Letter in the DH

They cut out one sentence, but hey, at least they printed it:

No more attacks? Check again

In his Nov. 10 letter, “Let him be as successful,” Larry A. Smith claims that there “have been no terrorist attacks from 9/11/2001 to the present,” and that we should measure an Obama presidency by this same standard. Without commenting on the quality of the standard, does Mr. Smith not remember the anthrax attacks that occurred starting in late September 2001 and extended into November of that year? The same attacks that killed five people and infected 17 more and that have yet to be conclusively solved?

For that matter, a quick Internet search results in at least a dozen more incidences of terrorism in the United States between September 2001 and the present, ranging from firebombings to computer espionage to shooting sprees. [Mr. Smith is far from the first person I’ve seen make the claim that there have been no terrorist attacks since 11 September 2001, yet it seems clear that none of the other events – including the anthrax attacks – have entered the American cultural consciousness. – this is the sentence that was cut.]

Why do none of the other attacks seem to get any public recognition as terrorism? The only thing that seems to link the other attacks is that the vast majority have been perpetrated by Americans. What this suggests to me is that many of us think it’s only terrorism when someone from somewhere else does it — and they are usually not white, to boot. Needless to say, this is not a good thing. Maybe we should take a look at what’s happening inside our borders rather than be so quick to point fingers.

Dennis Dugan, Corvallis

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2 Comments on “Letter in the DH”

  1. Observer Says:

    How do you tell the difference between a terrorist atack and plain old criminal activity? Is a person who mimics a terrorist another terrorist or just a criminal? Was McVea a terrorist for bombing the Oklahoma City Federal Building or just a murdering (but wacko) thug? As usual, it does make a difference how you define things. Most people define terrorists as participants in a larger effort (jihad?) than their own personal warped desires. Therefore it isn’t an open and shut case on whether or not there have been “acts of terrorism.

  2. Dennis Says:

    Actually, I’ve never really seen any controversy, at least not at the law enforcement level.

    Most definitions of terrorism I’ve seen involve at least two factors:

    1. Targeting civilians.

    2. Executed for ideological and/or political purposes.

    This covers the anthrax attacks, the Beltway Sniper, various church shootings, and any eco-terrorism. Certainly it covers 9/11. I would argue it also covers some computer espionage.

    Additionally, it is possible to be part of a larger belief system and still operate as a loner.

    Observer, if you or anyone else want to say that there have been no more 9/11-scale attacks since 2001, then you’re correct. But the blanket claim that there have been no terrorist attacks since then is just false.

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