Thursday, June 04, 2009

Notes For A Post On Terrorist Killings

These are notes for a post I really cannot write with this shitty laptop which gives me garden tiller ads every time I try to learn about the murder of Dr. Tiller. The notes are not the same as a finished post, sadly, but I hope that they are better than nothing.

I watched Rachel Maddow tonight, and she sort of muttered off the corner of her mouth that the killer of Dr. Tiller is a terrorist just as the Muslim man who killed one soldier and wounded another is one. I'm not sure how we define terrorism but Rachel's comment made me think about the possibility that both of these (alleged) killers saw the murders as religiously justified, as 'right' in some sense, as something good people on the correct side would ultimately condone.

Against this background you might find it fascinating that an earlier program (news?) on MSNBC called Dr. Tiller 'controversial'. The American mainstream media does not call the U.S. military 'controversial' though it is certainly described in negative terms in some parts of the world. This difference may be a subtle one, but it has something to do with how we value the victims of violent crimes and how that affects our condemnation of the crimes that made them into victims. It may even define what we call terrorism. If violence is only against women, say, it might not qualify as terrorism.

For much more relevant commentary on Dr. Tiller's murder, see Rheality Check posts.