Jacology: What Is Terrorism?

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(KPLR) - In Monday’s Jacology, Charles Jaco wonders why we say the Boston bombings are terrorism, while the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings were not:

So what is terrorism anyway? A character in a 1933 novel called man's fate is a terrorist trained to assassinate Chinese officials. He called terrorism a kind of religion. To the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, and quote; “The object of terrorism is to terrorize”. Under U.S. law, terrorism is defined as violence meant to put fear into a population or change a government's policies.

A lot of people and headline writers insist that the Boston Marathon bombings were terrorism. Under U.S. law it may qualify. The bombs don't appear to be aimed to change a government's policies. But they did put fear into a population. The bombing suspects didn't like Americans especially. But they didn't seem to have a political motive. And let's face it. A lot of people call this terrorism because the suspects were Muslim.

What about the
Newtown, Connecticut school slaughter? There wasn't any political motive. But the shooter did throw fear into an entire population, that population being every parent who has or who has ever had a student in school. But nobody calls it terrorism. What about the mass shooting at the Aurora, Colorado theatre?  Is Lenin was right, both were terrorism, designed to terrorize.

The Boston bombing had more in common with columbine than it did with Nine-Eleven. It seems like mass murder and maiming meant to simply rack up the body count. But if we insist on calling it terrorism, than we should probably extend the definition to all those other mass shootings. Unless terrorism is just a word reserved when the preps are Muslim.

I'm Charles Jaco and that's Jacology.

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Email: charles.jaco@tvstl.com

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