Is it ok to make fun of failed suicide bombers?

Suicide is not funny. Suicide bombing is likewise not a funny topic. Those who engage in such activities not only kill themselves but usually others and many of those others are truly innocent people. We might want to argue over whether a suicide attack on a military convoy or an army encampment is really terrorism, which according to many definitions must target civilians, but I think we all can agree that the death of kids just trying to go to school or shoppers at an outdoor market at the hands (and other body parts) of an extremist wearing an explosive belt is definitely terrorism.

So suicide terrorism is definitely not funny. But can it be?

This comic has been around for a while. Have a look.

When a friend of mine on Twitter posted this image there was some negative reaction by those who felt it was demeaning the victims. In truth I did find it funny when I first saw this and still do.

But what if this drawing is an example of art mimicking life in the form of a real world act of premature suicide, a mistake that ends up killing nobody other than terrorists? Recently in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province a suicide vest borne by a Taliban terrorist wannabe suicide bomber detonated prematurely, killing him, three other wannabe suicide bombers and twelve other Taliban terrorists. 16 terrorists dead and nary a civilian casualty. Hip, hip….hooray?

Part of me is sorry to see any unnecessary loss of life: that probably stems from my Christian upbringing. And yet as a terrorism commentator and former counter terrorism strategic analyst I also welcome the death of someone who would kill me or my family if s/he had the chance. I have often said that dead terrorist is a good terrorist. A dead terrorist cannot take any more innocent lives. A dead terrorist does not have to be investigated anymore, tying up limited and precious resources.

I suppose that feeling good about the death of an incompetent terrorist may strike some as schadenfreude – finding joy in the misery of another, a feeling we are not ‘supposed’ to have. Then again, their deaths mean they cannot ‘strike’ anyone else.

I am ok with that. Are you?

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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