Â 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.
It's a term that you don't hear used very much, because it's difficult to prove, and casts an insinuation upon well-known people popular with certain groups. It's easy to deny intent, and easier to deny culpability should actions happen.
During the Bush Administration, what started out as a fairly innocuous term in office changed instantly on 09/11/2001. What had been a common political game of painting your political opponents with a bad brush became very ugly. It suddenly became unAmerican to criticize anything President Bush said or did. To do so was "aiding and abetting" the terrorists. This was the mantra from the Republican spin machine. Small acts of intimidation and violence followed, generally not worthy of reporting.
However, on Sunday July 27, 2008, 58 year old unemployed Jim D. Adkisson walked into a UUC church in Knoxville, TN and opened fire
. His reason? He hated the "liberal movement" and blamed it for his woes. The result was 2 people dead and 8 injured. It seems like an odd reason for a person like him to target a church, but the steady drumbeat from right-wing political commentators provided him with the rationale. Unable to find a job and losing his food stamps provided the trigger to make him a "lone wolf".
In January 2011, Sarah Palin's PAC put out a news release with a graphic
that had targets over the locations of certain members of Congress who had voted for the ACA. One of those targets was on Representative Gabby Giffords. Just a few days later, Jared Lee Loughner put a bullet in her head
. He has never been clear on his motivations or revealed his reason for picking her. It's impossible to draw a line from one to the other. Nonetheless, the poisoning of the waters via violence-themed propaganda will eventually push a weak (and sick) minded person over the edge. The "lone wolf" will show his teeth.
In May 2011, Sharon Angle of Nevada came as close to a blatant stochastic terrorism statement as possible when she stated that she "hoped" that the "cure" for Senator Harry Reid wouldn't end up being "Second Amendment remedies"
. It wasn't even a veiled threat - it was an out-and-out call to anyone willing to sacrifice themselves for "the cause" to "cure" their Harry Reid "problem". The outcry and backlash was loud enough, however, that it probably quieted the urges to act in any potential "lone wolves".
ISIS actually uses the stochastic model to their advantage. The put out a non-stop barrage of propaganda over the internet, knowing that here and there it will reach the eyes and ears and hearts of the marginalized and mentally broken, and inspire them to be the radicalized "lone wolf" terrorists that wreak havoc. We can't stop this via traditional means because - as the definition states - it is individually unpredictable. ISIS knows, though, that it is statistically predictable that someone
will act, so they keep putting it out there, and sit back and wait to take credit.
All of which leads us to the latest verbal diarrhea
from Candidate tRump. Despite it being an off-the-cuff remark, he made a well-worded comment that could be interpreted in several ways by those who analyze syntax, but rings clear as a bell to the dog-whistle-ears of his acolytes:"Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know..."
The most generous interpretation is that he is calling on 2nd Amendment supporters to vote to prevent her from gaining office. However, the phrase "if she gets to pick", indicates that the solution would be coming if she's already elected
. The 2nd interpretation that he was "joking" is horrific enough - that is NOT something a political candidate for President of the United States should even remotely joke about. The 3rd interpretation is the correct one: the 2nd Amendment people - the gun owners - could take of the "problem" if she gets elected. Some gun owners might fantasize about that, but would never do anything. Most gun owners just roll their eyes and move on.
All it takes, though, is one "lone wolf" who considers it their patriotic duty to protect the 2nd Amendment from a president Hillary Clinton. Just one "lone wolf" hearing his marching orders from Candidate tRump and setting into motion a plan that would result in drastic consequences. It is the definition of stochastic terrorism, and Donald tRump is a terrorist.