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He’s not mad. That’s the most important thing to understand about him. Neither is he a visionary or, for that matter, a warrior. The fact that firm convictions lay behind his actions does not diminish the fact that he is, simply, a criminal.

I nominate as one of the greatest mistakes over the past decade the depiction of terrorism as something almost supernatural, an occult force that required magical powers to ward off. It’s a sordid crime, no matter who commits it. The zeal that propels someone hopelessly towards a heavily armed enemy may be indistinguishable from that which persuades them to attack an unarmed one, but what remains when the dust has settled is the actions themselves. And while the first course of action almost certainly leads to the sacrifice of the zealot themselves, the second simply consists of the slaughter of innocent people.

He is smart enough to know that his arrest and court appearance give him an unrivalled chance to spread his word, but not smart enough to have noticed that not one of the atrocities from which he has taken inspiration, jihadist or otherwise, have succeeded in the one thing that they were meant to achieve: the spontaneous rising up of the masses. The masses tend not to respond well to atrocities committed either against them or in their name; as the Middle East this year has shown us, they’re far more likely to rise up after a concerted campaign on Twitter.

However much his anger or his faith had blinded him to reality, to the lives of those around him, he is still a criminal and must be treated as such. There is never any excuse for believing that the righteousness and justice of your cause, political or religious, should be measured in the carcasses of children.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
felinitykat
Aug. 1st, 2011 09:58 am (UTC)
Yes. *nods*
smileyfish
Aug. 1st, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
Seconded, etc.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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