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Terror and the language.
June 9, 2006 10:08 AM   Subscribe

I would have thought that these charges could fairly be represented as terrorism, yet in 108 links in Google News, there is no mention of "terror" or any of its derivations. Has the word been hijacked?
posted by Neiltupper (104 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes.

I think in America you need to be a Muslim before you can be a terrorist.
posted by chunking express at 10:15 AM on June 9, 2006


or at least not conservative.
posted by Elim at 10:16 AM on June 9, 2006


My guess is that the authorities use The Patriot Act as they see fit for non-Muslims who are American citizens...
posted by Postroad at 10:16 AM on June 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Interesting observation. Making me cynical...

It's not terror unless it can affect YOU. And "you" is respectable middle-class America. Certainly not anyone who might be in or around an abortion clinic.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 10:18 AM on June 9, 2006


Of course he's not a terrorist. Only brown people can be terrorists, silly!
posted by Ndwright at 10:18 AM on June 9, 2006


Perhaps we should demand that he be thrown into Gitmo with the rest of the terrorists? Certainly he is more dangerous than the other terrorists. If we take a look at history we can see that white males have traditionally been capable of inflicting more damage on society than just about any other group.

It is about time that we as a nation start addressing this sort of terrorism and let these religious extremists know that we're not going to allow them to take away our freedoms.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:20 AM on June 9, 2006


I can't remember how many I've met with that holy gleam in their eye. They're doing god's work. They've been picked to save the world from the evil ones. They're willing to do anything to accomplish their goals. They don't kill innocents, because they believe no one is innocent.

I hear terrorists are very similar.
posted by ?! at 10:21 AM on June 9, 2006


Since 1996, she said, there have been 11 bombings, 25 attempted bombings and arsons and 35 arsons at the offices of abortion providers nationwide.

That sounds like way more bombings then have been carried out by scary islamofacists on American soil.
posted by chunking express at 10:22 AM on June 9, 2006


Could be that it's just a case of lazy, aloof media. That is, if the "authorities" mentioned in the story didn't call it terrorism, maybe the reporters won't either.

I'm a little surprised the authorities aren't calling it terrorism, thereby claiming credit for stopping a terrorist plot.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:25 AM on June 9, 2006


I am outraged the media isn't consistent with their terminology. This is a problem that really needs to be addressed.

Seriously, who gives a shit?
posted by smackfu at 10:29 AM on June 9, 2006


Color me cynical, but I think pains are made to not utter the phrase "domestic terrorism." It needs to be an external problem addressed with external solutions, but not an internal one that would demand any real changes in domestic policy and/or behavior.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:30 AM on June 9, 2006


Two off topic points:

A loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun

So your saying it was a .40. Gotcha.

The bomb -- made with black powder, galvanized pipe, nails, seven feet of fuse and one-inch-diameter end caps


Why weren't they able to defuse this? Was it already lit or something? Unless it was home made black powder or something unstable, this seems like the most basic bomb type imaginable.

Back on topic, he is a terrorist, and it's a shame that the press doesn't report it as such. If they used the same scare terminology that they use when referring to extremist Muslims maybe people would become more angry at what extremist Christians are doing.
posted by quin at 10:30 AM on June 9, 2006


Seriously, who gives a shit?

Actually, I do. I don't want to see the 'War on Terrorism' to become the new 'War on (some) Drugs.' But then again, it may already be too late.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:32 AM on June 9, 2006


Yes, the word has been hijacked.

And if you do not meet my demands and have several unmarked black Escalades waiting at the abandoned military airstrip in Arizona, let me assure you that I will blow this word up and take down everyone on it.
posted by GuyZero at 10:35 AM on June 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Of course he's not a terrorist. Only brown people can be terrorists, silly!

You're forgetting the hippies.
posted by brundlefly at 10:35 AM on June 9, 2006


It ain't terrarism if it's the "right" thing to do.

Goddamned activist judges. Why don't they shut them clinics down already?
posted by jsavimbi at 10:40 AM on June 9, 2006


Yeah Blowing up a hummer = terrorism,
Blowing up occupied abortion clinic = something else

3. = profit!
posted by Elim at 10:41 AM on June 9, 2006


This would be a good blog post.
posted by smackfu at 10:41 AM on June 9, 2006


Previously on MeFi, William Krar, the domestic terrorist that you didn't hear about.
posted by revgeorge at 11:01 AM on June 9, 2006


This would be a good blog post.

Go for it, smackfu.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:03 AM on June 9, 2006


I don't think you're understanding the word terrorism, Neiltupper. Here's a brief guide:

--When local Iraqi citizens take up arms and shoot armed, uniformed, occupying military forces who have taken over their country and overthrown its government: TERRORISM

--When white, Christian, religious people attempt to cause medical doctors to flee the country through a campaign of violence and fear, including death threats, shootings, nail bombs, arson, and acid attacks: NOT TERRORISM

I hope this clears it up for you. Don't make this mistake again.
posted by jellicle at 11:24 AM on June 9, 2006 [2 favorites]


Just because these particular authorities did not use the word "terrorism" or include a terrorism charge, does not mean that different authorities would have made the same decision. For instance, Eric Rudolph pled guilty to terrorism charges. Nevertheless, I do think you and Elim make a good point. Here is a good editorial on the subject.
posted by caddis at 11:26 AM on June 9, 2006


Is this an actual post?
posted by dios at 11:26 AM on June 9, 2006


As opposed to what, dios? An imaginary post?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:39 AM on June 9, 2006


"Seriously, who gives a shit?"

I do. There have been high school kids charged with making terrorist threats for just writing a story, and here you have a plot that is uncovered that fits any definition of terrorism I've ever seen.
posted by 2sheets at 11:39 AM on June 9, 2006


It's the meme game son. Republicans don't commit terrorism, they just "freedom bomb," or something like that. When Clinton tried to help out (perhaps foolishly) countries like Somalia and the nation formerly known as Yugoslavia, it was "nation building" and a waste of precious American lives and resources. When Bush does the same thing (IMO, quite foolishly) on a 10X larger scale at the very least, it's "promoting Democracy."

If a Dem becomes POTUS in 2008, expect a headspinningly fast shift, yet again--Iraq will no longer be the incubator of Democracy in the Middle East, but a wasteful, Sisyphusean effort, and godly Republican congresspersons just won't stand for it.

It'll take less than a month for this shift to occur and take root among the general American populace. Due to the "librul" mainstream US media.
posted by bardic at 11:40 AM on June 9, 2006


...what extremist Christians are doing.

When white, Christian, religious people...

I'm not going to read 108 different links, but the primary article doesn't mention the words "Christian," "Catholic," "church," or "religion." If you have information about Robert F. Weiler, Jr.'s religious affiliations, speak up. If you can otherwise distinguish your assumptions from BrownTerrorist=Muslim, I'm listening.
posted by cribcage at 11:44 AM on June 9, 2006


Ironically, the guy who hates us for our freedom? not the one they call a terrorist.
posted by Megafly at 11:45 AM on June 9, 2006


Weiler was charged with possessing an illegal explosive device, making an illegal explosive device, illegally possessing a firearm with a previous felony conviction and possessing a stolen firearm.

I'm mildly curious if those are normal charges? Don't people in a situation where they're stopped from carrying out a bombing normally get charged with some kind of...intent.

That further makes these headlines misleading:
Man Arrested for Plotting Clinic Attack
Man Arrested for Plotting Attack on Abortion Clinic
Arrest in planned attack on Maryland abortion clinic


Because, in fat, no, he was only arrested for possession, right?
posted by birdie birdington at 11:46 AM on June 9, 2006


In fat? Yes, in fat.
posted by birdie birdington at 11:47 AM on June 9, 2006


If you have information about Robert F. Weiler, Jr.'s religious affiliations, speak up.

He was probably one of these atheistic, secular types who hate abortion so much they build bombs intending to attack clinics. I hear that's a growing contingent.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:48 AM on June 9, 2006


I am outraged the media isn't consistent with their terminology. This is a problem that really needs to be addressed.

Though you were being facetious, you're correct. Robert Fisk recently noted that according to newspapers, Israelis are killed by "attacks" while Palestinians are killed in "clashes" - the latter is much more neutral. "Attack" implies innocent bystander, while "clash" implies that, well, if you're going to get into a clash, you deserve what you get. The words papers choose often end up defining the arguement.
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:50 AM on June 9, 2006


As opposed to what, dios? An imaginary post?
posted by Meatbomb at 1:39 PM CST on June 9


As opposed to just a random observation?
posted by dios at 11:50 AM on June 9, 2006


If you have information about Robert F. Weiler, Jr.'s religious affiliations, speak up.

Stereotypes often have some basis in empiricism. I haven't read of any people who attack abortion clinics or plan to that aren't acting as god's agent. I don't think the presumption is unreasonable - indeed, it's likely true given statistical inferrence.
posted by fydfyd at 11:54 AM on June 9, 2006


Robert F. Weiler Jr., 25, who had a loaded gun at the time of his arrest, surrendered to police early Thursday at a Garrett County highway rest stop

Wait, so he's gay, too?

Weiler was convicted in Utah in 2003 for obstructing police, according to charging documents.

A gay, Mormon abortion clinic bomber... no wonder the media are confused!

(I am kidding)
posted by gurple at 11:54 AM on June 9, 2006


Florida podiatrist Robert Goldstein is kind of a poster child for this - fortified/booby-trapped townhouse, 40 guns, armour-piercing rockets, homemade napalm, 25,000 rounds of ammo, hand grenades, C4, two dozen bombs, a list of targets, detailed plans of assaults - and the police described him as "a smart guy... he knew his stuff. It was just like a James Bond thing." He was finally convicted and sent down for 12 years on charges of conspiracy to violate civil rights, plotting to damage a religious facility and unlawful possession of firearms. And his targets? - mosques and Islamic centres.

There was also the case of some white extremists caught driving around with a bunch of Ricin, but I forget their names, or what they were charged with.
posted by carter at 11:57 AM on June 9, 2006


Stereotypes often have some basis in empiricism.

Absolutely. And the guy probably is a Christian — just like most brown people who build bombs to kill Americans and Israelis are probably Muslim. So we're agreeing that both assumptions are fair game?

'Cause if not, then practice what you preach.

As opposed to just a random observation?

Yeah, well. The last time liberals trotted out a "random observation" pulled from the headlines, they were bitching that a black man was captioned as "looting" while white people were "finding." Nevermind that the first photographer watched the black guy steal, while the second photographer couldn't vouch for how the white folks got their stuff: According to liberals, we should either slander white people or forgive thieves who are black. It's sort of like the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit: People wanted the story to make their point, so they ignored inconvenient details.
posted by cribcage at 12:00 PM on June 9, 2006


According to liberals, we should either slander white people or forgive thieves who are black

You do realize the irony of stereotyping 'liberals' in this particular thread, and in that particular comment, right, cribcage?
posted by gurple at 12:02 PM on June 9, 2006


Obligatory George Lakoff link.
posted by bardic at 12:03 PM on June 9, 2006


cribcage: I'm not sure I follow you. I wasn't making any point like that.

I was making the point that I can't believe this is a post. It's some random observation based on a survey of google news. It doesn't meet any metric of what a post should be. It's just a random observation made by the user and using Metafilter to broadcast that observation. It's like Metafilter as Seinfeld: "What's the deal with those little chocolates hotels leave on your pillow?"

I can't seriously believe that this passes muster as a post.
posted by dios at 12:06 PM on June 9, 2006


I can't seriously believe that this passes muster as a post.

Not only does it pass muster as a post, thanks in large part to you it's a post with 40 comments!

The irony just OOZES from this thread! Of course, that always happens when you have a post from a user whose handle starts with 'N'. You know those N-handle guys, always with the irony.
posted by gurple at 12:09 PM on June 9, 2006


I find it an interesting that his religion is not mentioned in any of the articles. If he was muslim it would have been in the headline. Has anyone seen it mentioned anywhere?
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:12 PM on June 9, 2006


I don't understand the objections to this post. It is "just" an observation, but a relevant on when we live in a time where politics are defined by terrorism. I don't know, or care, if this guy is a christian, and the whole "liberals make stereotypes too" is just an attempt to derail the point of this post and thread: The term "terrorist" seems to be applied arbitrarily by those in power. In an era of NSA wiretaps, indefinite detention, torture, and the continued erosion of individual rights, all in the name of stopping terrorism, I find arbitrary applications of the word "terrorist" to be pretty damned alarming.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:13 PM on June 9, 2006


It's sad that white, American christians are not standing up to denounce this guy. Let me be the first, I will lead a protest outside my house tonight to make sure everyone knows I am not affiliated with this type of terror and condemn it utterly. I urge you all to do the same.
posted by cell divide at 12:19 PM on June 9, 2006


Dios complains about the form of a post with a pro-liberal bent. Insists he knows what's best for metafilter. Film at 11.
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on June 9, 2006


I don't understand the objections to this post.

Kneejerk freakouts rooted in irrational loyalties cannot be understood... only experienced.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:25 PM on June 9, 2006


i should apologize, i think i'm the first in the thread to mention his religion, and no, it is not mentioned in the article. But like sonofsamiam, i really doubt this is a secularly motivated action.

Nevertheless, i should not make assumptions. The guy could have had a non-religious grudge against this clinic. If that turns out to be the case, i gladly withdraw my statement.

However, if it does turn out that he was acting out of some religious zeal, (as is frequently the case with abortion clinic attackers) i think my first comment here should stand.
posted by quin at 12:27 PM on June 9, 2006


Birdie, it is fairly common for the government to initially indict someone on possession charges, then latter to add intent-based charges. Possession is easy to prove, while it is usually harder to prove intent, especially for an act that has not been carried out. So the government will wait to add intent charges until it has collected more evidence.

Anyway, weapons possession is more serious than most people think, especially for previously convicted felons. This asshole could well get 10 years for possessing the bomb, without even delving into Patriot Act penalties.
posted by huzzahhuzzah at 12:30 PM on June 9, 2006


If we take a look at history we can see that white males have traditionally been capable of inflicting more damage on society than just about any other group.

Please stop discrediting serious criticism of European/White hegemony. Neither being white nor male gives you a special power to inflict damage on society when compared to non-whites or females. Your attention is drawn most to damage caused by members of the (current) dominant culture, but I assure you this is a temporary situation. There have been and will be plenty of sociopaths who will give the worst of the white males--dead or otherwise-- a run for their money.

According to liberals, we should either slander white people or forgive thieves who are black.

With no respect due, fuck off. If you are trying to make the case that there is not racial bias in mainstream news and media in the United States, you're wrong. You are also incorrectly reporting the loot/scavenge story if I recall correctly.

Check the caption:


The white people "found" the bread at a grocery store. Which is different from "looting" how?

That news story was shameful, and embarrassing. And this should not be seen as a "liberal" point of view -- stupid, unthought out prejudice of that nature should have been abolished by reasonable people a century ago, as it belies a basic inability or refusal to attempt to ascertain the nature of what is apprehended.

And by defending it, you look like a total asshole. FYI.
posted by illovich at 12:34 PM on June 9, 2006 [3 favorites]


I'm sure we can assume that if Weiler were Muslim or Atheist, the news report of his arrest would have pointed that out clearly. From his published mugshot we know that he is white, and has more and scruffier facial hair than most Good Christians. If he hasn't been directly quoting scrpture while in custody, the police may indeed be unclear as to his religious motivation, if any. And, from the WaPo article "A neighbor of the Weilers in Forestville said Robert Weiler Jr. was a former pizza restaurant employee who often dressed in black."

But based on that description, he could be a Satanist disturbed that the Antichrist did not get born on 06/06/06 because he was aborted, or he could be a devoted follower of the founder of Domino's who openly supports anti-abortion groups, or he could be a Catholic priest and the neighbor mistook the church for one of those old Pizza Hut buildings. I hope I've helped clarify that.

But seriously, remember the bomb squad set off the bomb while trying to defuse it... maybe they're going to avoid more serious charges to get a guilty plea (no courtroom embarassment) and avoid being sued for damages (ditto).
posted by wendell at 12:37 PM on June 9, 2006


Absolutely. And the guy probably is a Christian — just like most brown people who build bombs to kill Americans and Israelis are probably Muslim. So we're agreeing that both assumptions are fair game?

I'm a liberal, and I do agree that both assumptions are fair game. In fact, I would go so far as to say that, were I to hear about a successful or attempted terrorist bombing in either the United States or the Middle East, despite knowing nothing further about the attack or the target, I would feel absolutely comfortable in assuming that the perpetrator was either Muslim or Christian. Members of these two religions, in my experience, are the groups most likely to commit bombings.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:38 PM on June 9, 2006


Hey Dios, I got an Idea! When you run MF, you get to decide what is or is not a post unilaterally, till then suck it up.... M'kay?

I personally think some FPPs are uninteresting as well. Guess what!?!?!? I DON"T READ THEM! That seems to work for me, but your mileage obviously varies.
posted by Elim at 12:38 PM on June 9, 2006


In the Washington Post, this story only appeared in the Metro section (both online and in the print edition). The word terrorism is never used. Oh, that liberal media!
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:42 PM on June 9, 2006


I agree, dios. Pretty weak post, but a good post could have been made on this subject. It needed to be fleshed out.
posted by brundlefly at 12:43 PM on June 9, 2006


I agree, dios. Pretty weak post, but a good post could have been made on this subject. It needed to be fleshed out.

Too bad there's not an edit feature.
posted by illovich at 12:49 PM on June 9, 2006


From CBS Article

A car in the driveway had a frame around the front license plate that read "Choose Life" and "God is pro-Life."
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:50 PM on June 9, 2006


Interesting you should bring this up, Neiltupper, since I was thinking about this very topic (people who bomb abortion clinics not being called terrorists) just this morning.

Since the arrest of 17 Canadians who were allegedly part of a plot to bomb several Canadian landmarks, CBC news (both TV and radio) has been running stories wherein moderate Muslims are pointing some of the blame for the rise in radicalism at Canadian mosques who are turning a blind eye to some of what is going on in right in front of them. They told stories of conferences of Muslim men that included speakers on (among other things) how Shariya law could benefit the West. Some of these speakers said things about how rapists and homosexuals could suffer capital punishment under Shariya law, and they distributed more radical literature, including copies of the Qu'ran that included essays interpreting passages to justify agressive Ji'had.

The moderate Muslims that are featured in these stories have been trying to raise the alarm within their community about how this cannot be left unchallenged. They've said that none of this is overly surprizing to them. They don't want their mosques and their religion hijacked by fundmentalist extremists.

And as I listened to these reports, I thought that a lot of what they're talking about reminds me of Christianity in North America. There are extremist factions that hold big rallies of men, and who preach about how homosexuals and other 'deviants' they disagree with should be put to death (among other things that the majority of citizens disagree with). They would like to see their holy book used as the law of the land, and openly advocate for it. A few (by far the minority) have actually killed or tried to kill or otherwise harm people that disagree with their views in some dramatic way. Meanwhile, a majority of members of the religion are far more moderate, don't read the scriptures that way, and are ashamed that their religion gets associated with the extremist fundamentalist wing-nuts.

The similarities were so clear to me when I listened to the stories. I imagine there will be a lot of Canadians who will be more scared of Islam after hearing those reports, but I doubt as many would have that reaction when hearing about the similar situations on the fringes of Christianity. I hope we can be more sensistive and intelligent than that, but I don't have complete confidence.

(I apologize for my atrocious spelling of the proper nouns here.)
posted by raedyn at 12:59 PM on June 9, 2006


FOB--You consistently make good comments which skewer the assumptions inherent in less well considered positions. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 1:00 PM on June 9, 2006


Something about how "terrorist" is used reminds me of how "communist" was once used. It's what we call anyone we disagree with, and we can justify all kinds of awful invasions in the name of "rooting out the terrorists" the same way we were "rooting out the commies" back in the bad old days. It's a generic scare label, synonymous more with "big bad wolf" than with the literal definition of the word.

I wasn't around back in the days of McCarthyism, so I could be off here, but that's how it appears to me.
posted by raedyn at 1:13 PM on June 9, 2006


It's sort of like the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit: People wanted the story to make their point, so they ignored inconvenient details.

i'm going to go ahead and presume that you personally find the mcdonald's case absurd, cribcage, because that seems to be how you're positing this example.

but since you mentioned ignoring inconvenient details, i thought maybe i'd bring up a few:

--the plaintiff suffered third-degree burns and was hospitalized for 7 days

--mcdonald's knowingly served coffee at temperatures that far exceeded standard restaurant practices, for reasons of taste

--the ultimate award after appeal wasn't millions but rather 480K

maybe you're not aware of this stuff, lots of people aren't. it is ironic that you chose this as your example of how people use stories to make points that disregard inconvenient facts. and amusing. i sorta want to box your ears, but in loving fashion.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:23 PM on June 9, 2006


Perhaps it’s because he’s a Viking?

Boy, I bet Arch & Jughead and the gang didn’t see this coming.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:29 PM on June 9, 2006


MetaTalk, for this sad excuse for a post.
posted by mkultra at 2:12 PM on June 9, 2006


I don't think this would fit in the MetaTalk thread because that is more specific to dios's alleged derail. But....

dios is right, of course.

I suspect that the reporter did not mention "terrorism" because the guy appears to be charged with very standard state charges. The State of Maryland may not have a "terrorism" statute and even if it did the cops didn't charge him with it when he got booked. For the reporter to indicate that the guy is a terrorist would be irresponsible.

Of course, this has nothing to do with YOUR freedom to call him a terrorist if that's what you want to do. But that would mean that you just post a link to the story and type "terrorist" next to the name. Your actual post is basically that, which is pretty boring.
posted by Pacheco at 2:17 PM on June 9, 2006


Mr_Zero said: I find it an interesting that his religion is not mentioned in any of the articles. If he was muslim it would have been in the headline. Has anyone seen it mentioned anywhere?

Phone messages left at Weiler's home were not returned. A car in the driveway had a frame around the front license plate that read "Choose Life" and "God is pro-Life."

Talk about coy!
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 2:18 PM on June 9, 2006


Darn, didn't see you already found it.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 2:21 PM on June 9, 2006


If you spill hot coffee on yourself and then burn yourself you are an idiot and the nice people who brewed the coffee for the best flavor experience shouldn't have to pay your bills. Those of us who can drink hot coffee responsibly now can not get it at the proper hot temperature because of this. Anyone who puts a cup of hot coffee in their crotch should not be surprised if it hurts them if it spills. Regardless of whether the judge or an appellate court knocked down the award later, the jury went a little wild here. Oh yeah, the case is as outrageous as it was made out to be. (and you guys are blaming dios for a derail - the coffee is more off topic than dios's comment)
posted by caddis at 2:38 PM on June 9, 2006


You are also incorrectly reporting the loot/scavenge story if I recall correctly.

You don't. Read my comment again. The captions were explained by their respective photographers: One had witnessed a theft, and the other hadn't.

it is ironic that you chose this as your example of how people use stories to make points that disregard inconvenient facts.

Uh, no. That's not ironic. In fact, it's exactly what I said. It's why I brought up the case in the first place: People ignored McDonald's reckless behavior just as they ignored the photographers' explanations. They misrepresented both cases to make arguments that weren't supported by either. See? Same thing.

You're telling me that I'm wrong while you're restating my point, which doesn't make me feel inclined to apologize for "impugning your intelligence" elsewhere.
posted by cribcage at 2:40 PM on June 9, 2006


People may have not 'ignored' those things so much as found them unconvincing. I know I do.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:45 PM on June 9, 2006


what 'you guys?' i wasn't participating in the derail discussion.

If you spill hot coffee on yourself and then burn yourself you are an idiot and the nice people who brewed the coffee for the best flavor experience shouldn't have to pay your bills.

what if this happened to your grandmother? would you get pissed off to learn that mcdonalds, uniquely among servers of coffee in the world, served their coffee at temperatures sufficient to cause injury that required fucking skin grafts to repair?

caddis, were you on the jury of the coffee case? because somehow 12 american citizens selected by both the defense and the complainant were able to agree that mcdonald's was egregiously negligent in this case and agree that punishment for their willful disregard of patron safety was in order.

but now, i guess, we're derailing the derail.
posted by Hat Maui at 2:47 PM on June 9, 2006


You're right, it's a derail. And I started it, so I apologize.
posted by cribcage at 2:51 PM on June 9, 2006


hey, cribcage, sorry. i mistook your point. i see we are in agreement! (although not about the looting/finding distinction -- just because one photog thinks that the black man taking from the grocery store is a theft and the other photog thinks that white people merely "found" the stuff at the other store doesn't mean that the acts were in any way different in and of themselves).

as for the reference to the other thread and continued insults, i never asked for, nor would i accept, an apology from you for anything, thanks. but i am starting to worry about the accumulating evidence of your profound insecurity about your own intelligence. maybe no one ever told you this before, but here, i'll have a go: you ARE smart enough! now go get 'em, tiger!
posted by Hat Maui at 2:54 PM on June 9, 2006


hey, cribcage, sorry. i mistook your point.

[followed by]

i never asked for, nor would i accept, an apology from you for anything...


That's OK. I'll accept yours.
posted by cribcage at 2:58 PM on June 9, 2006


Has the word been hijacked?

Isn't it blindingly obvious? Terrorism is only terrorism when it's against the state, or against targets the state approves of.

Otherwise, as far as the state is concerned, at worst it's just a regular boring old crime and at best it's freedom-fighting.
posted by kaemaril at 2:58 PM on June 9, 2006


uniquely among servers of coffee in the world,

prove it
posted by caddis at 3:01 PM on June 9, 2006


my apology was for missing your point. your allusion to an apology was for repeatedly calling me stupid.

poke around in there, maybe you'll find the distinction, dick.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:02 PM on June 9, 2006


prove it

perhaps "uniquely among servers of coffee" was a bit hyperbolic, but...

When a law firm here found itself defending McDonald's Corp. in a suit last year that claimed the company served dangerously hot coffee, it hired a law student to take temperatures at other local restaurants for comparison.

After dutifully slipping a thermometer into steaming cups and mugs all over the city, Danny Jarrett found that none came closer than about 20 degrees to the temperature at which McDonald's coffee is poured, about 180 degrees.


more here and here
and here.

satisfied? 'cuz there's lots more if not.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:09 PM on June 9, 2006


Can we NOT talk about the McDonald's coffee lawsuit in this thread, please? It gets people unreasonably upset and its off topic. Thanks.
posted by raedyn at 3:11 PM on June 9, 2006


Significantly off-topic.
posted by raedyn at 3:12 PM on June 9, 2006


Incidentally, after googling for the definition of domestic terrorism I found several pages (inc. Wikipedia, DOJ, etc) which gave the definition of domestic terror under the PATRIOT act. Here's the wiki summary:
With respect to terrorism definitions, for example, section 802 of the Act created the new crime category of "domestic terrorism." According to this provision, which is found in the U.S. criminal code at 18 U.S.C. § 2331, domestic terrorism means activities that (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or of any state, that (B) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping, and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

Now, assuming that:
a) Planning to bomb an abortion clinic is illegal
b) Such an act is dangerous to human life
c) It's against the law
d) Bombing a clinic could be interpreted by a reasonable person as being an attempt to 'intimidate or coerce a civilian population'
e) And that the clinic was in the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

I'd say, if the authorities wanted to, they could charge the guy under the PATRIOT act as a domestic terrorist.
posted by kaemaril at 3:14 PM on June 9, 2006


It says here that Starbucks serves coffee between 175 to 185 F.
posted by caddis at 3:17 PM on June 9, 2006


Hmm. I think c) is a tad superflous there. d'oh! :)
posted by kaemaril at 3:18 PM on June 9, 2006


/coffee rant

sorry
posted by caddis at 3:20 PM on June 9, 2006


Yes.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on June 9, 2006


Sorry liberals, but a lone nut job is not a terrorist, so terrorism would not be an issue if the perp had been working alone. In this case however a team was involved, and they had to serve the coffee hot, it said so in the holy manual. Franchise == Cell. We know this already.
posted by econous at 3:22 PM on June 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


this comment ^ is crazystupidawesome.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:26 PM on June 9, 2006


Sorry liberals, but a lone nut job is not a terrorist, so terrorism would not be an issue if the perp had been working alone.

i'm assuming that you meant this facetiously, but i'll comment on it anyway;

If i have sufficient craft to construct a biological or chemical weapon in my backyard shed (not probably, but also not unthinkable) and i then used said weapon on a population center and killed a couple of thousand people, i would not be considered a terrorist because i did it alone?

That's silly.
posted by quin at 3:30 PM on June 9, 2006


Sorry liberals, but a lone nut job is not a terrorist, so terrorism would not be an issue if the perp had been working alone.

Can you point me to a definition of terrorism which says it's a team event?

More importantly, if a bearded slightly dusky fellow walked into a courthouse, announced that Allah was great, and then blew himself up with a bomb he'd constructed would the media (and especially Fox News) be calling him a 'lone nutjob' or a 'terrorist'?

Don't worry, it's a rhetorical question.
posted by kaemaril at 3:31 PM on June 9, 2006


And by 'silly', i mean Hat Maui's much better 'crazystupidawesome'.
posted by quin at 3:31 PM on June 9, 2006


quin: construct a biological or chemical weapon coffee is simply not that powerful.
kaemail: my comment makes that very definition, or lesser one, quite clearly.
posted by econous at 3:55 PM on June 9, 2006


Sorry, econous, waaay too subtle for me I'm afraid. It's been a long day.
posted by kaemaril at 4:23 PM on June 9, 2006


dios, you're not exactly guilt free of posting a story to support your observation as a link.
posted by substrate at 4:31 PM on June 9, 2006


If you spill hot coffee on yourself and then burn yourself you are an idiot and the nice people who brewed the coffee for the best flavor experience shouldn't have to pay your bills.

If you scorch your coffee so that it tastes like licking asphalt, you should have to pay each and every one of your customers a half million dollars and then be flogged. Negligence is one thing but bad coffee is a sickness of the soul!

Now I’m not a lawyer, but I think I have some solid legal advice on this issue. Avoid having a couple letters from a society of plastic and reconstructive surgeons that tell you that your coffee is dangerously hot turning up in your files. Saying your market research says one thing when you know the plaintiff has a copy of it and it damn well says exactly the opposite is also not a cunning strategy. Oh, and look for lawyers who can at least fake having some respect for the judge and the jury.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:22 PM on June 9, 2006


econous wrote: Sorry liberals, but a lone nut job is not a terrorist, so terrorism would not be an issue if the perp had been working alone.

Oh, please. Precisely where in the definition of "terrorist" does it exclude individuals? What about George Metesky or the Unabomber?


"Sorry liberals"? Faugh. Bad enough when sneers like that are attached to logic and reason.

I'm *proud* to be a liberal. I look back on our achievements as the greatest that mankind has to offer -- starting with democracy itself, and then later free schools, a government of laws, public roads, the amazing modern system of checks and balances, of police and hospitals -- all "liberal" ideas when they first appeared.

We've had five years of "you conservatives" (not that you lot are conservative in the real meaning of the term) and it's been nothing but disaster, war, lies, death, and the wholesale looting of the public treasury, one catastrophe after another with no end in sight. It's astonishing that "you conservatives" can still smirk like that: I wonder about "your" collective mental health.

So make your case clearly and logically and eloquently. But refrain from addressing us, rudely, as "liberals", or other similar nonsense. Or people will ignore you, and I at least will eventually filter you out with a program.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:16 AM on June 10, 2006


"Sorry liberals, but a lone nut job is not a terrorist..." - econous

*adds to 'dumbest things I've heard today, probably why the comment has seen so much action*

You do realize one of the party lines has been that the most formidible opponant has been the ideological loner, right?
And actually it's been one of the things they have been correct on (must have listened to one of the folks studying counterterrorism before 9/11 as opposed to all the experts out there now).
The weakest part of any cell is the communication links.

As evidenced by...gee, let's see if I can think of an example..Hmmm...oh yeah: Zarqawi.

Inevitably you have intercepts. The ideological loner doesn't have that weakness. Nor does he need guidance, money, orders. He strikes because he believes it is best for the cause. His mission is programmed as part of the ideology. He can pretend to be a normal citizen for years, then strike without warning. His tools are not force, but uncertainty and fear. And they are out there. They can't be bargained with, can't be reasoned with, don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

/on preview - Possible responses:
YES/NO
OR WHAT?
GO AWAY
PLEASE COME BACK LATER
FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE
FUCK YOU

/back on:

How are this guy's actions - done for ideological reasons - different from someone who does the same thing for ideologically different reasons?

That agenda has been pushed politically and has driven the language - greatly to the detriment of this country because it is not the form of the fanaticism that matters. And there are non-force ways to prevent the generation of people like this. Apparently some fanatics who kill people for their ideologies are ok in some books. And it's exactly that kind of tacit approval - that the mullahs are guilty of as well - that is the problem.


/also - lupus_yonderboy and I don't have the same perspectives on a variety of issues - but I agree here. Please stop using "liberals" as a perjorative. (and - uh - conservatives as well please).
That ain't going to happen any time soon, but understand that identifying any adherant to any Weltanschauung as inherently stupid without addressing the points of their world view is EXACTLY the kind of problem that creates ideological loner terrorists.
It's always those lousy infidels of whatever stripe who just can't see the truth of our position that makes them so stupid, right? There are a great many liberal positions I have issues with. This doesn't make one who adheres to them an idiot or whatever because neither circumstances nor information is universal or timeless (principals, I think, are - which is one of the issues I contend with liberals) and hell, I might be wrong. It's good to have other perspectives and not every permutation of an act or expression someone makes "bad." Feces, we can all agree, is "bad" but I did take a "good" shit today. So there ya go.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:56 AM on June 10, 2006


Uh, guys, I'm pretty sure econous was employing sarcasm. He or she is also the one who wrote: I shall be giving my vote to the Guy [or Gall] with the best circus skills. I have an instinctive trust of circus folk, and one should always go with ones gut.

Gave me quite a giggle.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 1:18 AM on June 10, 2006


Pacheco: I suspect that the reporter did not mention "terrorism" because the guy appears to be charged with very standard state charges. The State of Maryland may not have a "terrorism" statute and even if it did the cops didn't charge him with it when he got booked. For the reporter to indicate that the guy is a terrorist would be irresponsible.

I don't think that really adds up. Very few of the brown-skinned radical Islamic type "terrorists" are ever caught or charged with any sort of crime at all, yet no one hesitates to label them "terrorists." I'm thinking here of the 9/11 crew, OBL, countless suicide bombers, etc. Is that labelling also irresponsible?
posted by Western Infidels at 8:12 AM on June 10, 2006


Maybe he would have been a "terrorist" if he had actually succeeded in his (idiotic and hurtful) plan, but he didn't. So, at best he's an attempted terrorist. Not nearly as exciting.

I don't think the word's been hijacked so much as this was a lone wacko with a bomb intending to use it to blow up some innocent people - an act which is certainly terror-ific - but instead blew up an empty house - an act that is violent, misguided, and stupid.

Do we have a word for "violent, misguided, and stupid?" I nominate "viomispid."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:25 AM on June 10, 2006


I can't seriously believe that this passes muster as a post.
posted by dios at 3:06 PM EST on June 9 [+fave] [!]


Hi Seth!
posted by juiceCake at 9:36 AM on June 10, 2006


Maybe he would have been a "terrorist" if he had actually succeeded in his (idiotic and hurtful) plan, but he didn't. So, at best he's an attempted terrorist.

Richard Reid didn't succeed either, but he's generally described as a "terrorist," not an "attempted terrorist."

One might argue that terrorism is basically illegal, asymmetrical coercion through fear, and in causing such fear, a terrorist has succeeded, whether his plan to do violence has gone perfectly or not. In that case, a terrorist would be someone who scares us, and an attempted terrorist is someone who tried to scare us, but did not.

But that's really a way of taking our xenophobia and racism and building them right into the definition of terrorism. This way, OBL. Reid, et al are terrorists because they are alien, strange, funny-looking and violent, where someone like Weiler is just a cracker. A dangerous nut, but our dangerous nut.

Which is exactly the problem. We imagine that when we label a person a "terrorist," we're responding to that person's behavior, when in fact we're only responding to our own reaction to that behavior. That can be a perfectly acceptable thing to do, but if we do so unconciously, we may imagine that we're thinking when we're actually only emoting.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:02 AM on June 10, 2006


They can't be bargained with, can't be reasoned with, don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.. I met one of these conservatives once, it was during a particularly mild winter in the late 80's. The trees still had their leaves, no one wore coats, quite lovely actually. The first thing this guy said to me was: 'Your clothes, give them to me' I haven't voted since.
posted by econous at 10:50 AM on June 10, 2006


ROFFLE!
posted by Hat Maui at 5:13 PM on June 10, 2006


Yeah, sorry, my sarcasm/joke/irony detector shorted out after R.Adm Harris' comments on the suicides at Gitmo as an "act of asymetric warfare".

My head 'asploded.

Kinda neat how any act can be linked - or in Weiler's case not at all associated - with terrorism.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:20 PM on June 10, 2006


Maybe he would have been a "terrorist" if he had actually succeeded in his (idiotic and hurtful) plan, but he didn't. So, at best he's an attempted terrorist. Not nearly as exciting. - grapefruitmoon

I've gotta agree with Western Infidels - what makes it terrorism is the fear (*cough*terror*cough*)
Main Entry: ter·ror·ism
Pronunciation: 'ter-&r-"i-z&m
Function: noun
1 : the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Unlawful: check
Threat of violence: check
Against state or public: check
Politically motived: check
Coercion: check

Sounds like it fits pretty well to me.
posted by raedyn at 7:27 AM on June 12, 2006


cribcage: You don't. Read my comment again. The captions were explained by their respective photographers: One had witnessed a theft, and the other hadn't.

Sorry, that's bullshit. The captions both describe the same activity, but assign criminality only to the black guy. Even if the photographers didn't see the white couple loot/scavenge the grocery store, they said in print that they "found" their food at a grocery store.

You can parse, interpret or excuse it all you want, but it was a mistake on the part of AP, and they should have caught it. In any case I fail to see how being upset about such idiocy is a black eye for us "libruls" who care about such silly things as unbiased news reporting.

Additionally, it's a good idea to cite stuff (with URLs if possible) when you're trashing people or ideas. Most of us know how to use google.
posted by illovich at 7:42 AM on June 12, 2006


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