Saturday, February 07, 2009

You keep using that word...

Except for BAMN supporters' falacious and specious rants, the most frequent observation about Domestic Terrorists in Ferndale (posted February 3, 2009) in Tif's and my in-boxes are concerns about the word terrorism.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines terrorism as: the use of force or threats to intimidate, etc. [ibid] esp. as a political policy.

It's possible the colloquial use of the word terrorism has moved beyond Webster's, Princeton University's, or others' definitions. None of the definitions I read required violence, murder, assault, or property destruction. Threats as a means to coerce is a good enough definition.

To make our case for us, BAMN's national coordinater, Donna Stern, couldn't help but make more threats in The Woodward Talk regarding attempts to stop their intimidation:

The topic of police intervention led Stern to deliver a taut reminder that BAMN is well aware of its civil liberties. “If Ferndale (tried to stop us from protesting), they would be in violation of our freedom of speech and our freedom of assembly (rights), and we would sue,” she said. “Just because you don’t like what we’re doing doesn’t mean you have the right to block democracy.”

Maybe the problem with describing BAMN's actions as terrorism isn't with the word terrorism. Rather, it may be because the terrorists we're most familiar with; Hamas, al-Qaeda, Timothy McVeigh, as well as eco and animal-rights activists, have taken terrorism to extremes previously thought unconscionable. Sure, al-Qaeda may represent the vanguarde of uber-terrorists, but their pushing the envelope doesn't make BAMN's threats and intimidation any less coercive, it only makes other terrorists more blood-thirsty and desperate.

If you'd like to suggest another word than terrorism to describe BAMN's threats to Ferndale businesses to join their fight against a 3rd party or risk pickets, boycotts, harassing customers, and economic penalties to business and employees, I'm anxious to hear from you.


  1. Public Act 113 of 2002, MCL 750.543b.
    Terrorism is defined as a willful, deliberate and premeditated act that is a violent felony, is known or should be known to be dangerous to human life and is intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or to influence or affect the conduct of a unit of government through intimidation or coercion.

  2. BAMN is not a legitimate organization. Their actions are those of anti-liberal communist revolutionaries whose actions whose goal is not to bring "social justice" or improve conditions, but to "stress the system" so that liberal democracy and capitalism can be replaced by a communist dictatorship.

  3. Jack, thanks for the legal definition.

    If the premeditated act isn't a felony or life-threatening, but still, ".. is intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or to influence or affect the conduct of a unit of government through intimidation or coercion," what would its definition be for legal purposes without a felony?