The Meaning of ‘Terrorism

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, we again see the hesitancy to label the event as terrorism. What does this word mean?

Amateur photo of the #bostonmarathon explosion from a bystander

Amateur photo of the #bostonmarathon explosion from a bystander

During his hastily delivered, straight from cue-card statement Monday from the White House gaggle room, the president never used the word. It was like Benghazi waiting to happen all over again.

Later last night, Fox News was running a story saying the White House was believing the bombings in Boston were terrorism, but what does this word really mean?  Why the hesitancy?

If you jump over to Wikipedia you’ll see that since 1994, the United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of terrorism:

Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”[23]

But what does this word mean in a societal context here in America?  Wiki says there have been studies that have found as many as 100 different definitions of the word.

Is there actually a racial aspect to the application of the word?

It almost feels like we can’t apply the term unless someone with dark brown skin and a towel wrapped around their head is celebrating in a video that they caused harm to infidels we can’t use the term.  In the application of Benghazi, we pretty much had all those conditions met and yet there was foot-dragging and parsing from the White House about if that was, wasn’t and when did he say it, and on and on and on.

I understand there are legal implications involved, but ultimately, regardless of whether someone detonates two devices in a high-traffic public place, or 10 of them, whether or not they are from an Arab land, Northern Ireland, wear a towel around their heads, or drive a big yellow truck in the Heart of America in front of a federal court house, if they meant to cause harm, to kill innocent people in large numbers, to cause chaos, and in yesterday’s case, to scare the hell out of anyone ever running a race again anywhere in America that pretty much makes it terrorism to me.

Shouldn’t that qualify? If you went and asked the family members of the three who have died and the hundreds hurt, do you think the nationality of whomever is responsible is going to matter to them?


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  1. terrisurf

    @daddyclaxton it sure does.

  2. SoftSteer

    RT @daddyclaxton: What is the meaning of the word ‘Terrorism?’ Does the #bostonmarathon bombing meet the definition?

  3. GigiZagorah

    RT @daddyclaxton: When do we call ‘Terrorism’ what it is? Does terrorism require a dark skinned person with a towel round their head? h …

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