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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Catch-22 – US domestic terror(ism)

24 November 2015

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Last Sunday, there was another US drama in New Orleans when 17 out of several hundred people were injured as they were stuck in the middle of a “gang related” shooting (CNN). I am puzzled by the American response (ie, do nothing) to gun related violence and the almost daily US domestic killings / murders, especially in comparison with the American response (ie, close the US borders) to the recent killings / murders in Paris. Why do American politicians fail to understand that they deal with domestic terror(ism)? Is terrorism only terrorism when it has a religious label attached to it?

The 2015 Survey of American Fear by researchers at Chapman University in California found that, on average, the things that Americans fear most fall into three of the 10 domains of fear — fear of man-made disasters (terrorist attacks and economic collapse), technology (cyberterrorism and artificial intelligence) and government (corruption and gun control). The three domains of fear that Americans are least concerned about include judgment of others (personal appearance and weight), everyday life (talking to strangers and romantic rejection) and personal anxieties (public speaking and clowns). (eg, LiveScience, Chapman)

There’s an intriguing contradiction in the Top 10 of US fears which almost escaped me: the fear over terrorist attacks (2,15) ranks almost even to the fear over (governmental) gun control (2,06). This balance in two separate fears essentially represents the Catch-22 on US domestic terror(ism).

Often the words fear and terror are used in 1 sentence. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines terror as: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal. Is the (alleged) absence of a political goal enough reason to do essentially nothing about US domestic terror(ism)?? I am genuinely puzzled by this US attitude. And it’s not even a bipartisan political issue in which Liberals oppose Republicans or vice versa. It’s a common attitude.

Basically, the US is in a catch-22 situation: an unsolvable logic puzzle. There are so many firearms out there that more firearms appears to be the only logical solution going forward when it comes to personal protection. The alternative idea to collect all firearms and to destroy them, doesn’t even occur to them. More firearms and more domestic terror is their imminent future. It is similar behaviour of a person eating himself to death, or a drug addict who is overdosing himself (gluttony).

On 1 October 2015, in the wake of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, the US President made a rather unusual comparison between the number of Americans killed by terrorism and the number of Americans killed by guns: 24 versus 280,024 over the last 10 years. 

The PolitiFact truth-o-meter organisation checked this claim and concluded that it’s “Mostly True” (PolitiFact). Obviously, despite this intriguing statistic, nothing was done to address the root cause (eg, bullets, guns).

“It is not often that nations learn from the past, even rarer that they draw the correct conclusions from it.” Quote by Henry Kissinger

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