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“Terrorist” Is Too Kind

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mr-plow3_

I think Burneko is on to something here:

The American political lexicon has an appropriate word for the armed men conspicuously loitering in part of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge instead of going home. It is not terrorist or militia or occupation or revolution or movement or front or army or resistance. The word is jamoke. “Get a load of these sad jamokes!” is the thing you say about them.

Maybe when they are done annexing this remote administrative office’s supply of free park maps and permit application forms, they will liberate rural Oregon’s port-a-johns next. Some of the port-a-johns are heavily fortified with locking doors and hand sanitizer pumps. Surely this will call for siege weaponry.

Imagine the grade of sad, stunted halfwit who decks himself out in paramilitary regalia and lethal weaponry to stage a sit-in at what is for all intents and purposes a remote wildlife park’s visitor’s center. Okay, men, when I kick in the door, you three move on the 74-year-old v0lunteer who shows the birdwatching slideshow to elementary-school field trip groups; if she makes a move, be ready to take her down with force. The rest of us will establish a defensive position behind the cardboard beaver. If bigger goobers than these exist on our planet, you identify them by the bruises from where they poked themselves in the eye while trying to pick their noses.

[…]

A tragicomic thing happens, though, when a handful of slow-witted white dorks in their best Sunday camo decide to take their guns and their entitled, useless, cosmically unserious day-to-day dull-eyed skulking to a minor government shack and pretend it’s some sort of insurrection against tyranny. Liberal internet users’ latent frustration at the disproportionality and unfairness of the way American law enforcement and media treat different kinds of people tips over into a mild derangement that has us likening these shit-for-brains dinguses to friggin’ ISIS. This is understandable! We’re just about a week from an Ohio grand jury deciding that summary execution is a fair consequence for 12-year-old kids who play with toys outdoors; by that standard, the entire state of Oregon should be a radioactive desert right now. This seems a fair thing to point out.

[…]

Here is the thing. These men are not frightening. They are jamokes. They are exactly jamokes. Their guns, on the other hand, are very frightening—for precisely and entirely the same reason and to absolutely the same degree that those same guns would be frightening in the hands of toddlers. Not because the people holding those guns are serious, but because the people holding those guns are not serious.

This, my good buddies, is the entire American pro-gun argument made (embarrassing, oh my God so fucking embarrassing) flesh. A big scary gun lends a degree of real power even to the variety of sad, corny-ass loser who invades and occupies what is essentially a fancy birdhouse in the name of ending tyranny. That is the whole reason to have a big scary gun. Not as a safeguard against home invaders or the totalitarian state, but as a safeguard against a clear-eyed reckoning with plain reality. A gun is—or at least these jamokes hope it is—a Get Out Of Getting Laughed At Free card. When you call these horse’s asses “terrorists,” you are not only dignifying their ridiculous, impotent actions, you are doing them the biggest favor for which they can hope.

And one perennial aspect of this kind of jamokery is, of course, “government benefits for me but not for thee.” The fact that Roscoe Filburn has become a posthumous libertarian hero is entirely appropriate, even if the people lionizing him aren’t in on the joke.

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  • oneslyfox

    I think it is important to call these people terrorists AND point out that they are sad idiots. As long as terrorism has an ethnic/religious subtext to it there is a certain ideological power to it, one used to justify harm. We need to take some of that power away. We also need to come to a better understanding of what terrorism is, a group of armed individuals that seize federal property in an attempt to circumvent the law and enforce their will should be consider engaging in terrorism regardless of how laughable the individual players are. You streak across a football field naked and you’re a criminal. You burn down a church and you’re a criminal and we manage to understand how both of these can be true.

    • I think it is important to call these people terrorists AND point out that they are sad idiots. As long as terrorism has an ethnic/religious subtext to it there is a certain ideological power to it, one used to justify harm.

      Right, absolutely.

    • Captain Oblivious

      I don’t think we should keep elasticizing the definition of terrorist just because this particular bag of douchenozzles happens to be white.

      I think Uncle Charlie is right to call them seditionists. And I think that’s an important distinction. There’s a pretty broad and bright line between an armed but so far non-violent occupation of a federal building (Malheur) and blowing the thing up (OKC). Should it come to shooting in Oregon, they won’t be indiscriminately killing innocent and unsuspecting people who just happened to be in the wrong place, but shooting at members of the law enforcement community and possibly the National Guard who are also armed and prepared to shoot back.

      ETA: Terrorists strike without warning. These yahoos told everyone exactly what they were up to. They’re not hiding anything.

      • oneslyfox

        Wasn’t OKC done by a similar group of right wing militiamen?

        • Captain Oblivious

          What does “similar” mean?

          But in any case, are we just going to start labeling all RWNJs “terrorists” based on such extremely loose associations? Isn’t that what RWNJs do to Muslims?

          • oneslyfox

            Is a false dichotomy really where you want to go with this?

        • DrDick

          Except that those jomokes were marginally competent.

      • Snuff curry

        They’ve threatened, guns drawn, wildlife departmental folk and harmless (but annoyingly anorak-y I grant you) bird-trackers and the irresponsible fires they set to conceal their mass poaching were during burn bans (meaning when such fires could readily spread out of control) and in the immediate vicinity of fire brigade camps.

        So, at best, they’re hypocritical bullies and arsonists willing to kill people.

        • timb

          The idiots at the wildlife refuge aren’t arsonists. Those dudes are in jail.

          From what I read, they haven’t waived their guns at anyone. They’re asking for attention and we shouldn’t give them anything but contempt

      • Manju

        Yeah, the terrorist tu quoque slope could get slippery. Protestors occupy the Dean’s office…Rioters burn down an Arby’s after cops shoot a jaywalking 11 year old with a dangerous looking bag of skittles…I can see the headlines already.

        I sense that welfare queen may be a more cutting insult. Indeed, welfare cheat. They look like strapping young bucks. I think they like T-bone steaks. Can we reverse Lee Atwater this thing?

        • Nobdy

          The problem with calling them welfare queens is that actual welfare recipients get collateral damage from that term being weaponized.

          We want to remove the stigma and shame from being down on your luck enough to need government assistance, not transfer that stigma and shame to a group we don’t like, inherently endorsing it for the group we do like in the process.

          Welfare cheat is somewhat better, but doesn’t entirely address the issue.

          • Manju is a “Conservative”.

            • Manju

              Yeah, my RWingyness is bubbling up. I really want to call these fuckers “losers” and tell them to “get a job”…but then I see Donald Trump.

              • Are you denying that you are a “conservative”?

                • Manju

                  It’s worse than that. I’m a (highly unprincipled) Libertarian.

                  (I know what ur thinking…all Libertarian are highly unprincipled…government benefits for me but not for thee…but I mean in the other direction).

                • NonyNony

                  but I mean in the other direction

                  Government benefits for other people but not for yourself?

                • Manju

                  Government benefits for other people but not for yourself?

                  Yeah.

                • timb

                  Conservative and libertarian are the same thing,mexcept that one believes Jesus told us not to smoke dope

          • Manju

            I was thinking of that as I wrote. And I think Scott and Amanda Marcotte were too…as they were careful not to delegitimize welfare. But the “government benefits for me but not for thee” framing goes too far in the other direction…producing a false equivalence between the two claims.

            The nerve of these people….thumbing their noses down on welfare recipients while simultaneously stealing from hard-working americans. The latter would be wrong even if they didn’t do the former. How to express this? Maybe “the real welfare queens” rhetorically spares actual recipients?

          • CP

            The other problem is that as anyone who’s ever pointed out “but, you’re on Medicare” to a right winger is aware, this doesn’t actually work. The kind of people who rant and rave about welfare cheating – who’d be swayed by that kind of appeal, in other words – firmly believe that it’s not welfare cheating when members of their tribe (like these people) do it. Then, it’s honest people taking back their due from the government that’s spent years robbing them of their hard-earned money to buy Cadillacs and T-bone steaks for young bucks.

            “The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending – with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what the movement is all about.” (Matt Taibbi).

            • Rob in CT

              This.

              Take what you can get from the government because the government is always screwing you is exactly the mindset my mother has.

              “Welfare for me but not for thee” should have some shaming power. It has little.

          • Ahuitzotl

            The problem with calling them welfare queens is that actual welfare recipients get collateral damage from that term being weaponized.

            That ship has not just sailed, it’s bloody circumnavigated.

        • timb

          If you haven’t seen RWNJ’s comparing these fellas to BLM, then you haven’t paid attention. If you have seen them compare Ammon Bundy with Eric Holder, who “participated in the armed takeover of an ROTC center in 1973! Checkmate, libtards!!!!” then you’ve paid attention too much

      • Adam.379
        • There’s a member of congress who would disagree with you, but he’s a fucking idiot.

        • ajay

          They warned some people, some of the time, in vague terms. They didn’t warn Jean McConville, to pick one name that comes to mind.

      • ChrisTS

        Except that the threat of violence is as much a part of terrorism as actualized violence.

        If a group of armed people take hostages and threaten to kill them (unless their weird demands are met), they are aptly called terrorists.

        ‘Terrorism’ is not a concept like ‘murder,’ such that we can speak of ‘attempted terrorism.’

        • Lee Rudolph

          “Attempted terrorism” would appropriately describe futile (and publically indiscernible) attempts to (e.g.) obtain bomb-making materials, no?

      • JS

        I don’t think we should keep elasticizing the definition of terrorist just because this particular bag of douchenozzles happens to be white.

        Yes.

    • I think it is important to call these people terrorists AND point out that they are sad idiots.

      I think you may be overestimating the proportion of terrorists who are also sad idiots. Attacks like 9/11 and Paris get (understandably) disproportionate media coverage and perpetuate the image of terrorists as highly-trained operatives carrying out coordinated and sophisticated attacks. But the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks are simple enough to be carried out by an idiot – and usually are.

      • Manju

        Yeah, 1st WTC bombing. Guy went back to get his rental car deposit.

        • timb

          Times Square bombing. Dude locked his keys in the car.

      • witlesschum

        The 9/11 hijackers weren’t super competent, either. The people who sent them came up with a plan that exploited the system’s vulnerabilities so well that it mainly required showing up on time and suicidal fanaticism to execute. This relates to people’s belief that it would be dangerous in some way to hold the people from Guantanamo in regular federal prison.

      • oneslyfox

        I don’t think we disagree but I’m not sure if I’m understanding what you mean.

        • It probably would have helped if I hadn’t mixed up “overestimating” and “underestimating” in that first sentence.

          But basically what I’m saying is that terrorists and sad idiots are not discrete groups, and that those terrorists who are not also sad idiots are by far the minority.

  • AMK

    It’s texbook terrorism….they are using or threatening to use violence to achieve explicity political ends.

    But I agree that the core issue here is guns, not “terrorism”. Protesting against land use policies and the BLM (the immediate issue here) is perfectly legitimate….and if these people decided to go stage an unarmed sit-in at the bird center or whatever it is, that would be perfectly legitimate as well (if still stupid and jamokish)…..not “seditious.”

    But when you have assault rifles floating around like loose pennies, it’s inevitable idiots like these will get their hands on them and start waving them around to re-enact the scenes from The Patriot in their heads. People could well be killed as a result.

    • Nick056

      Civilians in the surrounding communities are not afraid these people will attack them directly and purposefully; they are afraid of a needless conflict between these jokers and law enforcement, with all the harm and lunacy that generates and implies.

      I just can’t support the “terrorist” label for people who are not attempting to frighten any civilians through violence. And no, their open carry protest does not count.

      People who use violence for political ends are not always terrorists, anyway. That’s a framework that can include any rebel or insurrectionary faction, including even uniformed and organized insurgents. In fact, it describes all political violence, i.e. war.

      • Captain Oblivious

        Ours are freedom fighters. Yours are terrorists.

        I understand and share the frustration when right wing assholes who really are terrorists (like the ones who shoot up abortion clinics) don’t get labeled as such, but labeling a bunch of cretins who haven’t done anything except talk shit and take over a bird sanctuary as “terrorists” is not going to fix the problem of misbranding the real terrorists on the right.

        • UserGoogol

          Freedom fighting is a goal, terrorism is a strategy. People can be both, or neither.

      • witlesschum

        Why doesn’t their open carry protest count? Waiving guns around is a threat to use those guns against people who disagree with you. Otherwise, what’s the point of waiving them?

        And they aren’t directly threatening anyone but federal law enforcement right now, but that’s mainly because no one else is around. Are they gonna let me go bird watching there, or are they going to prevent me from doing so, using their weapons? I would suspect birdwatching is not allowed and would be enforced with arms if I were to resist.

    • Murc

      It’s texbook terrorism….they are using or threatening to use violence to achieve explicity political ends.

      I don’t like this definition, because it literally makes the existence of nation-states and the rule of law terroristic acts.

      • IM

        nonsense. monopoly of force and all that.

        and no that is not an insurrection either: They don’t fight armed forces they target civilian objects like a bird sanctuary.

        so terrorism is it, if yet in an early stage.

        Don’t understand why so many here want to whitewash right-wing terrorism.

        • UserGoogol

          AMK’s definition didn’t say anything about violence outside of the monopoly of the state. But even if you include that, does that mean every non-state entity which engages in war is a terrorist? Every rebellion is a terrorist movement? That’s completely absurd, that’s not what the word means.

          Terror is in the name. The point of terrorism isn’t violence, it’s scaring people.

      • J. Otto Pohl

        Most anarchists would describe the state as a terrorist entity.

        • Murc

          They would, but anarchists are idiots.

    • J. Otto Pohl

      Carlos the Jackal did not include snacks as one of his demands when he took the OPEC ministers in Vienna hostage. It seems really unfair to associate him or others of his ilk with the incompetence of the guys in Oregon.

      • wjts

        I’d bet that the OPEC headquarters was well-stocked with dainties and refreshments in advance of the meeting, so I suspect the cases aren’t really comparable.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          I heard they had nice little sausages.

  • keta

    I think these gormless twits are inadvertently doing a service for America.

    Mockery is a galvanizing agent, and it appears even the usual lock-step right-wing slack-jaws view this contretemps as a wildlife refuge occupation too far. So perhaps Bundy et al. should be congratulated for (momentarily) uniting polarized opposites of the political spectrum into a single voice of derision and condemnation.

    It’s all silly as fuck, but good things are often borne from complete and utter nonsense. As they should be.

  • I happened to just be watching a Rachel Maddow segment on this shit, and she referred to the land as “Technically Federally Controlled”. what the Fuck? Her first day back after a vacation, and she says something like that.

    • Manju

      Maybe because the local sheriff seems to be making the decisions on enforcement?

      • HUH? I don’t see how that is a response to what I said, at all.

        • Manju

          Federally Controlled = potus, secdef, bla, etc make the actual decision on whether to not to apprehend the terrorist welfare cheats.

          Technically Federally Controlled = in practice, this role is outsourced to the county sheriff.

  • CP

    A tragicomic thing happens, though, when a handful of slow-witted white dorks in their best Sunday camo decide to take their guns and their entitled, useless, cosmically unserious day-to-day dull-eyed skulking to a minor government shack and pretend it’s some sort of insurrection against tyranny. Liberal internet users’ latent frustration at the disproportionality and unfairness of the way American law enforcement and media treat different kinds of people tips over into a mild derangement that has us likening these shit-for-brains dinguses to friggin’ ISIS. This is understandable! We’re just about a week from an Ohio grand jury deciding that summary execution is a fair consequence for 12-year-old kids who play with toys outdoors; by that standard, the entire state of Oregon should be a radioactive desert right now. This seems a fair thing to point out.

    It’s true, but generally speaking, I would rather see us take the standards we apply to white-right-wing troublemakers and apply them to black, Muslim, left-wing, et al people, than the other way around. Well, not that lax, but I’d rather have something closer to that than the “this is war!!” approach we have to everyone else.

  • tonycpsu

    Was David Koresh just a jamoke? How about Randy Weaver? At what point does a person hoarding guns and threatening others move past jamokery and into something that could be described as using the threat of violence to achieve a political/ideological objective?

    I understand the point of the piece, but unlike most of the people being called terrorists, these assholes do have weapons and a checkered past. The fact that they’re also unintelligent buffoons doesn’t reduce the danger here, it increases it.

    As usual, “both and” works quite well here. They’re jamokes engaging in terrorism. If they simply occupied the facility without the guns, they’d just be jamokes.

  • For a bunch of self described “hard working people of the land” they sure seem to have a lot of free time to occupy this building.

    Don’t they have jobs to go to?

    • J. Otto Pohl

      It is Christmas break and they couldn’t wait for Spring break to go wild.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Say, maybe the Feds could manage to bring in a fire truck and a water tanker, so the lads can stage a wet T-shirt contest!

    • AB

      Some of them are heroic small-time entrepreneurs who would despise the concept “job” (at least when applied to themselves).

  • Loofah

    I think Burneko is whistling by the graveyard. These guys ARE scary. Not because of the sophistication of their constitutional interpretation or military strategy, but simply because they are heavily armed, making threats, and appear to be willing to kill.

    It’s a mistake to focus on the importance of the site they are occupying. It’s purely a symbolic gesture, not a strategic move. And as a symbolic gesture, it is not joke regardless of how much of a joke their ideology is. Stupid, ridiculous people can band together and do much harm. And if they get away with this, like they did at the Bundy ranch, this will just energize the movement of morons across the country.

    Don’t ridicule their strategic objectives. Ridicule THEM. here’s how to do it:

    Describe them as “welfare cowboys”. Ask their racist sympathizers and potential sympathizers, “What would you think if a group of militant inner-city black food stamp recipients took over a government office by force of arms and demanded billions of dollars in additional food stamps? Would we play pattycake with them? I think not. But that’s what’s happening with these pathetic welfare cowboys.”

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I like “welfare cowboys”. a lot

    • PatrickG

      Welfare cowboys. I will use this, though due to my poor memory my attribution will sadly probably be “I read this somewhere on the internet”.

  • Pingback: How About those Oregon Jamokes? – Kahomono – It Means Lucky()

  • The Pale Scot

    Adam Silverman has an interesting take over at BJ.

    It is all cemented by a pervasive belief that everyone and everything that is not part of their ideological/theological/doctrinal system is either purposefully trying to deceive them or being manipulated and fooled into doing it unwittingly…

    …Some of Bundy’s and his followers ideas appear to come from the extremes and fringes of Mormon theology. This includes the references to Captain Moroni, who according to Latter Day Saints’ scripture led a successful uprising against a despotic king…

    …These ideas and beliefs are transmitted through the primary associations of family, religion, and education – sometimes religious and sometimes home schooling. Learning that is both formal and informal. They function as the definitions favorable, unfavorable, and neutralizing that enable, promote, or retard behavior.

    Edit, Link:https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/01/04/balloon-juice-bunker-standoff-update-day-4-what-do-they-want/

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