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View Diary: Rodrigo Abad Diaz, 22, Killed by NRA-Fox-GOP Stochastic Terrorism (39 comments)

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  •  While I understand the concept (1+ / 0-)
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    wilderness voice

    and agree that it is happening, the term Stochastic Terrorism is so removed from the blunt truth that it doesn't get traction unless you are already thinking in those terms.
    I have a good vocabulary and I had to look stochastic up (I was confusing it with stoichiometric) so the potential to misunderstand the concept starts there.
    And Terrorism, the word has so much baggage and has been so thoroughly distorted that many people are going to have trouble seeing Rush Limpdyk and Phillip Walker Sailors as terrorists, partly because they aren't swarthy foreigners.
    The term might be correct in fact, but in interpretation, it doesn't work.
    The term that was used in the past for people who incited violence was "Agitator", as in "outside agitators turned the demonstration into a riot"
    And I don't know what you'd call a panicked old idiot with a gun, juiced up on hate radio, but terrorist is a stretch when the guy is on his own front porch.
    There's also the point that the responsibility for Sailors actions are entirely with Sailor, just the way when that kid killed himself to "Don't Fear the Reaper", it was not Blue Oyster Cult's fault. To attach this action to RWMedia (even though I believe there IS cause and effect) is to open the door to severe censorship, because you know that every rapper that has ever mentioned guns or drugs or any other kind of crime will then be charged with Trrrrrrrrrsm.
    There has to be a better way to say this that will connect with people. This term fails.
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:18:55 AM PST

    •  George Carlin is great! +more on stochastic terror (0+ / 0-)

      I'm a big fan of Carlin. Doesn't mean I always agree with him -- nor would he have wanted or respected that, of anyone, is my guess. His riff on the transition from 'shell shock' to 'PTSD' is good. And yet, most of use PTSD. Why is that?

      There are reasons why thinkers resort to complex phraseology, as they decipher new patterns and concepts. (There's a famous op-ed from a post-modernist on this, can't lay my hands on it, right now.)

      I'd assumed that most DailyKos readers had heard the phrase 'stochastic terrorism' before, so I didn't spend much time on it, but you're correct that it's new to most people. On dKos there are about 50 diaries and 400 comments on it, if this is helpful:
      diaries: http://www.dailykos.com/...
      comments: http://www.dailykos.com/...

      I understand the concept and agree that it is happening
      I'm happy with that, even if we don't agree the term is useful! :-) Common ground, where one finds it, is good.
      the term Stochastic Terrorism is so removed from the blunt truth that it doesn't get traction unless you are already thinking in those terms.
      I'm hopeful that a few more people are now thinking in these terms, having read this diary, than before.
      (I was confusing it with stoichiometric)
      Ouch! "Stoichiometry is a branch of chemistry that deals with the relative quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions." I had to look up that one. Looking up words is often a good thing, no?

      Agreed, it's useful to look up 'stochastic':

      Stochastic: Randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted.
      'Randomly determined' -- most of us aren't experts in statistics nor probability.
      so the potential to misunderstand the concept starts there.
      Fair enough. For me, it is worth using a $10 word in this instance. Gotta break eggs to make an omelette? [Aside: why does DailyKos' spell-checker not recognize the word 'omelette'? Too Frenchie for us?]
      And Terrorism, the word has so much baggage and has been so thoroughly distorted...
      True, although most often by the Bush-Cheney-Giuliani and other right-wing crowd, not by progressives or Democrats. Turnabout is fair play?
      many people are going to have trouble seeing Rush Limpdyk and Phillip Walker Sailors as terrorists, partly because they aren't swarthy foreigners.
      A few points:
      * Phillip Sailors isn't the terrorist in this concept, he's the 'lone wolf'.
      * One could say that Rush is, and Wayne LaPierre, and NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman ("Somebody drives up my driveway, I'm gonna greet 'em with a gun"), and Glen Beck, Roger Ailes & crew, etc.
      * Although, in this concept of 'stochastic terrorism,' it's not clear to me that one can meaningfully speak of a single 'terror ist' -- it's more the diffuse phenomenon that is important, by definition, as the meme is spread. (Meme: "An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation." It takes many people to spread a meme. E.g., 269,000 google hits for "Megyn Kelly" and "home invasion," as Fox spreads the meme, from Wayne, Charlton Heston, Ted Nugent, and hundreds or thousands of others.)  
      * The FBI report on right-wing extremism highlights the risk of 'non-swarthy non-foreigners'. (Salon, Aug 2012, "FBI: Right-wing terror is real", CNN Aug 2012 "Right-wing extremist terrorism as deadly a threat as al Qaeda?") It is important for progressives to further educate the public on this homegrown risk.
      The term that was used in the past for people who incited violence was "Agitator", as in "outside agitators turned the demonstration into a riot"
      Ah, but that's a different concept! Agitators work alone or in small groups, out of sight of the media, working in the shadows and stirring up trouble among an already-susceptible mob. We might think of the anarchist agitators who use anti-plutocracy or Occupy protests to stir up vandalism. But 'stochastic terrorism' is not as direct, it refers to the use of extremely visible mass-media, and the 'agitators' are not intentionally provoking violence. In fact, I'd be almost certain that Limbaugh and LaPierre and Beck et al. do not want random acts of violence (especially if innocent white Christians are killed!). And yet, they say things that -- statistically-probably but not predictably, i.e. stochastically -- make violence more likely.
      And I don't know what you'd call a panicked old idiot with a gun, juiced up on hate radio, but terrorist is a stretch when the guy is on his own front porch.
      We agree: Phillip Sailors is the 'lone wolf'.

      You write:

      There's also the point that the responsibility for Sailors' actions are entirely with Sailors, just the way when that kid killed himself to "Don't Fear the Reaper", it was not Blue Oyster Cult's fault.
      G2geek's definition of stochastic terrorism, as quoted above, says:
      The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm [we're] not responsible for what people in my [our] audience do."
      That's part of the reason for the $10 phrase, to get at this nuance about responsibility.
      To attach this action to RWMedia (even though I believe there IS cause and effect)
      Again, I'm glad we agree on the cause and effect.
      is to open the door to severe censorship, because you know that every rapper that has ever mentioned guns or drugs or any other kind of crime will then be charged with Trrrrrrrrrsm.
      No, I don't see the connection to censorship (severe or otherwise). One can -- and I believe we should -- condemn cultural leaders who incite violence. (And parents should work to insulate their young children from harmful influences.) But that's different than calling for government censorship.

      I find the phrase 'stochastic terrorism' to be useful.

      Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

      by Sharon Wraight on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:39:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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