Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Terrorists, Terrorism, and Nut Jobs

Scotty Anderson is the proud father of a football coach at a major university. Father, like son, is a student of strategies, tactics, and competition. The recent tragic shooting in Arizona of a US Congressperson and several other innocent people including a 9 year old girl, has prompted a major debate about terrorists and extreme acts of violence. Scotty came into the Cafe with considerable insight, "It seems to this old country boy that it is good time for folks to look at the big picture of terrorism and terrorists.  Seems to me that modern terrorism is really a media event in today's world.  Someone or some group with a cause that they would like to advance by drawing attention to this cause design their strategy around gaining access to the huge media outfits that trade on spectacular events of interest.  These media companies have 24x7 outlets that can cover an event in a near real time environment.  So if I am a terrorist by definition I have a cause and design and implement an event to draw maximum attention.  A smart terrorist group will attempt to do this with minimum risks, costs, and maximum effect."

Butch Jackson jumped all over this, "Sounds like real smart talk Scotty but give us an example that we can chew on."

"How about 911, a true terrorist act?  A group with a passionate cause, radical Muslim Jihadists with a worldwide intent to wage war and disrupt non-Muslim nations, chose a big operation by hijacking four large planes to bring destruction to the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and probably the White House.  They, with the assistance of massive media coverage, can drive fear into all free world citizens, disrupt governments and even world economies (which they did by causing a recession), and even create conditions that lead to our invasion of Afghanistan.  A big act of terrorism.  Now the strategy can move to smaller incidents with less risks and costs and yet gain massive media coverage advancing the Jihadists cause.  Smaller, less costly events like Fort Hood, the shoe bomber, and the NY Times Square incident.  Each gaining huge media attention and coverage.  Fifty years ago a hostile country would have to attack another nation to gain the media attention and exposure that these guys can gain with several very limited actions."

"So what is the significance of this to us?" came back Butch always probing for significance to the Cafe folks.

"Clearly if we are going to play defense against terrorism, we have to understand their strategy and defend accordingly.  For example, if the government paints all terrorists as random acts of unbalanced people and treats them as criminals and a law enforcement problem you do stupid things like reading a terrorist his Miranda rights.  I understand the first thing the cops did with the Arizona shooter (I will not dignify nor publicize him by using his name) was to tell him he had the right to remain silent.  At the time we didn't know if he was acting alone or a member of a large group in a co-ordinated attack.  You don't treat Radical Muslim Jihadists, who have a worldwide movement and strategy, who clearly fit all definitions of the terrorists using terrorism as their weapon the same way you treat a nut job like the guy in Arizona who killed six people.  The nut job appears to have no major agenda, movement, nor organization.  In fact, Arizona is not a terrorism act in my book," Scotty strived to connect the dots for Butch.

Billy Roy came in late as he is apt to do most of the time, "Scotty, that's good.  I think I got it.  In fact it helps me understand a group that really drives me crazy.  Based on your definitions I would call these groups 'sideline terrorists'.  They don't run the risks and costs of creating these media events of terror.  They sit on the sidelines and then leap out like Tommie Lewis did in the Cotton Bowl when he tackled Dickie Moegle by coming off the bench on the sidelines and on to the playing field.  Example:  Gun control activists who wait for a shooting like the one in Arizona and then make every attempt using the media coverage to make the Glock pistol the perpetrator instead of the nut job that plotted the act and pulled the trigger.  Same thing with the Socialist haters of Sarah Palin/Rush Limbaugh/Glen Beck/Tea Party who come rushing in from the sidelines to get media attention to their cause which is to control the press by blaming  conservative media which they think costs them the November election.  In my mind these groups are as sleazy as it gets."

Scotty closed it down, "BM, that summary is better than a Merle Haggard slow dance on a Saturday night.  I might add, regarding gun control, the only person I have heard that ran toward the Arizona shooter did it because he was packing.  I sure wish a soldier at Fort Hood would have been packing.  He would have saved many, many beautiful lives."

Think about it,


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