Casual Terrorism

On Monday night I went before a live television audience and tried to put the Boston terror attack into some perspective. I told the viewers that as an American, I was angry. I said the attack was vile and cowardly; designed to injure innocent people – including children. I put forth that the Nazis did that kind of thing.

And finally, I said that President Obama made a mistake by using the word ‘tragedy’ to define the attack.

While the dictionary defines ‘tragedy’ as “a disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life,” the word is not precise enough to define what happened in Boston.

If the bombers are foreigners, the event is an act of war.

If the killers are Americans, it is high treason because by committing a terror act you have essentially declared war on your own country. There is a difference between detonating a bombs that kill and main innocent people and shooting up a school or movie theatre. Both are murderous acts but only one is politically motivated.

And it is the political factor that takes tragedy out of the descriptive equation.

President Obama did not do anything wrong in describing the Boston massacre as a tragedy. But he did not use his pulpit to clearly define the issue. Americans need to know that this country is under attack by a variety of forces both from within and without. U.S. authorities have performed brilliantly in keeping terror attacks on American soil to a minimum, but too many folks do not understand the danger this country is facing. There are fanatics who would kill each and every one of us if you they could. That is not tragic, that is real. And we must deal with it.

Freedom puts all of us at risk. We are living in a time when just about every security measure is controversial – from drones to Internet snooping with a warrant. In New York City, liberals rail against the police “stop and frisk” policy, designed to control illegal weapons. Never mind that the policy has saved thousands of lives, the zealots don’t like it and that’s that. Security be damned.

Hanging in the New York City office of the ACLU was a sign that read: “We reserve the right to check all bags.” But if the cops want to check a suspicious bag on the street or in a subway car – get ready for the usual yelping by the ACLU.

President Obama should bring a sense of urgency to terrorism. At times, he doesn’t even like using the word. His style is cool while the issue is hot. Americans react emotionally when children are blown up on the streets.

Mr. Obama’s use of the word ‘tragedy’ is a small thing and, again, he did not do anything wrong. But I want my Commander-in-Chief to command. All Americans are under attack. Let’s sound the alarm in very vivid terms.

  • Stimpy

    I don’t like the use of the word ‘injured’ in situations like this. When you are hurt by weapons, by someone’s aggression or malicious intent you are wounded. Small but important distinction in my mind. The people who bled on the street weren’t injured, they were wounded.

  • wally12

    O’ Reilly usually gives Obama a pass on what Obama says and does. Obama meant what he said and that it was a tragedy. He would have stuck to that definition if the media and some others started to call it a act of terrorism. Recall that Obama later changed his word to include terror. Obama always shuns the word terror in that terror might convey that he is someway connected and that it may reflect on his policies.

  • Allen Goldberg

    Bernie…this discussion requires high correlative abilities and the ability to analyze…the replies below certainly show why OVOMIT got elected twice…

  • Larbabe

    I suspect that O’reilly’s diatribe on Obama’s use of the word “tragedy” got so much criticism from his audience that he’s been spending an undue amount of time justifying it. He hates to be told that he’s wrong. This whole thing is a tempest in a teacup. Bill, get off this kick and get back to something important, like plugging your books.

  • OregonBuzz

    I don’t listen to the Traitor in Chief because I believe he is a Muslim born in a foreign country. I am convinced that he is hell-bent on destroying not only the middle class, but the Constitution and thus our American way of life. Aside from the traitors within his administration and Congress, Muslims are the enemy of liberty and freedom.
    “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
    As a nation, we persist in the folly of “moderate” or “peaceful” Muslims. There are none. There are only those who murder and destroy and their kin who wait patiently in the wings and who will stand proud and defiant beside the murderers if and when they succeed.
    A similar situation occurred in Nazi Germany in the ’30′s and ’40′s. I learned all I will ever need to know about Islam/Muslims on 9/11/2001. It’s a shame the rest of the world didn’t, or has forgotten. Perhaps Boston will be a grim reminder.

    • Chris Matthewson

      to OB: You cannot be as ignorant as you sound. Yet, words count and yours place you firmly in the racist and hateful camps of those you purport to deplore and against which all good Americans have fought for decades.

      I hope your deplorable comments are the unfortunate result of an irrational, extreme anger; and that you will soon look back on your post in shame. However, I fear that I am being much too charitable to you.

      to the rest of you: This is why the commentators who opine on this and other conservative sites and networks, should be ashamed of themselves. They, like Mr. O’Reilly and and Mr. Goldberg (and the many other, lesser lights), should seriously reconsider how repeatedly tossing “red meat” to their ravenous readers, listeners and viewers affects the more deranged and unbalanced among their audience, and how that infected meat then gets regurgitated, reinfected and rebroadcast by the crazy right-wingers among us.

      These commentators act as lenses that collect the diffuse hatred and prejudice out there, from the boondocks to the boroughs, and refocus it into a laser-like, piercing, pernicious hatred, which will increasingly manifest itself not only in the ignorant remarks we see so often on sites like this one, but in actual harmful acts against the commonweal.

      Of course, these commentators will, like Capitaine Renault (Claude Rains) at Rick’s Café Americain casino, express shock and outrage at the suggestion that their views could inspire such venom and hatred from their audience. They will even point to remarks they have previously made decrying the outrageous remarks of some of their followers. However, we are way beyond the point that it can be reasonably denied that many of the most popular conservative commentators in our country are actually harming the nation they purport to love and want to preserve, protect and defend.

      Mr. Goldberg has written eloquently about bias in the past. What he and O’Reilly seem to forget is that bias exists in all people about all things. It can never be eradicated–at best it can be recognized, understood and controlled. The vast majority of their audience have a natural bias in favor of these commentators. They will forgive their transgressions and cut them breaks, a natural result of the connection people make to those they know or think they know and are familiar with.

      O’Reilly, Goldberg and the others know and take advantage of this. It is probably one of the reasons legitimate reporters harbor resentment against them. So, when they cater to their naturally biased audience, instead of challenging them, they are doing a disservice to both themselves and their audience, and ultimately, to the country.

      Of course, everyone (especially those in a business driven by ratings and mouse clicks) wants to be liked and popular. But you would think that once someone in, say, Bill O’Reilly’s position has achieved all the fame and recognition he has, that he would begin to put it to some good.

      I suppose that is just too much to expect of a TV personality.

  • Randy

    Mr. Obama can’t “define” the issue because to define the issue renders his whole narrative of the terror threat being under control false. And we all know how erudite intellectuals are never wrong!

    • Allen Goldberg

      Particularly Obozo!!

  • Phil Silverman

    Just for perspective, Mr. Fair and Balanced: what should Reagan – one of your true “Leaders” in your recent book (of course, Barack Obama was not included in that list) – Ronald Reagan – have called the “Beirut 241” situation? An incident? A disaster? What?

    • EddieD_Boston

      Obama is a leader based on what? Whining? Demagoging? Making nice with people that have no inclination to enter the 21st century. Obamacare, which few seem to want? Green jobs, whatever that means? Do tell.

  • Phil Silverman

    Some more nitpicking by one of the best nitpickers at the Obama Vilification Center Headquarters. Bill might not be communicating from his upper berth there but he might as well. Hey Bill, define *your* words. Then maybe Bernie won’t have to lend you a shoulder to cry on every time you open your yap too wide on TV shows you detest just to sell your generally mediocre books.

  • jansuzanne

    I winced when I heard him, and other reporters use the word ‘tragedy’ and the word ‘boy’ to described the event and terrorist. PC will be responsible for the political suicide America is headed for aided by the ‘useful idiots’ of many in the media.

    • Phil Silverman

      I guess he did not reach the standard of the Gipper or W. at Press Conferences. More nitpicking drivel…..

      • Chris Matthewson

        “Mr. Obama’s use of the word ‘tragedy’ is a small thing and, again, he did not do anything wrong.” So, of all the things you could have chosen to write or talk about this past week, why have you focused on this?

  • ARJ127

    It looks like one of the suspects is an American – naturalized on 9/11 2012. This isn’t high treason (which aims for the overthrow of a government). It’s terror – pure and simple. It’s the same crime committed in Oklahoma City 18 years ago and more recently with the massacre in the theatre.

    It is a tragedy. The perpetrators have to be hunted down and brought to justice. We also have to find out what makes these people think so that we can better anticipate them in future.

    • nameless

      You sound too much like Ron Paul who blamed 9/11 on us.

      • ARJ127

        No. I’m not blaming 9/11 on America at all. I am saying that if we want to stop terror attacks, we have to know who the terrorists are and we have to understand what makes them tick. We don’t know enough yet to effectively prevent these occurrences from happening.

        • nameless

          Yes you are, you are a gutless traitor to America, all liberals are. I wish Joseph McCarthy was alive to oust you all out and send to the electric chair like the Rosenbergs rightly were.

          • ARJ127

            And you, Sir, are a nut case who should be kept well away from guns, explosives and sharp objects. If you haven’t learned the dictum,”know your enemy” you are truly a pathetic fool.

          • nameless

            Oh trust me, I know my enemy and you and every liberal like you is an enemy. A very dark and sinister enemy not unlike our current POTUS.

  • trailbee

    Right on the mark. It is the choice of word that makes the correct impression. We all do it to some extent. However, in the case of President Obama’s use of “tragedy”, I believe Bill O’Reilly was correct making his point. What if the use of “tragedy” was deliberate, in light of future discoveries and events? It is why someone has turned a terrorist attack at Fort Hood, with intended murders, into casual terrorism and then softened it or negated the heinousness even more by calling it “workplace violence.” We are easy prey, especially if we have a leader who does not wish to appear forceful, for fear that he would offend someone.
    The Boston Marathon Bombing was a terror attack, plain and simple, and “tragedy” did not quite describe the anguish, fear and anger that must have run rampant at that time, in that place.

  • EddieD_Boston

    No lie Bernie Nation…one of the two terrorists (the dead, older brother) was a student of mine in ’08. He dropped my class after the 4th night and I can’t say I remember him, although when I saw his picture he looked vaguely familiar to me. HR called me and warned me that I may be contacted by media types b/c he briefly attended the community college I teach at as an adjunct. Chilling.