A representative for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told a group of concerned citizens that complaining about water quality could be considered an “act of terrorism,” The Tennessean reports.
Sherwin Smith, deputy director of TDEC’s Division of Water Resources, made the claim during a meeting with residents of Maury County, Tennessee. Organized by State Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, the gathering sought to address complaints by residents that area water was making their children sick. In audio obtained by The Tennessean, Smith can be heard equating water quality complaints, an act of citizenry, with DHS-defined acts of terrorism:
We take water quality very seriously. Very, very seriously … But you need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.~ from Tennessee Official Says Complaining About Water Quality Could Be Considered 'Act of Terrorism' by Steven Hsieh ~
Terrorism. It used to have somewhat of an objective definition. If you look in the dictionary, you will find definitions like the following:
- The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.
- a method of government or of resisting government involving domination or coercion by various forms of intimidation, as bombing or kidnapping.
- the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear
How in the world could ANYBODY equate complaining about water quality with intimidation, coercion and violence? That's absolutely bonkers!
But this Tennessee official is not alone. In Canada and the US, some authorities are labeling those who protest the Keystone XL Pipeline as terrorists. There were suggestions by some that the majority of peaceful Occupy protesters were terrorists. At one time during Dubya's administration, Quaker organizations -- the poster children for nonviolence -- were being investigated as potential terrorists.
That's right. One of the most pacifistic groups in the nation -- whose members routinely refuse military service -- were being looked at as potential purveyors of violence!
What once had a rather specific meaning has been turned into a nebulous word that can mean almost anything that government officials want it to mean at any given moment. More often than not, they employ it against people who dissent against their machinations, policies and laws. If you stand in their way against corporate dominance or federal criminality, there is a really good chance that they will slap the terrorist label on you.
The sad irony is that US government itself has become the largest terrorist organization in the world! It's general modus operandi is the threat or use of force and violence against Muslims throughout the world and many of its own citizens domestically. This is done to intimidate, coerce and instill fear in anyone who opposes US elite hegemony.
Just because US officials constantly misappropriate the world terrorism to buttress their political designs does not mean that the rest of us must accept their disjointed use of the word. The next time President Obama or some other official uses the word, terrorist (or terrorism), ask yourself a question: Does the person or group referenced use violence or the threat thereof to instill fear in civilians to advance a political agenda or ideology?
If the answer is no, then you should reject the perceived emotive response that comes with use of that word. Put another way, stop allowing them to manipulate you at will.