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April 16, 2013

(Late) Morning Coffee: Does It Really Matter Why?

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

morning coffee graphicEarlier this morning, I posted the following to the blog on what I deemed yesterday’s bombing to be the act of an evil person or persons. I’ve been a little upset at the mainstream media for whitewashing our language when it comes to terrorism. If something is evil, then why not let people call it such? And if the act is one that causes terror, why not have the strength of language to use the word “terrorism?”

A little bit later on this morning after my posting, I had a very vitriolic conversation with someone while we were entering a meeting at around 9am. Maybe the word “vitriolic” is not completely descriptive of our disagreement. I’ll use the word “spicy.”

Ever since the bombings in Boston yesterday afternoon, I have felt that it doesn’t matter why the person or persons made and set the bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. These people did it. They are terrorists.

When we think about the words “terror” and “terrorist,” we reflexively think “Muslim terrorists.” And if that sentence describes you, then you’re wrong to think that way. Terrorism, by its very definition, is the act of using violence or threats to either intimidate or coerce someone. To be a terrorist, one has to make use of terroristic methods (using violence or threats to either intimidate or coerce). A bombing that kills innocent people is a terroristic act – we need not fear the word.

The person I was having the “spicy” conversation continued to say that the reason why the bombs were set is important in determining labeling this bombing “terrorism.” Labeling?, I questioned. While we all want to know why a person or persons built, planted, set, and detonated a bomb that killed innocent people, does it really matter in the framework of using the English language properly? An 8-year old boy was killed watching his dad run a marathon. His mom and sister are clinging to life. Does it really matter if the bombers were Americans angry at it being Tax Day or if they were Muslim extremists or if they were angry businessmen who were upset that their businesses along the marathon route were closed yesterday?


To me it doesn’t matter why the bombs were set. I believe that since the bombs were set and detonated, that alone dictates the proper use of the word “terrorism.” The “why” comes later, after the police and FBI investigate and find out who did it. Right now, the people of Boston were terrorized by this person or people.

No need to parse language. Yesterday’s bombings were terrorism. Period.

But my “spicy” conversation didn’t end there — the fellow non-LCMS clergy person was unhappy with my earlier blog post this morning calling these terrorists “evil.”

Well, what did this person suggest I call the person or persons involved in planning this act?

“I think using the word ‘evil’ is a little strong. We have to listen to them before we label them. Maybe they have a reason for acting this way, something we haven’t thought of before.”

Huh, was my response. I link you to my post from earlier this morning.

I understand that politicians are going to hold back in using tough language. President Obama didn’t want to rush to judgment during his evening speech. Last evening, I thought the President spoke extremely eloquently and voiced the love that Americans have for the people of Boston. But I wasn’t happy with his parsed use of the English language. The President sounded like he was holding back just a bit.

However, his address to the nation this morning was better than the one he made last night. He had the courage to use tough words like “evil” and “cowards” and “terrorism.”

Our President should be commended.

Bathroom Back in Business

The bathrooms here at church are back in order. Our Trustees had a plumber in this morning to clear our sewage line and as of this writing, our bathrooms are back to working order.

Tonight, Crafting

Just as a reminder, tonight our Crafters will be in to begin working on a special paper project. If you would like to join this very creative and fun bunch, the please join us beginning at 7:00pm here at church.

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