Is use of the word "terrorism"; a way of avoiding the truth about society

(78 Posts)
TimeforaNNChange Fri 15-Jul-16 12:27:03

Not all incidents of mass murder, and extreme violence, are politically motivated - yet it seems that recently, whenever anything inexplicably horrific occurs, that is the way it is considered.

No attempt is made to determine other possible motivations, no analysis of the circumstances that may have led to an individual carrying out such an atrocity. An investigation takes time and may well, in months to come, reveal no links to political extremism at all - but once labelled as terror, it is always referred to and remembered as such.

Has the word "terrorism" been redefined to include all acts that we, as society, find impossible to explain or understand?

AlcoChocs Fri 15-Jul-16 13:02:12

Yes, I thought the same. Perhaps the attacker was a political extremist but no evidence for this in the immediate aftermath so why so quick to label it at terrorism?
He could just as likely be a loner with a grudge, or want to be "famous" etc.
Perhaps its too frightening to think that there are apparently normal people living amongs us who could do something so evil.

Kalispera Fri 15-Jul-16 13:06:24

I think we should stop using it as a term altogether. It reinforces the concept of terror and makes it seem a given that terror is the result of attacks.

Terror is often not the outcome at all; or only for a short time. It's basically impossible to live and function in a state of terror. Mild fear, concern, anxiety, yes. Or as we often see a major fuck you attitude appears.

Bambambini Fri 15-Jul-16 13:08:27

So what word would you replace it with to describe what these people do?

TimeforaNNChange Fri 15-Jul-16 13:19:25

Perhaps its too frightening to think that there are apparently normal people living amongs us who could do something so evil.

Yes. Why is it not the done thing to consider the fact that people could be motivated to do these things not by political extremism (which is the dictionary definition of the word terrorism) but maybe by hate? Or revenge? Or fear?

ApocalypseSlough Fri 15-Jul-16 13:24:14

"Random acts of evil"
Defining them thus and not assuming they're politically or faith motivated would disempower the perpetrators.

ApocalypseSlough Fri 15-Jul-16 13:29:08

I suppose because there's a feeling that you can prevent organised extremism but one off loners can't be stopped. Particularly this last one- a lorry ffs. Short of banning all vehicles, weapons, and sharp objects we can't stop this happening. It's crass but sometimes, accepting such atrocities as almost random is the only way to cope mentally. A bit like an earthquake or bush fire: ensure building regulations are rigorous and firebreaks are maintained and emergency response teams are efficient but there will still be earthquakes and floods.

Kalispera Fri 15-Jul-16 13:29:21

I'm not sure. Inestimable acts of fuckwittery, cowardice, banal thick-wittedness?

Something to take the sexy/danger element out of it. It's the same reason I think Western Media needs to stop fetishising ISIS; they go in for all that black garb, orange jumpsuit shit for a reason. It fucking shifts newspapers.

ApocalypseSlough Fri 15-Jul-16 13:47:35

Maybe emphasising the known MH problems of the perps? Because by definition any mass muderer has some pretty major psyche if not psychiatric problems. That's not glamorous, but unfair on us gentle loonies.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Fri 15-Jul-16 13:51:47

I have been wondering the same thing this morning. As far as I know, IS haven't yet claimed responsibility for the tragic events in Nice - but it appears to be presumed that they are in some way behind it.

They might be. They might not be. It does seem to be the default assumption at the moment.

Kalispera Fri 15-Jul-16 14:02:56

After the November and Brussels attacks there were quite a few articles in the Economist and suchlike arguing that people who indulge in this crap after disaffected, drug-taking, marginalised youth who grow up with a chip on their shoulder. They get swept up by the feeling of power that being part of a large group gives them.

So we're really talking about a bunch of losers.

museumum Fri 15-Jul-16 14:10:56

So far I have to say this attack doesn't sound so "terrorism" at all. The guy was well known to the police as a petty but violent criminal. Not known to the security services apparently.
Whether he would have said IS were an inspiration or not it's highly unlikely at present that he was any kind of organised, trained terrorist.

That white supremacist shooter in Norway wasn't called a "terrorist" was he? He was just a "gunman" as are most US gun attackers.

AlcoChocs Fri 15-Jul-16 16:57:12

Its begining to look like he wasn't a religious fanatic, just a pathetic shit who beat his wife, drank and took drugs.

Helmetbymidnight Fri 15-Jul-16 17:46:40

Well all terrorists are pathetic shits aren't they? I don't think you can wake up one day and think I'm going to murder some children without being a pathetic shit.

I'm intrigued by the idea that you have to be trained and organised to be a terrorist- that really is no longer the case- this is how IS has been so successful- by providing an umbrella/a purpose/a status on every little shit.
This has ALL the markings of a terror attack but then I would say the Norwegian one did too.

TimeforaNNChange Fri 15-Jul-16 18:56:30

Based on what, midnight?

All the reports I've seen are of a lone local man known for petty and violent crime.
No political involvement, established in the community - of course, there may be things that haven't been reported yet, but I don't see how anyone can be sure it's political based on what's been publicly available.

supersoftcuddlytoys Fri 15-Jul-16 19:06:56

Can you please show some fucking respect and suspend your 'social justice' crusade a day or two, whilst the rest of us give our thoughts and commiserations to the deceased and the lives destroyed?

Helmetbymidnight Fri 15-Jul-16 19:11:02

A deliberate murderous and public attack on crowds of strangers?
Why wouldn't that be terrorism?

I can see some merit in calling them clowns and just defacing their images but I doubt that would catch on.

Shallishanti Fri 15-Jul-16 19:12:35

I don.t think looking for explanations is disrespectful
I agree, too easy to label it terrorism and no clear reason to.
Brevik WAS a terrorist though, and had a clear political motive.

TimeforaNNChange Fri 15-Jul-16 19:20:00

midnight because the word terrorism means politically motivated. It is not just public mass murder - it is the motive that defines terrorism, not the act.

And while I understand questioning it offends some, personally, I think it is disrespectful to victims to automatically attribute a particular motive to their death in order to pander to social sensitivities. If victims are dying because a man hates or fears then that should be acknowledged, not ignored, no matter how unpalatable the explanation is.

supersoftcuddlytoys Fri 15-Jul-16 19:27:14

But you're 'automatically' disregarding it as a motive, just to advance your mainstream media conspiracy theory. This is insensitive, inappropriate at this time and very offensive. The evidence is not out there either way and judgement needs to be suspended until there is an inquest.

TimeforaNNChange Fri 15-Jul-16 19:34:00

The evidence is not out there either way and judgement needs to be suspended until there is an inquest.

That's my point. It has been described as a terrorist attack by politicians, and mainstream media. Only Theresa May has cast doubt on that by saying "if" it transpires to be a terrorist attack.

I have no conspiracy theory - just a sense of injustice that as a society, we are unwilling to accept the unpleasant truths that surround us.

Helmetbymidnight Fri 15-Jul-16 19:39:02

I don't know what your last sentance means?

definitions of terrorism vary.

I think its peculiar to suggest there is no ideological basis for the terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, turkey, Orlando and Nice. You think it's all just a coincidence?

TimeforaNNChange Fri 15-Jul-16 19:47:04

definitions of terrorism vary.

No. Definition of terrorism is clearly set out in OED. In my OP, I asked if society has changed that definition - and if so, why?

I think its peculiar to suggest there is no ideological basis for the terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, turkey, Orlando and Nice. You think it's all just a coincidence?

Orlando was motivated by hate. The motive for Nice can't be known yet. They are not all terror attacks. And while it could be a coincidence that a number of public mass murders, with different motivations, have taken place recently, is it not more likely that there is a reason that just hasn't been established yet?

MrsHathaway Fri 15-Jul-16 19:52:36

Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive.

It makes more sense to describe terrorism by the results than the perceived motive. Deliberately killing dozens of people is a terrorist act whether or not you're acting with a recognised organisation.

Breivik wasn't described as a terrorist because he was white. That was very wrong.

Helmetbymidnight Fri 15-Jul-16 19:55:45

Yes, definitions of terrorism vary. The un, the U.K., the fbi and pres Hollander probably would all see it differently. Most would agree that this was terrorism though.

Other than that, I really don't understand what you are trying to say.

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