Definition of Terrorism, US Government Issued

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Ryan McMaken’s article today helped my history class of high school seniors. Checking out ready.gov, I shared with them the government definition of terrorism. “Terrorism is the use of threat or violence to scare governments into changing their policies.” I then asked if terrorism was good or bad (choose one). They answered bad. I asked if George Washington used threat or violence to change the policies of George III and the British crown in their North American colony. They said yes. George Washington was by their own admittance, by definition a terrorist. They understood. I then asked them if demonstrators against the death penalty or abortion rights (kill them early or kill them later) who block traffic and threaten others in demonstrations terrorists? They are just trying to change a government policy. Again, they agreed, by definition, nuns and women in baggy T-shirts can also be terrorists.

They looked uncomfortable, but also intrigued, at least some of them. The bell rang. We already recognize that free speech zones were set up to keep the “president” safe from possible “terrorists.” We have the CIA seeking out whistleblowers for jail time because they revealed illegalities and constitutional violations by the executive. I think old Dick Cheney may have the right idea — grab a shotgun, fire it wildly with the sun in your eyes, and let the God sort it out. What is the world coming to?

11:26 am on February 13, 2006
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