Let's say that you have dog owners who live on either side of your home. The dog owner on your left is an abusive man who frequently beats his dog with a chain. One day, in a fit of rage, he beats the dog to death. The dog owner on your right is a negligent man who completely ignores his dog. He rarely feeds or provides water for it. One day, due to malnutrition and dehydration, the dog dies.
From the perspective of dogs, which man is worse? The abuser or the one who neglects?
It's hard to say because, in the end, both dogs suffer horrible and agonizing deaths.
A lot of people will point the finger at the abusive man. They will say that he terrorized the poor pooch. The dog never knew when the next whip of the chain would come, but became fearful anytime he heard the footsteps of his owner.
I would argue that the neglected canine was terrorized as well. She was terrorized by her owner's lack of concern. Unlike the other dog, she would grow excited when she heard the footsteps of her owner, only to be crestfallen each time he walked away as if she didn't even exist. Her terror was derived from the fact that her needs were deemed wholly unimportant.
I mention these sad scenarios as a way to get you to think about how we humans conceptualize the term, terrorism. The common understanding is that terrorism involves individuals or groups -- foreign or domestic -- that violently attack innocent people, particularly Americans. If a bomb goes off in a crowd or an airplane purposely is flown into a building, we instantaneously know that this constitutes an act of terrorism. These acts are undertaken to further some sort of political and/or religious agenda.
It is strange that we don't consider acts to be a form of terrorism if they involve an economic agenda. Going back to a point I hinted at on Sunday in the post, 14 - 3, most people consider what happened in Boston to be terrorism, but not what happened in West, Texas. Boston was akin to the abusive dog owner, while Texas was akin to the neglectful dog owner.
What most Americans continually fail to realize is that there are far more neglectful terrorists than there are violent ones and it is the former, not the latter, who pose the greatest threat to innocent people in these United States.
The difference between these two breeds is that the violent terrorists consciously mean to do harm, while the neglectful ones merely show a callous disregard for the health and safety of others. The results of their actions, though, are often the same. Dead is dead. Does it matter that one death comes from having your head blown off in an instant as opposed to a slow agonizing death from, say, cancer?
While I certainly do not disagree that we should take corrective actions to lessen the possibility of violent terrorism on US soil -- like ending our immoral drone campaign that needlessly slaughters innocent Muslims going about their everyday lives -- I firmly believe that far more attention should be focused on the corporate terrorists among us who place the health and safety of our communities far below their pursuit of the almighty dollar. It is the latter group of terrorists that senselessly kills and injures far more American residents than the former!!