Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Murder

How to Usefully Distinguish Terrorism From Other Forms of Violence

I’ve noticed there’s been a bit of an uptick in think-pieces about what counts as “terrorism”. These tend to be built around a common observation that white mass murderers tend not to get the “terrorist” label and that the Trump administration reacts very differently to mass violence when the perpetrator is Muslim, an immigrant, a refugee, or a close relative thereof. Perhaps the most strident example is Matthew Walther’s piece in The Week in which he claims that there is “no such thing” as terrorism. It’s the return of a conversation we saw in 2015 and which has tended to repeat whenever some high profile mass violence occurs. This debate results from a lack of clarity in the way we think about violence. Let’s fix this.

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Obama’s Legacy: The Evidence Beyond the Punditry

As President Obama’s term draws to a close, every political writer under the sun is offering a hot take on how he’ll be remembered. These can be fun to read, but they don’t tell you very much about what really happened while Barack Obama was president. So today I’d like to look at some of the evidence and data we have on this president. Let’s see how he stacks up next to past presidents and America’s friends and rivals.

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4 Questions about the Charleston Shooting and the Confederate Flag

Last week, 21-year old Dylann Roof murdered nine people with a handgun in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the course of the last week, much has been said about this in the American press, and I want to discuss some of the moral and political questions at stake here. Read the rest of this entry »

Antonin Scalia and Homosexuality

Recently US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was asked to defend a dissenting opinion he made in the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas case, when the Supreme Court struck down laws against sodomy. The defense offered by Scalia is presently being roundly condemned in the media. Rather than join the chorus of visceral emotional disgust, I would like to analyse Scalia’s argument to investigate where precisely, if anywhere, the argument goes wrong.

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