terrorists vs. murderers

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

    "Terrorists" seems to have a certain cachet, attracting all sorts of angry people. "Murderers" seems much more commonplace. I believe the world would be a better place if ISIS et al. were called murderers rather than terrorists.
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    They can be both.
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Trying to change language to get more control over political objectives is doubleplusungood.
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  7. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    I think mathman, psychotic imbecilic meglomaniacs would hit the spot rather well.
  8. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    You should cite the accepted definitions and explain why they do/don't fit as justification for changing the label.
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    I'd call them chickenshits for they only murder innocent hostages and don't fight like real soldiers at all.
  10. wellwisher Banned Banned

    A murderer usually operates as a single entity that moves to the beat of their own inner drum. A crime of passion is an isolated event between two people, that materializes in the mind of one person. A terrorist is part of a group and an agenda. This is not the same. If we call a terrorist a murderer, this helps shield the leaders and the impact of their agenda since it implies lone wolf and not a hierarchy. For example, if we call a mafia hit man a lone wolf murderer, and not an enforcer, this isolates the bosses who make this all possible.

    Say we had a class room of students where one student, as a lone wolf, causes destruction to school property. In another school, we have a class room of students where the teacher is disgruntled and gets his entire class worked up, such that some of the students take the initiative and also destroy school property.

    Even if the same amount of destruction occurs, this is not the same due to the single agent versus the extended connections and motivating factors. If we call the second scenario due to lone wolves, this shields the teacher who make it all possible. For some reason Obama and the democrats are trying to shield the instigators with language propaganda. This distortion is being taught to the liberal herd until they can form a human shield of ignorance to hide behind.

    What is interesting, when the White House deals with the issue of obesity, it uses a one size fits all solution that lumps both the overweight and the skinny; tax for all on sugar drinks. When it deals with Muslim terrorists it does not tax everyone Muslim, so to speak, but makes excuses for everyone to avoid the same government strong arming.

    In the first case, the language is too broad to where it overlaps a potential health problem with healthy people so it can strong arm everyone including the innocent. In the second the language is too weak so it can to avoid strong arming anyone in leadership who contributes to the problem. One can see priorities. This is why clarity of language is important for rational policy so there is a consistency. Fuzzy language is better is crooks and con artists who need cover of lies.
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    There are several different definitions of "terrorism," but the essence of its meaning in most of them is:
    Violence of military or paramilitary scope...
    against civilian populations and infrastructure...
    for the purpose of terrorizing the people...
    into lobbying their government...
    to adopt policies...
    which they would never have supported under normal conditions.​
    This certainly describes much of the violence we see in the Middle East, such as the Al Qaeda attacks on Shia Muslims and the Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

    But, IMHO, it also describes the A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those cities had no special value as targets. The USA did, indeed:
    Perform military-scope violence...
    against civilians...
    in order to terrorize them...
    into lobbying the Japanese government...
    into surrendering...
    which (it is generally but non unanimously said) it would never have done until the last six-year-old girl was gunned down while charging a battalion of U.S. Marines with her dead daddy's samurai sword. Various estimates agree broadly that most of the civilian population would have perished in a land invasion; Japan as a nation would no longer exist; and the USA would have taken more than 100,000 casualties. (There's a discussion of this in the History subforum if you're interested.)
    Unfortunately, this astounding act of terrorism succeeded! The Japanese did, indeed, surrender.

    So today, every half-ass terrorist leader can tell his people, with 100% honesty, "Hey, terrorism worked for the United States! It can work for us."
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  12. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    Terrorists can be murderers, but terrorists aren't exclusively murderers.
    "Terrorists" are individuals who purposefully commit perceived acts of "terror" - actions with no other justification but to illicit fear or controversy.
    In my home town there was this case where a middle school student called the police saying "There's a man in the school with a gun" - he later went on to say that he was peer pressured into it, but that's unrelated. Within 5-10 minutes of calling the police they arrived with full SWAT gear, and searched the school up and down. Hell, they even threw gas canisters all over the place. Once the police realized that the call wasn't legitimate they located the child (who called via cellphone) and he was charged with domestic terrorism. My point in sharing this story is that terrorism isn't limited to acts of violence - that's just how some people perceive it.
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Those "some people" include government agencies. They go after people who perpetrate violence against people (murder, rape, kidnapping, etc.), or infrastructure (buildings, bridges, roads, monuments, etc.).

    I suppose instilling fear in people can be considered "violence," so there's no real conflict between your definition and that of the authorities.

    But the second part of my definition is also important: "... for the purpose of terrorizing people into lobbying their government into adopting policies that they would never support otherwise." If a man kidnaps a child in order to convince his mother to have sex with him, it's a crime (perhaps extortion in addition to kidnapping), but it's not terrorism.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  14. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    The full definition of terrorism by Merriam-Webster is:
    "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion" - Terror as it is defined here, and the colloquial use of 'Terrorism' includes but is not limited to acts of violence.
    The more commonly used definition for terrorism is: "the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal", also courtesy of Merriam-Webster.
    I think the generally agreed upon definition of terrorism is exclusively violent, but it would seem that it doesn't have to be. I rationalize this thought by bringing to light the ambiguity of the definition "Systematic use of terror". What is 'terrifying' is on the basis of individuals, right? Something that I find terrifying isn't always terrifying for someone else. I think this ambiguity is why people label 'terrorism' as being only violent - it makes it easier to define.

    EDIT: Forgot to post the link.
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I don't think so. Just running up to people, pointing a gun in their kid's face, and running away (and continuing that until you got your way) should certainly be characterized as terrorism - even if no actual violence takes place. The threat is sufficient to count it as terrorism.
  16. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

    ISIS are rebels, they are violent rebels

    What is the difference between US army and ISIS? the tools they use and nothing else. US army uses drones to kill militants and civilians. ISIS uses bullets from AK-47 and bombs. US army uses CNN for propaganda of how holy this war is for the sake of the world and democracy and blah blah blah. ISIS uses Al-Jazeera and other internet media means to say holy this was is for the sake of Allah and their own version of Koran and blah blah blah.

    US army and ISIS are murderers, but they are murderers for the cause of survival of their societies. Whether its American way of living in democratical society of economical slaves or ISIS way of living in shariat society of extremely strict rules of get-your-hand-cut-for-stealing-a-goat.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    In any jurisdiction in the USA, pointing a gun at anyone's face--adult or child--constitutes assault. Assault (again, in the USA) is universally regarded as violence.

    Pointing a gun at somebody will get you arrested just as readily as actually shooting them. Depending on your history of uncivilized behavior, especially if this is your first arrest, you might be released without being prosecuted... and if brought to trial you might be put on probation instead of going to jail. But you will now have a criminal record and the next time you do something violent, you won't be so lucky. In addition, you'll find it much more difficult to get a decent job in the future. Nobody wants a hot-headed gunslinger working for them.
    I'm no fan of armies either. Nonetheless, there is a qualitative difference between the orders given to the soldiers of Western countries and the orders given to the loosely organized troops of ISIS.

    American servicemen (yes many are women but forgive me for not complicating this rant with politically-correct grammar) are given orders to attack enemy combatants, and to minimize so-called "collateral damage," which is the killing of innocent people with the bad luck of being too close to the combat. Yes, the kind of guerilla warfare they face makes it difficult to live up to that standard; and of course there are always a few members of any military force who simply like to kill and don't care much about who dies. Nonetheless, the vast majority of American soldiers really do try to avoid killing non-combatants, and cry themselves to sleep when it happens. They really do understand that each hapless civilian victim was somebody's father, son, brother or husband. Hell, they know very well that this is just as true of the enemy troops they fire on. This is one of the major vectors in the post-traumatic stress that ruins the lives of so many returning servicemen.

    ISIS and similar paramilitary organizations in other countries, such as Boko Haram, have no such directives. On the contrary, they typically attack civilians on purpose. This is what qualifies them as terrorists. Not to mention cowards, since civilians are less likely to be able to shoot back.

    And yes, I'll be the first to agree that Israel's campaign to bomb Palestine into the Stone Age satisfies the definition of terrorism as well. It takes big balls to say that this is a reprisal for the Palestinians' killing of Israeli civilians, when you look at the statistics and learn that about 100 times as many Israelis are killed by Israeli drivers in road accidents, than are killed by Palestinian rockets and assassins. I have no quarrel with the Jews (considering that many of my family members are Jewish), but the government of Israel should go fuck itself.
    Hey, propaganda has been a major tool in international politics long before the Marxists or Fascists existed.

    But propaganda aside, you can't dodge the fact that the various Islamic terror groups are using the "fog of war" to fight against secularism, democracy, women's rights, global brotherhood, science, literacy, and economic growth. Whatever you can say about the failure of the modern democracies to achieve their goals as quickly as we expected, at least we're trying. The Islamists are trying desperately to return civilization to the Bronze Age, when most of the "modern" religions were initiated. What they don't admit is that Bronze Age technology can not possibly support seven billion people. About 97% of us will have to die. Even if they manage to kill off all non-Muslims, most of the world's one billion Muslims will still die of starvation.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
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  18. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    How is that "unfortunate". Most recognize it saved untold lives of Japanese soldiers and American soldiers, as well as many Japanese civilians. Body bags were prepared and being shipped to the forward units of the US military for an anticipated 100,000 or more US casualties from a land invasion of the main islands. Troops were heading there too. All that came to a screeching halt with those two, and hopefully, last, nuclear bombs used in 'warfare'. The world was in a horrendous place, and ISIS is now seeking to repeat that.
  19. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    [Citation Needed]

    Hence defining the act as an act of terrorism:
    "the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal"
    The United States used these bombs with the express intention of causing massive collateral damage to scare the Japanese -- the entire situation in and of itself is unfortunate.
    A speculated 250,000 people died in the bombings. The mere fact that you try and rationalize this is repulsive. Are 100,000 US troops worth more to you than 250,000+ Japanese?

    What would you say that ISIS is trying to repeat exactly?
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Because every half-assed group of uneducated, poorly-parented dipshits can now tell prospective recruits that terrorism worked for the Americans in WWII, so there's no good reason that it won't work for them.

    We could have proposed a truce with Japan, allowing them to continue their war efforts everywhere except Australia and New Zealand (and of course the USA, most of which was out of the range of their military anyway), and walked away. At this point, especially if we could have convinced the UK to join us, the war would have been over much earlier for us. We would not have identified our country as a role model for half-assed dipshit militias, and they might be less likely to base their strategies on terror.

    Hell, if we'd let Japan take over the Far East, things there could hardly be worse than they are today. The communists would not have been able to take over China and all those other countries. Under Japanese leadership they might have become far more prosperous than they are today, and more quickly. Japan was hell-bent on modernizing, which after all was the reason for their attempted takeover of the Indonesian oil fields, which was FDR's lame excuse for rattling our sabers at them in the first place, which of course is why they attacked our fleet at Pearl Harbor.
    Sure, an invasion of Japan would have been bloody, but as I said, history does not clearly tell us that this was the best way for the war to end. A strong Japan with modern commercial aspirations, not under the thumb of the USA, might have been perfectly fine, especially if it established a hegemony in eastern Asia.

    We essentially gave China to the communists. Doesn't anybody wish there had been an alternative? Especially now?
    If you're comparing ISIS to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, I'd like to know what you're smoking.

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    ISIS, despite being an Islamist quasi-organization, isn't even targeting Jews! They're killing their own people.
  21. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    Actually, during time of war, I support American troops engaged in honorable activity.

    But in the situation above, the anticipated loss of life from an invasion of the mainland was not just 100,000 Americans, but several hundred thousand Japanese soldiers, and several hundred thousand Japanese civilians. So I believe the act of terrorism that ended the war was preferable to the larger loss of life that you seem to have suggested was preferable by more 'conventional' warfare, such as fire-bombing of cities, flame throwers, and other acts of mayhem that you suggest was preferable to two nuclear bomb killings.

    ISIS is trying to repeat those types of atrocities (flamethrowers for warfare, but in their case caging people and burning them alive; etc.)
  22. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    Yes, we can engage in untold speculation as to what might have happened if, for instance, the bomb had been dropped to the side of Tokyo as a demonstration. Would that have worked - probably, but possibly not. All the countries were engaged in extensive terrorization of the civilian populations - the US was fire-bombing/carpet-bombing German cities; Germany was launching V-1 and V-2s on London; Japan was terrorizing all over the Pacific, and the US responded in kind there as well. Russia wasn't keen on taking prisoners and keeping them alive, but some did manage to survive. I suppose that's where the adage 'war is hell' comes from.

    And ISIS is targeting anyone not like them. They go after Christians, Jews, Shia, Sunni who don't agree with them, whomever. But I doubt there are any Jews left in their area for them to target.
  23. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

    Offered for your comments:

    Murderer -- One who kills on his own motives.
    Vigilante -- One who uses violence in the name of (mob) justice or self-righteousness.
    Executioner -- One who kills in the name of state-sponsored justice.
    Police -- Those that work collectively to use violence to support the status quo of the state.
    Army -- Those that work collectively to use violence to impose the will of one state on another.
    Terrorist -- Those that work collectively to use violence to support change of the status quo.
    Resistance -- Those that work collectively to use violence to support reversion of the status quo in reaction to a change imposed from outside.
    Freedom Fighter -- Those that work collectively to use violence to support change of the status quo in ways deemed desirable by a third party.

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