While I’m sure some of my constituents won’t like this post, it needed to be written anyway. Nowadays, the words “terrorist” and “terrorism” are thrown around a little too loosely. When a situation arises that stokes fear in us, we automatically liken it to terrorism. After the atrocities committed by Jeffrey Johnson in NYC and James Holmes in Colorado, I’ve seen a number of my internet brethren express outrage about the classification of the shooters. It’s not enough for them to be murderers, they want their actions depicted as terrorism. However, while I agree their deeds are beyond despicable, they are not terrorists. Now, before I lose my entire fanbase, let me explain why.
While there are many denotations for the word “terrorism,” the one our country abides by the most goes as follows: “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.” When Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center, his goal was to cripple our financial center. That’s terrorism. When Timothy McVeigh bombed that federal building in Oklahoma City, it was revenge for how the government handled the Waco Siege fiasco. That’s terrorism. When American Paul Marshall Johnson, Jr. was kidnapped and beheaded by al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, their goal was securing the release of numerous al-Qaeda prisoners from Saudi jails. That’s terrorism. While the actions of Johnson and Holmes were evil beyond words, I wouldn’t classify them as terrorists. From what we know, Johnson was a disgruntled former employee, while Holmes saw more than one mental health professional during his tenure at the University of Colorado. Does this excuse their actions? Of course not. I would never sit here and justify such chaos. However, let’s be careful with how we throw around these adjectives. It diminishes their true meaning.
In the end, Johnson got exactly what he deserved, and barring some colossal fuckery, Holmes will get what he deserves also. In Holmes’ case, nothing less than the death penalty will suffice. With that being said, I still don’t consider them terrorists. Based on how we judge terrorism in this country, they don’t fit the profile. On that note, let the hate begin. Good day.