July 18, 2016

"Who Is a Terrorist, and Who Is Simply Deranged?"

Asks the NYT on its front page, leading to an article about "wanton violence by deranged attackers — whether in Nice or in Orlando, Fla." that "are swiftly judged to be the work of terrorists."
These judgments occur even when there is little immediate evidence that the attackers had direct ties to terrorist groups and when they do not fit a classic definition of terrorists as those who use violence to advance a political agenda.

“A lot of this stuff is at the fringes of what we would historically think of as terrorism,” said Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism and a professor at Dartmouth College. But, he said, “the Islamic State and jihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives” by dying in the name of a cause....

“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism,” he said.
There's nothing in this article about the shooting of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, but I wonder if the editors saw a need to make the point in the article to get out in front of thought processes that may lead people to begin to think of Black Lives Matters as a terrorist movement.

Madmen are acting alone and only haphazardly related to a movement they may have felt inspired by and wanted to seem to be part of.

107 comments:

damikesc said...

“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism,” he said.

If one claims one did the act for ISIS, I see no reason to discount their testimony.

Nobody had a single problem figuring out Root's reason for his killing spree. Why are these other one such an inscrutable mystery for these "experts"?

Hint: Nothing kills the façade of expertise like ignoring blatantly obvious things an expert would notice...

Haven't all Islamic terrorist actions officially been the act of a small group of people?

Bob Ellison said...

I don't understand the distinction between a terrorist and a deranged killer. Pundits seem to want to draw distinct lines there, and the motive for that seems political, not logistic.

gspencer said...

"to get out in from [sic, front] of thought processes that may lead people to begin to think of Black Lives Matters as a terrorist movement"

It's just one of those things. Ya gotta continuously be told how to think about X, since your eyes are telling ya not-X at the time; ya know, something altogether different.

It's a lot like Islam. If I weren't told that it was a Religion of Peace, I'd be tempted to draw another conclusion.

rhhardin said...

Terrorism is killing for a cause, deranged or not.

Islam itself is deranged. Nevertheless it's terrorism.

Terrorism does not mean producing terror. More often it produces entertainment and audience eyeballs and clicks.

It's just a question of how the word functions in fact.

Paul said...

All terrorists are deranged....

SJ said...

Relative to the people shooting at Policemen in Texas and Louisiana:

it's worth asking whether that is terrorism, or guerrilla warfare.

We have:

--former soldiers
--targeting uniformed authority figures
--ignoring non-uniformed people

This is a separate question from which "flag" a person will grab if their mind is unbalanced to the point of killing large numbers of people.

Islamists will grab the flag of ISIS/renewed-Caliphate. And are probably encouraged to do so by the leaders of those movements.

Others (like McVeigh in the 90s) may grab their own distorted view of America.

These people assaulting policemen, as grabbing a flag labeled Black Lives Matter. (Whether or not the leaders of that movement want to trigger guerrilla warfare, a few deranged ex-soldiers apparently want to try.)

Daniel Richwine said...

If part of a terrorist group's plan is to encourage deranged followers to engage in terror like activities, can we hold them responsible for when this comes about? Can they be held as an Agent Provocateur?

rhhardin said...

Don't forget thoughts and prayers Anthony Jeselnik

William said...

Madmen who lose it generally direct their rage at the ex-wife, the boss, the co-workers. They don't aim vehicles at kids and shout Allah Akhbar. I don't know whether Islamic fundamentalism causes or exacerbates mental illness, but it's certainly not therapeutic.

MisterBuddwing said...

It seems that "deranged individuals" are never to be found on the "other side."

PB said...

What a waste of time discussing this issue! If someone shoots a bunch of people and declares it in the name of Allah, who really cares if they are deranged or not? There's been enough of a pattern to conclude that the 20% or more of Muslims who support the most vile parts of the religion are the real problem.

Bob Ellison said...

SJ, good points.

Former military folks should be assumed to be more aggressive, on average, than most people. Someone who has been in a firefight in Iraq is likely to be more bad-ass than your average white guy in Manhattan.

They also tend to act on their emotions more than average. They commit suicide more often, for example. We should take care of these folks who take care of us.

David said...

“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism."

At the very least, it's good assumption to start with, unless disproven in a particular case.

And the fact that a person is deranged does not mean that he/she isn't a terrorist. The people who burn prisoners in metal cages and behead others are deranged. And they certainly are terrorists.

Phil 3:14 said...

Use a bulls eye: conspiracy and terror network
Cite ISIS: just crazy.

Brando said...

All depends on the purpose and the plan. I think it's safe to say Jared Loughner (sp?) was in the "madman" category, he was severely mentally off. If anything, I felt sorry for the guy even as I wanted him locked up so he'd no longer be a danger to others and hopefully given some sort of treatment. He didn't seem to know which end was up.

But a terrorist by definition intends to "terrorize"--it's why we don't really call serial killers or crazed random shooters "terrorists" when they don't appear to have the intention to spreading fear to achieve a political aim. If you can reasonably tie a person's actions (or words, or associations, or other evidence) to the goal of spreading terror to achieve a political goal, then it's a terrorist.

Larry J said...

Bob Ellison said...
I don't understand the distinction between a terrorist and a deranged killer. Pundits seem to want to draw distinct lines there, and the motive for that seems political, not logistic.


Often, it is a distinction without a difference. When a clearly mentally ill person goes on a rampage, that is a deranged killer. When someone kills in the name of an ideology, that is often terrorism. It's easy to conclude that no sane person would deliberately commit an act of mass murder but history seems to suggest otherwise. For example, some of the 9/11 hijackers spent over a year in the US learning to fly. You and I might call that evil or diabolical, but could an insane person commit to and execute such a long term plan?

jaydub said...

BLM is just a 2016 election year continuation of the 2012 election year Trayvon Martin get out the vote effort and the 2014 election year Michael Brown get out the vote effort. Only this time the Democrats completely lost control of the roused rabble, and as the Rev Wright would say, the chickens have come home to roost. The NYT has a reason to be worried because they helped create the chaos that is now consuming the intended 2016 narrative. Hopefully, that chaos doesn't also consume the country.

David said...

Terrorism has a long history. WW I was triggered by a terrorist from an anarchist tradition that had been active for about four decades. The burning of witches was part of a terrorist outbreak to enforce community and religious beliefs. As was the lynching of blacks in this country. None of these were centrally directed or controlled. They were in large part products of suggestive rhetoric and beliefs, and each action suggested more actions.

The New York Times needs a history lesson. As usual.

traditionalguy said...

Haphazard terrorists are the worst kind of terrorists. The NYT demands a better class of terrorists. And never mind that Muslim Ideology over there in the corner watching.

Lauderdale Vet said...

ISIS inspires lone wolves to touch places they would not be able to reach as a structured organization.

It's their business model, and their aim is terror.

Yes, they are terrorists.

donald said...

I think Donald Trump won this election yesterday if he can just keep from being his typical New York conman.

SandyColdfax said...

There is no reason terrorists can't be deranged and vice versa.

Also, deranged people are ripe for the picking by terrorist groups or extremist groups of any sort. It only takes a bit of well placed prompting to incite a deranged person to act out.

Big Mike said...

I dunno. The left never had any difficulty connecting acts of terrorism to the Tea Party, no matter how much effort they had to go to in order to make the connection. That includes far-left "news" web sites like Politico and Daily Kos, but also mainstream Democrat politicians like Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. In fact, Hillary is on record claiming that the entire slate of Republican Party candidates was a pack of terrorists.

But we're supposed to believe that genuine acts of violence committed by Muslims shouting "Allahu Akbar" and intended to further the goals of genuine Muslim terrorist organizations are not in any way shape or form connected to those terrorist organizations.

Uh huh.

The Drill SGT said...

Not all Muslims are Terrorists. But these days, most terrorists seem to be Muslim. There seems to be, (over the last 1500 years) a certain friction at the boundary between the Muslim world and the rest.

It's almost as though Dar al-Islam (The House of Peace) interacts poorly with the others known as:

Dar al-Kharb (House of War)
Dar al-Garb (House of the West)
Dar al-Kufr (House of the Heathen)

see any pattern?

mezzrow said...

This is a pretty good answer regarding the Nice ISIS-inspired massacre. If the perps cared about us, they would treat us as people and not shoot us or blow us up. We are so much the other to them that we don't register as human. We're good at building pleasant places to live with abundant food and recreation, though.

Still, infidel. Submit or die.

http://atimes.com/2016/07/why-the-terrorists-are-winning-the-intelligence-war/

PB said...

define "haphazardly". it seems like a very relative term with no standards other than "purely random" and I don't think even deranged Muslim killers are haphazard.

People have choices. If they commit a crime in the name of Allah, who are we to argue? It's a waste of time.

Ken B said...

A sometimes useful pseudo word is "valorize " . What does Islam valorize? Killing unbelievers. Even if an attack is just someone "snapping", the perpetrator's value system matters.
But I don't buy the snapping much. We see planned and prepared attacks. Looks like true believers working towards a goal.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The real fun is going to start in about 10 years when the Saudi Arabian government collapses once they run out of money (oil revenues are going to continue to decline) and Iran gets some nukes (unless Israel pro-actively nukes them.)

lgv said...

Deranged...Madmen....

vs. terrorists.

One could make the argument they are not deranged. They went through a logical though process to get to where they ended up. Poor me, my life sucks, but if follow my holy book and give my life to Allah by killing infidels, my sucky life will be rewarded in heaven.

Deranged vs. terrorist. You can make an argument either way or even for both. This article exists for the sole purpose of diverting the events away from Islam and ISIS for political reasons.

Rae said...

Remember when there were "lone wolf terrorists"? They've changed that narrative, because it didn't work. Now they're just deranged. The truth is that the deranged are military assets to the cause of Islamism.

Arguably, the Western press is also an asset to the cause.

Curious George said...

“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism,” he said."

All of a sudden? Wow.

Eustace Chilke said...

Who Is a Terrorist, and Who Is Simply Deranged?

I can reliably see who is a terrorist. I'd rather ask who is a journalist and who is simply a propagandist.

Derek Kite said...

This is the thrashing about of second rate minds when reality intrudes into their tidy little worldview.

cubanbob said...

"Who Is a Terrorist, and Who Is Simply Deranged?"
Asks the NYT on its front page, leading to an article about "wanton violence by deranged attackers — whether in Nice or in Orlando, Fla." that "are swiftly judged to be the work of terrorists."
These judgments occur even when there is little immediate evidence that the attackers had direct ties to terrorist groups and when they do not fit a classic definition of terrorists as those who use violence to advance a political agenda."

There should be a tag for progressive house organ. All the propaganda and deflection fit to print. That is the unofficial motto of the NYT.

n.n said...

So, The New York Times defends [class] diversity mongers. They're not exactly principled. Actually, quite selective, to the point of indulging in fantasy. Principles matter despite the opportunistic doctrines of the State-established Church.

n.n said...

Mass killing... Mass abortion. The New York Times is hiding the truth behind the dark fringes of a thinly veiled fantasy.

Fernandinande said...

“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism,”

Terrorist is as terrorist does.

But, not terrorism for some reason (wrong perps and victims?):
14 Shot in Drive-by Shooting Outside House Party in South Bakersfield

JAORE said...

If it conflicts with the official narrative of the NYT's preferred administration it is a lone wolf, copy cat, deranged person.

If it advances their narrative, terrorist.

Easy peasy.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Back in the old days, back when we were all living in caves, before firearms and explosives and trucks and stuff had been invented, the best a terrorist could do was maybe start an avalanche of boulders.

Terry said...

On Sept. 15, 2001, Frank Roque shot and killed a Sikh, Balbir Singh Sodi. Though Sodi was not a Muslim, Roque made remarks at the time that suggested the shooting was in retaliation for the 9/11 terrorists attacks. Roque was eventually tried and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Sodi.
Roque had plead insanity. He had a history of mental health issues. His mother had been treated for schizophrenia. Roque claimed that he heard voices telling him to kill Muslims.
Nevertheless, the Sodi murder is invariably included on lists of post-9/11 R wing terrorism by liberal web sites such as Alternet and HuffPo.

mtrobertslaw said...

In the very rare case where an individual is so out of it that he actually perceives a cop, not as a cop, but as a brown bear about to attack him, it is reasonable to call him deranged.

But if someone kills a cop because he was influenced by BLM, Reverend Wright or Obama's rhetoric, he's a terrorist.

Mike said...

Somehow the amused rants of our lovable little fuzzball, Rush Limbaugh, get twisted by demagogues and he is accused by the POTUS of inspiring Tim McVeigh, and suddenly what was intelligent entertainment becomes "hate radio" to the arbiters of culture. Somehow routine talk of "targeting districts" and "defeating opponents" became Sarah Palin's evil powers of persuasion as the entire MSM tried to blame her for a crazed liberal gunman. We conservatives are routinely accused of secret handshakes and "dog whistles" and hidden racism. The media try SO HARD to find blame in their enemies and excuses for their compatriots.

Look how they go all Hamlet over radical islamic terrorism! Is it or isn't it? What in the world could be motivating these young men? Cut down a tree and people say you ain't no lumberjack. But go on ONE mass murder spree and they call you a terrorist! What a puzzler to the over-educated...

William said...

I read some of the postings that Gavin Long made to social media. He seemed a bit grandiose, but he was far from deranged. That's even more chilling.....This might be how a rational man responds to the rhetoric of the BLM protesters.......I think it's kind of deranged to describe the BLM people as non violent.

Terry said...

BLM is a Black nationalist movement. Black nationalists believe that they are involved in a race war against whites. Though they usually call their enemy 'white supremacy', it amounts to the same thing. This is why the BLM people mention 'white supremacy' and 'white privilege' again and again. They are obsessed with the idea of 'black bodies', because it reduces them to simply a physical expression of 'blackness'. You can change where you live, how you speak, how you are educated, how you dress, but you can never change your 'black body.'

readering said...

Althouse has weird notions about what goes on over at the NYT.

Fernandinande said...

Heather Mac Donald has some "guest posts" on Volokh.
"Police shootings and race"

Volokh's introduction to her got a very hostile response from the commenters, which often indicates the truthiness of the stimulus.

Marc Puckett said...

Just the other night I watched a film about the Casablanca bombings in 200...2? anyway, after 9/11, called Les Chevaux de Dieu, Horses of God. Jonathan Demme and a Morrocan director. Very interesting depiction of the link between terrorism and madness. Distinguishable of course but not unconnected.

Sebastian said...

“A lot of this stuff is at the fringes of what we would historically think of as terrorism,” said Daniel Benjamin. True, in the sense that traditional terror served an indirect political purpose, using civilian losses to soften up a target and defeat an enemy. But of course, terror mutates. Fringe terror isn't any less terrorizing, and anarchic terror for the sake of terror is itself a way of softening up the west. The Prog move to say "it's-not-terror, it's-not-Islam" itself reflects that softening.

“the Islamic State and jihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives” by dying in the name of a cause. So we are dealing with "Islamic" terror, using an Islamic paradigm to give meaning to private suffering, in the form of mass death, after all.

"“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism,” he said." Not all of a sudden, bud. Simply in light of a very long string of Muslim terror. Of course, our expert does not explain precisely how well defined or subtly executed a mass killing has to be before we can legitimately call it terrorism.

buwaya puti said...

Traditional terrorists were often screwed up people. Many were caught up in what would otherwise be called cults.
Also, note, that both of the most recent US terrorists were apparently involved with Middle Eastern women with Islamic fundamentalist links. I suspect a deliberate plot, with more organization than is so far apparent.
The Orlando killers wife was apparently permitted to flee the country, I see a report today that she may be in Jordan.

holdfast said...

"But, he said, “the Islamic State and jihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives” by dying in the name of a cause...."

This is old news to anyone who's been paying attention - Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizb'Allah have been using this technique in the West Bank and Gaza for decades. Find someone who's breached "community standards" - for guys, being gay is a big one, or guys who at some point worked with the Israelis, whether as an informant or just as a laborer at an Israeli business - for women it's usually adultery (i.e. being raped) and/or getting pregnant out of wedlock. Dying in an attack on the hated enemy extirpates all the sins, and often results in a nice cash payout to the family.

Terry said...

Robert Deer and Scott Roeder fit the profile of unhinged American f*ck ups who probably tried to redeem themselves by killing abortionists. The difference between Deer and Roeder, and people like Omar Mateen and Mohamed Bouhlel is that Deer and Roeder served no higher cause than their own obsession. They are an army of one, they aren't trying to do anything but act out of anger. They aren't part of a larger movement, trying to further the goals of that larger movement.
So Deer killed three and Roeder killed one. Mateen killed 49 and Bouhlel killed 84.
Ironically, Obama's idea that terrorism is not that big of a deal because the numbers of the dead aren't that high and the perpetrators aren't organized describes R wing terrorism, but not BLM terrorism, and not Islamic terrorism.

Paul Snively said...

Because it's so hard to tell if Islamic terrorism is a motivator when you have a Muslim attacker yelling "Allahu Akbar!" while he slaughters a dozen innocent people. I mean, really, it could be anything. In particular, if the attacker is an employee of the attack site, it's simply workplace violence, right? And let's remember that the real problem here is guns, which, if you took them away from the millions of law-abiding owners of them, would clearly decrease both criminal and terroristic use of guns.

That this is only slightly tongue-in-cheek by way of comparison to actual religious and political commentary by people who purport to be serious thinkers about such issues in American life tells you 100% of what you need to know about the rise of Donald Trump as a credible Presidential candidate.

Well, that and the fact that we had a red diaper baby President for eight years. Jesus wept.

eric said...

Imagine the New York Times writing this sentence.

"If there is a shooting and the guy is a member of the KKK, all of a sudden it's racism."

Yeah, I can't either.

Owen said...

Excellent comments. My own amateur theory is that we all have our internal narrative. It is an economical model of the environment we're in and how best to manage our way through it. It contains both positives (do this) and negatives (don't do that). Deranged people have narratives that differ in important ways from the ones that society expects or can tolerate. When the deranged narrative changes the positives and negatives to, say, "unicorns are good" and "spiders are bad," nobody is likely to care much. When it changes them to "Islam is good" and "infidels are bad" people soon are made to care a whole lot. Similarly if they change to "Blacks are victims" and "cops are murdering Blacks."

The derangement moves from random individual breakdown to systematic collective aggression across a spectrum of influence. At one end, the person who is too deranged even to load the gun and aim, let alone for a "cause." At the other extreme, a mastermind who plans operations across great spans of time and space and inspires legions to follow him. In between: lots of angry losers tuning in to Hate HQ. Black Lives Matter, ISIS websites: different points on the spectrum of social pathology.

As usual the Times wants to set up a binary and straw-man the problem away.

Kate said...

A crazy person (bipolar, schizophrenic) acts against his own moral character. His illness turns him into a victim, too. Once the illness is treated, and the person is told what he did, he's horrified.

A terrorist may one day regret his actions, but he acted with moral agency and is responsible.

If this country would have an honest discussion about mental illness (alert: pet peeve rant) we would treat these people *before they killed someone. It's humane, it's safe and it's necessary.

Fernandinande said...

Ta-Nehisi Coates Only #2 on Baton Rouge Terrorist's Recommended Reading List

MikeR said...

Bayesian inference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_inference
When we heard about the horrific attack in Nice, we all said, probably a Muslim. Right? Now someone wants to say that that's a coincidence.

Paul from Minneapolis said...

I've actually been wondering a little what it would do to our approach (if anything) if we started thinking of mass suicidal killings committed by Muslims as a mental health crisis, the worst mental health crisis ever.

Because it sure does start to seem that a mentally unstable Muslim, especially a younger male though not exclusively of course, is basically a time bomb. If this really does start to be a too-common way such people commit suicide, that's a big problem.

Please note, I'm not looking to downplay the terrorism label or minimize the culpability of Islam. And I don't think perceiving it this way necessarily leads to a softer response, at all.

Terry said...

Kate said...
. . .
It's humane, it's safe and it's necessary.

If only it were effective!
How do you convince a Muslim that killing people to defend your religion, and to punish sinners, is wrong when that is clearly what Mohamed did and urged his followers to do?

Paul from Minneapolis said...

Reading Kate's comment a few above my own about seeing the issue as mental health crisis leads me to want to clarify: I do not believe that 'treatment' or 'therapy' would offer much utility.

Owen said...

One aspect of Islam that I can't figure out is the collision between absolute rules and individual initiative. As I understand it, the text of the Q'ran is inviolate, the perfect and unchanging word of God. So when it says "kill the infidel wherever you may find him," it is not inviting any discussion about penumbras and "real meanings."

At the same time, the faith is almost entirely decentralized. Each believer is in charge of his or her interpretation and application of the doctrine, and can (self-electively) become an imam who influences others. It's not a formal hierarchy with an identifiable and unambiguous system of command and control.

So you have this amazing combination of lethal injunctions and completely "democratized" applications of them. The "lone wolf" idea seems almost as inadequate as the notion that we can only call it "ISIS terrorism" when we see a countersigned memo from Raqqa.

Paul Snively said...

MikeR: Bayesian inference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_inference

"The power of Bayes' theorem lies in the fact that it relates the quantity of interest, the probability that the hypothesis is true given the data, to the term we have a better chance of being able to assign, the probability that we would have observed the measured data if the hypothesis was true."

Devinderjit Sivia;John Skilling. Data Analysis: A Bayesian Tutorial (p. 6). Kindle Edition.

Just so. It isn't that the probability "terrorist" is high, given the evidence "Muslim." It's that the probability "Muslim" is high, given the evidence "terrorist."

mockturtle said...

To quote Hillary, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

stutefish said...

I predict that Black Lives Matter will become a terrorist organization by the end of the decade.

If you keep insisting that Islamic terrorism is a reasonable expression of legitimate grievance against western society, sooner or later other groups with grievances will internalize the message.

Paul from Minneapolis said...

"So you have this amazing combination of lethal injunctions and completely 'democratized' applications of them."

Yeah, the structure of the religion itself is a huge problem even if you ignore the words of Mohammed. It just lends itself to power-hungry/violent demagogues in positions of power. It's hard to see how a power-hungry but peace-loving imam would have much success or last very long.

Owen said...

Paul Snively @ 11:06: "...It isn't that the probability 'terrorist' is high, given the evidence 'Muslim.' It's that the probability 'Muslim' is high, given the evidence 'terrorist.'"

Very well put. Thanks.

I feel that Bayesian logic is like M. Jourdan's prose in "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme." We all use it, but we often find it hard to conceptualize it.

Terry said...

Blogger Owen said...
. . .
As I understand it, the text of the Q'ran is inviolate, the perfect and unchanging word of God. So when it says "kill the infidel wherever you may find him," it is not inviting any discussion about penumbras and "real meanings."
. . .

You can't read the NT without exegesis. The texts contradict each other or give different accounts of the same historical incident.
There is a tradition of Islamic exegesis of the Koran, but it is weaker than the Christian tradition of exegesis of the NT, and Muslims exegesis is usually a more transparent attempt to adopt the unchanging word of God to a changing culture.

Owen said...

Terry @ 11:17: "...There is a tradition of Islamic exegesis of the Koran, but it is weaker than the Christian tradition of exegesis of the NT,…"

Apparently so. The NT's disparities do not seem as extreme, i.e. whether the text requires us to kill the infidel or merely enslave them. And in any case after many centuries of bloody disputation we seem to have reached a mutually-satisfactory accommodation over whether the divinity is one, three or something else. Islam has never done so. Can it? If it does not, what hope do we have?

Kate said...

Believing in Islam is not a mental illness. Killing in the name of Islam is not a mental illness.

Treating the bipolar or schizophrenic (people with a diagnosed mental illness) with drugs, especially before they become ill enough to hurt someone, is crucial and something we currently don't practice.

Trying to name a religious belief as a mental illness is a dangerous threat to the 1st Amendment.

Owen said...

Kate @ 11:24: "...Trying to name a religious belief as a mental illness is a dangerous threat to the 1st Amendment."

I could not agree more. But I think we are all struggling with the problem of behavior explicitly driven by doctrine that purports to be religious. The Reformation and the Peace of Westphalia were how the West got past the existential struggle of faith. We turned inward and created a zone of conscience, individuals working things out with their Maker. It was no longer OK to kill and conquer others because they did not share one's view.

Now we encounter a system of belief that requires exactly that. What do we do? If we try to meet the believers with tolerance, and they return the favor with bloodshed and tyranny, what do we do?

I take no credit for noticing this. Samuel Huntington nailed it decades ago.

Paul from Minneapolis said...

If you're addressing me, Kate, I'm not suggesting labeling Islam a mental illness. I'm suggesting that a rash of suicidal/mass homicidal acts by the mentally ill could logically be seen as a mental health crisis, and that it would be strange not to at least notice the particular population from which these acts are mainly coming.

mikee said...

This whole business of assigning blame to the person and cause to their actions misses the much more important purpose of assigning blame to the firearm used and cause to the legal ownership of firearms.

Get with the program, people, or that pesky 2nd Amendment won't ever go away!

/s really hard.

Freder Frederson said...

The Reformation and the Peace of Westphalia were how the West got past the existential struggle of faith. We turned inward and created a zone of conscience, individuals working things out with their Maker. It was no longer OK to kill and conquer others because they did not share one's view.

Are you serious? The west continued their bloody European wars and the killing, enslavement and conquest of others for 300 years (arguably longer) after the Peace of Westphalia.

The Protestants and Catholics in Ireland were killing each other until the dawn of the 21st Century.

Robert Cook said...

"I don't understand the distinction between a terrorist and a deranged killer."

Oy vey!

Owen said...

Freder Frederson: "...Are you serious?"

Yes. But I am also writing at a super-general level. The religious and sectarian slaughters went on at regional and local level but they were no longer national policy. That was a huge conceptual break.

Did I not express that clearly, or did you just look for a way to start a useless argument?

I am not interested in fighting. If my thinking is fundamentally wrong, please correct. Maybe we can do more on this forum than just vent.

Robert Cook said...

"At the very least, it's good assumption to start with, unless disproven in a particular case."

Why is any assumption a good place to start? A good place to start is to have no preconceptions and to let the fact tell the story as they are found. Starting with an assumption can lead one to look only for self-confirming data and to ignore data that points to other conclusions.

MikeR said...

"The Protestants and Catholics in Ireland were killing each other until the dawn of the 21st Century." Seems to be missing a point somehow. They weren't killing each other because of religion, that is, for the sin of apostasy or to spread the rule of that religion or anything like that. They were killing each other because they were enemies, and the religion was a convenient way to delineate the teams.

Owen said...

Robert Cook @ 12:35: "Why is any assumption a good place to start?" To quote a great man, "Are you serious?"

The fact is, nobody starts from a truly blank slate. You have to organize the world around hypotheses. Ideally you start with an attitude of humility; look at the initial data and construct a tentative hypothesis, with enormous humility. Listening, not dictating. Watching, soft focus, not aiming, hard focus.

My theory, anyway. If you go in hard with your preconceived notion, you will generally get hurt. Chances are very high that your super-polished narrative is not right. Stop polishing and start observing.

mockturtle said...

Paul Snively: Just so. It isn't that the probability "terrorist" is high, given the evidence "Muslim." It's that the probability "Muslim" is high, given the evidence "terrorist."

Mr. Snively, will you marry me? ;-)

Owen said...

MikeR @ 12:38: "...They were killing each other because they were enemies, and the religion was a convenient way to delineate the teams."

Yup. The religious alignment was convenient for those selling programs to explain the line-up and how to score the fight, but it was, if not spurious, at least secondary to what was motivating them to fight.

No question that ancestral doctrinal disputes can haunt us, but how often do young men pick up the gun to avenge their great-grandfathers' disagreements over flesh and spirit? Typically it is a mix of why the other side gets all the government handouts, and the need to show one's pub-mates that one is truly tough.

Religion is not the real driver. Islam? Different? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Chuck said...

Charles Blow, writing in that same New York Times, said of Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof; "This was a savage act of barbarism by a young man baptized in a theology of race hate."

Anybody think that Charles Blow will say of the Dallas and Baton Rouge cop killings that they were savage acts of barbarism by young men baptized in a theology of race hate?

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/22/opinion/charles-blow-in-charleston-a-millennial-race-terrorist.html

Owen said...

Chuck @ 12:55: "...Anybody think that Charles Blow will say of the Dallas and Baton Rouge cop killings…"

Where do we place our bets? This is easy money.

mockturtle said...

Religion is not the real driver. Islam? Different? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Given that Islam's goal is worldwide sharia law [even at the point of the sword], I'd say that it is different. It is clearly not based on socioeconomic inequalities nor a matter of political power or wealth and it has spanned the centuries virtually unchanged.

Birkel said...

Anybody who brings up Freedom of Religion when discussing a political ideology of conquest and subjugation is talking out of the wrong bodily hole.

The German Nazis and Japanese Fascists of the 1940s do not get a pass because of their religious inclinations.

buwaya said...

There are several peaceful, even pacifist Moslem heresies and syncretic religions. Almost all have some charismatic leader that is personally venerated - which veneration of holy men orthodox Sunni Islam is dead-set against. There are no revelations after Mohammed in orthodox Islam.

One of course is the Baha'i, which is both revelatory and syncretic.
Others are the Ahmadis, much persecuted in Pakistan, and the modern Ismailis (and their veneration of an individual leader is why the Agha Khan is so wealthy).
Shiites in the west are also rarely a problem, and rarely have been in terms of being bad neighbors of other peoples, Hezbollah notwithstanding (and notably Hezbollah are Arabs). They have been much more put upon than otherwise.

Moslems aren't all alike. The cultural memes of predation upon the unbeliever are pretty specific to certain strains and traditions. These are very big ones though.

mockturtle said...

buwaya Moslems aren't all alike. The cultural memes of predation upon the unbeliever are pretty specific to certain strains and traditions. These are very big ones though.

Those who adhere to the teachings of the Qur'an.

Owen said...

buwaya @ 1:40: "...Moslems aren't all alike. The cultural memes of predation upon the unbeliever are pretty specific to certain strains and traditions. These are very big ones though."

It would be amazing if a belief system claiming 1.5 Billion of us was "alike" in all respects or even many. I guess as a Westerner my attitude is one of tolerance. Whatever. But where there emerges from that tumultuous mixture a threat to me and mine, I want to zap it right quick.

So: what are the indicia, what are the rules of engagement? Do we shoot Sunnis on sight? I don't think so. But do we wait to be slaughtered? Again, I don't think so.

Looking for practical tools to manage the encounter. IF we can't find fine-grained tools, we end up with coarse-grained ones. Generally in the 20-200 kiloton range.

buwaya said...

I would use a religious/national test indeed, for immigrants at least.

For instance I would ban Pakistani immigrants, unless they were certifiably Christians, Hindus (there are still a few there), Ahmadis, Shiites. I would use the local and US-based religious authorities of these faiths to verify their bona fides.
Similarly from Egypt I would permit Copts, and so on.

There is no reason for immigration law to be stupid.

Kate said...

Owen @11:32:

-Pull all of our troops out of the Middle East.
-Cancel visas from the ME.
-Temporarily stop immigration from the ME until fine-toothed-comb vetting is in place.
-Deport criminal non-citizens.
I'm astonished that these tactics are considered controversial, especially the last one.

And then we can start to talk about the more difficult measures. Closing mosques (or churches, or temples) that advocate killing fellow Americans would be my first suggestion. The point is, our government must begin somewhere, do something, besides jaw-jaw.

bbkingfish said...

Ann Althouse said...

"There's nothing in this article about the shooting of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, but I wonder if the editors saw a need to make the point in the article to get out in front of thought processes that may lead people to begin to think of Black Lives Matters as a terrorist movement."

Both the Dallas and Baton Rouge cop killers were well-trained professional killers. The Dallas murderer was trained by the US Army, and served in Afghanistan. And the Baton Rouge killer was a returned Iraq veteran, trained by the USMC, in which he served honorably for five years.

The Perfesser knows her audience as well as Ann Romney did, but panders to it far more disgracefully.

Sammy Finkelman said...

This killer didn't have a cause so the story was on the bottom of page 19 in the New York Post

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/17/us/florida-hospital-shooting/index.html

mockturtle said...

Owen & Kate: Owen @11:32:

-Pull all of our troops out of the Middle East.
-Cancel visas from the ME.
-Temporarily stop immigration from the ME until fine-toothed-comb vetting is in place.
-Deport criminal non-citizens.
I'm astonished that these tactics are considered controversial, especially the last one.

And then we can start to talk about the more difficult measures. Closing mosques (or churches, or temples) that advocate killing fellow Americans would be my first suggestion. The point is, our government must begin somewhere, do something, besides jaw-jaw.


Yes and yes!

hombre said...

Owen said: "I could not agree more. But I think we are all struggling with the problem of behavior explicitly driven by doctrine that purports to be religious."

"Purports" is the key word here.The trilogy of Muslim holy books demands that Muslims dominate infidels politically and culturally. This is clearly calling for political action not religious action. Terrorism is a political tool.

The confusion derives from the anti-Christian drivel spewed by lefties who are ignorant of the nature, the history and teaching of Islam and insist on likening it to Christianity and Judaism to further their own political ends.

Obama and Hillary are teaching us that this likening is a perilous course. Obama should know better.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Kate said...
Owen @11:32:

-Pull all of our troops out of the Middle East.
-Cancel visas from the ME.
-Temporarily stop immigration from the ME until fine-toothed-comb vetting is in place.
-Deport criminal non-citizens.


I had to stop there, Kate, and ruefully laugh. Deport criminal illegal aliens? Perish the thought. Check this bad boy out:



Politifact: Cruz's Claim Obama Admin. Released 104k Criminal Illegal Aliens - Half True

Politifact spins HARD but the terrible reality is just too plain to escape. Witness one fact - Politifact thinks it exonerates the Obama admin by saying that 72% of the 169 released illegal aliens with murder convictions were released without Obama admin discretion (at the direction of a federal statue or judge, etc). But...that means 18%, or about 30 people--people who had prior criminal convictions for murder--WERE released based on Obama Admin. discretion! Politifact thinks that's just dandy, and knocks half the truth rating off Cruz's statement 'cause of it.
Oh, and also, they think Cruz is half-lying because 68k criminal illegal aliens weren't detained at all--'cause that somehow makes things better and not obviously worse for the Obama Admin. His agency decides not to even detain 68,000 illegal aliens with criminal records--they come across and process these people but decide it's not worth it to hold them and deport them at all. So yeah, Cruz was waaaay off base. It's ridiculous.

So let's get real, Kate - ain't nobody gonna deport no criminal non-citizens. Also--it's racist to even suggest that. I'm sure you feel the shame your racists thoughts should inspire.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

bbkingfish said...Both the Dallas and Baton Rouge cop killers were well-trained professional killers. The Dallas murderer was trained by the US Army, and served in Afghanistan. And the Baton Rouge killer was a returned Iraq veteran, trained by the USMC, in which he served honorably for five years.

It's tough not to personally insult you for that comment, bbkingfish, but I'll do my best to reply honoring the rules Professor A would like us to follow here.

Do you mean to imply that the tens of thousands of veterans currently living in the United States are a danger to public safety right now, or was that unintentional?

narciso said...

shockingly they are behind the mark,

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/World/2016/Jul-18/362715-italy-probes-man-who-spoke-to-nice-attacker-hours-before-massacre.ashx?utm_content=buffer4b16c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I like Mark Steyn's "Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves." There is nothing to dislike.

Robert Cook said...

"bbkingfish said...'Both the Dallas and Baton Rouge cop killers were well-trained professional killers. The Dallas murderer was trained by the US Army, and served in Afghanistan. And the Baton Rouge killer was a returned Iraq veteran, trained by the USMC, in which he served honorably for five years.'

"It's tough not to personally insult you for that comment, bbkingfish, but I'll do my best to reply honoring the rules Professor A would like us to follow here.

"Do you mean to imply that the tens of thousands of veterans currently living in the United States are a danger to public safety right now, or was that unintentional?"


I can't speculate what bbkingfish might mean by his remark, but I would suggest that we we consider this: we trained these men to do a job. Consider the jobs they each did here, and the horror and anguish they have caused. Now imagine the thousands of our troops doing that job abroad, and consider the horror and anguish--and anger--that we have caused. That we don't see it and can't know or identify with the people we're killing--certainly not all and possibly not even predominantly "terrorists"--doesn't mean it's not happening.

I use quote marks because we so abuse the term. Who are we killing? Who are these "terrorists?" Are they members of Al Qaeda or ISIS or other similar groups? Some, even many, yes, undoubtedly. Are they people who want to repel violent invaders from their lands? That's doubtful. (I can't imagine many people who would care enough about armed soldiers breaking down their doors and shooting up their weddings and funerals to get royally pissed off and fight back, can you?) Are they people who just want to keep their heads down and live their lives, who may even welcome us there as protectors against the malevolent forces who target them, yet who we don't differentiate from "the enemy," and who therefore are as apt to be terrorized or killed by our forces as any actual Muslim extremists?

The truth is, we don't think about the daily violence of life over there, and much of that violence is done by us, or has been unleashed by us, or is in response to us. We have ineradicably changed life in the Middle East for thousands, perhaps millions of people, yet we don't give a thought to it. We're not just damaging or ending the lives of so many people there, we're damaging or ending the lives of our soldiers who fight there, and their families. We're bankrupting our nation, spending trillions on killing and killing machines, while our citizens want for jobs, for affordable health care, for healthy air and water and functional civic infrastructure, for a future.

wildswan said...

One thing I note is that many of these "deranged" people were abusing women in one way or another. The police stepped in and stopped them and these men ended up in serious trouble. The Nice killer, for example, had lost his job and was about to lose his wife and children though remaining responsible for their support. That is a guy who could be suicidal. In an Islamic society he wouldn't have been in as much trouble - beating his wife would have been OK, divorce would have been easy, he would not have to support her and the children, he could have taken the children and remarried, etc. So it was quite rational for him to support sharia over French law.

A lot of the other Islamic terrorists were doing things to women that would be OK in Islamic society. But hitting women and over-controlling them got them into trouble here and the police enforced those laws. So perhaps we need to look for men of Islamic background who are treating women in such a way that they would be OK in Islamic society but have gotten themselves into a lot of trouble in Western society. Perhaps lone-wolf terrorists come from this group. Then it would be a false dichotomy to say - mentally ill vs. terrorist

bbkingfish said...

I must point out that the quote HoodlumDoodlum cites implies nothing about any veterans other than the two recent mass murderers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, respectively.

In fact, it is difficult to know what he might be talking about.

But, since you bring it up, HD, you must have heard of the disorder called PTSD which plagues many, many thousands of returning vets. Most of them receive insufficient therapy before being mainstreamed back into civilian society.

Their untreated mental illness results in many, of them having the potential of a ticking time bomb, as we have seen so tragically in the last two weeks.





Eric Landgraf said...

So where would you place John Brown and John Wilkes Booth on this continuum?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ok bbkingfish & Robert Cook, I hear you- we all hear you.

Veterans are dangerous and should be thought of as potential murders (and as such a danger to society), but it's not really their fault since they all have PTSD (or, I guess, we have to assume they all do--for our own safety).

It's fun to think about how the "baby killers" slur from the 60's has evolved. The current iteration is clever in that it manages to place the blame for these dangerous potential murders squarely at the feet of, you know, former President Bush (since he started illegal wars, made these otherwise good men join the military and become trained killers, then put them into battle where they all got PTSD, etc).

Nowhere in your worldview do individuals have agency, of course, but that's to be expected. Anyway, we get it--military veterans are dangerous and should be thought of as little more than brain-damaged zombie potential mass murderers. I thank you for clarifying your remarks.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

bbkingfish said...
Their untreated mental illness results in many, of them having the potential of a ticking time bomb, as we have seen so tragically in the last two weeks.


I'm not even going to ask if you have any evidence that either of these to murderers suffered from PTSD, bbkingfish--your assumption that they did is all we need to understand how you think.

Both of these guys stated their reasons for committing murder--both were very vocal about why they did what they did--but no; you KNOW it's because of PTSD (and their dangerous military training, the combination of which makes thousands of other veterans "ticking time bombs" of murder).

HoodlumDoodlum said...

But never forget, everyone: the Left loves the troops!

Sure, they see them as stupid, dangerous, damaged "ticking time bombs"--but they support the troops.

Unknown said...

Funny thing, HooDoo, they say that, but I doubt they actually feel that way IRL. If they were really afraid of them, they would be nicer, kinder, more courteous - as they are with Muslims.

Kirk Parker said...

Brando @ 7:43am,

Part of the problem we are having with the distinction between "madman" and "terrorist" is this.

Yes, "political aim" is the best way to distinguish the two, but here's the rub: for the Jihadists that political aim is very, very low. Nothing as grandiose as "Cuba libre!" or "US Out Of [wherever]"... just killing a few kuffar is aim enough.



buwaya,

"There is no reason for immigration law to be stupid."

Other than longstanding tradition, you mean.

protestmanager said...

"Who Is a Terrorist, and Who Is Simply Deranged?"

I'm sure we all know the Left's answer:

If it can be "blamed" on "the Right" it's "terrorism". If the attacker is Muslim, or "of the Left", then it's just a "deranged lone individual."