After an attack, our politicians and media like to slam the barn door really hard to show that escaped horse that it was wrong. Many people have made many statements about how to stop terrorism, and almost all of them are unrealistic and wrong.
Terrorism arose from guerrilla warfare and succeeds the same way guerrilla warfare does: by convincing the people making the decisions that there are too many costs of doing business to make it worth continuing to participate. In the American revolution, the guerrillas made a king back down after heavy losses; in the Vietnam war, the guerrillas learned a new weapon: the television. If they could get a whole lot of voters, who we all know are useful idiots, to panic and emote over what they see on the teevee screen, then the guerrillas win because the politicians will retreat.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Much of the techniques of those Viet Cong guerrillas involved terrorism, both active and passive. Active terrorism means going into a village that has supported your opposition and maiming, killing and otherwise terrorizing the population so the voters back at home squeal and cry and demand a withdrawal. Passive terrorism means giving 8-year-old hand grenades to throw at Americans, knowing that at some point a My Lai will result. The Afghans did the same thing during the Russian occupation and ensured that the Russians had two types of soldiers: one, killers who wanted every duhkh dead, and two, hesistant killers who shortly would be dead from an inability to comprehend how profoundly they were hated.
Terrorism relies on two things: (1) opportunity and (2) audience. Opportunity means that it is generally far easier to stage a terrorist strike than, say, an invasion or commando raid. It requires lower skills, less equipment, and generally just a nasty will to kill and maim, which conveniently attracts sociopaths that you want out of your society anyway. Audience means a whole bunch of people watching television and poised over computer keyboards, so that when they see the horror you can count on them to flatter themselves as empathetic geniuses by engaging in public displays of weeping, mourning, why-can’t-we-all-get-along and think-of-the-children style behavior.
I suggest applying Occam’s razor and realizing that we can end all terrorism very quickly.
First, we deny opportunity. This action involves two parts:
Then, we deny audience. I do not suggest government make any laws or take any action here; laws and government are the most impotent form of action. Instead, our smartest people should begin spreading the word that the correct response to a terrorist attack is to ignore it, and put our support behind those rounding up and beheading the perpetrators. Stop the public heaps of flowers, the endless mourning, the switching of your masturbatory Facebook profile selfie to a French flag. All of that is personal drama in which people engage to make themselves look more compassionate, wealthy and important. (If anything, we should send those people to north Africa, too.).
We do not need laws and restrictions on media. If our smart people hammer out this message, those that admire them will also emulate it, on down to the least thoughtful among us. This changes demand for the product in media, and means that media will stop following the Jane Fonda route as useful idiots for guerrillas and terrorists.
These ideas may be a bit ahead of their time, and are certainly less exciting than the other stuff the talking heads and blog zombies are raving about, but unlike those, they have at least a chance of success.