The Face of a Terrorist

I am intrigued by the failure of media to call this woman who attended a meeting that decided her fate as a professor and ended with her shooting and killing three people anything less than a terrorist.  It doesn’t help to read that she had killed before, her own brother in fact, and was a suspect in the attempted bombing of a Harvard University professor.

This is not some academic who snapped under the pressure of her job, going postal is what it’s usually called today.  This terrorist was a cold, calculated killer who managed to hide from her spouse the fact that she owned a gun, sat in a meeting with the victims of her rage and then tried to hide the evidence later.

Am I over the top?  Well yes and no.  The problem with this “terrorist” label is it was always meant to be pejorative in nature.

….terrorism is a  pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one’s enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore. (…) Hence the decision to call someone or label some organization ‘terrorist’ becomes almost unavoidably subjective,  depending largely on whether one sympathizes with or opposes the person/group/cause concerned. If one identifies with the victim of the violence, for example, then the act is terrorism. If, however, one identifies with the perpetrator, the violent act is regarded in a more sympathetic, if not positive (or, at the worst, an ambivalent) light; and it is not terrorism.

The last sentence almost always defines the reaction of the media to acts of violence by people who resemble, think, act, behave like other members who write the stories about terrorism, so that Bishop’s descent into destructive behavior that began with the shooting death of her brother and ended in Huntsville, Alabama almost always gets written up, portrayed as the act of a desperate person who somehow lost it, and not like the act of a conniving, ruthless person intent on seeking revenge for a wrong that happened to them.  That sounds alot like the bin ladins of the world, doesn’t it?  We have no compunction calling them terrorists despite the baggage inherent in the term.  We shouldn’t let Amy Bishop off the hook either.

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