BP #9: When is terrorism called terrorism?

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On March 20 Army veteran, James Jackson, stabbed a New York Citizen to death. By the 22nd of March, James had walked into a police station and admitted to his crime. Jackson, in court, had only noted one regret, that his “suspect was an elderly black man”, as he initially hoped to kill a “young black thug.” In court, two of the four counts against Jackson was that his act was an “Act of terrorism.” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance stated that James “wanted to kill black men, planned to kill black men, and then did kill a black man.” Vance also said that he did so in New York as it is a very diverse city, and that he wanted to send a message. To add to it, NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio, tweeted after the attack saying “The deadly attack on Timothy Caughman was domestic, racist, terrorism.” James faces charges for terrorism and hate-crime related murder charges.

Regardless of how one looks at the attack by Jackson, his actions were morally wrong. As Jackson had an intent to commit a murder, and specifically on a black male, denotes a racist meaning. As he wanted to send a sign/message around the nation/world, his actions (according to Mill’s theory on Utilitarianism) were wrong as they did the complete opposite of promoting any sort of happiness. In relation to Aristotle’s theory of moral virtues, such virtues can be a result of habit and state of character. As Jackson was formerly in the army, his actions could have been of result from the environment he was in and the actions that he may have done while being in service. Not that this is an excuse to allow the murder, but could be a possible reason as to why he might have thought that it was “okay to do.” Again, as to whether or not one looks at this as a racist attack, a hate-crime, or an act of terrorism, what Jackson did was not right, and now someone who was completely innocent, lost their life.


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