How Terrorism Works (Worst Time for a Progressive Elite)


In a post titled “Now I Worry,” Michael Morse notes the unsettling nature of creeping terrorism:

Only a few maniacs started the Nazi Party. The Russian Revolution that made it possible for Stalin to rise to power began with a book by Karl Marx. Pol Pot and his followers were the vast minority in Cambodia but managed to stack millions of peace loving dead people on top of one another.

I don’t want to die at the hands of a movement begun by lunatics. I don’t want to be beheaded by the terrorist who was captured by the FBI a few weeks ago, as he planned with two others to behead a lady who spoke her mind. I still can’t believe he lived a half mile from my house, and plotted with his terrorist friends from Boston at the same beach where I go to find peace and serenity.

Michael’s sentiment brings to mind my feeling during the run of the Washington, D.C., sniper.  Thirteen years ago, a series of sniper murders near the nation’s capital had everybody on edge.  I remember putting gas in my car on a cold New England day and thinking how surreal it was that people some distance down the coast were exposed to execution for doing the same thing.

The focus of the media and authorities, back then, was “domestic terrorism,” with an emphasis on “militia and white supremacist groups.”  The killers turned out, actually, to be black, and the leader of the duo was a man who’d converted to Islam and changed his last name to Muhammad.

Michael refers specifically to a Rhode Island man who apparently met with two others who planned to cut off the head of Pamela Geller, who had been in the news when two other men attempted to shoot up a “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas.

The latest shooting, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was performed by a younger man whose first name was Muhammad. And yet, much of the coverage refuses to connect any dots, and it must be deliberate:

Then a young man in a rented convertible re-aimed his rifle and unleashed a frenzy of bullets. These were the opening shots in a singlehanded rampage against the military that seized this city for hours and reignited American fears about radicalization and homegrown terror. The shooter’s motive remains a mystery.

That article calls it “homegrown terror.”  The official term preferred by the Obama administration and the partisan news media appears to be “domestic terrorism,” which (as I explained the other day) had a different meaning until a week ago.  Rhode Island’s dangerous ultra-partisan of a U.S. senator, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse reaches back to 1995 in order to compare the Chattanooga shooter to the Oklahoma City bombing.  The Washington sniper must have slipped from his mind, as apparently has the 2009 Fort Hood shooter.

Radical Islam is not the only evil in the world, obviously, and it is only a subset of the much-broader faith of Muslims.  Still, the first necessary step of combating evil is to call it by its name.

I wonder how much of America’s growing terror has to do with the knowledge that people in power refuse to take that simple step — ostensibly because they fear our greater evil if we’re permitted to speak the truth, but more likely because the power of people like Sheldon Whitehouse is contingent upon the lie that his political opponents are the gravest evil in town.

We’re unsettled most, I think, not because the world brings risks, but because the evidence of powerful people in the media and in government will not allow us to address one growing risk frankly and with an eye toward resolving it.

  • Warrington Faust

    I often wonder is there is an real thinking in the “war on terror” I wonder this when I stand in line at the airport with my shoes off. If you ask why they do not “target” more likely groups the answer is always “remember Timothy McVeigh”. Visitors to courthouses are regularly scanned, except for lawyers. Who made that decision? Entering the Federal Building in Boston requires being scanned (including Lawyers) but excepting federal employees (truly dangerous people) and UPS delivery people (who joke in private about being the world’s largest drug dealers). Obviously, if one is going to send a bomb, use UPS, not the mail. Standing in these lines has given me time to conceive several nefarious plots, unlike Tom Clancy, I am not going to publish them.

  • guest

    Do you baggers think Timothy McVeigh was a Muslim or just the President?

    • Guest

      I know I am a mindless troll, but I can’t help myself. I apologize for past and future posts. Please forgive me.

  • ShannonEntropy

    My response here earlier this evening about the “war against terror” was deleted cuz of a minor joke about the subject

    If I wanted to be censored, I would write letters to the editor of
    the Pro·Jo

    So I will be sending them my bon mots from now on … see ya !!

    • Justin Katz

      One would think you’d have learned by now. Nobody deleted your post; I always leave some sort of note for those actions when they’re deliberate. The word filter caught your comment for review, and I hadn’t seen it, yet. I’ve edited it a little to keep it within our rules for posting and approved it.

      • ShannonEntropy

        Okay … so i am a slow learner

        It wasn’t even that funny of a joke anyway

  • Jeff R

    Consider this TED Talk when you hear about domestic terrorists. I can’t help think about the guy in Warwick that was hauled off recently.

  • msteven

    I’m not sure I agree with your premise here. When you say, “the first necessary step of combating evil is to call it by its name.”,, what name are you referring to? Is it Radical Islam?

    I acknowledge and agree that the media reacts differently to terrorism based on who the victims are (i.e.: race) and the agenda of the killer. Even further, like most else, the coverage is based on politics. Certainly, the South Carolina church shooting got different coverage than the Chattanooga shooting too. And you bring up a great point about how coverage changed when the DC sniper turned out not to be militia or white supremacist.

    But I don’t think you’re correct that ‘powerful people in the media and government will not allow us to address one growing risk frankly and with an eye toward resolving it’. I think the government, including this President, does care. There are many evils in the world. They come in all races, cultures, and some are homegrown. Radical Islam may be the greatest imminent threat. And I don’t think it is being ignored, certainly not by our military or intelligence agencies. It may not be reported fairly in MSM due to political agendas. But that does not mean it isn’t being addressed.

    • Justin Katz

      I think the Ft. Hood shooter pretty well makes the point against your argument. As I recall, he did everything but issue a direct and specific threat. That has broader implications, too. How much more quickly could we fight the radicalization of American Muslims if we were a sufficiently mature society to acknowledge the problem and all take responsibility for preventing it?

      • msteven

        Seriosuly, you are going to use the 2009 Ft Hood shooting as ‘proof’ that the government does not care about the potential consequences of radicaliization of Islam. Al Sharpton would be proud of that logic. OK, you win. the President nor the miltary (clearly under his guidance) do not acknowledge the problem of radical islam nor take any responsibility for preventing killing sprees.

        • Justin Katz

          I don’t know what “caring” has to do with it. My statement was that media and government won’t allow us to address the problem frankly. The Ft. Hood shooting is a good example of how that works. Maybe (narrowly) the military has implemented rules that would identify a case like the Ft. Hood shooter, but the threat is much broader than jihadists who work for the government.

          • msteven

            I think you are incorrect in that the media and government won’t allow us to address the problem frankly. Maybe I can see how you’d say that against the media (all except Fox News?) As I stated, there is clearly a political bias in their coverage of these events. But how specifically is the government, the miltiary, the local poilce ‘not allowing’ the people to address the problem of jihadists? You cited an example from 2009 where a radicalized jihadist killed people. OK, and do the recent events of violence against african-americans mean the govt won’t allow us to address ‘that’ problem frankly? Yes, the threat is much broader that what occurred at Ft Hood. And I beleive our local, state and federal government including intelligence agencies are addressing it. I guess what I’m really wondering is … would you have posted this if the POTUS was an ‘R’ instead of ‘D’.

          • Justin Katz

            I’m not partisan. An incompetent, ideological, dangerous president is all of those things no matter his party.

          • msteven

            Well, yes that’s true. But a President is only so dangerous. I don’t think the president has stopped or prevented intelligence or military or police from trying to stop Islamic terrorists. I’m no fan of his foreign or domestic policy but stop well short of blaming him for events totally out of his control – no matter his party. I don’t think Ft Hood was his fault in any way.

          • ShannonEntropy

            The fact that the Ft Hood shooting was classified by the gum·mint as “workplace violence” rather than as terrorism proves Justin’s point. Heck, the shooter’s name is
            Nidal Malik Hasan and he was running around the crime scene yelling “Allahu Akbar!” … but dog forbid they acknowledge the underlying cause was radical Islamic terror.

            So the victims got victimized *twice* … first by the shooter, then by their government which denied them pay & benefits that go to combat victims. They don’t even get to use the all-important “service-connected” designation when they go the VA for treatment now

            And really weirdly, until his court-martial conviction 4 yrs later, Hasan & his family continued receiving full pay & benefits — like health insurance — that *you* paid for !!

            Hope at least some of this is geting thru that thick skull of yours ☺

          • msteven

            Justin’s point is that the media and government do not acknowledge the problem of radical Islam and therefore are not taking steps to prevent terrorism. And the 2009 Ft Hood shooting and associated/CYA tragic cover-up (because that never happens anywhere else) is proof of that.

            So we can ignore all the other things that have occurred (stopped terrorist plots, capturing/killing of jihadists US military/intelligence). 2009 Ft Hood trumps all as proof that our government does not believe radical Islam is a threat.

            I repeat — Al Sharpton logic. Racism is no different than it was in 1950. And there are events to prove it.

          • ShannonEntropy

            So let me get this straight …

            The fact that the government is trying to stop terrorism— despite the “Exception that proves The Rule” that Ft Hood represents— is proof that Racism still exists like it did back in the Jim Crow era ??

            Man I need some of what YOU are smoking this evening !!

            Time for a Let’s Get Mellow Tune !! =►


          • ShannonEntropy

            Or try this one, by ZZ TOP … a band named after two brands of rolling papers

            Mrs ShannonEntropy & Moi have seen them at least a half dozen times
            (( who can keep count amongst all that smoke ?? ))

            They usually start their shows with
            this one =►


            … but sometimes this one =►


          • msteven

            Huh? I was being sarcastic about the racism making an analogy about your selective “excpeptoon that provies the rule”. But while you are mellowing out to some Comfortanly Numb, ponder this …. how does the Ft Hood shooting represent Justin’s point but the Charlston church shooting does not prove those that say we have not move forward from Jim Crow?

            Just to be clear, I am in that apparantly lonely camp that isolated incidents do not indicate wide-brush ideology. Now back to some “Wheel in the Sky” keeps turning, turning ….