To the editor:
Phineas Priests originated in the Bible, Book 0f Numbers 25: 6-13. They are unique in both their structure and goals. They possess some common traits across ideological boundaries such as: they use violence to defend God's law, they are involved in bombings and assassinations, and they do not have to be member of a larger organization. One is a Phineas Priest by taking action.
In short, a Phineas Priest is a terrorist.
In the Oklahoma City bombings we had Timothy McVeight and Terry Nichols. They were part of a very small discreet group and although they did not belong to a larger organization they were in sympathy with some of the goals of white supremacist groups. This outlook can be attributed to any group whether they be political, religious or even environmental in nature. Some other things in common are that they commit violent acts that attract the media, which ensures immediate worldwide publicity. These acts may be perpetrated by a sub-national group or non-state entity. These acts are designed to have far-reaching psychological repercussions long after the attack. The attacks are created to provoke a repressive response from the government thereby making the government take responsive action which may seem to be repressive in nature. Witness the level of heightened security at our airports following the attacks of 9/11. This concept can be attributed to any type of terrorist organization or participant.
What makes the Phineas Priests more of a problem is that because of their small discreet makeup they are difficult to infiltrate or to discover. They can, and do, blend in usually rather well.
We see today that they are most willing to die. With that being the case, designing a method of prevention is nearly impossible unless the price can be discovered that the terrorists are not willing to pay. What do they hold more precious than their own life? In some situations there may be nothing that will prove to be effective.
The bombings in Boston will no doubt cause many of us to be more mindful of our surroundings especially at major events. Again our lives are altered.