Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Swine flu, terror and Susan Boyle

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  • Brickley Paiste,

    Thanks, Russell. Here goes.

    I really can't see the problem with calling it a murder.

    It isn't murder until a jury convicts him of murder. Calling it murder now adds petrol to the Leighton Smith fire. It was a killing, a slaying, a homicide, a butchery, an ending of human life, whatever. But it wasn't murder until that has been found in a court of law.

    I'm not wasting time. I think this is extremely important. In our system, the accused is presumed innocent -- perhaps of MURDER -- until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the whole ball of wax.

    What was that I/S quoted to you, if not a definition of terrorism in our law?

    The definition of an "act of terrorism". See above.

    You're also determinedly ignoring the extensive history of such attacks, on the same people, by people with the same beliefs and connections as Roeder.

    Quite so. Sorry. The history of abortion doctors being shot hardly needs to be recited. It's a fact and an excepted one. It's sad that religious lunatics kill people who they think are killing people and perhaps now the State will kill him. Who knows. So, yes, unreservedly do I acknowledge the heinous, horrible, non-thinking, religiously fueled, depressing history of doctors, who happen to perform abortions -- as opposed to "abortion doctors" as they're referred to in the media; as if they don't do other stuff, only a conveyor belt and a vacuum for these guys -- and are killed as a result. It's so sad I don't like to think about it.

    Was it an act of terrorism? Yes! Had it occurred in NZ, would it be terrorism? We no longer know since that word is off the statute books. That's the entirety of the point. It has legal significance that I imagine I/S will accept.

    I don't think you're a loon, I just don't understand your argument.

    Does that clarify it?

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Christopher Dempsey on the Reentry V thread the other day came up with an impressive word, a new one to me -

    I remember being very depressed for a couple of years after I got back - baffingling so.

    He obviously really meant it, cos he's careful and took the trouble to correct "Mangare" later in the day. I've puzzled over the meaning, and have come to realise it comes from the old French baffing for slapping someone's face that needs it, and a "baffingling" would be just a small warning sort of slap.

    Given that RB has needed the baffing sanction around here already, perhaps there's a place for a baffingling too.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    She never said he was a terrorist. Without wishing to defend Labour's handling of that saga, what Clark actually did say, early on, was that Zaoui's party, FIS, had links to al Qaeda.

    She did so on police advice, and fairly shortly afterwards said she could not "corroborate" what she'd been told and it was probably untrue.

    Oy vey, let's not look up the rules around Security Risk Certificates. Who's being semantic now. My point is that terrorism is in the eye of the beholder.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You have to accept that "act of terrorism" and "terrorism" are not the same. That's like saying "act of coitus" and "sexuality" are the same. It doesn't add up.

    But what is terrorism if not carrying out terrorist acts?

    I think I'm with Stephen ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My point is that terrorism is in the eye of the beholder.

    So that's your point?

    Now we can all get some sleep!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Today was a beautiful late Autumn day. I am so glad I did not waste it on this pointless argument. It was a murder - an intentional, unlawful killing. It was an act of terrorism - the victim was killed because the murderer objected to his lawful professional activities, in order to stop him and to intimidate his peers into stopping their lawful professional activities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    But what is terrorism if not carrying out terrorist acts?

    1. I'll look up the old definition tomorrow and get back to you. I seem to recall there was an important difference. If there isn't, I'll fall on my sword, face-first.

    2. Do you recognise my rejoinder to Stephen though? I am forced to accept that if one were guilty of committing "acts of terrorism" one would be, in a loose non-legally defined sense, be guilty of terrorism. But it is no accident that a definition of a slippery umbrella concept got replaced with definitions of specific actions. Therein lies the difference and my entire point.

    3. I'm also surprised that I/S would be so quick to call the killing of the doctor who performs abortions (I'm now an unwilling slave to my own labels) since s2(b) and s3(c) clearly would include mass civil unrest against government policy. Be careful of what you wish for.

    4. Don't forget that among the first to be charged in the US with terrorism were two dudes with a rifle hanging out in boots of cars in Washington. Doesn't really "fit" what we think of when we think of terrorism.

    5. What about my point about murder, Russell?

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Logan O'Callahan,

    It's sad that religious lunatics kill people

    They're not lunatics. If they were, they wouldn't be murderers.
    .............
    What they are is fanatics, inflamed by the people who preach to them. Sound familiar.

    Seems basic proof that in the eyes of some people terrorism is only a muslim thing.

    BP, open your eyes. You're totally on your own on the murder thing. It's a murder, and the press, *all* of them, agree. They won't call the person arrested the murderer until he's convicted. But they're happy to call it murder.

    Since Apr 2008 • 70 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I am forced to accept that if one were guilty of committing "acts of terrorism" one would be, in a loose non-legally defined sense, be guilty of terrorism.

    Sort of like being guilty of racketeering, if you get sprung running rackets.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4294 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Terrorism is a word used to describe an act, or a series of acts, whether actual or threatened. It doesn't matter what definition you adopt. There can be no terrorism without an actual or threatened terrorist act. So "terrorist act" is really the same thing as "terrorism" for practical purposes.

    Parliament changed the SIS legislation so that there would be one definition relevant to "terrorism" across the board. That makes good legal sense.

    And we're perfectly entitled to use the term "murder". If the killing had occured in NZ there might be legal issues with doing so (sub-judice etc), but those issues aren't relevant and "murder" has an everyday meaning too.

    To suggest that a murder has not occurred if nobody is convicted is frankly absurd. Was Julius Caesar not murdered then? OJ Simpson's wife? JFK?

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Sort of like being guilty of racketeering, if you get sprung running rackets.

    Yes, if racketeering had once been defined in law and then repealed, I totally agree with you.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Was Julius Caesar not murdered then? OJ Simpson's wife? JFK?

    Nicole Brown Simpson's life was ended in an action of wrongful death. She wasn't murdered, because the glove didn't fit. They had to acquit. No murder. Not guilty. I remember watching the verdict come through quite clearly.

    Caesar? I can't remember off the top of my head. Was anyone ever tried? Didn't Augustus just restore the Empire and get on with it? Was there a trial? I don't know.

    JFK? Clay Shaw aka Clay Bertrand, I think, was tried for his murder or maybe a coup d'etat. That's if he is actually dead. You'd have to ask Tommy Lee Jones. He'd know that type of thing.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Nicole Brown Simpson's life was ended in an action of wrongful death.

    No, she was murdered. Not even OJ's defence suggested otherwise.

    Caesar? I can't remember off the top of my head. Was anyone ever tried?

    No

    JFK? Clay Shaw aka Clay Bertrand, I think, was tried for his murder or maybe a coup d'etat. That's if he is actually dead. You'd have to ask Tommy Lee Jones. He'd know that type of thing.

    Sigh...I'm off to bed. I'm sure this fool will still be at it when I return.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Cods of the Highlands

    surely if

    baffing means To hit or strike, especially with something flat or soft.

    then

    baffingling

    would mean to hit with LING - either as a fish
    or Heather - ergo Wreckless Ericaceae
    (a botanical entry in the Heath ledger no less...)

    yrs
    Anne Old Slapper
    who don't know the
    difference between
    Semantics & Semtex

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7885 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    *headdesk*

    Brinkley, do you know what 'derailing' means? You've been serving up a textbook example.

    Why debate actual issues when you can debate utterly pointless semantic arguments (about which you're incorrect, incidentally. ScottY's 2nd to last post is correct).

    It has taken this thread to make me want to read several posts of Graeme's pedantry :P. It seems positively... substantial in comparison.

    At least he's usually right. And not legally incoherent.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Guardian story about Tiller.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22744 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    In re the assassination of Julius Caesar; the co-conspirators admitted to their act, which I assume we'll agree is equivalent to pleading guilty. They thought they were going to get away with it too, having made a deal for clemency, essentially, until Mark Antony turned the tables on them.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I'm not against using the word terrorism, I'm just wondering if yet another shorthand is what we need, and if it addresses the specificity of the act and the moral complicity of its enablers.

    In the US legal context, it should be used, because it lets you play with the fun powers (and some of them should be used in these sorts of cases, even if the ones about Guantanamo shouldn't.)

    Also, it kind of makes it clear that these acts are an attempt to use violence as a political tool by a bunch of scumbags. (And these guys are scumbags; part of the problem is that not enough Americans think that killing doctors who provide abortions is wrong.) But I'm not sure that's effective as an empirical matter.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    Most of the pro-life blogs I read deplore the murder of Tiller. It was not a pro-life act at all. I deplore what Dr Tiller did in his professional life, but that did not justify shooting him, or in any way harming him.

    I also disagree with threatening or harassing people. I personally have not protested at an abortion clinic, but I have friends who have prayed rosaries outside them. I'm not entirely comfortable with that personally, however I do pray at home and at church for pro-life issues.

    No one can do good, by doing evil and murdering Dr Tiller was evil. We live in a society of laws, without which we would be reduced to barbarism.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Russell I salute and thank you for banning Grant. Trolls pollute this lovely space and tolerating them really does nobody any favours. Brickley's semantic gymnastics are close to being just as obstructive to reasonable conversation.

    For me, the most obvious question when confronted with resolute trolling is just why the offenders feel such a strong compulsion to defend and distract about this particular topic? And to carry on arguing in the face of clear explanations and links to evidence. Fragile characters, perhaps?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Was it an act of terrorism? Yes! Had it occurred in NZ, would it be terrorism? We no longer know since that word is off the statute books. That's the entirety of the point. It has legal significance that I imagine I/S will accept.

    I fail to see how this whole argument about whether parliament in New Zealand has provided us with a legal definition of terrorism has to do with whether or not Russell should call this dude in the States who apparently shot a guy for performing late term abortions, 'domestic American terrorism'.

    What the legal significance of New Zealand law no longer having a definition of terrorism is to a guy in the States... not clear.

    Nicole Brown Simpson's life was ended in an action of wrongful death. She wasn't murdered, because the glove didn't fit. They had to acquit. No murder.

    I do despair.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    While he won't be convicted of murder for a while yet, I really can't see the problem with calling it a murder.

    Ditto. OTOH, calling the alleged shooter a murderer (as opposed to an alleged murderer) would be prejudging the outcome of the trial.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Caesar? I can't remember off the top of my head. Was anyone ever tried?

    Not sure...but Mark Antony gave them an earful, I do remember that.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Off-topic, Richard Worth resigns.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I personally have not protested at an abortion clinic, but I have friends who have prayed rosaries outside them.

    Right, could you ask them for me if they could not do so?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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