Daily Archives: 2015-11-28 21:44:41 UTC

Stochastic Terrorism

An interesting take by Valerie Tarico:  Christianist Republicans Systematically Incited Colorado Clinic Assault . . . . Citing Stochastic Terrorism Valerie writes:

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”

And explains:

The formula is perversely brilliant:

  1. A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
  2. With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
  3. Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past “purges” against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
  4. When violence erupts, the public figure who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the “tragedy.”

Stochastic terrorism is not a fringe concept. It is a known terrorist modality that has been described at length by analysts. It produces terrorism patterns that are known to any member of Congress or any presidential candidate who has ever thought deeply about national or domestic security issues . . .