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Here’s a really simple way to view
terrorist versus criminal.  An act of
terrorism is a criminal act, and any
criminal act can have an element, or
elements, of terror.

When you hear the lawyers and
diplomats trying to distinguish acts of
terror from criminal acts, they’re only
debating politics.  It’s just a turf war
between our nation’s lawyer class and
military professionals.  There’s a very
simple reason why the lawyer class wants
to treat all terrorist acts against
Americans anywhere in the world as a
matter for law enforcement.  In the
United States, all law enforcement is
controlled by the lawyer class through
prosecutors and judges who are…
lawyers.

Let’s look at the Samolian pirate attack
on the Maersk Alabama -- an American
flagged cargo ship carrying humanitarian
aid to Africa.  After 20 unarmed American
merchant seamen fought off four pirates
armed with AK-47 automatic assault
rifles, the pirates ended up on the ship’s
life boat holding only the ship’s captain
as a hostage.  Do you think it’s fair to
say that the ship's crew and captain
would find much difference between a
terrorist or criminal act when applied to
their situation?

Prior to the resolution of the Alabama’s
pirate attack, much was made about the
F.B.I’s involvement in hostage
negotiation and crime scene investigation
aboard the Alabama while its captain
floated in the middle of the Indian Ocean
with AK-47’s pointed at him.  In the end,
resolution came from the muzzles of U.S.
Navy Seal snipers which can only be
described as an extraordinary display of
marksmanship skill and coordination.

There’s not a thing wrong with close
cooperation and coordination between
law enforcement and the military.  In the
case of the Alabama, it was clear that the
United States government was viewing
the pirate attack as a criminal act to be
addressed with law enforcement.  
Theoretically, the Seal snipers could have
been replaced by F.B.I. snipers.  Had that
been done, the whole operation could
have been a law enforcement show with
the Navy acting only in a supporting
role.  Of course, the lawyer class isn’t
that stupid.  So many things could have
gone wrong with the sniper assault on
the pirates.  Taking nothing from the skill
of F.B.I. snipers, the lawyer class realized
that – politically -- any risk of failure
would be better borne by the military.

When you become a police officer, you’re
going to be exposed to a lot of ridiculous
arguments.  In almost every instance, if
you rely on logic and remove the politics,
a simple and efficient solution will become
obvious.
Terrorist vs
Criminal
"Terrorism and criminality are
synonymous by degree... The degree
of the effect is dictated only by the
degree of the act." ~ Barry M. Baker
This one drives me nuts.  When you hear
people, particularly lawyers and
diplomats, argue the definitions of
terrorist versus criminal, it’s an argument
in search of a distinction not worth
contemplating.

Terrorism and criminality are synonymous
by degree.  If you become a victim of a
terrorist or criminal act, you’ll experience
physiological and psychological effects.  
The degree of the effect is dictated only
by the degree of the act.

Imagine yourself as a sales clerk in the
jewelry section of a department store.  
You notice a woman browsing the various
displays.  You’re about to approach the
woman to offer assistance when you see
her remove a necklace from a display and
slip the necklace into her coat pocket.  
You’ve just witnessed a criminal act of
theft/shoplifting.  Even though this is a
non-violent and arguably low level
criminal act, your mere observation will
have a physiological effect on you
evidenced by an increase in your pulse
rate.  Your pulse rate may even increase
further as you return to your counter to
call for store security.
This scenario could end with the woman
weeping and claiming she was only
stealing to feed her babies.  However,
this scenario is going to go a little
differently:

A store security officer responds to your
call, and you point out the suspect to the
officer.  As soon as the officer identifies
himself to the suspect, she swings her
shoulder bag at the officer.  The officer
blocks the blow with his forearm, and a
violent struggle ensues.  It’s clear to you
that the officer was surprised by the
violent response as he and the suspect
fall to the floor with the suspect kicking,
scratching and attempting to bite the
officer.  You also notice that the suspect
is trying to open her shoulder bag with
the clear intent to remove something.  
That action doesn’t go unnoticed by the
officer as he gains control of the bag and
throws it across the floor in your
direction successfully denying the
suspect any further access to the bag.

By now you can feel your heart pounding
in your chest as you call for further
assistance.  Only seconds pass before
another security officer arrives.  You
begin to relax as the suspect is finally
subdued and handcuffed.  But it’s not
over yet.  The suspect, now in custody,
begins a profanity laced verbal assault on
everyone.  She looks directly at you
screaming that she knows you’re the one
who “ratted” her out.  As the suspect is
dragged away kicking and screaming, she
continues calling you every four letter
word imaginable and promising
vengeance on you.  Oh yea… you’re
wondering about the suspect’s bag.  
Well, after all the excitement, you point
out the bag to another security officer
who opens the bag and removes a very
large butcher knife.

Now, would you say that this criminal act
escalated to a point where you felt a
degree of terror?  How about the
psychological effects you felt from the
verbal threats only to find out that the
suspect was in possession of a weapon
enabling her to carry out such threats.  
Of course, she could have just shoplifted
the knife from the house wares section,
but the duct tape holding together the
knife’s broken handle sort of precluded
that possibility.

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