Terrorism is not hate

by WCE

As media elites have become, in my view, more narrow in their viewpoints, it becomes harder to find well-written essays that contradict what “everyone knows”. I liked this essay arguing that violent incidents with roots in a political decision are different from violent incidents with roots in hate. What do you think?


… The violence he will commit is properly called terrorism. It is motivated by a political judgment, and committed by reactionary non-state actors in an asymmetric warfare with military powers. It is fundamentally different from incidents in which the perpetrator is deranged by some strong emotion—“hate”—as were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. We don’t call the Columbine massacre “terrorism.” Nor do we call the Sandy Hook massacre, with its mentally ill shooter, “terrorism.” In both cases, violence had psychological roots and no political meaning.

Terrorism has political roots. One could say that the Italian anarchists who (most historians assume) bombed Wall Street in 1920, killing thirty and injuring hundreds, “hated” capitalism. But their feelings about capitalism were incidental. Their judgment of capitalism—that it was unjust, and that in the interest of humanity it should be destroyed—was decisive. The same could be said for Alger Hiss. He was a communist spy not because he “hated” America, but because he thought history was on the side of communism. He made a political judgment and acted on it. The same could be said for Timothy McVeigh. He saw the United States government as an enemy of the people. Having formed this political judgment, he acted on it.

The same should be said for Muslim terrorists, including Omar Mateen. So why do our leaders, when speaking of the Orlando shooting, have recourse to “hate”?

Because our leaders cannot imagine a rational anti-Americanism. This is due in part to the narrowing effect of multiculturalism. Paradoxically, instead of broadening our capacity to entertain ways of thinking not our own, multiculturalism has made us parochial. We compliment ourselves endlessly for our tolerance, inclusiveness, and diversity. Since we are so tolerant of others, we assume, there is no reason others shouldn’t tolerate us. Since we are never offended, we must be inoffensive.


88 thoughts on “Terrorism is not hate

  1. He raises a lot of good points but he undermined them all by choosing Omar Mateen as his poster boy. There are certainly those, “motivated by a political judgment” into “committing asymmetric warfare.” The 9/11 hijackers are a prime example. However, Omar Marteen wasn’t one of those people.

  2. Why do you say that?

    He was “deranged by some strong emotion.” Which the author doesn’t believe qualifies as terrorism.

  3. I, too, felt that he raised a number of good points until he chose Mateen. I think there are 3 motivations – (1) physchological roots – some would say unchecked mental illness, (2) personal hatred of a group of people not due to their actions but due to a characteristic, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identiity, or even country of origin, and (3) political roots where change is needed for the betterment of society.

    I am more convinced that Mateen had a personal hatred for a group vs. being politically motivated. I also think in the world today, religious beliefs and political beliefs can be turned into systemic hatred for a group of people.

  4. So when he made it very clear that his motivation was an allegiance to ISIS, you don’t believe him?

  5. So when he made it very clear that his motivation was an allegiance to ISIS, you don’t believe him?

    I do not. He said that primarily to increase the impact of his actions.

  6. “He said that primarily to increase the impact of his actions.”

    Almost like he wanted to spread terror.

  7. One part of religious fanaticism that leads to terrorism is targeting ways of life that are deemed to be sinful. This could range from targeting nightclubs, liquor stores, stores selling beef/pork or even wearing a particular color. It is the “I am superior to you” in action not words.

  8. Almost like he wanted to spread terror.

    He wanted to vent his incoherent rage in the most impactful way possible.

  9. Rhett – What about his rage was incoherent? How was it different than the Boston Marathon bombers?

  10. OK, so the Boston Marathon bombing wasn’t a terrorist attack, either? Was Oklahoma City not a terrorist attack? What about San Berardino, since of the attackers was obviously not a beta male?

  11. OK, so the Boston Marathon bombing wasn’t a terrorist attack, either? Was Oklahoma City not a terrorist attack?

    Same idea, guy enraged by the fact that they don’t count for anything in the world.

  12. Then what’s your criteria for terrorism?

    Concerted effort to effect political change through violence conducted by an hierarchical organization.

  13. I think that the article raises a very valid point about the inability of political leaders and other elites, from every side of the multi-faceted international political spectrum, to comprehend that people of differing views are acting rationally , in their own world view, out of their own understanding of their own or group self interest in assessing the degree of danger posed by other world views and acting/voting accordingly.

    That being said, I think that there is a lot of overlap between terrorism, hate crimes, domestic violence, workplace violence, and straight up mental illness in the Lone Wolf or Loner Dyad mass murderers that are a particularly US phenomenon. ISIL/ISIS has brilliantly tapped into that strain in our culture by providing a wider justification to such individuals who happen to be Muslim, via online recruitment/how to manuals and tourist visa face to face encouragement. ISIS wants to spread terror by seemingly random acts of violence in the Western world. Airport bombings, shooting in the streets of major capitals, the killing of “innocents” are classic terror tactics, that is apparently at lot harder on an organized basis for them to pull off in the US. If they can nurture potential workplace or hate killers and give them a cause and a tiny bit of practical support, then terror is spread through a crime that has its origins in something else. Remember, Timothy McVeigh, a classic political terrorist, was part of a domestic terror organization, he planned to get away, his target was very well chosen as payback for Waco, down to the day care center, and he would have struck again.

    In the US, we have mass shootings that we classify as organized crime or gang warfare, even though innocents (usually poor or non-white) are killed. Our loner guy shooters/bombers often leave manifestos. If they make no sense, or if they were destroyed as in Connecticut, we chalk it up to mental illness. If the manifesto are full of specific hate, especially if the target is not random, but a well established hate magnet, such as a synagogue or a gay bar, we call it a hate crime. If it is workplace specific, we call it workplace violence. If we can determine that the guy has been jilted in his own mind, we call it domestic violence if he targets the girl or her family/new squeeze in a public place, mental illness if he just starts shooting randomly. If the guy has a history of mental illness or violence (as did Omar Mateen or the Planned parenthood shooter) but ascribes his (usually termed as hate crime) actions to a political motive, we can choose to put the emphasis more on his words or more on the context or just write him off as mentally ill (usually the shooter is white in that case). It is just important for us to recognize the inclinations of our own thinking when we find ourselves making those fine judgments.

    The two recent ISIS incidents were a workplace shooting plus ISIS and a hate shooting plus ISIS. The workplace crime was bizarre. A classic political terrorist would have gone full public for maximum terror impact. Stopping first to settle some sort of personal grievance blunted the impact and shows that they were not following a well organized foreign directed script.

  14. So lone terrorist is an oxymoron?

    A single person can be a terrorist but only if they are acting in conjunction with an organized group attempting to effect political change.

  15. Checking in from vacation in Italy. The relevant anecdote is that there seem to be tanks with soldiers holding automatic weapons in the public squares. This definitely makes me aware that I am in a place that makes a good target for terrorism – I don’t feel that in my regular life. Something to ponder when one is stuck for 10 minutes (probably only 10, felt like a few hours) on a single file stone spiral staircase with herds in front and herds behind and no ability to see anything except the person immediately adjacent.

  16. “A single person can be a terrorist but only if they are acting in conjunction with an organized group attempting to effect political change.”

    Which would point yes to Mateen and Boston bombers, no?

  17. What Meme said. ISIS is a particular brand of terrorism that is providing an avenue for the disaffected/mentally ill/angry/loner to be more important than he actually is just on his lonesome. These guys are like free-floating anger just looking for something to be angry at. For ISIS, the driver is the political statement; for followers who carry out the attacks, it’s hate.

    “So why do our leaders, when speaking of the Orlando shooting, have recourse to “hate”? Because our leaders cannot imagine a rational anti-Americanism.”

    See, totally lost me there. Honestly: bullshit. This is the right-wing view of multiculturism, and it is just as blind in its own way as the left-wing views of which it complains. Of *course* our leaders recognize that there are a variety of fundamentalist religious societies out there who think that America is the Great Satan. The argument is about the appropriate response.

    Pretending that the Orlando attack was radical Islamic terrorism plain-and-simple is just as blind as insisting that it was a hate crime plain-and-simple. If anything, Orlando demonstrates how complex the issues are, and how impossible to distill into simplistic categories with simplistic solutions. Even if you take out ISIS, you’re still going to end up with disaffected loners looking for an excuse to shoot people; even if you cure mental illness and “fix” the disaffected loners, you’re still going to end up with foreign terrorists who hate us on general principles.

  18. “Our multicultural leaders are incapable of seeing the world through the eyes of a conservative Muslim, or of any religiously conservative person.”

    I think that this is true. It explains the inability of the Obama administration to understand and accommodate the Little Sisters of the Poor, as well as its inability to use the phrase “radical Islam” when dealing with terrorist attacks. Also the amazing reluctance on the part of government leaders and the media to take Mateen at his word regarding his motivation, and to insist on coming up with another narrative that doesn’t involve the teachings of Islam. He was bullied. His dad beat him. He beat his wife. He was secretly gay. He wasn’t gay, but he picked up homophobia from the Christian right. He got kicked out of the prison guard academy.

    But to the point about “hate” — aren’t all murders and many other crimes rooted in an antipathy towards other people?

  19. Which would point yes to Mateen and Boston bombers, no?

    Unless the story changed, my understanding is that Mateen had no contact with ISIS and had, in his ignorance, pledged allegiance to two groups who are currently at war with each other. A quick googling says that’s true of the Tsarnaevs as well.

  20. take Mateen at his word regarding his motivation,

    When he pledges allegiance to two groups who are actually at war with each other doesn’t that tend to undermine his credibility?

  21. “Of *course* our leaders recognize that there are a variety of fundamentalist religious societies out there who think that America is the Great Satan.”

    I’m not so sure about that. I think in Obama’s view, ISIS is not based in a fundamentalist religious adherence, but is simply a hate-filled terrorist group that just happens to recruit from the Muslim world.

    This back and forth gets a little crazy, but I think that’s what the distinction boils down to:


    So while I agree with you (LfB), that our leaders should recognize this, I don’t know that the Obama Administration really does. This is where they kind of have their heads in the sand.

  22. Thanks. I just heard that my three year old is telling strangers, “I don’t have a mother anymore”. On the other hand, I’ve had three glasses of wine, been to 4 museums today, and can get up tomorrow whenever I please. So, it’s going well.

  23. The author of that piece is trying to be too black and white. I have trouble imagining a person capable of doing terrorism who doesn’t also have a huge amount of hatred in his soul. Otherwise, he would be resorting to another means. That is why the lines between mental illness, pure hatred, and terrorism are so blurred. Terrorists are often also haters of other groups. It isn’t suprising that ISIS both commits genocide against other religious groups in their own territory as well as committing acts that are politicial terrorism. And how about the Ku Klux Klan? The people who participated in lynchings were expressing their hatred of black people but were also a part of a very well organized effort to terrorize an entire population into accepting Jim Crow.

    Mental illness and rage are often wrapped in the trappings of terrorism too, like the Tsaernaevs and Mateen. How about Marc Lepine, who killed 14 female engineering students to express his belief that women should not be equal to men? Hatred, mental illness or terrorism?

  24. “Of *course* our leaders recognize that there are a variety of fundamentalist religious societies out there who think that America is the Great Satan.”

    Except that there aren’t a variety of such religions. There is one. Since Ramadan began 24 days ago, there have been 181 radical Islamic terrorist attacks worldwide, killing 1294 people. There have been precisely ZERO such attacks by members of any other religious group. https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/
    These killers come from all different cultural, national, and economic backgrounds, and they are including more women and children in their ranks. They have one thing in common — they are Muslims who are acting in the name of Islam. But we can’t acknowledge that fact, so we have to talk about “hate.”

  25. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, xenophobia and nationalism are growing in almost all countries around the world, as the survivors of World War II die off.

    That’s a very insightful line I think.

  26. Rhett, you beat me to it. I was just going to comment that violence by one religious group against another is depressingly common. We are just lucky (I guess) to have aroused the ire of only one religious group – muslim fundamentalists.

    Back when I was in college, I have a recollection that a store owned by a Turkish Muslim was bombed. No one was hurt so it wasn’t in the news for long. But the bombing was evidenly carried out by a group of Armenian Christians.

  27. I consider the Tsarnaevs terrorists, even though they acted, apparently, outside of any formal organization. I also consider the California couple who shot up the workplace terrorists, although, again apparently, acting first on specific anger at the workplace was necessary to get the guy primed for the main public terror event. In both cases the perpetrators were not on a single act suicide mission. They planned to get away and act again. The Tsarnaevs chose a classic maximum impact political terror target, but were not aware of the degree of surveillance that would allow them to be picked up quickly or that the medical care would create survivor martyrs, not just a body count. Mateen apparently cased gay nightclubs for a while in planning his suicide attack. Not the same thing, IMO. But as I said, these fine judgments are almost beside the point.

    Milo – That article is very close to what I think – I read it after writing the previous paragraph. Slight difference in emphasis. I don’t think lone wolf terrorists are nearly as effective as he says at scaring the US population as long as their actions are tied to their personal grievance.

  28. when the target was a gay night club during Pride month, I definitely classify Orlando as a hate crime

  29. I argee that lone wolf “terrorists” are not that effective, simply because we have long accepted the risk of mentally ill mass shooters. These people simply don’t add very much. I think ISIS may not understand that because they don’t understand our culture any better than we understand theirs.

  30. so was Timothy McVeigh a terrorist then? That is what the article claims. He was a sympathizer of extreme right wing militias, similar to our ISIS sympathizer lone wolves But I have trouble thinking of him as devoid of hate. After all, he aimed his truck at a daycare center whose windows were decorated with childrens drawings.

  31. Interesting post on the Buddhist monks. The article didn’t explain whether they were following or violating the teachings of Buddha. I’m guessing the latter.

  32. I totally disagree that lone wolf terrorists aren’t effective. The Beltway snipers in 2002 terrorized the region quite effectively until they were caught.

  33. So, suppose I were living in a society like the one in The Handmaid’s Tale. Or maybe just living in Nazi Germany. Would I use terror to try to disrupt the governmental status quo? I kind of doubt it. But then again I’m old and female.

  34. I haven’t read Sue Klebold’s book yet, but I kind of think the Columbine shootings have some terrorist elements. A school is a closed society (often a pretty evil one) and shooting it up seems, to some extent, like a political action. Kinda. Not entirely.

  35. But then again I’m old and female.

    You’d be perfect then. No one would ever suspect.

  36. @Milo: ITA with what Obama said in that article: using the words “radical Islam” is not a strategy.

    I think everyone agrees that there is a portion of the Muslim world that (a) believes that the US is the Great Satan, (b) believes that they have a religious obligation to fight evil beyond the borders of their own country, and (c) believes that this therefore justifies — even compels — terrorism against the US and its citizens. I think there is disagreement about how much of the Muslim world agrees with (a), and there is *huge* disagreement about how much of that world believes in (b) and (c).

    And then there is even more disagreement about what the appropriate response is to deal with that danger. Certainly, people who think that the vast majority of the Muslim world believe (a), (b), and (c) will see the threat as both imminent and extreme, and therefore advocate for immediate strong action and far-reaching anti-Muslim policies. Because if you think that destroying America is a fundamental tenet of Islam, then you’re don’t have any choice but to declare war on Islam to keep the country safe. The only option is the War on Communism, Take 2; anything less is “thank you, Mr. Hitler.”

    OTOH, people who believe that a smaller portion of the Muslim world believe (a), and that only a very few would ever get to (c), will see the threat as arising from specific terrorist groups and countries — sort of in the way we initially went after Al Quaeda and Afghanistan. If you fall into this mindset, then you will focus your defensive efforts on the individual groups and countries that espouse (b) and (c), and on containment and cordial relations with the ones who stop at (a). In this view, the last thing you want to do is declare war on Islam, because that is guaranteed to make enemies and destroy relationships with the moderate Muslims, and therefore push people who might have stopped at (a) into (b) and (c).

    But no one is sitting around twiddling their fingers thinking that radical Islam doesn’t pose a threat to the US or its citizens.

  37. A significant percentage of Muslims worldwide agrees that violence is sometimes or always justified in the name of Allah. The numbers differ across countries and depending upon how the questions are worded, but it’s a decidedly non-trivial segment of the Muslim world, and the surveys likely UNDERSTATE the level of support for violence. These people are not outliers. They can point to chapter and verse in the Quran to justify their beliefs and actions:

    “The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.
    Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by historical context contained in the surrounding text (although many Muslims choose to think of them that way). They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subject to interpretation as anything else in the Quran.”

  38. Scarlett – I have never considered the Beltway Snipers as terrorists. They were spree killers – classic Loner Dyad. But I agree that they were the most frightening thing in my experience. My mother, whose Rockville Pike gas station was the site of one murder, was never the same afterwards. I ascribe a political or perhaps politico-religious motive to terrorists; hence the article WCE posted about rational action. I think it a bit broad to use the term terrorist for anyone who engages in multiple acts of planned random public murder.

  39. I remember the Beltway snipers quite well. I don’t recall anyone ever discussing them in the same breath with terrorism. They do illustrate my point though. With such a high background level of mass murderers like the Beltway duo, or various high schoolers and college students, a few more who scream Jihad! or Isis! are just not going to cause panic.

  40. “I think everyone agrees that there is a portion of the Muslim world that (a) believes that the US is the Great Satan, (b) believes that they have a religious obligation to fight evil beyond the borders of their own country, and (c) believes that this therefore justifies — even compels — terrorism against the US and its citizens.”

    I don’t think the President acknowledges that. I agree that it would be counterproductive to demonize all Muslims.

    ” But I agree that they were the most frightening thing in my experience. ”

    They were, because it could happen at any moment, you would never see it coming, and the key is that it was ongoing. That’s the lesson I think lone wolves should adopt for greater effectiveness. Put out a Tweet that this Sunday, somewhere in a America, a child is going to be shot by a sniper. Then take one out in the most random place.

  41. I don’t think the President acknowledges that.

    How would acknowledging it aid our cause?

  42. I wish I had a solution. It will have to come from Muslims who decide to beat their swords into plowshares.

  43. There was some evidence that convicted (and executed) sniper John Allan Muhammad, who had converted to Islam, held some extremist views (he reportedly told others that the US “got what it deserved” on 9/11). But my point in mentioning him was that his tactic of random, unpredictable attacks on ordinary people was extremely effective. My kids were traumatized for a while, because they were old enough to know what was going on but not old enough to process it. The kindergarten field trip to the pumpkin patch was cancelled, and the kids all knew exactly why.

  44. A lot of Muslim families have had to be very vigilant of what their young men (primarily) have been up to. The families and the societies around them have to be strong and convey a message of deterrence against the joining or acting as terrorists. In the past few years ISIS has attracted scores of followers but there has been action that has prevented many more from joining.

  45. There is an appliance repair guy at my house now who looks like he is about 15. It’s not just that I’m getting older and everyone looks like they are 15. He has got to be younger than college DS. If he didn’t have the van and the uniform and the badge, I would never have believed he was the repair guy.

  46. Louise, I saw an article in the NYTimes about the parents who are devastated to discover that their kids — not always just the boys — have become radicalized. Cannot imagine how awful that is. Probably the way Sue Klebold felt after Columbine.

  47. I think it might help by pushing Islamic leaders to confront it head on

    Human nature being what it is, domestic politics being what they are in Muslim countries, I think it would have exactly the opposite effect.

  48. How to win friends and influence them is as Rhett said very tricky because many times those friends don’t like each other very much.

  49. and off topic, but last night DS was crying when we talked about looking at houses, he is having so much fun with his grandparents (my in-laws)

  50. Terrorism comes in different forms!
    Colonization of land or mind Is a form of terrorism.

    I really get pissed when Rhett, Mooshi et all point to Hindu aggression and fight against seditious form of Christian evangelism that takes place in India or the Buddhist monks fight against Muslims.
    It is emblematic of head in sand approach of the Obama administration. So I would like to point out fundamental differences between terrorist acts committed under name of Islam today, although I don’t have much hope to changing minds here.

    In India, there is enormous amount of poverty and illiteracy and corresponding amount of suffering. All your donations to churches and Christian charities flow into lands like India. The evangelicals with their enormous bounty use subversive means to spread Christianity. Most of the tactics are directed towards those who are desperate beyond belief. One example is offer of money/other pricey stuff if the family converts etc. Desperate people will agree to anything. Politicians are bought and laws get passed supporting such activities. Previous government have known to pander to such non-Hindu elements. Churches and mosques get special breaks and subsidies. So on and on. The state of Hyderabad is now covered with churches around every corner. Most of the land was donated by Christian Minister. Once the family is so ensnared, it is taught to completely forego its previous beliefs or suffer consequences. Another method of subversive evangelism is that nowadays preachers dress up like a Hindu Saint or holy man would, Hindu religious texts and hymns are used and just the name is Christ replaces Hindu Gods. All in the name of making these new converts feel at home. Once the people of so completely fooled, they are then systematically alienated from the rest of the Hindu society. Since the targets are usually poor of the so called lower castes, much like Muslim fundamentalists, they are brainwashed into believing how they are discriminated against, how Hi du religion is bad, and hate is fomented toward the supposed upper castes. This is how that dual weapon of money and Hate is used to create a society divided along the lines or religion. Of course even after conversion to supposedly egalitarian Christiandom, caste is still used as a weapon to further divide the Society.The converts are now the new soldiers of the order. And the story continues.

    So what is the common Hindu person doing? Nothing really. Hinduism as a religion is not evangelical and is not equipped to fight against such subversive religious terrorism. A Hindu sees and observes these changes around him and feels immensely helpless and frustrated. The common man was never moneyed enough to even come close to fighting on that front with the missionaries with unending g money supply. The commo Hindu is not taught to spread his religion in the way Cheistians are. Hinduism has always been a live and let live religion. Christianity has been in India for a long time, but we hadnt seen the scale, deception and subversion in conversion activities like in the last 50 odd years. It keeps getting g worse every year. There is no organized entity like the church that will go about recruiting and training g people to proselytize. They have no resources. Their own government has let them down. So when you hear about these rare violent incidents, it is very situational. Some ordinary Hindu guy witnesses somethings that bothers him, but feels helpless to do anything about it and resorts to impulsive violence like a child without any other means. You can call it a mob attack. Not a terrorist attack. Many of the violence cases are falsely reported. Recently an attack on church was reported as done by a Hindu, when it was later prove that actually member of the church burned it down. Most of the media in India is owned/controlled by Christians.
    Thankfully people have new hope with the new government. There is better organization, better resources, and better awareness. Most importantly, there is mobilization among the youth. To adapt to the changing world and the onslaught of foreign ethos, the way of the Hindu has to change. We are concentrating on preventing conversions by better education, betterment of our people and welcoming back those who want to come back. The concept of evangelical Christianity is like a virus that needs to be fought with.

    The case with Buddhist monks fighting back is similar in Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

    Having said that, no Hindu condones violence. We have no ISIS /al-Qaeda (or take your pick) equivalent goading people to commit crimes and blow up innocents. So when you put your head in sand about Islamic terrorism and flip and call such sporadic reactionary violent incidents as “terrorism”, it says more about your naïveté and lack of worldly knowledge.

  51. For whatever the reason, it is very very easy for young Muslim men and women to get radicalized. In my own life, I have seen it numerous times.
    In college, we had a few great Muslim students in our class who came from totebaggy families. There was no outward hint of strict adherence to Muslim religious rules etc. We had same hopes and aspirations and same feeling of nationalism/patriotism. Then one day, some local Muslim leader looking to get some publicity and importance, rabble roused the Muslim population against a particular patriotic song. This song asked for bowing before mother India. Apparently a Muslim cannot now before anyone but Muhammad or Allah. So suddenly the entire Muslim student body was up in arms against this particular song. The same kids who did not have a problem with the song earlier, now got whipped up into a fervor that had to be seen. This was my first lesson in fickle radical nature is Islamic followers.
    I had a Muslim boyfriend who by all accounts was the most cosmopolitan, well travelled and well read guy. Socially extremely liberal and not at all religious. But after 9/11 the sh@t that came out of his mouth stunned me. Made me really glad that I had dropped him. His Facebook postings prove he is still on the same track. Terrorist attacks in this world only mean Buddhist monks attacking Muslims. I questioned my judgement after that. That was my second lesson.

  52. Lurker no more – glad to read that you don’t condone the violence because once any mob is on the march, there is no turning back.

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  53. I’m always reminded of the movie Arlington Road and Jeff Bridge’s character points out that everyone always wants to assume these events are one off and explain it away. I think that is some of the reason

    Orlando was an act of terrorism as was Boston, Oklahoma, San Bernadino, Istanbul and Fort Hood. Disenfranchised people are susceptible to being radicalized and aligning themselves with the ideals of terrorist groups. We need to get our heads out of the sand and recognize that terrorists don’t need to attend camp terror for 4 weeks to be considered one. They can stay in the comfort of their own homes and be just as dangerous.

    Then we do have an issue in this country with not treating mental health and not recognizing the seriousness of certain conditions and not having access to viable treatments. I have read the Sue Klebold book and found it enlightening.

  54. Louise, thanks for posting that quote from Martin Niemoller. He was a fascinating complicated man. He started out as a Protestant pastor with antisemitic views who supported the Nazis, changed his mind in 1934 after a meeting with Hitler, was sent to a concentration camp, and then requested to be released so that he could fight for Germany in the Navy (where he had served during WWI). He spent 7 years in concentration camps before being liberated at the end of the war, denounced the Allied de-nazification efforts, and then spent the rest of his life as a pacifist. The famous quote you posted came from speeches he gave after the war. https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007391

    Truth really is stranger than fiction sometimes.

  55. Loiuise, like I mentioned in my post, violence can take various forms. So yes, I condone them all.

  56. I’ve written here in the past about my thoughts of how self-esteem at levels not grounded in reality can lead to sociopathic behavior. I think that is a factor in many violent events, including the ones discussed above, whether they’re terrorism or not. Many of the perpetrators seem to be guys who are angry because their lives have not turned out as well as they thought they should’ve.

    I’ve seen changes in our society that appear to foster such levels of self-esteem, e.g., trophies for everyone.

    We’ve also become a society in which we’re quick to take offense at the smallest little slight.

    Combine those two, and I don’t think it’s a surprise that we’re seeing so many more such incidents. It also doesn’t help that there’s so much media coverage, our population has grown, and the internet makes it easy to learn how to commit such acts and maximize their destructiveness.

  57. The resentful male who turns violent is certainly an explanation for many workplace or school shootings. But an increasing number of Islamic terrorists worldwide are women, like the San Bernardino shooter.

  58. I wonder how changes in our society, like our attitudes and media coverage mentioned by Finn, have affected how we battle terrorism.  This came up in a discussion because today is the 100-year anniversary of the first day of the Battle of Somme, “one of the bloodiest battles in human history”.

    On this one day: “The Fourth Army took 57,470 casualties, of which 19,240 men were killed, the French Sixth Army had 1,590 casualties and the German 2nd Army had 10,000–12,000 losses.”

    Many more deaths in one day than suffered by the US in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.  If we thought the best way to tackle ISIS and their terror were to go annihilate them where they are, would we be willing to do it?  How many US deaths would that likely cost?  Are we being smart by considering all the possible unintended consequences of such a strategy?  I certainly don’t know, but I do wonder.

  59. I don’t see why women can’t also have excessive self-esteem leading to sociopathic behavior.

  60. Good morning!
    My first world annoyance for the day. I ordered Boden t shirts for my kid for the first time and recieved them yesterday. I have to say that I am pretty disappointed with the quality for the price. I paid $22 something for a toddler tshirt and would have gotten the exact same quality from a old navy/ target sale for about $5. The material is same basic t shirt quality and faded.

  61. How many US deaths would that likely cost?

    Zero, if we wanted to send a fleet of drones.

  62. We’ve also become a society in which we’re quick to take offense at the smallest little sligh

    You haven’t seen Hamilton yet I guess.

  63. Wine – prepared to be hooked. I totally didn’t think I would be but I was… I’m now almost through with her most recent novel, and have a compilation of e-novellas of hers to read this weekend.

    I missed a very interesting discussion…

  64. “You haven’t seen Hamilton yet I guess.”

    No, but very tangential to the OP, I saw Book of Mormon earlier this year.

  65. Rhode – :) I’m going to start it after I finish the 3rd book of The 5th Wave series
    have you read those?
    Loved the first 2, not as into this one so far

  66. “I don’t see why women can’t also have excessive self-esteem leading to sociopathic behavior.”

    Of course they can. But that sociopathic behavior is almost never a mass shooting of strangers.

  67. @Rhode — what is the most recent one? I’ve read all of her series that I know of, but that was last summer, so I may have missed something. Need vacation reading! :-)

  68. LfB – Book 1 of the Dark Artifices “Lady Midnight” (which has been called Dark Orifices in my house, because, well dyslexia.) It picks up 5 years after the City of Heavenly Fire leaves off following the Blackthorn and Carstairs families. You don’t really need to reread the Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices to read it though… you can catch up pretty quick. Also included is a short story (that’s a cliff hanger, of course) taking place at the same time as Lady Midnight but with the Fairchild/Herondale/Lightwoods.

    She also released the Bane Chronicles, which is a collection of short stories surrounding Magnus Bane. She’s releasing The Shadowhunter Academy this year/next year which is a collection of short stories about Simon’s adventures in the Shadowhunter Academy.

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