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By Claire Wolf, republished from with permission:

If Thursday’s news reports are accurate, hysterical fear of “terrorism” has just reached a new low. Two dozen middle schoolers were suspended because they commented on or shared a Facebook post urging mass resistance to their school’s dress code. This is the kind of small act of resistance adolescents have indulged in forever — particularly in the heady last week before summer vacation . . .

Whether they deserve punishment or not is in the eye of the beholder. But according to at least one of the students and one parent, the principal of Cowen (I’m tempted to write “Coward”) Road Middle School in Griffin, Georgia, accused participants in the FB discussion of making “terroristic threats.”

I’ll wait a moment while your eyeballs stop rolling.

Now, you might laugh at the idea of a school official being so diaper-wetting petrified of a conspiracy to commit sartorial infractions that he or she feels terrorized and threatened. The situation is less funny to the honor student who got kicked out of school merely for typing, “I’m in!”

But the situation is really, really, really unfunny when you consider how the growing misuse of the concept of “terrorism” is damaging both the future of freedom and the future of one of freedom’s essential protectors, the right to own and use firearms.

Words have meaning

Wikipedia defines a “terroristic threat”” as: “a declaration of intent to commit a crime of violence against another with the intent of threatening a person, building, facility, or public or private habitat.”

I’ve never heard of anybody violently threatening to wear an outfit, have you? Even with rising fear of kids wearing gang colors or pro-gun tee-shirts, it’s hard to imagine how someone could “violently” wear a skirt or pair of pants.

But it’s still worse. The very concept of “terroristic threat” only entered the U.S. lexicon after 9-11, and that panicked school principal is far from the first to misuse the term and stretch the concept past its limits. notes that many states are increasingly redefining all manner of violent criminals as “terrorists.”

The concept of “terrorism” legitimately applies only to “those violent acts that are intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (e.g., neutral military personnel or civilians).”

So never mind said school official’s alleged “terror” of defiantly dressed 12-year-olds. Even a genuinely violent person shouldn’t be called a terrorist or be said to make “terroristic threats” unless he or she is using or threatening violence against innocents with ideological goals in mind.

But (you may be saying), why should we care if a word is being misused? We live in an age when terrorism — no matter what you call it — is a genuine threat; quit being petty about definitions, Claire!

If you’re saying that, I’ll refer you to Mr. Orwell for discussion on the importance of the meaning of words and the perils of their political abuse. But if you’re wondering something more along the lines of, “What does all this have to do with guns and gun-rights?” … follow me.

What “terrorist” hysteria has to do with gun rights

There is this abominable piece of legislation that’s been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate repeatedly since at least 2009. Its title is the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act” (of 2009, 2011, 2013, etc.). According to the bill’s summary:

Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2013 – Amends the federal criminal code to authorize the Attorney General to deny the transfer of a firearm or the issuance of a firearms or explosives license or permit (or revoke such license or permit) if the Attorney General: (1) determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be engaged in terrorism or has provided material support or resources for terrorism; and (2) has a reasonable belief that the transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism. Allows any individual whose firearms or explosives license application has been denied to bring legal action to challenge the denial.

Extends the prohibition against the sale or distribution of firearms or explosives to include individuals whom the Attorney General has determined to be engaged in terrorist activities. Imposes criminal penalties on individuals engaged in terrorist activities who smuggle or knowingly bring firearms into the United States.

Authorizes the Attorney General to withhold information in firearms and explosives license denial revocation lawsuits and from employers if the Attorney General determines that the disclosure of such information would likely compromise national security.

In other words, if this bill ever became law, one unelected official (currently that paragon of honesty, openness, and fairness, Eric Holder) would unilaterally decide who would be “allowed” to own a firearm. The process would be completely arbitrary, based solely on the AG’s subjective “determination,” and the process could be kept secret based on an equally subjective (and unverifiable) claim of “national security.”

Lucky you, though, you’d still have the right to sue after being denied your other constitutional rights. Maybe after five or six years, half a million dollars in legal expenses, and constant denials of needed information in the name of “national security” you might even win.

Fortunately, so far, this “terroristic threat” of a bill has never made it out of committee. At the same time, it’s not just one of those little “hobby horse” bills that certain lone legislators submit over and over and over again without either hope or co-sponsors. Given the right moment — the most handy crisis — this one could eventually pick up and go somewhere. And that would be a very bad thing.

The bill’s authors have never explained the difference between a “dangerous terrorist” and a harmless terrorist. Perhaps it’s the sort of tee shirts they wear. (Dangerous terrorists in red? Harmless terrorists in blue? It’s quite the mystery.) But the authors and co-sponsors are the heavyweights of authoritarian anti-gunnery.

They include: Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer (of course) and Sens. Boxer, Gillibrand, Levin, and other usual suspects in the Senate. Signing on to this bill was one of the last legislative acts of Frank Lautenberg before his misspent (but very long and powerful) life ended. In the House, sponsors have included: Charles Rangel, Peter King, Henry Waxman, and others of their ilk.

But okay, maybe this bill will never, ever become law. We can hope. Still, it represents and reflects the very same trend that’s going on at Cowen Road Middle School — crying “terrorism” to justify every overreaction of authority. Not only is the language changing (through political manipulation), but so is the legal landscape of the U.S.

Don’t forget that according to the FBI, businesses should already report you as a suspected “domestic terrorist” if you do such innocuous things as pay with cash, buy MREs, get the same tattoo your friends have, talk about your constitutionally protected rights, or even park in the “wrong” parking space at a hotel or motel.

The Obama administration even cried “terrorism” to cover up a nasty paperwork error.

“Terrorism.” It’s so handy! So convenient!

Don’t think for one minute that this administration — or any other in the future — would hesitate to call all gun owners “terrorists” if it suited their political purposes. Don’t think power-seeking authoritarians would hesitate to declare gun ownership itself a “terroristic threat.” Maybe not this year or next. But when the word “terrorist” can be applied to anyone who challenges power, and that person so-labeled can be punished accordingly — then eventually powerful people will use that “wonderful” control tool to fulfill their rapacious aims.

They haven’t succeeded yet, but already there are people in Congress who want to hand exactly that power over to unelected, secretive, gun-hating bureaucrats.

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    • It kind of makes you wonder what would happen if the US had regular, legitimate terrorist attacks like other countries do/did.

      We had one big one and it fundamentally changed our entire culture.

      I can’t remember where I heard it, but something that stuck with me was (and I know I am probably misqouting), “I will believe we beat Osama Bin Laden when I stopped getting groped at the airport just to get on a plane.”

      • That’s the problem with “one big one.” Everyone is shocked for a bit, then things go back to normal, except now every soulless government agency and opportunist uses it to push their BS. If it was sustained attacks, people would be forced to face reality, or perish. When we have a nation that isn’t forced to face reality, we get MDA, Obama, Bloomberg, and so on.

        • Where do you live where we’re back to normal? The main comment was about a fundamental change. It sure still seems that way to me. I totally agree with the OP. The amount of money, lives, and political capital spent combating terrorism is ridiculous. That we have an enduring ‘war on terror’ should be evidence enough. Utter rubbish. We were never O.K. with terrorism and our knee-jerk declaration of ‘war’ backlash to the horrors of 9-11 have granted unprecedented authority to the government, the abuse of which is deeply embedded in the political culture in Washington and cuts straight across party lines.

  1. I dunno, maybe it’s a good thing? Maybe within a few years, people will just laugh when politicians say that they need to take away our rights to fight “terrorists”. Let the morons equate the ordinary behavior of children with the word “terrorism” and people will no longer be afraid of it.

  2. Yet these are the same types who call fort hood(1st one) work place violence. There is something very nazi like about these types maybe orwellian

    • Please go back to where you came from until you can comment without invoking the Nazis without legitimate context.

  3. Wow.

    Hopefully the ACLU can get involved since this is up their free speech alley. I mean, damn, terrorist threats? REALLY? Unless they can show where someone threatened to bomb/shoot up the school, they’re [MODERATED] [MODERATED] bunches of [MODERATED]. Saying “Hey, wear somethign that violates dress code” is NOT a violent threat. My non-dress code compliant t-shirt won’t reach out and strangle someone.

    *saved the website the time and put my own moderated tags in.

    • They do not need the ACLU, they need enough parents sitting at the head of education or mayors office causing a massive shit storm letting them know who pays their salary. It has to be loud and vocal and constant until something changes. The courts are not always needed. Knowing that their jobs are soon to be terminated will be enough.

      It is sad that time has to be wasted keeping these people in line all the time. They take advantage of the fact that people are busy so they can do what they want with little notice.

      Until people starting taking back their communities and letting these people know they work for the pleasure of the people, it will only get worse. Just like government, educators are their own little governments and need to be pushed back.

    • and Christians
      and folks that can their own food and prepare for emergencies (even when following State and Federal “guidance” on preparedness)
      and folks “off the grid”
      and folks that use raw milk
      and …

  4. These little fiefdoms need to exercise complete and total control over every aspect of the students’ lives in order for their indoctrination to work.

  5. As far as terroristic clothing goes, I recall an amply endowed young lady I knew in the seventies who was a genuine threat to the driving public when she went bicycling in nothing but a men’s strap shoulder tee shirt and bikini bottom.

  6. What is more concerning to me is that people of supposedly important keep using inflammatory or controversial words for nonsense reasons to give the nonsense some super duper importance that is not there. Words are being contorted and for stupid reasons — in this case a moral panic on school dress.

    I feel when this is done it is for dramatic effect because the person in charge is clueless and desperate to maintain there level of importance.

    This is why parents need to push back and push back hard. Once again, these idiots use your tax dollars to come up with crap like this. They need to understand they are not in charge.

    This week the Chief idiot in charge, Gov. Malloy will be holding a “Crises Summit” OMG! OMG! OMG! A crises and true real crises everyone run and hide — what is the issue? A rail bridge failed to open or close for some recreational boaters which caused delays on the commuter rail. The Bridge had opened/closed over 300 over the past year and it is 108 years old and needs some new parts — but lets hold a “Crises Summit” — for a stupid bridge!

    Maybe some believe they only way to feel important is to always create a crises even when there is not.

    • Holy crap, this! We have a serious problem where we needlessly elevate the rhetoric in almost everything in the public sphere. When everything is a 10/10 on the crap-in-you-pants-o-meter, legitimate issues get drowned out in the flood.

  7. Exactly!!!!! Violation of rights and libel. Its time that these folks are held legally accountable for their inappropriate actions.

  8. Wow…I can remember back in the 1960’s some kids protested the dress code at my Junior high school in Kankakee Illinois. Mostly from getting PADDLED for boys hair & girls short skirts. Now it’s terrorism?!? We need to BOMBARD the dips##t school jerk about this. Don’t wait to use the ACLU.

  9. The word “terrorist” has lost all meaning, just like the word “racist.” It’s some kind of universally applied word to anything some idiot doesn’t like. All the gravity is gone from the word. You have morons calling drug dealers terrorists, gun owners terrorists, children disobeying dress codes terrorists…in the meantime, real terrorists are being traded away in return for traitors.

    But, that’s the world we live in. Life is so empty and soul crushingly meaningless thanks to all our dulling technology that people have to apply extreme concepts to simple things in order to give themselves meaning.

    And while it would be nice if the ACLU stepped in, don’t relate this to gun rights, or they’ll never act. The ACLU only protects the liberties it likes.

  10. Schools have been in a management crisis for the past two decades. This has resulted in a peculiar organizational freefall in which school’s management overhead costs have continued to skyrocket but nobody is really in charge. The old-style school principals, the kind of people who stayed at the same school for their entire career, are long gone. They’ve been replaced by appratchik drones who give new meaning to the word “dumb”. I can’t begin to understand the tortured thought processes that would result in a principal calling 13 year old’s complaints about a dress-code, “terroristic”. But, then, I doubt
    this principal can either.

  11. We also need to be careful about what is defined as ‘mental illness’. The Soviets were famous for declaring ANYONE who disagreed with the Party line “mentally ill” and shipping them off to a mental institution.
    I can see our pc govt going that way with the slightest push.

  12. “Don’t these schools do enough damage making all these kids think alike, now they have to make them look alike too? It’s not a new idea, either. I first saw it in old newsreels from the 1930s, but it was hard to understand because the narration was in German.”
    -George Carlin

    Why would they try to create a police state when they can simply educate one into future acceptance? They stopped teaching the constitution in public schools a long time ago right along with concepts like innocent until proven guilty, civil disobedience and elected officials being public servants. Our public education system has been a sham for a very long time and continues to get worse. Having children in very highly rated schools in the south Denver suburbs I have learned the hard way that ratings based on test scores are worth about as much as the paper they are printed on.

    Shame on that school and the adults that work there.

  13. The simple solution is to take your kids out of the govt. indoctrination centers. Private school or home school your kids. Let the public schools go the way of the dodo. If we don’t support them by sending our kids there they will close. And then we won’t have ignorant stuff like this happening anymore.

  14. Typical authoritarian tactic of hijacking and using a term of violence in order to redefine a less than serious act to give it the appearance of something evil and dangerous in order to justify overreaction, suppression and to save face.

    Here, the school official is trying to redefine small stuff (a dress code violation en mass) as something violence related in order to justify an excessive response and heavy sanctions. Why, because the students DARED to defy school principal’s *authority* publicly.

    Hardly a surprise to see this from the usual antigun extremists in Congress, but coming from another hand wringing principal; well obviously the bad political habits of government power brokers are filtering down to the underlings everywhere.

    • As to Feinstein and the other usual antis’ ongoing efforts with congressional proposals such as “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act”, “The Pause for Safety Act” (which would allow anyone at any time to seek a “firearms restraining order”) and similar anti-gun anti freedom laws:

      This is a trend that the anti’s have been pushing to usurp control of firearms policy and jurisdiction currently in the hands of the individual states and bring it under federal control. It would lead to preemption of more permissive, less restrictive state laws and precedent and consolidate such control in the federal government which seems to be moving inexorably closer to totalitarian single party rule.

      Look to CA to see how THAT works out.

  15. Another abuse of “thought-crime” power by public employees paid by our taxdollars on the kids.

    Education experts say the make or break time is middle school.

    For one teens poor judgement, how many are punished, and their reputation and their families, tarnished, with no due process?

    The solution is punch back twice as hard- those parents should sue the district, and the principal personally. And keep publicizing this.

    Instapundit has been pointing out these kinds of excess in the public schools for some time, under the tag line K-12 Implosion Update. Here is a classic example- h/t Breitbart, and read his book New School, if interested in more.

  16. Now they’re telling us what to think, where and what to eat, how to dress, who our friends can be, who our enemies are(n’t)…there isn’t much left for us to decide, OR is there…???

  17. PS I dont know if its the Principals poor judgement, or more likely reflective of the PC mind set pervasive in schools, thats part of the progressive control of the narrative, thats part and parcel of school teacher unions, and the more progressive school boards,

    but its troubling, and goes along with the idea, that all our children belong to the state, that the left likes to promote as a belief system:

    and just in time, we have another aspect of that top down control by the elites:

  18. Easy FIX, remove Social Media from SCHOOLS. They can still have computers to learn on but the social media is nothing but a hindrance to learning and it promotes bullying.

  19. The cited article states that the Facebook post BEGAN with dress code violations, and went on to a mass walkout at a pre-designated time. Such events have taken place at other schools, and have led to brawls in the school or flash mob robberies/damage to near-by businesses by large groups of students that rush in stealing/damaging merchandise. Social media is a powerful thing for good and bad. Most schools now warn students ahead of time that inappropriate comments/posts to social media, even after school from home, will result in school sanctions. I do not believe it was appropriate for the principal to label the students “terrorists”, but taking action to ensure the safe and orderly operation of the school was appropriate.

  20. I would be more than concerned about this kind of person being responsible for the education of my children. But hey! It’s public school, government indoctrination at its finest.

  21. Friend spent hours being questioned by ATFE a few years ago. He was in a meeting suggested blowing up a building. The meeting that was overheard concerned the most cost effective way to bring down a building that
    was being demolished. Point is know what the devil you are talking about & don’t eavesdrop.


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