Stochastic Terrorism

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MrK
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Now you know why the republicans are all so scared of Rush Limbaugh.

They form a united front because they are scared of being thought of as stepping out of line.

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Jgmdesign
Jgmdesign's picture
Yeah, finally some red meat

Yeah, finally some red meat from Thom.... so to speak.

DRC
DRC's picture
Hey, this is not your fine

Hey, this is not your fine butcher shop with only red meat.  Besides, Thom does not eat it.

If you want the red meat in lieu of the infotainment deli where Thom has a lot of good stuff, savory and sweet, you need to focus on reading the texts instead of talk radio.

jan8142
jan8142's picture
Hi Thom! You are wrong in

Hi Thom!

You are wrong in using the phrase "stochastic terrorism."  The words "random" and "stochastic" frequently are misused in the looser forms of everyday prattle.   However, Both have precise meanings when used by practitioners of probability theory and thus also of the natural sciences.

In effect, both are forms of order.  Indeed, the theory of random order is the theory on which all those political polls are based.  You know, the ones where the pollster says, "The American people--all 1200 of them--say. . . ."

What you want to say is best said by the word haphazard.  I.e., If one were to shoot a shotgun at a corn field with one's eyes closed.  There is no way of predicting precisely in what order pieces of corn are going to be hit.

This may sound picky. But, as the banks that lost mortgage papers have found out, Neatness Counts!  Put another way, why should I believe you when I don't know what you are talking about, if you are wrong when I do know something about the subject?

 

michael222
michael222's picture
To make sense of the term

To make sense of the term "stochastic terrorism," which I had not heard before today, I'd mention that a stochastic process of any kind is one that is probabilistic, not deterministic, as mathematicians and scientists would say. A deterministic process is one that can be calculated precisely, such as the position of the moon at any given point in time. A process that is probabilistic is one that can be determined with a certain probability at any given moment. An example is the stock market. The movement of stocks is predicted using methods, among others, from stochastic calculus, which in many ways is unlike the regular calculus you might have learned in school. A stock's value at some point in the future can be determined only with a certain level of probability, so the predicted value may actually be quite different from the actual value when the moment arrives.

So my guess is that "stochastic terrorism" refers to a concept of terrorism that cannot be shown to be directly caused or pinpointed at any given moment, unlike, for example, a Mafia killing. Just as a speculator hopes to determine a stock's future value but cannot find a direct cause that would allow him to compute it precisely, someone engaged in "stochastic terrorism" might be a person whose speech or actions gin up acts of violence without being able to cause them as if by remote control.

My point would be that, traditionally, this has been called "incitement to violence." This term is clearly understood by most people in this country, and this is what we ought to call the violent rhetoric (however metaphorical people claim it to be) of people such as Beck, Hannity, and Palin.

I mean, really. They should have to defend themselves from the charge of "incitement to violence," as opposed to being let off the hook by saying that they didn't "cause" the violence. We all know they don't have a remote control for the minds of lunatics.

But charges of incitement? Not so easy for them to rebut.

rickrack
rickrack's picture
I've searched the internet

I've searched the internet for Thom's claim that the FBI has used the term "stochastic terrorism." Please find a reference for that claim. I couldn't. The FBI has used stochastic processes for DNA analysis and risk assessment. Both may be related to terrorism but do not mean what Thom means: broadcasting a message that incites bin Laden's minions or the crazies to violent acts. 

It's a wonderful meme but I think you should leave the FBI out of it. I watched the ex-FBI chief of the behavioral sciences unit on the Charlie Rose show. He is much more inclined to the mental illness theory Thom advocated yesterday without linking it to the catalyst of hate speech. Although liberal negative speech (Thom doesn't want to call it hate speech but it often appears to be such) hasn't been linked to violence lately, it would take just one crazy person who has a book by Thom Hartmann or Noam Chomsky in his library and then goes out to shoot up a bank or a former job office or school to make it a moot point. You can't depend on schizophrenics to restrict their violence to the right-wing point of view. That's crazy!

Stochastic terrorism is an excellent talk show talking point but meaningless or even dangerous in the long run. If 1 out of a million people acts on the message being broadcast, that's pretty low odds for advertising. It wouldn't sell many products. If we held those who write books accountable for the thoughts of those who then act violently, we might find that even the most innocuous children's books should be banned. 

Even what I'm writing now might embolden some pure leftist to write a political tract advocating violence against some authority figure or institution. Should I then be held responsible for what I've written. Should I have self-consored this comment and not written it?

Antifascist
Antifascist's picture
Stochastic Terrorism Oh,

Stochastic Terrorism

Oh, that's what they call it.

Once I was with a police officer who was interrogating an informant that had information about a series of burglaries in the city. The officer told the informant that if he didn't tell us who was responsible for the burglaries, he would go around the informant’s neighbor and give out the information we already had and tell his buddies that he told us the information! This is common practice among city police officers.

The informant became so frighten that we could not shut him up. He nearly urinated on himself so there is some draw back in using this method. I don't think he was expert on statistical probability--he didn't graduate from high school, but he seemed to know something. What was he afraid of ? We didn't do anything.

When the skeletons finally come out of the closet, they ALL come out. The greater general threat of violence is ignored because the main stream media legitimizes these stochastic messages and fantasies.  In this decade, the Americans spent an obscene amount, Billions of dollars, on security. Today ordinary political speech faces an epidemic of random murder and quiet applause by the right--wing fascist surrogates that the Republian Conservatives thought they could control--again. 

D_NATURED
D_NATURED's picture
jan8142 wrote: Hi Thom! You

jan8142 wrote:

Hi Thom!

You are wrong in using the phrase "stochastic terrorism."  The words "random" and "stochastic" frequently are misused in the looser forms of everyday prattle.   However, Both have precise meanings when used by practitioners of probability theory and thus also of the natural sciences.

In effect, both are forms of order.  Indeed, the theory of random order is the theory on which all those political polls are based.  You know, the ones where the pollster says, "The American people--all 1200 of them--say. . . ."

What you want to say is best said by the word haphazard.  I.e., If one were to shoot a shotgun at a corn field with one's eyes closed.  There is no way of predicting precisely in what order pieces of corn are going to be hit.

This may sound picky. But, as the banks that lost mortgage papers have found out, Neatness Counts!  Put another way, why should I believe you when I don't know what you are talking about, if you are wrong when I do know something about the subject?

He never said to believe him blindly. That is the domain of right-wing dittoheads. He has always said to check and correct him.

D_NATURED
D_NATURED's picture
rickrack wrote: I've searched

rickrack wrote:

I've searched the internet for Thom's claim that the FBI has used the term "stochastic terrorism." Please find a reference for that claim. I couldn't. The FBI has used stochastic processes for DNA analysis and risk assessment. Both may be related to terrorism but do not mean what Thom means: broadcasting a message that incites bin Laden's minions or the crazies to violent acts. 

It's a wonderful meme but I think you should leave the FBI out of it. I watched the ex-FBI chief of the behavioral sciences unit on the Charlie Rose show. He is much more inclined to the mental illness theory Thom advocated yesterday without linking it to the catalyst of hate speech. Although liberal negative speech (Thom doesn't want to call it hate speech but it often appears to be such) hasn't been linked to violence lately, it would take just one crazy person who has a book by Thom Hartmann or Noam Chomsky in his library and then goes out to shoot up a bank or a former job office or school to make it a moot point. You can't depend on schizophrenics to restrict their violence to the right-wing point of view. That's crazy!

Stochastic terrorism is an excellent talk show talking point but meaningless or even dangerous in the long run. If 1 out of a million people acts on the message being broadcast, that's pretty low odds for advertising. It wouldn't sell many products. If we held those who write books accountable for the thoughts of those who then act violently, we might find that even the most innocuous children's books should be banned. 

Even what I'm writing now might embolden some pure leftist to write a political tract advocating violence against some authority figure or institution. Should I then be held responsible for what I've written. Should I have self-consored this comment and not written it?

Whether or not Thom's word is accurate, you must understand that the left and right have different "styles" to their protest. You say the left's speech hasn't lead to violence "lately" but how many years do you place under the umbrella of "lately"? Because I can think of at least a half a dozen right-wing terror plots off the top of my head but I don't recall the liberal violence that you speak of. Does burning down a ski resort count, because I remember that was perpetrated by lefties? Nobody killed, though. Just how lately are you thinking was the last left-wing assasination attempt of a congress person? Who was the last socialist who flew his plane into the IRS building? My memory fails me.

BTW, if one out of a million people acts on the words of conservative fools then that is potentially three hundred dead congress people and who knows how many others. Yes, that's low for marketing purposes but it is extremely high in potential human tradgedy. I can understand why you don't want to be responsible for your words, they treat murder like widgets.

 

meldroc
meldroc's picture
There is a reason why it's

There is a reason why it's called stochastic terrorism.

Non-stochastic terrorism, or direct terrorism requires direct acts, which can be traced, and results in the perpetrators being held accountable.

So stochastic terrorism was developed, which is the use of mass-communications to get other individuals - unstable "lone wolves" to do the dirty work.  Then when it's all over, the perpetrators can wash their hands, tsk-tsk about the horrible tragedy, and move on to the next target, while the lone-wolf, who was essentially recruited as an unwitting suicide bomber, gets fifteen minutes of fame followed by a life sentence or lethal injection.

It's stochastic because this tactic introduces an inherent randomness to the terrorism - you don't know when a lone wolf finally goes over the edge, goes postal and commits an act of violence.  All the real perpetrators know is that if they stir the pot enough and heat it up enough with violent rhetoric, demonization and eliminationism, eventually, the pot will reach the boiling point, bubbles will form, and shots will ring out.  They don't know when, where, and by whom, but they know it will happen sooner or later.

It's like Russian Roulette.  Every time Bill O'Reilly went on the Factor, and called Dr. George Tiller "Tiller the Baby Killer", he put a round in the cylinder of the revolver, spun it, pointed it at George Tiller, and pulled the trigger.  The gun could have fired the first time O'Reilly did this, or the hundredth time, but eventually, it did fire, when Scott Roeder went to Dr. Tiller's church and shot him.

And now, we have another ongoing campain of stochastic terrorism against Julian Assange.  Look at how many people have went on the media and talked about literally killing Assange.  Every time they do this, they put a round in the revolver's cylinder, spin it, point it at him and pull the trigger.  How long until the gun goes off?

 

Randy95023
Randy95023's picture
There's quite a few "right

There's quite a few "right wing loonies" in my family and Glenn Beck is second only to Bill O'Reilly as their Fox News Hero.  Beck is a classic huckster.  He claims to be a Christian (Mormon) but I doubt he's ever really read the Bible.  Inciting murder is pretty much the same as committing the murder yourself as far as personal responsibility goes.  A REAL believer in God and the Bible would not incite people to murder others.  I think Beck spouts his garbage on Faux News because it pays better than selling used cars.  He's got MILLIONS of reasons to keep doing what he's doing.  MILLIONS in his bank account...

martyA
martyA's picture
If the radio box and the TV

If the radio box and the TV machine can sell Ginsu knives to the relatively sane then selling murder to the smiley face nut bag shooter should be a lead pipe cinch.

MA'AT
MA'AT's picture
"Rickrack

"Rickrack said,

snip,

Stochastic terrorism is an excellent talk show talking point but meaningless or even dangerous in the long run. If 1 out of a million people acts on the message being broadcast, that's pretty low odds for advertising. It wouldn't sell many products. If we held those who write books accountable for the thoughts of those who then act violently, we might find that even the most innocuous children's books should be banned. "

I have only one example to prove the truth of this theory.

In 2003 Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge suggested people use duct tape and plastic wrap to protect themselves against a totally fictional poison gas attack.

Hardware stores sold out of plastic wrap and duct tape.

The conservatives deny science for good reason. To support scientific results would mean that they would have to admit to the fact that they do have influence over peoples actions by their propagandizing.

The book argument is good, on the surface.

The response is simple, then why do we have schools at all, since humans cannot be taught or influenced.

 

 

mark arata
mark arata's picture
Stochastic Terrorism In

Stochastic Terrorism

In Search of the Lone Wolfs

 Tom this was one of the best programs i have ever heard. When you played the rant from Mark Levin i was horrified to the extent of the hate speech and attempt to reach out to the Lone Wolfs. I do not listen to right wing radio at all so i did not hear its rant from Mark Levin. The question asked is this Stochastic terrorism the answer is yes. The result of the of this speech has the same result of Islamic terrorism the results are the same people are killed or could be killed to further a agenda and ideology that the Republicans and their corporate masters wish to achieve. How sad for our country that we have a political party that would go to this extreme to achieve this goals for the rich and operations. Tom you should consider your next book on this subject In Search of the Lone Wolfs how Stochastic Terrorism is alive in the USA and the danger it can create. Tom great job on this subject and fantastic Analise. Thank You Tom for a great show on this subject.

Mark

     

bonnie
I;ve said it many times on

I;ve said it many times on this forum and others, "If Ann Coulter ever wants to discuss politics with a "liberal" using baseball bats, I'd be up for it."

I'm not a liberal. Never was one and never will be. But, if someone wants to use instigative and inflammatory words to "prove their point" - I'm up for the challenge. In fact, I am all in favor of her having her first pick of available bats. She can pick the heavier weighted bat. For me the "bat" was never the "weight" of the issue to begin with. 

Anyway, this is where this type of instigative, inflammatory and violent crap is leading us.

 

 

meljomur
meljomur's picture
Except bonnie, in America

Except bonnie, in America people don't use baseball bats they use guns (which are just as easy to obtain in many places).

Hate speech incites violence in some people.  If you are going to use the words, why should anyone be surprised that some American might take it to heart and become violent.

bonnie
Mel, that's exactly what I am

Mel, that's exactly what I am trying to say - although not as well. 

Thanks for phrasing it better. 

 

dem5393
dem5393's picture
If I say something that

If I say something that increases the probability of violence a very small amount e.g. one chance in a million it is not a concern.  Unless I am on a tv show or a radio show that has a million listeners.  In that case it is likely to be followed by violence.  It is not a necessary cause it is not a sufficient cause but it does cause violence.  The person that is provoked to violence is random but the odds are that out of a million listeners someone will be provoked.  It is like saying if you take a hundred coins and flip them in the air about 50 are going to turn heads.  Which ones of those 100 will be heads is random but the odds are that about half will.  In this country with the right to free speech protected I do not think that legally you could be found guilty or responsible but morally you are.  A better example is that we say cigarettes cause cancer.  Does that mean if you smoke you will get cancer; no.  Nor does it mean that if you do not smoke you will not get cancer.  It just means that given a large number of smokers there will be a greater number of people who get cancer and for those people it will have been caused by them smoking.  As far as censorship; again this country has decided that the freedom of speech is worth the cost of freedom.  There is nothing the government can or should do.  However radio stations and TV stations can edit and have editorial policies that are less vitriolic.  

dlawler
dlawler's picture
I guess I missed the

I guess I missed the discussion about the origin of the term "stochastic terrorism."  Couldn't find anything explicit about it's origin on the net.  Is this something that Thom researched thoroughly?  Can someone furnish any references?

louisehartmann
louisehartmann's picture
If you sign up for the for

If you sign up for the for the newsletter - you will get all the links to Thom's research - here's a link where he explains it on his TV show.

MrK
MrK's picture
Has anyone ever considered

Has anyone ever considered that Osama bin Laden may be CIA/ISI, and that he is using the same 'fatwa' that Bill O'Reilly used against dr. Tiller?

From DailyKos:

Stochastic Terrorism:  Triggering the shooters.
by G2geek
Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 05:37:39 PM PST

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

This is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.

This is also the term for what Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and others do.  And this is what led directly and predictably to a number of cases of ideologically-motivated murder similar to the Tucson shootings.

    * G2geek's diary :: ::
*

Update: the mechanism spelled out.

(This update is to resolve some ambiguity.) 

The person who actually plants the bomb or assassinates the public official is not the stochastic terrorist, they are the "missile" set in motion by the stochastic terrorist.  The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media as their means of setting those "missiles" in motion.

Here's the mechanism spelled out concisely:

The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts. 

One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act.   While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. "given the provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such"), the specific person and the specific act are not predictable (yet). 

The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do."

The lone wolf who was the "missile" gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves.   

Further, the stochastic terrorist may be acting either negligently or deliberately, or may be in complete denial of their impact, just like a drunk driver who runs over a pedestrian without even realizing it. 

Finally, there is no conspiracy here: merely the twisted acts of individuals who are promoting extremism, who get access to national media in which to do it, and the rest follows naturally just as an increase in violent storms follows from an increase in average global temperature. 

And now we return to the rest of the original diary...
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The lone wolves.

The term "lone wolf" is used in law enforcement and intel to refer to an individual who is emotionally unstable, who lacks obvious ties to known criminal gangs or terrorist groups, and who pops up seemingly out of nowhere to commit a violent or terrorist act. 

The three-letter agencies can keep an eye on organized groups, and do a damn good job at stopping violent actors associated with those groups.  At least three intended car bombings were stopped last year by the FBI intercepting the bombers and substituting fake explosives in time to save hundreds of lives and arrest the would-be bombers. 

Lone wolves don't have obvious connections through which they can be discovered.  They don't communicate much if at all about their intentions.  They keep their plans to themselves.  And then, apparently at random, they pop up from obscurity and commit murder.  They are law enforcement's and intel's worst nightmare, and on Saturday one of them became America's nightmare.   
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Stirring the pot.

At any given time there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with combinations of personality characteristics (such as emotional instability, a paranoid ideology, and a propensity for violence) that put them at risk of going off the deep end and becoming lone wolves.  All it takes is the right push, the right nudge at the right time, to dislodge a few of them and send them on their way to fifteen minutes of fame surrounded by dead bodies. 

There's nothing mysterious about this process.  It is not much different to other instances where a person is almost ready to make a decision, and the right combination of inputs makes them act.  For example you have an old car and it begins to break down more often: now you're thinking about replacing it, and you might be swayed by something in an automobile advertisement.  Anyone who is familiar with marketing and advertising knows how this works, and advertisers often target their messages to people who are "ready to buy" and just need a little persuading.  Political candidates often target their ads to the undecideds, hoping that a little nudge will win them some votes.  This is perfectly normal and hardly insidious. 

It becomes insidious when these practices are used in such a manner as to deliberately or negligently stir up lone wolf violence. 

So let's take Beck, Hannity, and O'Reilly.  There is no question that their emotional rhetoric appeals to people who are emotionally unstable.  And, since their audiences are tracked and analyzed in detail, there is no question that they know it. 

When they go on TV and shout and sputter, rant and rave, and weep and wail, they are not expecting to persuade liberals or even undecideds to change their votes.  They are "playing to their base," that they know includes people who are emotionally unstable.  In short they are "stirring the pot."  And if you turn up the temperature and keep stirring, you know that the pot will boil.  Little bubbles will come up from the depths and pop. 
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Pop go the lone wolves.

Some lone wolves have no provable connection to the hate-talkers and pot-stirrers, other than memes in common.  One example of this type is James Wenneker von Brunn who shot and killed security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Another is Andrew Joseph Stack III, who flew a Piper Dakota into the Austin Texas field office of the Internal Revenue Service, killing IRS manager Vernon Hunter and himself, and injuring thirteen others.  At this point it appears as if Jared Loughner is one of these: all-over-the-map crazy, with an incoherent ideology that is mostly rightwing but difficult to trace to specific sources. 

(UPDATE: to be very clear about this: at this point I am not aware of any evidence to suggest that Loughner falls under the definition of stochastic terrorism, because there is nothing yet to link him to being a fan of one of the mass media hate-talkers.  However there are enough other cases out there to make this issue topical and relevant right now.)

On the other hand...

On 27 July 2008, lone wolf shooter Jim David Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and shot nine people, killing two and wounding seven.  Adkisson said he was motivated by hatred of "Democrats, liberals, n-----s, and faggots."  A police search of his home found books by Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly. 

On 4 February 2009, he accepted a plea bargain: guilty on two counts of murder, in exchange for a life sentence w/o possibility of parole (LWOP).

On 4 April 2009, Richard Poplawski shot five Pittsburgh PA police officers, leaving three dead and two seriously wounded.   

According to people who knew him, he was a birther and white supremacist, was paranoid that Obama was going to take away his guns, and was consumed with anti-semitic conspiracy theories.  A police search of his computer found links to various groups and to a YouTube video of Glenn Beck talking about FEMA concentration camps.   

Poplawski's trial has been delayed until 25 April 2011, where it is possible he will face the death penalty for the murder of police officers. 

On 31 May 2009, lone wolf Scott Roeder shot and killed gynecologist Dr. George Tiller while Tiller was attending church services.  At first it appeared that he acted alone, but research by some fellow Kossaks and I uncovered evidence that he had at least one accomplice.  That issue is presently being investigated by a federal grand jury. 

In the months leading up to the assassination, Bill O'Reilly had waged a "relentless campaign" against Tiller, a campaign of exactly the type that would be expected to stir up violence against the doctor.  The details can be found here:  http://www.salon.com/...

In January 2010 Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.  At present his accomplices and enablers have not yet been indicted and charged.

On 18 July 2010, Byron Williams set out from his mother's home in Groveland CA, heading for San Francisco to shoot up the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, with the intention of "starting a revolution." 

Williams, a convicted felon (two bank robberies), was stopped by the CHP (California Highway Patrol) for weaving in and out of traffic at high speed.  When stopped, he immediately opened fire on the CHP officers, wounding two.  They returned fire, wounding him in the leg, and then took him into custody.  At first they thought they were dealing with a garden-variety cop shooter.  Then they found the notebook in his car, with the details of his plans.   

Quoting the Wikipedia article on Williams:  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

Quote:  Williams has identified Glenn Beck as his primary motivation for the shootings.  According to Williams, Beck is "like a schoolteacher on TV... he's been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption."  Continuing: "Beck would never say anything about a conspiracy, would never advocate violence. He'll never do anything ... of this nature. But he'll give you every ounce of evidence that you could possibly need."  End quote. 

Prior to Williams' planned attack, Beck had mentioned the obscure Tides Foundation 29 times on his program.  He had drawn numerous charts on his infamous blackboard, showing how Tides is the funding source behind much of the "liberal conspiracy."  He had stoked and fueled, turned up the heat on the pot, and stirred it real good.  He devoted two of his broadcasts to Tides in the very week preceding the shooting. 

Quoting the Washington Post article:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Quote: Beck has at times spoken against violence, but he more often forecasts it, warning that "it is only a matter of time before an actual crazy person really does something stupid." Most every broadcast has some violent imagery: "The clock is ticking. . . . The war is just beginning. . . . Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government. . . . You have to be prepared to take rocks to the head. . . . The other side is attacking. . . . There is a coup going on. . . . Grab a torch! . . . Drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers. . . . They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered. . . . They are putting a gun to America's head. . . . Hold these people responsible."  Unquote. 
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Every ounce of evidence you could possibly need.

One dead doctor.

Two dead churchgoers.

Seven wounded churchgoers. 

Three dead police officers.

Four wounded police officers. 

How many more that I couldn't remember while writing this? 

Meanwhile the jury is still out on whether Loughner's victims belong on the list of people who "got Becked." 

As someone on dKos wrote in a comment about this a few months ago, there was a saying among his buddies in the Air Force:  "Once is a tragedy, twice is a terrible coincidence, three times is enemy action."

If you were a media personality known for rants & raves on the air, and it came out that some random killer had possibly been influenced by you or one of your colleagues, what would you do?  Would you apologize?  Would you tone it down?

If it happened again, what would you do?  And if it happened yet again after that?  What would you do? 

It takes more than just a special type of sociopath to fail to be moved by the murders of doctors, churchgoers, and police officers in the line of duty, and the could-have-been-murders of more. 

I submit to you that it takes something between callous disregard and deliberate intent. 
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Pulling the trigger by remote control.

If you wanted certain people dead, but you wanted plausible deniability, you would have someone else do the deed for you at a distance, the greater the distance the better. 

One way to do it would be to use your position on radio or TV to hurl emotional rhetoric that is calculated to appeal to people who are psychologically unstable.  Some of them will go out and vote, some will go forth and spread your rant-memes, some will get into bar-room brawls over one issue or another. 

But a few, who have already demonstrated a lack of respect for the law, will do more than that.  Maybe they'll assault someone on the street who is black or gay or speaking Spanish in public or wearing traditional Islamic garb.  Maybe they'll make a bomb and put it in the mail or plant it at a women's clinic. 

Maybe they'll go out and shoot someone.  Maybe they'll shoot someone who, in your heart of hearts, you want dead.  If you have a list of targets in mind, such as Operation Rescue's website with crosshairs on doctors, or Palin's crosshairs on elected officials, it won't matter who gets killed first and who gets killed later: any hit will do.

This is stochastic terrorism:  you heat up the waters and stir the pot, knowing full well that sooner or later a lone wolf will pop up and do the deed.  The fact that it will happen is as predictable as the fact that a heated pot of water will eventually boil.  But the exact time and place of each incident will remain as random as the appearance of the first bubbles in the boiling pot. 

And so the unstable shooter, the sick kid or crazy grownup, will be taken into custody where they will rant a disconnected version of your own rants.  The fact that they are clearly nuts will enable shifting the public discussion away from your hateful rhetoric and toward the overt insanity of the shooter or bomber. 

After that, you get to go on the air and tut-tut along with everyone else, and say Oh So Sad, and all that crap.  But behind the scenes you drink a toast and cheer: one down, a bunch more to go. 

Or perhaps you're just crazy enough to truly believe that you really don't have anything to do with it.  You collect your media star paycheck and tootle along to the next day in front of cameras and microphones, ready to do it again, as oblivious as the drunk driver who runs over a flock of schoolchildren and keeps driving, and then when the cops pull him over, says "Who, me??"
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The guilty-knowledge test.

Someone needs to corral Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, Savage, and the rest of them, in front of a microphone and camera that are not of their own choosing. 

For example think of Sixty Minutes and their famed unannounced appearances at the offices and even homes of various wrongdoers over the years.  Or think of press conferences or other scheduled appearances, where someone pops up and asks the inconvenient question or two, and the question captures the headlines. 

And someone needs to ask them:  In light of this latest in a series of ideologically-motivated murders, are you willing to tone down your rhetoric even a little? 

Listen very closely to their answers.  They will duck and weave, evade and deny, or at most give the standard reply of "lone nuts, oh so sad."  But they may also let slip a subtle hint of guilty knowledge.

The author of the aforementioned WaPo article says in passing, "It's not fair to blame Beck for violence committed by people who watch his show."

I say it damn well is fair to blame them when it happens again and again and predictably again. 

Once is a tragedy, twice is a coincidence, three times is enemy action. 
And now we know how it's done: stir the pot and wait for the inevitable, and then deny it and do it again.  That's stochastic terrorism as surely as when Bin Laden does it.  And Beck and his fellow hate-mongers are terrorists by remote control. 

captbebops
captbebops's picture
louisehartmann wrote: If you

louisehartmann wrote:

If you sign up for the for the newsletter - you will get all the links to Thom's research - here's a link where he explains it on his TV show.

Thom looks very anorexic nowadays.  Aren't you feeding him, Louise?  Anyhoo, I don't think it has been mentioned but in the 1920s and 30's it was the radio preachers who spread hate speech in America.

 

dem5393
dem5393's picture
It seems to me that the

It seems to me that the restriction of the target being a lone wolf is not useful.  If the perpetrator is someone that belongs to a group the process is the same.  There a many non-violent hermits living on the their own walden's pond and will never be triggered even if they were exposed to mass media.  There are lots of right wing militia members that are prone to violence by this process.  It adds no value to the concept to include in its definition the idea that the perpetrator is a "lone wolf."  

louisehartmann
louisehartmann's picture
Yes he eats!! I think it must

Yes he eats!! I think it must look thinner because he shaved off his beard.

Villabolo
Villabolo's picture
I suggest using the phrase

I suggest using the phrase "Inspiring murderous hatred."

Recovering cons...
Recovering conservative2's picture
I love the picture, I wonder

I love the picture, I wonder how many people remember "Dr. Strangelove and how I learned to love the bomb". Thinking about it maybe we show prior to any Newt or Ron Paul speech. Especially Slimpicking riding the bomb down.