Monday, January 30, 2017

Brian Jenkins on Terrorist Attack Numbers and Attribution

Brian Michael Jenkins, a veteran terrorism analyst with the RAND Corporation, is quoted extensively in my latest article, "Trump Makes U.S. Cities Less Safe." In it, he cites 89 deaths in the United States as a result of jihadist attacks since 9/11, and lists those atrocities one by one. In the following note, he explains why his numbers, nonetheless, are lower than those compiled by some other researchers:

As my 89 dead is well short of Charles Kurzman's (University of North Carolina) 124, I thought I would explain the difference.  First, Professor Kurzman includes the fatalities of the perpetrators (5), which I do not.  Kurzman also includes the following incidents that I exclude.

2002   Beltway sniper attacks  10 dead--but some link the perpetrators to 7 previous killings, so 17  (Muhammad may have wanted to disguise the murder of his ex-wife and Malvo was completely erratic in his writings after his imprisonment.  I think the scheme he described of kidnapping kids to build an army of terrorists was a fabrication.)

2006   Seattle Jewish Center shooting  (In my view, the shooter was angered by Israel and hated Jews, which does not make him a jihadist terrorist.)  1 dead

2007  Salt Lake City shopping mall shooting  5 dead  (No motive was ever established;  the FBI said it was not terrorism)

2014   Oklahoma Vaughn's Food beheading of a fellow employee  1dead (The killer had been fired just before the incident and one of his victims was the person who had complained about him.)

2014   Four murders in Seattle and New Jersey by Ali Muhammad Brown.  4 dead   (This might go into the data base as a terrorism charge was later added to the murder charges.  My view is that this was a street thug who tried to cloak his actions in religion.)

2014   Killing of two NYPD officers by Ismaaiyl Brinsley   2 dead  (Brinsley had a long history of arrests, was a black supremacist, and said his killings were in revenge for police slayings of blacks.)

If I were to add these 30 to my list, I would have 119, which, plus the 5 perpetrators killed, brings us to 124.  I would assert that every crackpot, street thug, or anti-semite killer who happens to be Muslim is not a jihadist terrorist, even if they later try to cloak their actions in religion.

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