Well, terrorism as defined by the U.S. Department of Defense, anyway.
A Pt. Lobos terrorist signaling the Mother ship?
In the old days, a terrorist was someone who tried to get their way by using violence to terrify people. Shooting an abortion provider in order to scare other doctors out of performing abortions – just to pick a random example. Or dropping bombs on urban areas to create the “shock and awe” necessary to scare the populace out of supporting leaders or policies the terrorists don’t like.
That was the old definition. But calling someone a terrorist is such a great way of casting that person in a negative light that the temptation to expand the term to cover new categories of people has long been far too powerful to resist. Way back in the ‘80s the FBI was already calling environmental activists who were breaking the law (mainly by chaining themselves to gates and sitting in trees to stop logging and mining projects) “soft-core terrorists” … even though their actions obviously had nothing to do with terrorizing anyone.
But those were minor league shenanigans. Since 2001 the concept of terrorism has been expanding in all directions like one of those self-inflating life rafts. We’ve even had a War on Terror underway for the past seven years (if we’re going to start declaring war on abhorrent tactics, how about throwing in a War on Landmines and a War on Cluster Bombs?); so it was probably inevitable that we would eventually reach this point.
Today we learned that the Department of Defense has finally taken the ultimate step and developed a definition of terrorism broad enough to make pretty close to everyone on earth a terrorist (at least once in a while). We say this because the DoD has now declared any and all lawful protest to be “low-level terrorism,” … meaning, we suppose, that anyone who publicly disagrees with actual or proposed government policy may now be considered a “terrorist.”
Sure, you’ve still got your constitutional right to speak out against senseless budget proposals, foreign policy blunders and the further erosion of your civil liberties. You can complain and protest to your heart’s content. Just be aware that, at least in the eyes of the DoD, you’ll be abandoning your status as a loyal citizen and irredeemably plunging yourself into the cesspool of international terrorism.
You’ll only be engaged in “low-level terrorism,” of course. Meaning, we guess, that you will merely be considered a foot soldier or “private” in the enemy Army of Terror. Hardly worth the trouble of an extraordinary rendition or a water boarding session – which should make you feel a little better anyway.
In any event, the wave of terrorism unleashed by the Governor’s proposal to close most of California’s State Parks began in Santa Cruz, on June 2, when over 500 terrorists showed up at Natural Bridges State Park to protest. This was followed by a spate of smaller terrorist incidents around the state, and now large rallies to protest the proposed park closings are planned for June 21 at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and, in Southern California, at Trestles. The Big Sur event begins at 2:00pm.