The Jury Talks Back

11/11/2009

Defining Terrorism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Leviticus @ 11:43 pm

What is terrorism? How do we define terrorism?

The most obvious definition to me seems to be something along the lines of “any act designed to instill terror.” But are there better/more inclusive/more exlusive definitions that we need to consider? Does violence of a religious nature count as terrorism (in light of the Fort Hood shootings)? Glenn Greenwald’s hyper-punctuated hyper-sensitivity aside, does shouting “Allahu Akbar” during a shooting classify that shooting as a terrorist shooting? If so, why? If the Fort Hood shootings count as terrorism, what about the Columbine shootings, or the shootings in Orlando the day after the Fort Hood shootings? What differentiates them?

I’m not necessarily saying that the Fort Hood shooting wasn’t terrorism – I’m just asking why it might be classified as terrorism, and why it’s so important that we classify it as terrorism. Is it really any more or less abhorrent (and it absolutely is abhorrent) as “terrorism” than as “another Muslim shooting rampage”?

I’m sure further questions will arise over the course of the thread (depending on the length of the thing), but that seems like enough to start. Again, I have no horse in this race; I just want to know what we ought and ought not refer to as terrorism.


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