Pick a word. Just any word at all and say it over and over and over in your mind for like five minutes. Do you see how the word loses all its meaning after around 20 uses? May I suggest that this is what is happening to the word "terrorism"? I dont know about you but when i hear it, what comes to mind is a turban on some bearded guy with a wild look in his eye and evil in his heart. As if there really was a class of human beings who fit neatly into the packaging like that.
Oh, hello sir. I see by your turban, beard and sandals that you are a terrorist! Been at it long? How's that working out for you?
Now, of course, we know all know this is silly. Its impossible to define something as broad as terrorism based solely on what a person decides to cover himself with in the morning. The same dude could hoist a pair of levis, don a pair of cowboy boots and a tee-shirt, add a stetson and still be the bloodiest terrorist in the world...or not.
What then, exactly, is a terrorist? I think we need to get a good grip on the answer to this one because right now in Canada, our leadership is moving right along with give CSIS sweeping new powers to conduct any operation it thinks is in the interest of Canadian Security. Wow, just wow! REally? Read that last sentence again, slowly. Now its simple to understand that someone qualifies for the new protection this measure will afford and someone else may experience the other side of the equation. Which side will you or I experience??
The bill goes farther than that naming nine different areas in which a terrorist threat may be perceived and acted on. Areas so broadly defined that they could be applied to almost any activity you can name. "Undermining the security of Canada, for instance. Interference with economic or financial instability, is another. What, like protesting a new fracking development?
You see the slippery slope we are heading down here, dont you? Clive Bundy, the rancher in the states who came under enormous federal pressure from his own government over a dispute regarding his historic grazing rights, is apparently now classed as a terrorist. The definition of the word terrorist really needs some work. Does it include, for instance, rude waitresses, sloppy parking lot attendants, cranky mechanics? Am I one if i "interfere with Canadas economic development" by being late on my taxes? I'm being deliberately silly here of course, to make a point. With definitions of terrorism being as loose as they are, someone may very well interpret them the way I'm describing, in order to, I don't know, bring about the imprisonment of a political adversary for example. And this is the real danger we face every day. Not a brutal assault of a group of terrorists bent on over-throwing our country, but rather the real and present threat of individuals railroading our country in a profitable for them direction which is in none of our best interests. History is littered with examples of government over-reach. Normally these over-reaches are justified by the stated desire to keep us safe. I'm reminded of a meme someone put together of the bear with the shovel and the firemans hat. Only, in this one, the statement was, "Only you can prevent big government. Keep it small and keep an eye on it!"