What is Terrorism and Who are the Terrorists?

A common definition for terrorism applies to violent acts which are intended to instill fear (terror), perpetuated for religious, political or ideological goals and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians) or group for whom the act is perpetrated against.

After Benghazi, the right-wing and those from Fox News criticized President Obama and his administration for not immediately calling it a terrorist act. After the Boston Marathon bombing they said the same thing. Problem is, both times the President correctly called these acts, “acts of terror”. To be honest, he didn’t have to say it because the world was already calling these acts of terror. For a President of the United States to label anything as “Terror” gives it far reaching meaning since he is the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet and can employ the full force and resources of the nation to bear down on the perpetrators. So the President actually needs to be careful what words he uses at all times.

Fox, right-wing radio and the right-wing fringe are quick to call any violent act “terrorism” especially if there is the slightest indication that “Muslims” are involved. In fact, they go so far as to say that all Muslims are terrorists. Of course we all know that isn’t true.

Why would they do this? Well one of the techniques of propaganda is to get a message out that some group that is easily identified and already hated or mistrusted is out to get you and do you harm. It calls to the most primitive aspect of the human mind; to hate something they don’t like and in return, support those leading the charge against it.

History is replete with examples of people, a movement or group gaining power or influence by going after another group already not particularly liked by some. The KKK going after Blacks, Jews, Catholics in the 19th, 20th and now 21st Centuries. The Nazis going after the Jews, Communists, Gypsies, Homosexuals in the 1930’s and 1940’s. And of course now, the extreme right-wing fringe going against the Muslims, Homosexuals, and “Liberals” to gain legitimacy, control, influence and power. So to portray themselves as the only group calling “Muslims” out as terrorists and claiming that others not being so vocal are condoning or even supporting the behavior works for the right-wing ideology and grows their base of support.

It’s easy to say that all Muslims terrorists because they are a misunderstood group in this nation and world thanks to the propaganda, a lack of understanding. Further, a group of radicalized fanatics causing harm in the world only serves to legitimize the claim. Problem is, we all know that fanatics from the Muslim faith are not the only ones committing acts of terrorism. In fact, they don’t even make up the majority of fanatics and “mad-men” so inclined to harm innocent people for their self-perceived and so called “legitimate” aims. In this country alone, and since 9-11, most terrorist acts planned out and orchestrated have not come from Muslim fanatics.

The terrorist act of 9-11 was perpetrated by radicalized Saudi Arabians at the direction of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. However, the terrorist act of Columbine was perpetrated by two white American boys. The terrorist act at Sandy Hook was perpetrated by one white American Boy. Oklahoma City was perpetuated by two White American Christian Conservative men. The cold blooded murder of Dr. Tiller was perpetrated by a white American Christian. All of these and more were terrorist acts. They were perpetuated to create fear and terror against a group and/or cause harm to innocent unarmed civilians. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are more terrorist organizations creating, planning and exercising terrorist acts in this country by White Christian Organizations than all other classifications put together.


Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map:


According to Fox, when an Adam Lanza, or a Timothy McVeigh commit such an act, they are simply deranged, they are not classified as terrorists. Well in my humble opinion, they are terrorists. Their aim was to create harm and terror in the community. The reasons can be political, religious, racial, or some sense of self-aggrandizing thought; however, if you cause harm, you are a terrorist and should be called one and prosecuted as such.

Calls to go after all Muslims for terrorist acts are only a method from the right to play to the intellectually lazy and racist among us to make them seem important and get them to follow. That is why they don’t call the acts of conservative white male Christians acts of terror, because that’s the base they’re trying to attract to their own cause. Terrorists are Terrorists regardless of their background, motives and methods and should all be disdain by all of us for the harm they cause. They are deranged, and they are also terrorists.