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Told you so
December 28, 2004 11:10 PM   Subscribe

I hate people who say I told you so... But.... Edgar Morales shot a little girl, does that make him a terrorist? Other gang members were prosecuted before this for terrorism, other groups who maybe should have haven't - so what's the new law for? Is this the first of many prosecutions under new laws which some said would do one thing but are actually doing something else?
posted by Smedleyman (60 comments total)

 
From the NYACLU March 12, 2003:
"Concerns were also raised that new state terrorism crimes might lead to terrorism prosecutions against persons whose alleged criminal conduct had nothing to with terrorism."

From Tuesday's Reuters article:
A spokeswoman for state Sen. Michael Balvoni, who sponsored the bill, said he does not mind that prosecutors have decided gang violence is a form of domestic terrorism and are using the statute to prosecute Morales.
"Gangs are a forum to promote terrorism," said Balvoni spokeswoman Lisa Angerame. "Therefore, the anti-terrorism statue would be applicable against them, even if the original intent for this law was not exactly to prosecute them."
posted by Smedleyman at 11:13 PM on December 28, 2004


Interesting. Thanks.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:14 PM on December 28, 2004


I suppose this is what happens when you declare war on an emotion.
posted by felix betachat at 11:14 PM on December 28, 2004


That should be Senator Balboni by the way.

Y'know, ya just cut and paste and you catch it a minute later....what's up with Reuters editors? Those guys get paid?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:21 PM on December 28, 2004


Well, in a practical sense, gangs could easily be described as domestic terrorists. They operate collectively to instill fear in society, facilitating their criminal activities. Terrorism in of itself does not necessarily need to have political ends; it could be economic, for example.

As an example (not specifically related to this case): one gang member shooting another would not be terrorism. However, a gang moving through a neighborhood, killing citizens in order to thwart neighborhood watches and make it easier for them to distribute drugs, could easily be construed as terrorism.
posted by mstefan at 11:30 PM on December 28, 2004


mstefan, are you serious? Can you point out any sort of precedent involving a gang member moving through a neighborhood killing citizens at random? Your example is complete nonsense.

The interesting aspect of this particular slippery slope is it's potential staying power. Does anybody see the WoT being won in ten years? Fifteen years? Twenty years? But in that time the feds will have made a great deal of progress on the domestic front. The real goal in cases like these isn't to change people's minds or media perceptions, it's to set legal precedent after legal precedent. Ironically, the powerful in a democracy have little use for propaganda when they can get the law on their side.

This isn't really just another slippery slope. The amount of effort and dollars being poured into this effort, over the inevitably long timespan--what we're seeing is planned, long-term social engineering.
posted by nixerman at 11:48 PM on December 28, 2004


A little of topic, but I couldn't let this go:
"Other gang members were prosecuted before this for terrorism" and then you link to an article about the PIRA/IRA - Do you really think the IRA are just a gang? that's a little like calling Al-Queda an 'interest group'.
posted by keno at 12:00 AM on December 29, 2004


If you make terrorists out of outlaws then only outlaws will...

wait a minute, that makes about as much sense as all the other laws that have been changed to take advantage of the new 'hip' terrorisim-ization that seems to be sweeping the country. At one point I heard about some state, Oregon I think, that had reclassified several non life threatening and possibly lesser charges,like illegal gambling, to be prosecutable under 'terrorism' statutes.

'Terrorism' and to a lesser extent 'War on' appear to have been hit upon as buzzwords that appear to allow the american powers that be to think they can get away with things previously unthinkable by an aware public.

I'm not condoning the acts/behavior or wanting to lessen the original severity of any of the things getting tagged these days, but I do want to question if by making everything on the same level of 'badness' and causing the same amount of fear of and support for 'cracking down' on them, then doesn't that eventually lessen the ability to respond to things when they really are really bad?
posted by xxiii at 12:49 AM on December 29, 2004


mstefan, are you serious? Can you point out any sort of precedent involving a gang member moving through a neighborhood killing citizens at random?

Good grief man, move to Los Angeles. The only part that you may be able to quibble over is the "at random" part (is it really random acts, intentional coordinated violence or just "accidents" where people are at the wrong place at the wrong time... it's highly situational). Innocent people have been gunned down in drive-bys for control of turf with great frequency. And ask folks where there's a lot of violent gang activity if they feel terrorized and that the gangs control their neighborhoods. I can pretty much guarantee you the answer is an emphatic "yes".
posted by mstefan at 12:52 AM on December 29, 2004


One of the problems here is simply a matter of definition. Does terrorism consist of acts which inflict terror on others in order to achieve some specific goal? Does that goal have to be political in nature? Does the act itself have to be coordinated by some group with a recognizable structure? Does it have to have a singular objective, or can it be more general?

The real problem I think people are getting at is the issue of declaring certain acts as terroristic and conflating that with the larger (and badly named) War on Terror. In fact, there is no such thing as a "war on terror". We are engaged in a war against Islamic fundamentalist extremists. Confusing that war with domestic terrorism of any stripe is probably counter productive. But I don't have an intrinsic problem with treating gang members the same way that we would violent domestic militias, for example.
posted by mstefan at 1:04 AM on December 29, 2004


Corpa-terra squads on my block wear golden arches and lockstep wal-mart marches.

When are we going after the beasts that steal our spirits and murder our children just to get their claws on our skrilla?
posted by The God Complex at 1:22 AM on December 29, 2004


And ask folks where there's a lot of violent gang activity if they feel terrorized and that the gangs control their neighborhoods. I can pretty much guarantee you the answer is an emphatic "yes".

So what? Did we need special laws to prosecute these LA terrorists, mstefan? Hell no, we didn't.

Which is exactly the problem. What was originally intended as an (ill-conceived) aid to fighting the nasty bad guys from overseas with beards and robes, generally referred to as terrorisists, is now being applied to common American criminals.

We have absolutely no need for such laws, and we encourage them at our own peril. Your argument strikes me as a particularly weak devils-advocate stance.

Every murder committed probably has an element of terror -- we better start invoking the terrorism statutes. Ditto burglary. Hey, some women going for an abortion might feel some terror at having to pass an angry crowd of anti-choice folks -- maybe we should try them as terrorists, too!

This is an almost universally bad thing, and if allowed to proceed unchecked, it will move America further down the path to complete police state.
posted by teece at 1:30 AM on December 29, 2004


Terrorist, shmerrorist.

You people have too many guns in your country. Your conviction that every petty crimiminal has the right to own a gun -- that's what killed little Melanie. Reduce the number of guns in the hands of 22-year-olds and you'll see the number of gun deaths go down. It really is that simple.

As far as guns are concerned, your values are wrong, completely wrong.
posted by sour cream at 2:12 AM on December 29, 2004


Bah humbug. The lotter yuz.

'Cept for my man, mstefan.

Complete police state indeed.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:00 AM on December 29, 2004


That's right, blame the guns...
posted by nightchrome at 3:18 AM on December 29, 2004


That's right, blame the guns...

Of course. Anyone who thinks 22-year-old inner city kids can handle guns responsibly is as delusional as the NRA. There is a clear correlation between the number of guns in circulation and the number of gun deaths.

USA, South Africa, Russia etc.: many guns = many gun deaths
Japan, many European countries: few guns = few gun deaths

It's really quite simple.
posted by sour cream at 3:30 AM on December 29, 2004


Keno: Do you really think the IRA are just a gang?

Be aware that this is loaded political question. For decades, the British Government attempted to define the IRA as a criminal gang. Republicans attempted to define the IRA as a political movement. So, if you're Loyalist, then you say "Yes, the IRA is a criminal gang who kill people in a democracy because they cannot make their case through argument and persuasion and the ballot box" and if you're a Republican you say "No, the IRA is a political movement dedicated to defending Irish communities from oppression and violence dedicated to maintaining British rule over an area of Ireland held by gerrymandering and intimidation".

This came to a head with hunger strikes in the early 1980s over whether convicted Repulicans would be treated as criminal prisoners or given a different status ("Prisoner of War" or something similar) within British prisons. Examples: A Republican viewpoint. Anti-IRA viewpoint.
posted by alasdair at 4:19 AM on December 29, 2004


Edgar Morales shot a little girl, does that make him a terrorist?

Yes.

The 70-count indictment said the gang members conspired to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population."
It included a long list of crimes cited as evidence they terrorized a city neighborhood, including allegations they harassed and robbed customers of a local restaurant, fired guns into a crowded park, shot a teenager in the face and slashed someone's throat.


That sounds like terrorism to me. Why do you think all terrorists have to be Muslim?

Eve Santana, owner of a bridal shop, said while maybe not on the scale of bin Laden, "of course they are terrorists."
"They do terrorize neighborhoods. Innocent bystanders die ... and they have to pay."


Sounds reasonable to me.
posted by aerify at 4:56 AM on December 29, 2004


Further to alasdair's comments, don't forget that a lot of organized crime has its origins in terrorist/freedom fighting movements. The Italian mafia is a good example.

There's a lot of speculation in the UK at the moment about whether the IRA is undergoing just such a transition (and extremely effectively) from a political to an economic force...
posted by runkelfinker at 5:00 AM on December 29, 2004


It's really quite simple.

No, it's not quite so simple.

Using your logic, Canada should have a much higher gun-related homicide rate. The national average of families with a gun in the home is 22% (about half that of the U.S.). This number jumps to 36% in the Atlantic provinces.

What raw statistics don't tell you is that the vast majority of gun-ownership in Canada is long-arms (rifles, shotguns). Also, the propensity to own a gun is higher in smaller populations in Canada.

What they also don't tell you is that consequences of poverty are far more dire in the US than in Canada (no health insurance, homelessness, etc.) that could significantly affect the rate of homicide, burglury, drug use, etc.

But let's not talk about that. Let's just keep our stupid hat on and blame da guns.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:09 AM on December 29, 2004


USA, South Africa, Russia etc.: many guns = many gun deaths
Japan, many European countries: few guns = few gun deaths

It's really quite simple.


What a weak argument.

Switzerland, Israel, Canada: many guns = few gun deaths, and
Brazil, Cuba, Russia, Mexico: few guns = many gun deaths
posted by Kwantsar at 5:19 AM on December 29, 2004


I think that there's no doubt that organized gangs terrorize their turf -- whether it's the M.S. in certain neighborhoods of L.A. or the old Mafia in certain villages of Sicily. It wouldn't be bad to create laws specifically to deal with that.

It is bad, I think, to try to extend laws aimed at a certain class of politically-motivated terrorist (the Muslim fundamentalist and Arab nationalist types) to these profoundly different kind of economically-motivated terrorists.

It's not so much a matter of principal -- obviously, the criminal gang members are garbage entitled to nothing more than a box six feet under -- as it is a matter of being smart.

We need our laws and our tactics to be focused. Any law or law enforcement tactic which is somewhat effective against both the Mara Salvatrucha and al Quaeda is not going to be effective enough against either.
posted by MattD at 5:26 AM on December 29, 2004


The accessibility of guns is clearly much higher in the U.S. than it is in Japan or in Europe. I don't know how high the gun ownership is in Brazil, but I suspect that it is quite easy and socially acceptable to own a gun in Brazil. I have friends who were robbed at gun-point in Brazil, and this seems to be a common occurrence there, which indicates that guns are easy to come by in Brazil.

Keep guns away from kids and there'll be fewer gun deaths; I really don't see what's to argue there. I hada feeling that someone would come up with Canada. I don't know what's going on there; maybe it's a matter of the exception to the rule, but it certainly doesn't obviate the general fewer guns on the streets = fewer gun deaths rule.

I don't know much about the situation in Israel, but I know a little about Switzerland, where I have relatives and have been many times. Yes, ownership of guns (in particular rifles) may be quite high there, but the point is that there are few guns on the streets. This is in contrast to some areas in the U.S. where there are too many guns on the streets. In fact, in some parts of the U.S. it is socially quite acceptabe to run around with a gun. In Switzerland, it is not.

You may ridicule the argument, but this doesn't change the fact that it's too easy to buy a gun in the U.S., which contributes strongly to the higher rate of gun deaths there.

What they also don't tell you is that consequences of poverty are far more dire in the US than in Canada (no health insurance, homelessness, etc.) that could significantly affect the rate of homicide, burglury, drug use, etc.

Oh, puleeeze. Have you ever been outside the U.S.? People in many, if not most countries live in much greater poverty than the bottom 20% in the U.S., yet they don't run around shooting each other.
Do you know why? (Hint: it might have to do with the lower number of guns on the streets in those countries.)
posted by sour cream at 5:41 AM on December 29, 2004


aerify: That sounds like terrorism to me. Why do you think all terrorists have to be Muslim?

No, I don't think all terrorists have to be Muslim, nor do I think that, although terrorists commit criminal acts, that all criminal acts are therefore terrorism. The definition you provide for terrorism is weak because it misses the essential element of politics. A better definition of terrorism (made up various references) "systematic use of planned and deliberate violence as a means to coerce societies or governments toward a political view or goal".

Based on what we know about this gang and the area they intimidated they are criminals not terrorists. The current tendency towards "terror-ization" leads many to think that terrorism is more morally corrupt than criminality and therefore should attract more stern sentences. This is a fallacy and a dangerous fallacy. The term "Terrorism" only describes the cause or motivation for criminality.

Smedleyman's post does highlight an important case here: The abuse of judicial process for, arguably, political purpose - the 'undesirable' can be prosecuted even more harshly under treatment set aside for the people the rushed legislation was meant for, by simply reinterpreting what is undeniably bad law.

If Edgar Morales is guilty of killing this girl he is a scum-bag and the impact of his actions will affect many people from in the girl's family and friends in addition to affecting his own family.

However those who stretch the reinterpretation of badly written law to fulfill some social agenda could impact us all. I'd argue these people are more dangerous: What we see here is nothing less than evidence of the continuing formation of a neo-fascist state.
posted by keno at 5:51 AM on December 29, 2004


Yes, ownership of guns (in particular rifles) may be quite high there, but the point is that there are few guns on the streets.

What sort of inane logic is this? "On the streets?" So the problem is that people are taking their firearms outside? Is that it? That's funny, because I was under the impression that most firearm-related injuries occured inside.

In fact, in some parts of the U.S. it is socially quite acceptabe to run around with a gun. In Switzerland, it is not.

Ok, I get it now. You're an idiot.

The only place it is considered socially acceptable to "run around with a gun" is a warzone, and social ettiquite doesn't really apply. Please tell me all those darned places in the US where men, women and children are running around with guns.

"Be right back, dear, gonna go for a little jog around the park with my gun."

"OK, honey, but I'll probably be at the grocery store with my gun when you get back."

"While you're out, can you tell little Jimmy to stop playing with his gun in traffic. He could get hit by a car!"

You may ridicule the argument, but this doesn't change the fact that it's too easy to buy a gun in the U.S., which contributes strongly to the higher rate of gun deaths there.

Your argument is specious at best. And this is just adorable: "You can make fun of me, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm right."

Have you ever been outside the U.S.? People in many, if not most countries live in much greater poverty than the bottom 20% in the U.S., yet they don't run around shooting each other.

Amazing, isn't it? You see what I did? I took a bad argument and came to a bad conclusion. Boy, you jumped right on that one! You are the MAN at spotting specious arguments. Now, take a look at this and tell me what you see:

"USA, South Africa, Russia etc.: many guns = many gun deaths
Japan, many European countries: few guns = few gun deaths"

Perhaps you might be missing some variables in that equation, Einstein?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:54 AM on December 29, 2004


Perhaps you might be missing some variables in that equation, Einstein?

Oh boy, I must have pushed some wrong buttons with you. I apologize if I said something that upsets you.

BTW, I do not think that you are an idiot (even though you sound almost like a spokesman for the NRA), but I have the feeling that you haven't quite understood my argument, which is quite simple: All I'm saying is that there appears to be a correlation between the ease with which you can get hold of a gun (this is what I flippantly called the number of guns "on the streets") and the number of gun deaths in a given country.

You seem to be saying that this correlation doesn't explain everything (I'm missing some variables; I agree btw), and your conclusion seems to be that therefore the correlation doesn't exist. This is where you are wrong: Restricting access to guns will go a long way in reducing gun deaths.

Yes, I know, there are other factors to all this, but even though the NRA may deny it, guns play a very big part in all gun-related deaths.
posted by sour cream at 6:11 AM on December 29, 2004


Anyone who thinks 22-year-old inner city kids can handle guns responsibly is as delusional as the NRA.

so, who can then? 35 year old suburban white people?
posted by jonmc at 6:32 AM on December 29, 2004


jonmc: This is a good question. If the answer is "let's keep guns out of the hands of 35-year-old suburban white people as well", then I'm all for it.

But since we were talking about Switzerland, one big difference that I see with the way guns are handled in Switzerland is this: there, you only get your gun after several months of basic military training. Now, I'm not advocating military training for everyone owning a gun, but you are thoroughly trained in gun safety there and I suspect that they won't give you a gun if you are mentally unstable, are a member of a gang etc.
So there you have it: make it more difficult for people to get a gun. Several months waiting period, *very* thorough background checks, lots and lots of mandatory training etc.
(Or how about requiring a highschool degree for everyone who wants to own a gun? You want a gun? Gotta go to school first... I know, might be controversial and possibly non-constitutional.)
This won't mean that everybody will handle their gun responsibly, but at least you have a better filter than when people just buy their gun at a gun show or so.
posted by sour cream at 6:53 AM on December 29, 2004


Well, I live in LA... (yay bugmenot) and it's not the number of guns on the streets, but the people who are carrying them that is the problem.

And these people aren't the ones that go to the corner store to buy their guns. The gangs in LA are organized, powerful, and have enough cash that they would get guns regardless.

It's the underlying culture that is a major issue... for example, the American acceptance of all things violent (think most major movies, or this country's obsession with CSI) while shunning sex education in the classroom.

Look, in the hands of trained, somewhat sane people, it's not a problem. However, in the hands of angry urban youths with nothing to live for, or who are struggling to survive... Canada does have millions of guns, yet there death by gun rate is extremely low, why?

A problem is never as simple as "All you have to do is..."

Then again, like Eddie Izzard says, "Because guns don't kill people, it's just that certain noise they make. It's just a bullet ripping through peoples' bodies. That's what kills people! Yeah, have guns but don't allow any ammunition. There! We got it! We got it sorted!"
posted by AspectRatio at 6:54 AM on December 29, 2004


Terrorism is violence with a political goal.

Violence for profit is just plain crime.

And some of you are stone fools.
posted by ook at 6:55 AM on December 29, 2004


Another obvious question: don't we already have the RICO statute to deal with criminal gangs? Isn't applying terrorism laws just muddying the waters, not to mention cheapening the meaning of the word "terrorist?"
posted by jonmc at 6:58 AM on December 29, 2004


You people have too many guns in your country.

You obviously don't live here, so how do you form these opinions? From TV... or the movies?

Your conviction that every petty crimiminal has the right to own a gun...

WTF????

You do not have to understand a subject to argue about it. -Beaumarchais
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:00 AM on December 29, 2004


Police are already using "terror" laws against run of the mill criminals. North Carolina officials busted a crystal meth producer under a 2001 "terror" law, which was specifically aimed at those manufacturing a nuclear or chemical weapon.

To paraphrase an old adage, give a cop a hammer and he'll think of a reason why you're a nail.

Combine this trend with the lack of protections (i.e. Patriot Act) that anyone accused of "terrorism" can be subjected, and you are looking at the decline of the American judicial system as we know it.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:17 AM on December 29, 2004


So what? Did we need special laws to prosecute these LA terrorists, mstefan? Hell no, we didn't.

Au contraire, we certainly did and if you don't already know how that ended I suggest you look up "Rampart Division" and "scandal".

But since we were talking about Switzerland, one big difference that I see with the way guns are handled in Switzerland is this: there, you only get your gun after several months of basic military training

The other big difference is that they don't give you any bullets. Making the statistics on guns per household pretty damn meaningless.

As for Northern Ireland: the IRA and the whatever the unionists call themselves nowadays turned into criminal gangs years ago. The unionists single handedly created one of Europe's worst heroin problems by being such efficient drug smugglers. That's not news.

I don't believe this guy is a terrorist in the larger sense of the word. He is not fighting for a political cause or targeting civilians to influence the governments actions or to sway the greater public opinion. Targeting civilians to influence their own actions is just plain old crime and we have laws for that. Guy shot a kid, it's not like he would be getting off if the new laws weren't in place.
posted by fshgrl at 7:25 AM on December 29, 2004


Americans have a right to keep and bear arms so that we can shoot agents of oppressive government. As long as we have our guns, they can only go so far in their playing fast and loose with the rules.
posted by Megafly at 7:35 AM on December 29, 2004


and your conclusion seems to be that therefore the correlation doesn't exist

No, just that while there may be correlation, it is not direct cause (as you already point out). Unfortunately, there are a number of other factors that go into the higher gun-related homicide rates. We'd probably have as much success getting guns banned in this country as we would banning the consumerist culture that creates unnecessary "needs" for people who cannot afford them and resort to armed burglary.

As long as we have our guns, they can only go so far in their playing fast and loose with the rules.

I've heard this argument before, but it only works when the people are bold enough to actually use them against the oppresive government.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:27 AM on December 29, 2004


The unionists single handedly created one of Europe's worst heroin problems by being such efficient drug smugglers. That's not news.

Link please?
posted by the cuban at 8:38 AM on December 29, 2004


As long as we have our guns, they can only go so far in their playing fast and loose with the rules.


Would that it were so, Megafly. One man's freedom fighter is another's terrorist, as it were. Timothy McVeigh thought he was fighting an oppressive government. Regardless of how well-armed your average militiaman may think he is, if he goes up against the Man, he's going to lose.

I would also just like to agree with others who are saying: all crime is not terrorism. The word "terrorism" has been so overused it's become almost meaningless.

Sour cream, I hate guns. I think guns make America a dangerous place for me to live, but for many people here it's personal freedom issue. I don't get it, but since I'm pretty much pro-choice on every other issue, I find it difficult to argue that other, law abiding citizens shouldn't be allowed to own fire-arms. Owning a gun doesn't make one a criminal. I just wish that all the gun-people were willing to agitate for other personal freedom issues, too. I want the government to stay the hell out of my uterus and decriminalize recreational drugs (oh, and strongly affirming the separation of church and state would be nice). If I could have that, I'd be perfectly happy to let people keep their fucking guns.
posted by apis mellifera at 8:57 AM on December 29, 2004


fshgrl, you're missing the point about Northern Ireland.

The point isn't that criminal activity by the various paramilitary groups is new, rather that it may well be changing: from a means to a political end, to a 100% financial end in itself.

Terrorism is violence with a political goal.

ook, thanks, that's really insightful. If you could briefly summarise Al Qaeda's 'political goal', that would be great, thanks...
posted by runkelfinker at 9:08 AM on December 29, 2004


Here in Colorado, people carry guns all the time. Non-law enforcement types. I switch between my 1911 .45, and my Beretta .22 . I have never had to pull it out in self defence, offence, or otherwise. I know that others around me have guns on them, too... It makes for daily practical use of tact, respect, and caution with those I interact with... I call it "Politeness"

The real reason I cary the guns is there will come a day when they will be used to defend my life and liberty against those who would oppress them... Whether that person is a 22 year old with an attitude problem, a bear broken into my living room, or "The Man" in an Blackhawk with infrared targeting.

(If you go up against "The Man", you will loose, but there are certian things worth DYING for...)

Terrorism has been adopted by the Govt. because it is so vague. They have un-defined it so that it fits every instance they want it to. What happens when people talking on their cell phones while driving causes someone "terror"? I personally have been "terrorised" at the eratic driving of a carload of highschool girls giggling on their cell phones and weaving all over the road... How about when someone smoking in public causes someone terror because they have seen pictures of what that does to your lungs?

The slippery slope has been breached, and there is no way to get back to the top.

Outlaw guns, and the toughest man with a sword (or knife) will once again be on top. (How many people can you kill with one knife?)

That said, I am an avid weapons collector. Knives, guns, and other stuff... But am against this war on terror, and war on drugs, and war in Iraq. But not really against war in general. Just stupid unwinable wars. It's this undeclared "War on Danger" that really scares me... "How can you be safe when there's DANGER out there, around every corner... Even in your own home!!"
posted by Balisong at 9:33 AM on December 29, 2004


"guns play a very big part in all gun-related deaths."

This guy is like George Bush's mirror universe twin.
posted by keswick at 10:10 AM on December 29, 2004


That said, I am an avid weapons collector. Knives, guns, and other stuff...

What sort of 'other stuff'?
posted by the cuban at 10:46 AM on December 29, 2004


Ok maybe it's not the worst place in Europe for heroin but it's pretty bad when small towns had hundreds of heroin addicts. In some estates and streets the percentage of young addicts is extremely high and associated crime is a big problem for the community, from burglary to turf wars.

Link on UVF drug dealing. . Another one on IRA criminal activity. There's even a book
posted by fshgrl at 11:02 AM on December 29, 2004


You know... The occasional battle axe and crossbow, blowgun, expandable baton, peper spray..... Other stuff...

I'm much more of a collector than a user, but I am usually armed at all times.
posted by Balisong at 11:03 AM on December 29, 2004


You know... The occasional battle axe and crossbow, blowgun, expandable baton, peper spray..... Other stuff...
I'm much more of a collector than a user, but I am usually armed at all times.


smedleyman will hate me for it, but here you go C_D: Colorado for example.

Battle axes, my my. I don't think there are many Swiss people running around with battle axes. Now crossbows ...
posted by sour cream at 11:13 AM on December 29, 2004


what keno said.
posted by sharpener at 11:17 AM on December 29, 2004


fshgrl - those links dont support your earlier contention that the Unionists 'single handedly' created one of Europe's worst heroin problems.

In fact, this link you gave mentions that the IRA 'licence' dealers in Republican areas.

I'm curious where you get the 'single handed' bit from?
posted by the cuban at 11:30 AM on December 29, 2004


You'd be suprised just how low on the list of armed attacks a battleaxe comes in.
posted by Balisong at 12:09 PM on December 29, 2004


Of course it depends on what style you're going for...

There are awesome modern tomahawks as well as more traditional but still battle ready models...

Do you think that those should be outlawed? Background check?

Do you think that it would be OK if the Govt. outlawed double-edged, tanto or recurve blades in order to make us safer?

If so, you are a worse part of the problem dragging us into a police state than anyone who collects archaic weaponry.
posted by Balisong at 12:25 PM on December 29, 2004


I Pike in your general direction....
posted by Balisong at 12:35 PM on December 29, 2004


cuban: I'm not going to get into an arguement about northern irish politics here, but in a few small towns the loyalist paramilitaries got kids hooked on drugs, then administered beatings until they were stole enough from their neighbours to pay them back. Those communities have many elderly residents, indifferent policing and it's pretty hard to leave without anyone knowing. I've heard enough about it first hand from people who were there over the years.

I'm not saying the other paramilitary groups are innocent, in fact they all seem to be in on it now (and I already retracted the worst in Europe claim) but that's where I first heard about it happening quite a few years ago.

I don't know why you're defending them and like I said, I don't really care. I phrased myself badly, equating a big problem for some small areas with big city problems. I'm going to leave it there.
posted by fshgrl at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2004


I'm not defending anyone - let alone paramilitary gangsters.

But if you're going to blame 'the Unionists' for single handedly creating the heroin problem in Ulster then provide some supporting evidence.
posted by the cuban at 3:29 PM on December 29, 2004


Ya know...

Paramilitary gangsters aren't so bad when they're on your side...
posted by Balisong at 3:40 PM on December 29, 2004


Kinda like the Boy Scouts.... but MORE.
posted by Balisong at 3:42 PM on December 29, 2004


sour cream: It's really quite simple.

"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." - HL Mencken
posted by oncogenesis at 5:31 PM on December 29, 2004


oncogenesis : Sweet.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:51 PM on December 29, 2004


Oh, puleeeze. Have you ever been outside the U.S.? People in many, if not most countries live in much greater poverty than the bottom 20% in the U.S., yet they don't run around shooting each other.

They don't? Really? I thought you said they did in Africa and Russia... And you europeans didn't run around with guns and stuff say around the first half on 1900's?
posted by c13 at 8:02 PM on December 29, 2004


ook, thanks, that's really insightful. If you could briefly summarise Al Qaeda's 'political goal', that would be great, thanks...

Let's try that again. The FBI's definition of terrorism is "the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives."

Terrorism is violence with a political goal. Gangbangers in LA are not terrorists, unless you redefine the term to mean "scary bad people with guns".

As for Al Quaeda, pick up a newspaper. The line in big print goes at the top.
posted by ook at 8:33 PM on December 29, 2004


If you could briefly summarise Al Qaeda's 'political goal', that would be great, thanks...

I can only offer the following advice: Stop watching US TV news and listening to talk radio nuts. It polutes thinking and limits understanding. Go read some foreign news online. Then read stuff anyone reasonable will hate*.

Know their moviations beyond the simple explains like "They are evil", "They are jealous" "They want our freedom" and then answer the question for yourself.

*link may be down right now
posted by keno at 1:43 AM on December 30, 2004


alasdir: Be aware that this is loaded political question

Too true. I'm aware of it from the time I lived in London when the IRA where very active. This maybe a subject for another thread but you provide a good example of the politicisation of terminology.
posted by keno at 1:49 AM on December 30, 2004


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