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Is It Terrorism?

Over the past couple of decades the meaning of this word has been horribly mangled, abused, and distorted, to suit the emotional needs or political agenda of the person or organization using it. As a result, most people, and even most dictionaries, are now severely confused about what exactly terrorism even is.

However, the best definition of terrorism is, always has been, and shall remain:

A tactic employed most often by those without the military or political power (typically non-government non-state actors) to achieve their desired aims through conventional use of force or legal politicking, whereby targeted violence is used against random civilians or other non-military non-strategic targets, and/or property (usually public) with a high symbolic, rather than strategic, value; the goal being to instill fear in the general public that they could be next, with the hope that the public will then, out of fear for their own lives or property, exert pressure on their own leaders to change policy or otherwise accede to the demands of the terrorists.

Terrorists will always:
- take credit for their actions and try to maximize media exposure, never attempting to cover up their misdeeds to avoid responsibility. (unless it's already clear who is responsible and they are seeking to avoid prosecution)
- attempt to maximize destruction and carnage, never minimize it.
- prefer soft (civilian, non-military) targets over hardened (secure, police or military) ones.
- have some political goal in mind; otherwise it's just random violence.
- not typically care if "innocents" get hurt - that's kind of the whole point.

They are also usually, but not always, guided by a larger conspiracy or organization, not solo actors with a particular grievance.


For each event, choose "terrorism" if it is terrorism, or the best term to describe it if it is not terrorism.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: January 10, 2021
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First submittedJanuary 10, 2021
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1. The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh, who hoped to discourage what he saw as government attacks on individual liberties and particularly 2nd Amendment rights.
A Hate Crime
Vandalism
Mass Murder
Terrorism
This one is a bit squishy, as McVeigh saw all government employees as soldiers and the federal building thus as a legitimate military target. But that's nuts.
2. The September 11th, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon, made in response to perceived US support of Israel, US military presence in Saudi Arabia, and other foreign policy disapproved of by Osama bin Laden.
Terrorism
Guerilla Warfare
A Legitimate Declaration of War
Counter-Terrorism
While the Pentagon could be seen as a valid military target if the goal was to disrupt the command & control apparatus of the USA prior to an invasion, no invasion was forthcoming, and both targets were clearly chosen for their symbolic value.
3. President Donald Trump encouraging an angry mob in Washington DC to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021
Protected Political Speech
Sedition against the United States
Treason
Terrorism
While it is tempting to call this treason, technically treason only happens during war time. Also, it can't be called legitimate protest as the president's claims of fraud are entirely bogus. But it is not terrorism.
4. The storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Legitimate Assembly and Protest as Protected by the 1st Amendment
Terrorism
Attempted Insurrection
Conspiracy to Murder
The mob believed that they were acting to stop a corrupt and fraudulent election outcome. They were, obviously, insane, but that doesn't change their motives. They were not trying to intimidate common civilians; the attack was against those in power.
5. ISIS' beheading of journalist James Foley, and posting a video of it to YouTube, protesting US airstrikes in Syria.
Hate Crime
Murder
Terrorism
Tactical Use of Violence
While the ISIS executioner did threaten violence against Americans generally if they did not change policy, it was not a credible threat and Foley was a journalist not a random civilian. It could technically be counted as a war crime.
6. ISIS' campaign of violence against the Yazidi people - a Christian minority in Iraq and Syria - the goal of which was to kill them all.
War Crime
Terrorism
Genocide or Ethnic Cleansing
Mass Murder
While certainly terrible, this campaign was targeted specifically at one minority population, not against the general public, and thus not effective as terrorism.
7. The 2011 Oslo bombing and mass shooting at a nearby youth camp by Anders Breivik, who claimed to want to save Norway from liberal politicians, multiculturalism, and a "Muslim takeover."
Mass Murder
Hate Crime
Political Protest
Terrorism
A little bit squishy, as the attacks ostensibly targeted members of Sweden's Labour Party, but ultimately the killings were pretty random including many children, and the event as a whole was textbook terrorism.
8. The August, 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which the USA dropped atomic bombs killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in order to force the surrender of Imperial Japan.
Genocide
War Crime
Terrorism
Tactical Use of Violence
An argument could be made that this was a legitimate use of force against urban targets with industrial potential in the context of a Total War. Personally I don't find this argument compelling. It's not terrorism because, among other things, at this point the common civilian in Japan had no say in the emperor's decisions, and the US was not trying to persuade them.
9. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing by the Tsarnayev brothers, purportedly in defense of Islam against American wars.
Protest
Hate Crime
Terrorism
Murder
Some would discount this as the brothers were not affiliated with a larger organization, but otherwise it's pretty textbook.
10. Targeted drone strikes against those labeled as terrorists by US predator drones, from 2004 - 2018
Assassination
War Crime
Genocide
Terrorism
Some, like Noam Chomsky, have called this the greatest terrorism campaign in the world; but Chomsky is almost completely delusional.
11. Israeli occupation of the "West Bank," from 1967 through the present, resulting in millions of people receiving different treatment from Israeli citizens despite being under the control of the same government.
Terrorism
Genocide
Illegal Annexation
Potential Human Rights Abuse
The territory has not been technically annexed in whole, and those calling the occupation, problematic as it is, a campaign of terrorism or genocide have no clue what they're talking about.
12. The CIA's assassination of President John F Kennedy.
Terrorism
Politically Motivated Murder
Debunked Conspiracy Theory
Realpolitik
C'mon, really?
13. The 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombing by the Irish Republican Army, resulting in 21 deaths.
Terrorism
Guerilla Warfare
Political Protest
Insurgency
This one is murky, as the IRA did not officially take credit, and there are claims that a delayed warning to the pub may have resulted in unintentional civilian casualties. But given the larger context of "the troubles," very likely terrorism.
14. The 2004 Madrid train bombings, by a group of Islamists and militants with possible ties to Al-Qaeda, that may have resulted in the Socialist party victory in the following election and Spanish withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Terrorism
Political Protest
Mass Killing
Random Violence
Arguably one of the few examples of a successful terrorist attack in history.
15. A heavily armed Michigan militia occupy the state capitol in May, 2020, to express disapproval of the governor's COVID-19 lockdown orders.
Blackmail
White Privilege
Political Protest
Terrorism
Though called domestic terrorists by hysterical liberals, the militia technically did nothing illegal and no violence took place. Intimidating? Yes. Terrorism? No.
16. The June, 1914 public killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalists who wished to achieve independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Assassination
Royal Torso Ventilation
Terrorism
Righteous Stand Against Tyranny
Though the conspirators are often described as terrorists (and occasionally as heroes), the label of assassins is more accurate as the target was Hapsburg royalty.
17. Iraqi insurgents attack and attempt to gain control over a US Marine outpost in Anbar Province.
Guerilla Warfare
Terrorism
Murder
Tactical Use of Violence
A marine outpost in an occupied country is a valid military target for those who oppose the occupation. Not technically guerilla warfare as a marine outpost is a hardened target and the insurgents were seemingly attempting to overtake, not merely harass.
18. A large mob in Charlottesville, there to express disapproval for the removal of a statue honoring Confederate general Robert E Lee, march wielding tiki-torches and chanting various racist slogans. Violence with counter-protestors would not break out until the following day. (note: hate speech is not illegal in the US)
Hate Crime
Sedition Against the United States
Terrorism
Peaceful Protest
Being scary doesn't make you a terrorist, and free speech is free speech even if you have something repugnant to say.
19. A large mob, demonstrating their anger over the extra-judicial killing of George Floyd while in police custody, sets fire to downtown Minneapolis.
Riot
Hate Crime
Peaceful Protest
Terrorism
Destroying a police station is not peaceful; but it's also not terrorism. Police are not random civilians.
20. Racist and White Supremacist Dylann Roof attends Bible study at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he proceeds to execute the pastor and eight other African Americans in attendance while shouting racial hatred.
Hate Crime
Treason
Terrorism
Tactical Use of Violence
Those targeted by Roof were a specific race of people that he hated and wanted to see dead; he was not attempting to inspire fear in the general public.
21. In 1998 the Clinton administration orders a missile strike against the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan, based on bad intelligence that the factory was being used to produce VX nerve gas. In reality the factory was just making medicine. The attack killed one, injured many, and hampered the facility's production of needed pharmaceuticals, affecting many more.
Hate Crime
Western Imperialism
Terrorism
Friendly Fire
Another thing cited by delusional twit Chomsky as terrorism, but clearly this was an unfortunate mistake and not meant to intimidate civilians. The casualties could accurately be called collateral damage, and the attack itself friendly fire as the target was in reality neutral. While these terms will strike some as offensively tepid or misleadingly benign, the understood definitions of the terms are accurate for the situation.
22. From 2000 to 2005, the 2nd Intifada results in near daily attacks against Israeli civilians in the form of suicide bombings, attacks on public spaces, and random killings. Not even including the thousands of Palestinians who died in retaliatory violence by the IDF, or who were executed as "collaborators," over a thousand Israelis were killed, the large majority of whom were civilian non-combatants including large numbers of women and children.
Terrorism
Revolution
Guerilla Warfare
Hate Crime
Though there were peaceful elements to both intifadas especially the first one, the coordinated campaign of violence was definitely terrorism. It can't accurately be called a revolution or a guerilla war as the terrorists involved were not attempting to win a strategic victory; they were deliberately killing random civilians in order to sway public opinion through fear. Textbook terrorism. It could be called a series of hate crimes if the targets were selected more carefully and only Jews were killed, but many of the suicide bombings were random and created indiscriminate carnage.
23. In March, 2001, the Taliban use explosives to destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan - two ancient and gigantic statues that had been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. The Taliban explains their actions by calling the statues idols.
Terrorism
Religious Ignorance and Vandalism
Protest
Hate Crime
While certainly terrible, this was not terrorism. In the Taliban's delusional worldview, they were acting in accordance with their religious principles, not attempting to intimidate anyone or affect policy.
101 Recent Comments
+14
Level 82
Jan 10, 2021
Contrary to popular opinion, mainstream media sources have actually, historically, been very good about accurately describing acts of violence as either terrorist or something else, depending on the motive behind the attacks which is always the most important thing. And these descriptions had nothing at all to do with whether or not the perpetrators were "brown," "White," "Black," Muslim, Christian, or anything else. If anything, most media would go out of their way to *avoid* calling terrorist attacks by Muslims terrorism, and rush to apply the label to anything done by "White" non-Muslims, presumably out of a fear of being labeled racist.

Unfortunately, lately, it seems as though those in the media are giving in to public pressure and have started calling everything terrorism if it is something that the people describing the act don't like. If this continues, in time it will render the word meaningless.

+6
Level 82
Jan 10, 2021
I should have put on a mass-shooting by a crazy person with no political motive, such as the Sandy Hook or Columbine massacres. These days, mass shootings seem to always be labeled as terrorism, especially if done by a "white" person, but they're usually not. If the shooter is just killing random people because they are angry or depressed or insane, then it's just a mass shooting. If they are targeting specific people that they hate, then it might be a hate crime.
+2
Level 82
Jan 12, 2021
obvious typo in the Anders Breivik explanation: Norway's Labour Party, not Sweden's...
+6
Level 86
Jan 17, 2021
Interesting. The Michigan incident, although legal protest, strikes most non-Americans as leaning towards the use of terror and intimidation. I choose white privilidge simply because I can't imagine hundreds of African Americans pulling the same stunt.
+2
Level 82
Jan 17, 2021
Just because you can't imagine it doesn't mean that it couldn't happen or that anything different would have happened if it had. The meme that African Americans are somehow more likely to be killed by police, though extremely prevalent and popular, is simply false. If you look at the actual statistics, the opposite is true. White privilege in the United States is a dangerous and damaging myth.

As for being intimidating, I absolutely agree. And like I said above, I feel like what happened there *should* be illegal. But it wasn't. Michigan is an open carry state. It's crazy. But that's the law. And it has absolutely *nothing* to do with what color you are. That is not part of the law.

Finally, if you agree with my definition of terrorism above, and you absolutely should as it's the best definition we have, being scary or intimidating is not enough to qualify something as terrorism. If it were that would be absurd. I would be a terrorist just by virtue of the fact that I'm tall.

+2
Level 82
Jan 17, 2021
... and in fact I've had police and security called on me before because of this. Even had loaded guns pointed at my chest. When I wasn't doing anything. But some people find me scary and intimidating.
+1
Level 86
Jul 1, 2022
You answered my commment extensively and I never answered -- is there a way to get a notification if someone replies to your comment? I actually agree with almost every answer and your definition. No.5 is a bit fuzzy in that other answers could apply, but murder it clearly is. My white privilege comment is still pertinent - the stone mountain march was well organized, had permit approval and a police escort. In contrast, the white mob had no permit and threatened police. In terms of police violence. On a per capita basis, young black men are more likely to be victims of police violence. White privilege exists even as simple as deference shown at a border crossing. Its there, as a middle aged white Canadian male, I'm almost never stopped let alone questioned. This is especially true in Europe.
+1
Level 82
Jul 1, 2022
Your anecdotal experience is meaningless and contradicted by my own anecdotal experience - racists would look at me and label me as "white", and yet I get stopped and pulled aside for extra questioning constantly at border crossings, airports, et cetera. I have never once seen one of those obnoxious lists of things that explain "white" privilege, implying that all the things on the list never happen to "white" people, where every or damn near every single thing on the list hadn't happened to me, personally. Anecdotes aside... if you look at the statistics, they also paint the opposite picture of what people what them to. On a per-encounter basis, "white" men are more likely to be shot and killed by police than "black" men. You can't intuit or feel your way to the truth of something. This is the path to truthiness. Just like the implication here that somehow if the linked march below didn't have permits then they would have all been shot, like that was the key difference.
+1
Level 86
Jul 1, 2022
In your case, getting questioned at a border probably has more to do with your frequent travelling especially in and out of the middle east. No intuition here, on a per capita basis a black young man is more likely to be shot by police than a white young man. In total numbers, yes more white males are shot but in terms of greater likelihood its black young men. White privilege does exist, so does class privilege, occupational privilege, etc. Society including police has a bias buried under the surface that gives privilege to various groups.
+1
Level 82
Jul 1, 2022
What you are saying is just factually wrong and requires cherry-picking data to support a pre-supposed worldview.

But put that aside, because it's irrelevant to the quiz, even if "white privilege" did exist, and it uniquely advantaged "white" people to the disadvantage and detriment of all non-"white" people because of its omnipresent and systemic nature, deeply rooted in and integral to the "system," by design, as would be necessary for the above claim to be true... that still doesn't make it any less absurd for anyone out there to claim that the only reason "white" people can do certain things without being shot is because they are "white." This is ridiculous. It's factually inaccurate. And there's nothing that can be pointed to that supports the claim. On the other hand, it's very simple to find evidence that this assumption is not true... but that evidence is dismissed out-of-hand by people who want to believe the narrative.

+1
Level 82
Jul 1, 2022
of course you can assume all you want what factors led to my lived experience (you don't actually know), and what factors led to others' lived experience... assumptions, anecdotes, guesses, feelings, cherry-picked data that seems to back up our intuitions or biases.... these are what keep fallacious and counter-factual world views alive. When you find one person's anecdotal evidence extremely compelling and convincing and take their word for it that their assumptions are correct, while at the same time dismissing another person's exactly-as-strong evidence... this is when you need to take a breath, step back, reconsider your beliefs and where they come from.

Let's try to avoid getting too far into the weeds here... can you please show me any hard data at all that suggests if a "black" or non-"white" person had attended the protest in Michigan that they would have been shot? Anything? Other than your gut.

+2
Level 86
Jul 1, 2022
You're very good at setting up a strawman. I never said they would get shot, just a different reaction by the police.

And yes the data is there; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)01609-3/fulltext

I frequently read your comments and usually agree with them. For the most part you come across as an intelligent person who has strong views. I'm not sure why the concept of "privilege" provokes a strong reaction. Would you accept class privilege or occupational privilege as real? They too exist. Certain qualities detract others, reward persons. If you dismiss the idea of privilege you dismiss the idea of bias. Its purely logical for it to exist.

+1
Level 82
Jul 17, 2022
Sorry for the late reply. I don't feel like dealing with this subject every day so I didn't come back here at first, then I was sick with COVID for a while and after that had surgery... just getting around to it now. and btw, to answer a previous query, no you can't get notifications here about responses unless they're posted to a quiz you authored yourself. QM doesn't like us talking to each other.

It's absolutely not a strawman that I set up. When people point to the Michigan protests as an example of "white privilege," they almost invariably say something like "you just *know* that if they were "black" what would have happened".... implying that they all would have been shot or arrested. There is zero data suggesting that this is the case. In fact, all available data points to the opposite being true. Every time a person encounters a police office in the United States, their odds of being shot and killed are *higher* if they are "white" than "black."

+1
Level 82
Jul 17, 2022
Multiple independent and internal studies have concluded that when it comes to police shootings in the USA, racism toward "black" people seems to play no significant role whatsoever. "Black" police officers fire on "black" suspects more often than "white" ones do. There are also more "white" people shot and killed by police in the USA every year than there are "black" people. It's just not reported in the news media as much because there's never any assumption that when a "white" person is shot, this is validation of some political agenda.

And... I still don't want to get too far into the weeds on this subject. What I just stated above is enough of a response for this topic. But just briefly: yes, privilege exists. Currently, in the United States, being "white" isn't a privilege, though. Not in the way that people assert it is. The data doesn't support this claim.

+1
Level 82
Jul 17, 2022
In summation, just to try and bring this back around to the actual point: there's no reason to suspect that the protestors in Michigan were treated any differently because they were "white." So calling the protest or its results an example of "white privilege" makes no sense, regardless of whether such a thing exists or not.
+1
Level 82
Aug 6, 2022
P.S. the methodology of that study you linked to is absurdly flawed and the data cited by the study itself do not support its own conclusions. It would be like if I found that Hawaiians have a 1000% higher chance of being eaten by sharks in their home state than people from the state of Montana had of being eaten in theirs, and used this data to conclude that sharks must be racist against Hawaiians before considering if any other explanation was more plausible.
+1
Level 82
Jan 17, 2021
If you don't believe me that "black" militias could get away with something similar, here you go: proof

Of course nobody has ever heard of this event happening, because reporting on it wouldn't help shore up the narrative of oppression or privilege that so many are invested in pushing and propagating. So... it's instead kind of a non-event. Just a bunch of heavily armed Americans walking around with their guns on public property. Something which, in many American states, is oddly but inarguably legal.

+3
Level 82
Jan 17, 2021
and finally, even though it's my personal opinion that it ought to be illegal to carry any weapons let alone huge automatic assault rifles into a government building or public space, and even though I disagree strongly with the morons in Michigan who were protesting reasonable efforts by the governor to save lives during a pandemic, I added them to draw some contrast between what happened in Michigan and what happened recently in Washington DC. I see a lot of people on the news lately calling what happened in Michigan "a dry run" for DC and trying to say it was basically the same thing, which is very, very wrong. I also heard a lot of people back when the event first took place calling it an act of domestic terrorism, which is also, very, very wrong. There is a gigantic difference between a group of people peacefully assembling and letting their opinions be heard; and a violent aggressive invasion of the Capitol with the aim of abducting and murdering elected officials.
+2
Level 82
Jan 17, 2021
... just as there is a gigantic difference between the above, and any act of actual terrorism. If we had ended the day of January 6th this year with Pelosi and Pence swinging from a makeshift gallows on the National Mall, that would have been insane and awful. But it wouldn't have been the same thing as what happened on 9/11/2001 in New York City, or Mumbai in 2008, or Paris in 2015...
+2
Level 86
Jul 1, 2022
Again I agree -- sedition, not terrorism, for Jan 6th. I do question if the Michigan protest was entirely peaceful, but definetely not terrorism and even a riot is a stretch. Again, I agree - words matter and should be used properly.
+1
Level 78
Jan 20, 2021
Other words people are often confused about: socialism, fascism, feminism, democracy, and even war. The word coup was also used so often to describe the Capitol storming, even though there was not even a clear plan to install a new government.
+2
Level 82
Jan 20, 2021
I would say that everything Trump has been doing for about the past 4-5 months has been an attempted coup. He knew he was going to lose and has been attempting to undermine and destroy American democracy the whole time, any way that he possibly could. The mob that he directed to attack the Capitol was part of that. The mob was attempting to stop the counting of electoral ballots with the clear and stated aims of 1. preventing the Congressional procedure that would confirm Biden's win. 2. installing Trump as illegitimate president or perhaps dictator-for-life who knows. 3. murdering assorted members of the legitimate US government including the Vice President and House Speaker. But it was only ever attempted, not successful. Biden is now president. Trump's coup failed.

If it had succeeded... then the installed government would be a 2nd Trump administration, put in after displacing the legitimate administration of President Biden. They weren't ambiguous about this.

+1
Level 82
Jan 20, 2021
but agree that most people don't seem to have any clue what socialism, fascism, feminism, or democracy mean.

(aside: war? haven't seen any confusion about this before. What do you mean? maybe I'm confused)

Other good words people often don't know the meaning of these days: liberal/liberalism, communism, capitalism, impeachable offense, high crimes and misdemeanors, racism, race, sexism, ethnicity, gaslighting, grift, nation, literally, religious freedom, freedom of speech, progressive, retarded, equality, justice, unity..... and from my mom last night... cuckold... she used this in a sentence and thought that it meant a foolish person.

+1
Level 82
Jan 21, 2021
and of course "jihad" and "America." Other words that often produce confusion and contentious, willful ignorance.
+1
Level 71
Feb 22, 2021
I can't vouch for certain about what camus meant by "war," but it's possible he wasn't talking about literal war but the way it's used in the media. Things like "culture wars," people saying the election would like to a "Second American Civil War," evangelicals alleging a "War on Christianity/Christmas," etc. Basically, anyone talking something relatively minor and blowing it way out of proportion to make it seem like something the fate of humanity depends on. I think it's fair to say that "war" is very much misused in this sense.
+1
Level 82
Feb 23, 2021
I guess so. Though I think that in those contexts everyone understands that the word is being used metaphorically not literally, even if those who use such metaphors like "the war on Christmas" tend to be pretty hyperbolic. I don't think those who call peaceful protestors domestic terrorists are doing so in a metaphorical sense.
+1
Level 89
Mar 1, 2024
War on terror?
+1
Level 78
Mar 9, 2021
I had something similar in mind although everyone should understand that JWatson's examples are just metaphors. "War on Terror", on the other hand, is a metaphor that can be taken literally and has in fact involved military action. There is also the concept of "New wars" that today mainly take place in Africa and the Middle East, and where individual battles flame up erratically over the years. That way it is hard to say whether peace is repeatedly interrupted by violence or the ongoing war ebbs away repeatedly. Of course this phenomenon is actually anything but new and many historic wars (like the 30 Years') have only been summarized as one single war in retrospect if I'm not mistaken. / But yeah, I see that this case is a bit different from the others and doesn't cause quite as much confusion and anger.
+2
Level 71
Feb 22, 2021
I can think of other words too: First Amendment, Second Amendment, developing/developed country, first/second/third world country, gun control, freedom, liberty, states' rights, Nazi, defund (as in "defund the police"), crime/criminal, Middle East, Arab, patriotism... the list goes on and on.
+2
Level 78
Mar 9, 2021
And since World Leaders is now on the front page, we are reminded that people can be confused about what dictator means, too.
+1
Level 75
Feb 7, 2021
17/23 .. I could qualify for the International Court of Justice and do better than them.
+1
Level 63
Apr 30, 2021
I know it's not terrorism, but the Clinton airstrike angers me more than some of the other terrorist acts
+2
Level 82
Apr 30, 2021
fair enough. That's part of the point of the quiz: you can be mad about something, it can be horrible, terrible, violent, upsetting... without incorrectly labeling it terrorism. It's not like an act of violence is bad and an act of terrorism is worse... it's not a question of degrees or severity... but some people seem confused into thinking that it is.
+2
Level 65
May 13, 2021
Okay, I guess I'll bite. What are your disagreements with Chomsky?
+2
Level 82
May 13, 2021
I didn't really mean that as bait.

I think he's completely deluded and guilty of enormous cognitive bias when it comes to any of his views about foreign affairs particularly the foreign policy of the United States and of Israel. His outspoken one-sided criticism of these two states is what made him world famous and popular, of course, so maybe that's why he has so doggedly stuck to his guns being against anything either do, while offering up unqualified praise for anyone who shares his myopic view of the US or Israel such as corrupt, inept, racist, anti-democratic, and borderline batshit deceased Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez. (part of this was also his bias against Capitalism) For one of Chomsky's all-time worst performances I would point to his informal debate with author/philosopher Sam Harris- one of the most reasonable and rational people in the world. That, predictably, went off the rails, as Sam is too committed to living in reality divorced from ideology. Chomsky isn't.

+2
Level 82
May 13, 2021
As alluded to on this quiz, one thing I disagree with Chomsky on is that he has called the United States government the greatest terrorist organization in the world. ... that's obviously nuts. Or should be obvious after taking this quiz anyway. But it's impossible to talk any sense to the man about this or related topics.
+1
Level 62
Jun 6, 2021
You might find this quiz on the same topic interesting.
+2
Level 60
Sep 8, 2021
While Dylan Roof was targeting a specific race, his comments during the incident, taken with comments from his manifesto, could absolutely be understood to meet the definition of terrorism. Looking at the totality of his statements, he was clearly trying to instill fear to get larger groups of African Americans to 'move away from his community'. This larger social change as a motive substantiates the terror definition. Since the homicide and hate crime charges were a slam dunk for the prosecution, there was no need to charge with terrorism and cloud the issue for the jury.

During the George Floyd riots, random people were intimidated as well as random businesses, with political motivation and signage meant to instill fear, and your explanation regarding police-as-not-random citizens doesn't make sense as your context just refers to downtown Minneapolis in general, not police or police property.

Insofar as adding an apolitical mass casualty event, you could add Vegas Mandalay Bay.

+1
Level 82
Sep 8, 2021
Re: Roof that's not the same thing at all. If he wants to convince "black" people to move away and does this by terrorizing or killing them... this is a hate crime. and murder. If he was practicing terrorism, what he would be doing would be committing random acts of violence against people in the community ("black," "white," whatever) to frighten them into changing policy or legislation forcing "blacks" to move away or prohibiting them from moving in. Just like Anders Breivik, who was targeting random people and kids to try and convince people to change immigration policy in Norway because he didn't like Muslims. He wasn't targeting Muslims, though. He was targeting random civilians. That's why it was terrorism. If he was only killing Muslims, then random non-Muslim civilians would not be terrorized into believing that they could possibly be next, and wouldn't be motivated, out of fear, to try and change public policy.
+1
Level 82
Sep 8, 2021
During the Floyd protests/riots, indeed random property was damaged and some people were intimidated. Very few people were killed. If this was supposed to be terrorism, it was extremely limp and ineffective terrorism. But it wasn't terrorism nor was it intended to be. It was an expression of anger combined with opportunism which led to random acts of theft, vandalism, and violence. The goal wasn't to scare people into thinking that they might die if they don't change policy and there was little to no overarching plan or organization to the violence. I can see the fine line here... but there is still a line. Rioting is not terrorism. Nor is vandalism, political protest, or mob violence. There is some overlap as it can be intimidating and it can be politically charged or motivated but it's still not the same thing. For one thing, in addition to the other things already mentioned, riots of a political nature are more aimed at intimidating institutions and those in power not common voters.
+1
Level 82
Sep 8, 2021
The Mandalay Bay shooting is weird because the shooter left behind nothing to indicate any sort of motive at all. We can safely say that it was not terrorism for this reason - a terrorist would either make clear his motive or be sure that it was at least understood - but apart from that we really don't know why this happened.
+4
Level 70
Oct 22, 2021
Why does the answer to #11 have "potential" added to it? The answer may as well say "don't know" if you are going to hedge away from describing it unequivocally. Also, isn't the occupation of East Jerusalem considered to be an illegal annexation?
+1
Level 82
Oct 22, 2021
By some. Though the entire territory has not been annexed to Israel and most of it exists in a weird state of limbo, which is part of the problem IMO and invites a lot of these potential human rights abuses. Mostly because much of the territory sort of being its own country, but sort of not, and sort of being under Israeli control, but sort of not, and the people in it sort of being Jordanian and sort of Palestinian and some sort of Israeli creates a lot of murky grey areas in which it's not always clear what laws apply. And people end up suffering as a result. That much is clear. As to which of their rights exactly are being abused or infringed depends on who you ask and what set of rules you think apply and what exactly the legal status of the territory and people in it is. All of the above is frequently debated.
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Level 82
Oct 22, 2021
Unfortunately it serves the interests of some in both Israel and the PLO to leave these questions unresolved. For the PLO, because they don't want to accept any resolution in which Jews control Jerusalem and right now Israel has de-facto control over the city and is not going to voluntarily give it up, so they see it as beneficial to their cause if no agreement is reached and the Jerusalem question is kept up in the air meanwhile the world continues to see Palestinians suffer and international opinion turns more and more against Israel. To Israel, because while they don't want a hostile independent Arab state within easy striking distance of their capital and they would prefer, for security reasons mostly and maybe some territorial expansionist ambitions to maintain some control over and presence in parts of the West Bank, they also don't want to annex all of it and force themselves to grant citizenship and voting rights to 2.5 million Muslims that kinda hate them.
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Level 59
Feb 10, 2022
I also thought the atomic bombs was war crime but I picked something else cause I didnt think the quiz creator was gonna agree with me lol
+1
Level 82
Feb 11, 2022
That's probably one of the more contentious ones above amongst people that are actually trying to use words carefully and not just emotionally. Those who would call it a tactical or legitimate use of violence in war time would say that WW2 was a total war - a war in which 2 or more powerful nations square off with the aim of completely annihilating one another and each faces an existential threat if they lose, and therefore industry, cities, farms, and even civilians all become legitimate targets as they each represent industrial or economic potential and eliminating them reduces the enemy's capacity to make war - and they would also point to the industrial and economic output of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and argue that they helped the Japanese war machine going. They might also claim that it was necessary to demonstrate that the US could level Japan completely if they did not agree to an unconditional surrender. Some even adopt the 1940s propaganda reason...
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Level 82
Feb 11, 2022
... and claim that without dropping the bombs, a land invasion of Japan's home islands would have been inevitable resulting in many millions of casualties on both sides, and so, using the bombs was some kind of act of humanitarianism.

If find all of these arguments, especially the last one, either incredibly weak or even absurd - an exercise in the victors of a terrible conflict attempting to rationalize one of the worst things they've ever done before in a logically unsatisfying way. War crime is the best answer.

On the other hand, it's still not terrorism. As explained above, the US didn't choose to use the bombs in an effort to sway public opinion in Japan. Morale, maybe. But, again... total war. The only opinion they cared about changing was that of the emperor and military leadership. But as Japan had already offered to surrender before, it seems more than a little excessive what the Americans did.. As a human being I feel ashamed.

+1
Level 76
Mar 13, 2022
i thought the gimmick here was that none of them would count as terrorism and you were trying to make a point - turned out to be just a really informative quiz, if quite bleak.

some of the people who stormed the capitol had plans to kill nancy pelosi and/or mike pence, so couldn't it also be described as conspiracy to murder?

+2
Level 82
Mar 15, 2022
Some in the mob seemed to have had that intention, but that goal was peripheral to their main objective which was to prevent the certification of the election, stop the work of government through violence, insurrection by definition. Those with nooses and chanting hang Mike Pence could conceivably be charged with conspiracy to murder, and given RICO laws it's possible the entire mob could have been charged with the same if some members of the mob were, it just wasn't their primary objective.
+1
Level 51
May 8, 2022
Very politically charged quiz. I happened to agree with the assessments. However, I commented to say that Yazidis are not Christian, they follow their own religion, Yazidism. This is similar to many other groups in the Middle East. Thanks.
+1
Level 82
May 8, 2022
My views are based on the precise definition of the word I gave, though. Divorced from politics. Those who disagree with my definition or my assessments are often doing so for political reasons, though. If there's any political charge to the quiz... it's these political people adding it to the quiz. It's not inherent in the quiz itself. I would prefer that we take politics out of it completely.

As to the Yazidi thing... I think someone else mentioned this above and I believe that, yes, my wording was not as accurate as it could be. Thanks. I may fix it at some point.

+2
Level 72
Jul 1, 2022
Really great quiz, thanks for that. The only thing I disagree on is the US dropping atomic bombs on Japan being a war crime.

Japan was in some ways worse than Germany and needed to be stopped. Unless there was another way to persuade either Tojo or Hirohito (which I don't think there was) Japan would have continued committing those horrible attrocities in Asia and the Pacific if the Americans hadn't dropped atomic bombs on them.

It might sound controversial but sometimes to combat an extreme threat one must make use of extreme tactics and equipment.

+1
Level 78
Jul 1, 2022
The US had enough military might to subdue Japan without the atomic bombs. It wold have taken a significant toll in terms of US soldiers though. When presented with the choice between the death of several thousand of US soldiers or the death of a few hundred thousand Japanese civilians, the US opted with the later. Which is what makes it immoral (IMHO).

In any case, you may argue that it was a necessary war crime, but it would still be a war crime.

+1
Level 72
Jul 3, 2022
I don't know, there was also talk about how defeat and surrender couldn't be achieved in the home islands without the atomic bombs. So considering how many lives it saved by ending the way the war I don't consider it a war crime especially considering it wasn't just the Japanese soldiers who were radicals but the civilians too.

Compare how many were killed and severely injured from the two atomic bombs with how many would have been killed if the US had to deploy ground forces on the home islands in order to defeat Japan.

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Level 78
Jul 4, 2022
I tend to disagree. It may be that a land invasion of the Japanese islands may have costed more lives at the end, but it would be the lives of combatants. Killing combatants is fair game. Killing civilians is not.

The Japanese civilians were not an homogeneous body. There were radicals who supported the war, and there were pacifists who didn't.

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Level 82
Jul 17, 2022
Compare how many died in the bombings to how many would have been saved had we just accepted the Japanese surrender offered before the bombs were dropped. Or if we simply hadn't invaded at all.
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Level 85
Jul 1, 2022
A riot where people are mad at the government and attack random people and property = protest.

A riot where people are mad at the government and attack the government = insurrection.

Our language is funny.

+3
Level 82
Jul 1, 2022
Why is that funny? Yes, a violent attack meant to usurp, interrupt, or interfere with the function of government is an insurrection. By definition. Burning down a Target doesn't affect the functioning of the government.
+1
Level 68
May 18, 2023
Until government officials need to buy minimalist furniture and groceries without having to park multiple times.
+1
Level 71
Jul 1, 2022
Interesting quiz but I would add that language is constantly evolving and words' meanings often change over time, sometimes drastically. For instance "girl" used to mean a child of either sex – even the word terrible could have a positive denotation, like awesome (or the antiquated meaning of awful :-)).

So I think it's a stretch to say that a definition of any word shall remain as it is today but perhaps for the time being, it's a valid point.

+1
Level 50
Mar 9, 2023
The point here is that the use of the word terrorism as a blanket statement for anything one deems bad is problematic because governments have laws against terrorism and these laws should not apply to some of these things.
+9
Level 56
Jul 1, 2022
A topic for a good discussion? Yes. For a jetpunk quiz? No.

Most of these are dependent on background and political orientation, making the distinctions in definition very blurry. Therefore, in my opinion, the quiz is not questioning "Is it Terrorism?", but "Is it Terrorism to me (author)"?

Although I agree with most of the answers of the quiz, the US attack in Sudan can be definitely categorized as Western Imperialism.

+2
Level 82
Jul 1, 2022
If your politics lead to you defining words in different ways that suit your personal prejudices or some agenda then that's where you and I differ.
+1
Level 43
Apr 3, 2024
Nah it wouldn't be Western Imperialism we thought we were hitting strategic targets but are information was wrong and boom we hit a neutral target. therefore friendly fire.
+1
Level 88
Jul 1, 2022
Highly contentious, and there's a couple i'm not quite sure i agree with you on, but the lines between these categories are so much blurrier than we would all like. Very much approve of the quiz though. Consider it nominated...
+2
Level 73
Jul 1, 2022
Man, it's almost as if the definition of words are set in stone forever.
+1
Level 67
Jul 1, 2022
According to this quizz, how Operation Condor in South America should be named?
+1
Level 82
Jul 1, 2022
complicated.
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Level 65
Jul 1, 2022
I would argue that, by the standards of WW2, the atomic bombings were an acceptable act of war. Should a similar bombing happen in 2022 it would be an unthinkable war crime, but the same couldn't be said with 1945 lenses, mass bombings of cities was the usual procedure (partly due to the poor accuracy of bombers, especially during night bombing), the Axis had bombed cities as hard as they could early in the war and later the Allies answered, but having much more air power at their disposal. The damages seen at Hiroshima are comparable to the incendiary bombing of Tokyo, the main difference is that hundreds of bombers were required at Tokyo, while only one destroyed Hiroshima.

The bomb also made Japan surrender without an invasion, that was expected to be a bloodbath. This was the hoped result, and may have been the least bloody way of ending WW2. So I would argue it is "tactical use of violence".

+1
Level 72
Jul 3, 2022
Well said, agreed.
+1
Level 82
Jul 17, 2022
To the first part: I disagree, but understand your argument.

To the second part: absolute bollocks. The Japanese had already tried to surrender.

+3
Level 78
Jul 4, 2022
I tend to agree with most of the instances where the author does not think that the given examples can be labelled as terrorism, but I think that in many cases more than one of the alternative options could be acceptable, depending on what aspect of the action one wishes to stress:

-ISIS beheading an American journalist is murder, a hate crime and tactical use of violence.

-The Oslo shooting was terrorism, a hate crime, and also [a completely deranged form of] political protest.

-The murder of JFK may be a debunked conspiracy theory (depending on which particular theory is one thinking, of course.) But I don't see how one can argue that it's not a politically motivated murder.

-The strikes against the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan may be counted as Friendly Fire (although I don't think that the friendly" part qualifies here), but it's also a case of Western Imperialism.

+2
Level 82
Jul 17, 2022
James Foley was not killed because of his ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc. His death was not a hate crime. He was also not a soldier, there was no strategic military objective that could be obtained through his death, so it was not a tactical use of violence.

Anders Breivik hated Muslims. But he killed mostly non-Muslim children at a youth camp. This was not a hate crime. It could be called political protest, I guess, but the directions indicate that if something is terrorism you should select terrorism as the answer.

The question about JFK asks specifically about the CIA's assassination of JFK - the CIA had no part in it. So anything other than the right answer in this case is wrong. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

The strike in Sudan is a case of friendly fire as the term is defined. You may not like the term but it still means what it means. Nothing about it had anything to do with imperialism.

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Level 68
May 18, 2023
I don't think that we know the motive of the JFK murder.
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Level 43
Feb 9, 2024
You are right but most assassination in history were done on one thing. political motives examples Abraham Lincoln assassination was done by a southern sympathizer bitter about the confederates losing the civil war. Franz Ferdinand assassination was done by Serbian nationalists in hopes unifying all the Serbs in the Balkans. so the best assumption to his motives were most likely some form of political motive.
+2
Level 53
Feb 2, 2023
I really liked this quiz. It's very educational and pretty tricky.
+1
Level 52
Feb 6, 2023
nominated, great quiz Kal
+2
Level 76
Apr 25, 2023
Here's an interesting one currently going on in my country:

Members of a group of environmentalists glue themselves to major public roads to disrupt traffic in order to pressure the government into introducing a general speed limit and some other policies. They seek high media exposure and always take credit for their actions. They say they always leave a corridor for ambulances and firefighters, but there have been several reported cases where ambulances were stuck in traffic because of the blockades. So, what is it?

A. Political Protest

B. Terrorism

C. Bored Millenials

D. Necessary to stop the climate emergency

+1
Level 70
May 18, 2023
E. Stupidity (especially the other groups spilling paint on some old paintings, sculptures etc.)
+2
Level 82
Feb 11, 2024
Obnoxious, probably counter-productive, potentially even dangerous, but definitely not terrorism.
+1
Level 76
May 10, 2024
I agree, although by your above definition of terrorism, there's only one criterion they clearly don't fulfil: they don't "attempt to maximize destruction and carnage", only disruption and congestion. Whether they put enough effort in avoiding that innocents get hurt is up to (intensive) debate.
+4
Level 56
May 18, 2023
This quiz is incredibly flawed and biased. The creator is trying to argue that the definitions of terms that he recognizes are the only way to define these actions. The very nature of language is fluid and malleable, and we cannot reasonably say that just because terms are defined as such now, that we all must respect them as concrete truth. I fundamentally disagree with this creator's assessment of the apartheid state of Israel. This quiz is borderline reactionary propaganda.

Free Palestine.

+2
Level 43
Feb 9, 2024
but there assessment is quiet true weather you agree or not.

in all seriousness the Israeli and the Jewish want the right to exist in there historical homeland and the Arab Palestinians want to keep living in the land that their ancestors who along with the Romans and other groups persecuted the Jewish and Israelite's after the roman conquest of the Levant region where the rebellious Jewish lived in the new province of Judea which was renamed to Palestine out of Spite of the rebellious Jewish. OK that was off topic a bit, the real people to blame are the UK for splitting up the area into regions for Arabs and Jewish instead of just creating a new State of Jerusalem where the Arabs and Jewish could Live without any Displacement.

+1
Level 82
Feb 11, 2024
your comment is all over the freaking place, and reveals a lot about why you are responding the way you are ("reactionary" seems like a bit of projection thrown in, doesn't it?)... but I'll focus in on just one thing you said.

Yes, language is dynamic. English even moreso than any other language, given how widely it is spoken and how non-existent and formal or official regulation of the language is. However, that doesn't make the quiz flawed. I've given very detailed and well-articulated reasons in the comments above for why, exactly, using words however you see fit and warping the meanings of words for political or emotional reasons, or to attempt to get some emotional response from people when you are deliberately misusing terms that have a specific, legal definition is both wrong and dangerous. Try reading more, reacting less.

+3
Level 72
May 18, 2023
The capitol rioters were definitely there to kill someone, whether Pence or Pelosi (more likely both).
+3
Level 53
May 18, 2023
Ok I agree that under US law, Charlottesville wasn't a hate CRIME. But peaceful? No way.
+1
Level 82
Feb 11, 2024
See a timeline here. There was no violence that took place on the night being described, and the description should lead you to the correct answer even if you are unfamiliar with the entire chain of events.
+1
Level 33
May 18, 2023
You really don't like Noam Chomsky, do you....
+2
Level 47
May 18, 2023
He literally is a genocide deniar (Yugoslavia 1991-1999)
+1
Level 82
Feb 11, 2024
not much to like, to be honest...
+2
Level 47
May 18, 2023
Amazing quiz!
+2
Level 68
May 18, 2023
Pretty interesting.
+2
Level 72
May 24, 2023
It was never proven that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK and the CIA didn't. In fact, much of the evidence points towards Oswald not being the only shooter, or not shooting Kennedy at all. Plus, the CIA certainly had motive to kill him
+1
Level 82
Feb 11, 2024
You've been watching or reading some misleading stuff.
+1
Level 42
Sep 17, 2023
Yazidis are not a Christian minority - I see from another comment you've thought about changing it before, but you really should. Yazidism is its own religion, and claiming otherwise is wholly dishonest in an already plainly biased quiz.
+1
Level 82
Feb 11, 2024
I've stopped updating my quizzes on the site. Sorry.
+1
Level 43
Dec 12, 2023
you KNOW brothers got the worst opinions on the gaza war
+1
Level 68
Jan 4, 2024
Habsburg not Hapsburg
+2
Level 32
May 4, 2024
This is a ridiculous quiz. If I ask you" where is the tower of Pisa located?" you have a pretty good factual basis for your answer. There may be a tower of Pisa in Las Vegas, but you have an answer based in fact.Terrorism is not easily definable. You just went with whatever bias you happen to have and portrayed it as objective truth. That is incredibly dangerous. You don't seem to be able to distinguish between simple facts and matters where the definition of words depend of the people defining them. Israel is committing genocide as we speak, but of course Zionists use different words to attempt to lessen the severity of their actions. I am autistic and even I get that this is ridiculous. You need to learn to distinguish between clear fact and words used to "create" a reality. Some words posit a reality that doesn't exist
+1
Level 67
Jul 11, 2024
Many of those on here and especially the question master have little understanding of any facts
+1
Level 67
Jul 11, 2024
How do I report this quiz? It is espousing the personal political comments of the question master and spreading propaganda.