouse. The closest they come to a rationalization of their targets is a sort of “collective guilt” argument. Whether it’s the IRA, Al-Queda, the Red Front, religious nuts with sarin gas in Tokyo subways, the sole point seems to be “how much terror can we cause?” American terrorists, have as a central tenet of their actions, a desire to punish the perpetrators of whatever it is they oppose. Going all the way back to the sixties, whether it was radical left or right, American terrorists attacked specific targets attached to their political opponents. Banks, the military, abortion clinics; even the Unabomber’s targets were in IT or academia related to IT.

The only exception I can think of on the spur of the moment is the Y2K Atlanta bombs, and no reason was ever established for those. Lone individuals may shoot up a school or theater, but they have no cause or motive beyond their own deranged urges.

Or is the whole thing a figment of the media’s spin and imagination? Were the theater killings a political protest against academia? Columbine against school bullying? Newtown against parental/teacher authority? Just because “the cause” isn’t espoused by a large formal group doesn’t mean it isn’t terrorism — but hey, everyone knows terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to play with guns, so it’s not an effective argument for gun control, like “random idiot with guns kills people” would be. So is the media playing down certain angles on acts of mass murder in the US, in support of a political agenda? I don’t know, but I do know that I don’t trust them. Case in point, a CNN reporter I heard yammering on TV while in the doctor’s office today listed several mass murder incidents: “Columbine, Newtown, Oklahoma City, Waco…”

One hopes he meant the Luby’s cafeteria incident…otherwise, one of these things is not like the other.

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2 Responses to On Terrorism and the American Character… and Media

  1. Ubu Roi says:

    Life. I’ll email, I don’t want to derail the thread. Well, fiber. I don’t have enough readers to have threads. :) Or they’re all put off by registration, but I don’t have Pixy guarding the spam gates for me! (Against me, maybe — I still can’t comment on your site unless I’m at work).

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