Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How To Make Americans Angry

     You know what's the wrong way to try to motivate Americans?  Harm innocents.

     I was musing about incidents of highly-visible violence in this country and the popular reaction to them, from Ruby Ridge to the Haymarket bombing and riot, from Kent State to Oklahoma City, from the World Trade Center horror to yesterday's Boston Marathon bombing and there's really only one common thread: innocents were harmed.

     Judge it however you will, but most people in this country do not so very much mind if bank robbers and drug dealers shoot one another or the Feds fatally take down Dillinger on a public sidewalk, as long as no otherwise uninvolved bystanders get hurt.  Even when the "bystanders" hurt or killed are firmly on one side or another of the issue at hand -- Davad Koresh's followers, the police and labor agitators at Haymarket -- there's a strong sense of outrage.

     Acts of terrorism are generally presumed to be done to provoke ever more extreme reactions, thereby polarizing the largely-uncommitted masses.  In this country, that usually does not work; instead, we react to the perpetrators as we react to cockroaches.  Likewise, police actions of the "overwhelming force" sort are supposed to shut down a bad situation rapidly; and they, too, have a history of failure or at least undesired outcome when they extend to include innocents.

     The reaction cuts across party, ideology, socioeconomic class, region: do harm to folks who didn't have it coming, and you have incurred the wrath of not merely The Authorities but the majority of an entire nation.

     Whoever it was bombed the Boston Marathon, lone madman, political direct activist, whatever:  wherever you are, we're coming for you.


Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, We the People may be ready to go Hunting, but I doubt that if/when the Perp/Perps are caught that they'll be treated like McVeigh. After all, Obama did NOT call it it a Terror Attack, he did NOT break in at 9:00 pm EDT to try to calm the Nation. In fact, his little Pressor had all the emotion of a waiter reading off the Wine List.

But I'm SURE that when the Memorial Service happens in a few days, he'll be there Claiming that "If HE had HIS Legs Blown Off, HE'D be just like them!"

Meanwhile, in the Background, he told his Regime to treat it just like a Bank Robbery, because, after all, we don't want to have to send the Goblin/Goblins to the Needle, because that MIGHT "encourage" the _____ to do more Attacks, and the War on Terror is part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy anyway. So we'll take a Plea Deal for Life in Supermax.

Unless it was done by some Right-Wing Nutjob. THEN we can hang him.

Why do I say that? Look at the Ft.Hood Shooter.

Anonymous said...

Hear her! Hear her!

Jennifer said...

Yes, exactly.

Divemedic said...

Unless you, as a person that would harm innocents, are willing to make others the scapegoat.

Seven children from Pskov were killed in a bombing today...

Anonymous said...

I am not so certain about what Americans won't tolerate. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, amongst many others, are still alive and stealing oxygen. In many other countries someone would have seen to it that they met an early and bizarre end, sometime before now; I don't think they would have lived long enough to get the current Occupier of the White House started on his political career.

Mike James

Drang said...

Generally speaking, I agree. I started studying terrorism in college, to the bemusement of my sociology and criminal justice profs, who were used to seeing papers on "why dope should be legal". One of the conclusions that I arrived at early on was that terrorism has a spotty success record, especially in the USA. Lots of attempts to use it, few if any got anywhere, and if they did, it's debatable just how much actual terrorism had to do with it.
Hardly 100% efficacious overseas, too, although furriners, or their governments, seem to be easier to convince.