Thursday, May 27, 2010

A problem with terminology.

I keep reading references to Faisal's Fizzled Firework as an "attempted terrorist attack".

Whenever I do, I think about Staghounds' clarification of the terminology.

Shahzad did everything he set out to do; only dumb luck prevented a body count.


Anonymous said...

Shahzad did everything he set out to do; only dumb luck and technical incompetence prevented a body count.

I think that is a more correct statement.


Wolfwood said...

I guess it depends on the sense of "attempt" and what we're considering to be a terrorist attack.

This was indeed a terrorist attack, although not the intended one. It's perhaps similar to shooting at someone and missing: you haven't battered them, but you've still assaulted them.

As for the attempt, at least at law so long as you take substantial steps in your criminal plan, you're guilty of attempt. If it nonetheless fails despite your best efforts, it's still only attempt. And if it succeeds, it's no longer an attempt but is the crime itself. In common usage, though, we use the past sense of "attempting to do it" and present sense of "and he actually did it" interchangeably.

So as for's complicated.


Tirno said...

Perhaps, then, an "unfoiled" terrorist attack?

That might get the point more directly across that the purported security apparati accomplished nothing proactive with regard to the botched attack.

Michael said...

How can this guy be a terrorist? He's not a libertarian or a tea partier. I didn't know we had other definitions these days.

Firehand said...

"It didn't go off, so he only tried to murder a street full of people, so don't get so upset about it!"

Enough to make you scream.

loren said...

I really wish authorities would leave out all the details of what went wrong. Even a little misdirection would be nice so perhaps the next dickhead gets it wrong too. Blowing themselves up would be an added bonus
I really appreciate it when various authors writing on the subject in a novel put in false info on bomb making rather than trying to show what smart little shits they are.