anonymous asked:

Didn't Anders generate fear, though? By causing violence, he struck fear in the hearts of all those present. People watched their loved ones explode, people died in terror and in pain. The people of Kirkwall were afraid. Violence is a tool that causes fear, not some separate entity entirely. You can't just say 'he was violent, ergo not a terrorist', especially if even by your own definition, Anders is a terrorist because he caused terror in his wake.

Okay. With apologies to the person asking the question, general stuff first. I have no idea whether anybody who cares will read this. I don’t have a whole lot of followers. If a couple of people want to talk to me, I’m impressed. I’ve had things reblogged before, of course. But I don’t think I’ve ever really hit ‘controversial’ before, so I haven’t really had people arguing with me en masse. I mean – people thinking I managed some moderately funny snark about Varric isn’t the same thing.

I’m not even sure what the etiquette is here. Am I supposed to go through everyone who’s responded? I’d rather not. It’s not even the ratio of nonsense to sense – there’s just too much for that to be any fun. However, I am not setting out to ignore or avoid anyone or anything in particular. If anybody wants to draw my attention to a particular argument, they’re welcome to.

Otherwise, this is likely all I’ll say about it.

So, then, onto the substance.

I don’t think I made the argument ‘'he was violent, ergo not a terrorist’. That would be very silly, as the two are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, terrorism is a particular kind of violence.

However, the mere fact that people were afraid during the Kirkwall uprising does not automatically make a thing terrorism. Many things, both violent and otherwise, make people afraid, and they are not all terrorism.


Say I have a neighbour (invented) who decides to kill her husband for insurance money. Say she decides to do this by blowing up their house while he is inside it, so it looks as though a gas leak caused it. Say I am standing at the end of the street when this occurs, and end up ducking debris and dodging cars that have swerved off the road, and even see the remains of the dead man. That would almost certainly terrify me. But that’s not terrorism, it’s just a really flashy way of committing murder. My fear is incidental to the whole thing.

I realise that people can be vague about whether a particular act constitutes terrorism. It is, after all, a politically convenient word. People were committing terrorist acts well before we had a word for what they were doing, and are still doing so now. And of course, denouncing someone as a terrorist is a very good way of attacking them and shutting off potential support: you can’t agree with them, they’re a terrorist, and if you do, then you’re a terrorist too.

But if the word is to have any meaning at all, then surely it must be the threat that defines it. Many things cause fear, but terrorism is an attempt to shape people’s actions through fear. It is holding people’s emotions to ransom. In an act of terrorism, surely any initial act, however horrible, is not the point of the thing. Rather, it is the threat that it will happen again if certain demands are not met, or a certain ideology is not capitulated to.

We have shown you what we can do. Now give in, unless you want more of the same.

What Anders did was violent. It was a big, flashy murder with added destruction of public property. It had to be, so there could be no denial of what happened or who was responsible. It had to be big enough and public enough that there could be no cover up. Let’s face it: the Chantry is very good at covering up what it doesn’t like.

But, given that, it was about as non-threatening as possible. It was, at least, a contained act of violence.

To reiterate:

1) He did not use magic – not for anything flint and steel couldn’t have accomplished just as well, anyway. He did not invent some terrible new spell that other mages could then use on their enemies. He did not pass on to them the secret skill of killing lots of people.

That gaatlok is a weapon, not of mages, but of ordinary people, is a point raised repeatedly in the game. It’s why Javaris wants it, and the elven woman in Act 2 tries to make it. This is not some horrible new power that people suddenly need fear the mages have over them. In theory, anybody could do it.

2) Of course, in practice, nobody could do it. Anders has got hold of the formula for gunpowder, and he does not tell anybody exactly how to make it – not even a 100% friend Hawke. Otherwise, only the Qunari have the skill, and they’re the last people likely to back the mages. Even competing (and apparently inferior) lyrium explosives are risky to make; Dworkin is driven into hiding by the Qunari for his work. Thedas is largely an explosives-free zone.

It might be possible, of course, for somebody else to start from scratch and work out the formula. Just about anything is possible. But, despite, the obvious market and the gleeful military advantage that could be gained from using the infamous Qunari weapon against them, so far, nobody else has managed to figure it out. Insofar as he could, Anders ensured that no one could repeat what he did. There is no threat that he or anybody affiliated with him will do this again.

3) Anders makes himself available for arrest the moment the deed is done. If people are concerned that he might do such a thing again, they have the means to ensure that he will not. He can be arrested, interrogated and dealt with then and there. He admits to the crime and he acts in front of witnesses. Hawke, too, is a witness. Unless you hate quests, you’ll have done Justice, so you’ll know who helped him gather ingredients (Hawke) and who gave him the opportunity to plant the blackpowder (also Hawke). Hawke did not know exactly what they were doing, so we know exactly who is responsible. It’s Anders. If the people of Kirkwall feel threatened, it is very easy for them to assuage their fears.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? No one really cares about Anders. Well, Sebastian does, but his reasons are personal. No one is afraid of Anders, or of what he has done. No one in authority makes a move against him. What fear there is already exists. People fear mages because of what they are, not because of anything in particular they have done.

People don’t fear mages because they can make Chantries explode. I mean – they can’t, on the whole, do that. They fear mages because the Chantry has told them to fear mages. They fear mages because mages are segregated from normal society, and few people know them personally. They fear mages because so many lies have been told about them that the idea that they’re basically just people, the same as anyone else, is almost unthinkable.

Anders is not making a threat. He is not going to blow up anything else (he does not expect to live to do so), and he has not given anyone else the means to do the same. He is not doing something that only a mage could do, to demonstrate how powerful they are. He is not insinuating that others could do what he has done, so people should be afraid.

All he is doing is making public what was going to happen anyway. Anders commits a crime, and Meredith Annuls the Circle. Why? Because that’s what she was always going to do.

Though absolutely violent, it is, in a way, the opposite of terrorism, because the point is not that people should be afraid of mages – but rather that they should not be afraid of mages. The point is that mages are afraid. The point is that mages are prisoners. The point is that mages are helpless against the wrath of the Chantry. The point is that, if the Templars decide to murder mages, the law will not make them stop. The point is that any excuse will do for killing mages; it does not matter how innocent they are.

The Chantry explosion was loud, and the people unlucky enough to be in there died, and there was a giant hole in Hightown where a building used to be. That probably frightened people. Agreed. But that fear was not the point of the act – it was an inevitable and tragic side effect of it.

The people who were more afraid were the ones in the Circle. Anders did not create that fear either: they were already afraid, because they were already doomed.

Anders deliberately framed himself as a villain, in order to highlight the plight of the other mages. They pay for his crime, because no one ever cared who was responsible. He did this to demonstrate that the things done to them are wrong, horrible, and not their fault. The end goal is that people empathise with the mages.

So that is why I would say blowing up the Chantry was not terrorism. 

flutiebear  asked:

I absolutely loved your "Is Anders a terrorist?" meta, and it made me rethink my stance on using that term to describe him. Just one question, though: Is it ever confirmed, for certain, that what Anders uses is the gaatlok? I mean, it makes obvious sense that that's what it is, given his motives; and Hawke's definitely gathering ingredients for a bomb in "Justice". But I was curious if Anders's bomb had ever been explicitly named as gaatlok in DA2, The World of Thedas, or by the dev team.

Eek. I’m sorry – I haven’t been ignoring you. I just came down with a bug and have been completely useless the past few days. Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

I don’t think the word is ever used in dialogue. I can’t be completely certain, because I haven’t taken all dialogue paths, and while I’ve watched Youtube videos, I doubt I’ve seen everything possible. I’d be surprised if they did say it, though. I mean – they don’t want you to know exactly what Anders is up to until the last minute, so the only place they could reasonably talk about it would be during The Last Straw. I think, given the intensity of the moment, having Hawke turn to Anders and question him about his formula would be really, really awkward. :)

They don’t use the word in World of Thedas either. Anders’s section ends with him leaving the Wardens. Most of the information is pre-game backstory for everybody. There is a picture of it, though: barrels and barrels, all tied together beneath the Chantry. I think I saw the image posted on Tumblr before I got my copy, but just now I have learned that image searches for the Chantry explosion get you two screenshots of the cut scene and then a lot of pictures of Anders dying, which is not at all what I wanted.

As for the devs … I have no idea. I’ve picked up snippets of interviews, but nothing like all of them.

I think, reasonably, though, this is the only thing it can be.

When you do Blackpowder Promise, Javaris says that the only other available explosives are ‘Small things, shaped to crack faults, not shatter the earth. Plus they’re mostly lyrium.’ There really isn’t anything else available in Thedas that could make that kind of boom. Lyrium explosives might theoretically be possible if you had enough, but … while I’m sure Anders is capable of getting his hands on some black market lyrium if he has to, the quantities he’d require would be astronomical. In practice, it just wouldn’t work.

Hawke indicates that the only other way to create a big explosion would be through magic, and Anders doesn’t use magic: he uses whatever Hawke’s distraction allowed him to plant in the Chantry; whatever was in those barrels.

Then there’s the fact that the ingredients he uses are thinly disguised references to the ingredients of gunpowder, and if Qunari blackpowder isn’t gunpowder, I’ll eat my … well, I don’t wear hats. Eat my ugg boots? :)

This solves the accessibility problem. Common explosives are almost impossible to make because of the costs involved. Gaatlok is almost impossible to make because only the Qunari know the formula. One of the points raised in the Justice quest is that the ingredients are just lying around, unused. You don’t find them in apothecaries. Until Anders, no one has even been poking around in the right area to discover the formula for gaatlok. No one is experimenting with the right ingredients. Anders has been looking into obscure and ancient research (why varies, depending on the outcome of Dissent, but he’s still looking) and therefore using things most people wouldn’t.

Once he knows the formula, the stuff is ridiculously easy to make in large quantities. You don’t need money, and you’re not drawing attention to yourself by buying expensive and (known to be) dangerous things. You just need someone to keep Kirkwall’s monster population off your back while you work.

That’s exactly the kind of thing the Qunari would like, too. They don’t like magic and lyrium. They do like things they can explain and control. Mix these things together, set them alight, and things explode. Keep the ingredients separate, keep fire away from them, and they don’t. Control the formula so only the ‘worthy’ can use it, and everything’s fine.

There’s also the … well, Chekhov’s gun element to the whole thing. Why would everybody keep going on about blackpowder if no one is going to use it? Why would it be such a prominent element of the story if it’s not going to go anywhere? If Anders uses something else, then the blackpowder plot just (pardon the pun) fizzles out.

I know Dragon Age 2 has its share of flaws and plot holes, but I think the basic story is tense and well plotted. The moment blackpowder is mentioned, you know something is going to explode. The game initially leads you to think it’s going to have something to do with the Qunari conflict: either Petrice and her people will get hold of it, or the Qunari will be pushed to using it. Neither of those things happens, and the twist is that it comes from an unexpected corner.

It’s the mage rebellion that makes things go boom, and it’s not an enemy making use of it, but a friend. Hawke’s reaction to that is, of course, up the player.

I suppose the devs could come out and invent a different kind of explosive, and say Anders used that. They’ve retconned things before. But while I don’t think the name is ever used, as things stand I’m still pretty comfortable saying Anders used gaatlok.

NBA Player is wanted for murder....Guess who!!

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This is some CRAZY ISH … but NBA player JAVARIS CRITTENDON - who is most famous for being the dude who pulled A GUN on Gilbert Arenas - is wanted for MURDER.

Javaris, who played on Memphis, The Lakers and The Wizards, allegedly did a drive by and SHOT an innocent woman and KILLED HER. All because he was trying to shoot some goons who robbed him.

Here is how the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting it:

“It appears Mr. Crittenton observed who he thought was the perpetrator walking down the street,“ Major Keith Meadows told the AJC. "It so happens Miss Jones was walking down the street at the same time.”

Jones was walking with others near her Macon Drive home in southwest Atlanta around 10 p.m. Aug. 19 when she was shot, police said. Several witnesses told police the shots were fired from a black Chevrolet Tahoe.

Jones was struck in the leg and later died during surgery. Two men walking with Jones fled and were not injured, and investigators now believe one of those men was the intended target.

Investigators believe Crittenton may have been seeking retaliation after being robbed of his jewelry April 21, Meadows said. Crittenton reported that crime to police.