stochastic terrorism

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Coined by Gordon Woo. stochastic +‎ terrorism



stochastic terrorism (uncountable)

  1. (neologism, sociology, social media) The use of mass public communication, usually against a particular individual or group, which
    1. Incites or inspires acts of terrorism which are statistically probable but happen seemingly at random,
      • 2017, Clayton Delery, Out for Queer Blood:
        All of this fits with what the anonymous blogger G2G had to say in his expanded definition of stochastic terrorism: “you heat up the waters and stir the pot, knowing full well that sooner or later a lone wolf will pop up and do the deed. The fact that it will happen is as predictable as the fact that a heated pot of water will eventually boil. But the exact time and place of each incident will remain as random as the appearance of the first bubbles in the boiling pot."
        2021 October, Molly Amman, J. Reid Meloy, “Stochastic Terrorism: A Linguistic and Psychological Analysis”, in Perspectives on Terrorism[1], →ISSN, page 3:
        How does stochastic terrorism unfold in the course of real-world events? We propose a practical description of stochastic terrorism as an interactive process between the originator of a message, its amplifiers, and one of more ultimate receivers.
        2023, Will Bunch, “A MAGA gunman in New Mexico and ‘the end of politics’ in America”, in The Philadelphia Inquirer[2]:
        Trump is playing a dangerous game, and there is a name for it: Stochastic terrorism. The cries for vengeance and violent retribution from the leader of the MAGA movement aren’t a message to anyone in specific but rather a bat signal to everyone who can hear his voice, whether it’s armed and troubled young men like Martinez or the Jacksonville gunman, or the angry mob that responded on Jan. 6, 2021, after Trump tweeted, “Will be wild!”
    2. Perpetuates fear through coverage of seemingly random acts of terrorism.
      • 2021 October, Molly Amman, J. Reid Meloy, “Stochastic Terrorism: A Linguistic and Psychological Analysis”, in Perspectives on Terrorism[3], →ISSN, page 3:
        The joining of the two words, stochastic and terrorism, is originally attributable to machematician and catastrophist Gordon Woo, who used the term to suggest a quantifiable relationship between seemingly random acts of terrorism and the goal of perpetuating fear through mass media's coverage of the violence.

Related terms[edit]