Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gangs are Terrorists: More Outrageous Proposals (2)

Post 31—:

My question for this post is why gangs are not considered and treated as terrorists.

My dictionary defines a terrorist as one who engages in “the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.” That seems simple and clear enough. For my purposes, I would probably drop the term “systematic” from the definition, for I doubt that gangsters do their shooting according to a systematic schedule, but they do according to a set of priorities that they may not have defined carefully—do gangsters define anything?—but by which they operate instinctively. Applying the word “instinctively” to gangsters seems to degrade them to animalistic levels, but that is not so far off the mark.

Do we need anything more? Since terrorism is an international problem, we should listen to the international political community. Unfortunately, it has not been able to reach agreement on a definition. Some experts have found over 100 definitions and, it appears, productivity and imagination are still cranking out more. The political community generally links terrorism to violence for political ends. That is not the case with gangs. They are not primarily politically inspired and I see no reason the definition should be exclusively political. One terrorism expert, Walter Laqueur, has concluded that the “only general characteristic generally agreed upon is that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence.” That seems to come pretty close to the essence of gangs.

When you turn to the definition of gangs, especially the legal definition, you once again end up in the land of multiples. Alabama law has defined it more precisely than some as follows: a "street gang" is, "any combination, confederation, alliance, network, conspiracy, understanding, or similar arrangement in law or in fact, of three or more persons that, through its membership or through the agency of any member, engages in a course or pattern of criminal activity." That’s probably pretty good, except that it does not necessarily include violence. For my purposes I would like to take the Alabama version as my working definition of gangs with the addition of “frequent violence.”

But is it legitimate to subsume gangsterism under the umbrella of terrorism? Back in 1988, California enacted the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act. Since that time, at least 28 other states have enacted similar legislation. (Sorry, but I have not found parallel info about the Canadian situation. Perhaps I should try harder?) Here gangsterism is subsumed under “street terrorism.” So, my proposal to bring them together is not unheard of. I stand by it.

Why these thugs are not treated like terrorists and their organizations classified as terrorist organizations is beyond me. If they were, the gangs would be illegal and their bank accounts could be frozen. I am not a lawyer and so do not know whether simple membership in a terrorist organization is illegal in Canada, but in my opinion, it should be.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada explains what Canada should and/or is doing to counteract terrorism in this website: Check it out and see how much of it you think should or could be applied to gangs and gangsters. One of the things I fail to understand is the emphasis on the need for paying special attention to human rights in this framework, unless the reference is to the human rights of the targets.

In my humble opinion, gangs should be treated like terrorist organizations and gangsters like terrorists. Their organizations should be illegal as should membership in them, whether or not an individual member has personally committed any act of violence or not. Their assets should be seized and used to pay for the expenses of countering them.

I am not done yet with these monsters. In the meantime, I invite you readers to dialogue with me on this subject. Tell me where I am wrong. Insult me all you wish. But one thing I will not accept, namely to be told that the law, whether national or international, forbids the kinds of things I am suggesting. Law is becoming oppressive. It is increasingly used to protect terrorists and gangsters. That climate must be done away with. God is the ultimate law giver, but much of today’s positive law with respect to our subject goes counter to His law and has become a prison to the ordinary citizen. In the previous post I wrote about the need for revival. Well, positive law needs to be revived and refreshed to make it more hospitable to freedom and peace. In this process, our lawyers, these so-called “legal experts,” should be assigned a backseat and the “lay” citizen take control of the process.


  1. I think gangs should be considered terrorist becasue they terrorize the streets. If they do genocidal shit like put a bomb in a mall, then that is terrorism.

  2. The govt. should put anti-gang and terrorism organisation.