A Terrorist by Any Other Name

Newspapers and other publications keep what they call “stylebooks” to let the folks who write for them know what’s acceptable to the publication and what isn’t. Many factors determine the rules that are included in a stylebook, many, but not all of them, economic.

What these stylebooks reveal, however, is much more than just preferences and economics. What is a “terrorist” for example – – –

For the record, here’s the [Minnesota] Star Tribune style entry, word for word: “The Star Tribune permits the use of the word ‘terrorist’ to describe nongovernmental groups that carry out attacks on civilians. Other words –‘gunmen,’ ‘separatist,’ ‘rebel’ and ‘suicide bomber,’ for example –usually are more precise and therefore are generally preferred. In the case of Al-Qaida, the use of ‘terrorist network’ or similar terms is permitted. Also, referring to the Sept. 11 attacks as ‘terrorist attacks’ is permitted.” –from Minnesota startribune

So, “In the case of Al-Qaida, the use of ‘terrorist network’ or similar terms is permitted.” But, in the case of governments, apparently, the use of “terrorist,” etc. isn’t permitted.

It seems that if a “governmental group/network” does exactly what a non-governmental “terrorist group/network” does — “carrying out attacks on civilians,” etc. — it isn’t called “terrorist.

Can you think of any “governmental group/network” currently carrying out attacks on civilians?

Thought so. Me too.

So, we know that governments attack civilians – – – regularly. And the results are predictable and the magnitude horrendous. Just to start with – – –

New York, NY – An early July column in the Wall Street Journal by R.J. Rummel confirmed what most libertarians already know: that government is the biggest scourge of mankind. According to Rummel’s research, governments of all kinds … have killed 119 million people in the twentieth century. The second runner up, war (also sponsored by governments, usually) has killed “only” 35.7 million. –AMERICAN LIBERTARIAN Aug. 1986

This record (154.7 million) has been substantially “improved” since Rummel’s 1986 research —- in Afghanistan (by Russian Government), Nicaragua, Bosnia, Iraq 1991 (200,000+ by U.S. Coalition), Guatemala, Chechnya (100,000+), Somalia (by U.S. Government), Rowanda, Grenada (by U.S. Government), East Timor, Panama (by U.S. Government), Kosovo 1999 (by U.S-NATO Coalition & Yugoslav Government), Yugoslavia 1999 (7000+ by U.S.-NATO Coalition), Waco, Texas (60+ including 23 children by U.S. Government), Afghanistan 2002 (4000+ by American Government), Palestine (Israeli Government), Iraq 2003-05 (100,000+ by U.S. led “Coalition”), etc.

You can see Rummel’s research for yourself — now 262,000,000 (262 million) men, women and children murdered by governments so far. Amnesty International also puts the government kill figure at well over 200 million men, women and children.

Notice that 119 million — about 77% — of the 154.7 million killed in Rummel’s original research were civilians, killed — some might say murdered — by their own governments, without even the benefit of “war” as an excuse. (Russian Kulaks, Chinese peasants, German Jews — Native Americans, Weavers, Branch Davidians, Mormons, Hawaiians, Bonus Marchers, etc.)

So why do we give this startribune.com “governmental” vs. “non-governmental” dispensation to those groups calling themselves “government?” Clearly these organizations carry out way more attacks on civilians — and kill way more of them — than ordinary run-of-the-mill “non-governmental” terrorists could even dream of.

Do we give this dispensation to all so-called “governments?” Or just to “our” own?

If we do grant dispensation to “our” government, that’s a seriously bad idea. Because with 77% of those killed by governments being their “own” citizens, clearly one’s own government is always the most dangerous potential terrorist.

That’s why the right to keep and bear arms, recognized but not granted by The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — despite what ex-president William Jefferson Clinton consistently tried to imply — had nothing to do in our ancestors’ minds with the “right to hunt.” It’s like this – – –

The existence of an armed populace, superior in its forces even to a standing army, and not a paper bill of rights, would check despotism. Noah Webster promised that even without a bill of rights, the American people would remain armed to such an extent as to be superior to any standing army raised by the federal government. –THE ADOPTION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT, 1787-1791)

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. –Thomas Jefferson Papers p. 334, 1950

This is likely where the U.S. founders got the idea for the Second Amendment – – –

From the time that the yeoman class of England became proficient with the longbow, the nobility in England had to be careful not to push them into open rebellion. This was a check on the power of the nobility of England which did not exist on the European continent. English longbow: Social importance

The idea is that, confronted by an armed populace, a “government” will be a lot more “polite” — and a lot less likely to massacre “its” civilians en masse. And if it tries anyway, it will be a loud and expensive operation.

At a moment in history when the victims of government schools demonstrate against the Right that protects them from instant totalitarianism — and an ex-supreme court “Justice” suggests repealing it — it’s clearly time to remember why the Second Amendment exists.

HERE for updates, additions, comments, and corrections.

AND, “Like,” “Tweet,” and otherwise, pass this along!