From Lonely Libertarian blog:
I repost my response here:
Not that it matters anymore, because the media just makes shit up now, but those terms actually do have a specific meaning (or at least they used to).
Terrorism is a tactic, used by members of a group, to accomplish the goals of that group. The tactic and the goals are related. “killing people” is neither a goal nor a tactic. Example: Killing the family of a police chief to get the police chief to stop enforcing the law against a certain group. The tactic supports the goal.
Work place violence: A person who kills other people he knows AT WORK, because he hates them enough to want to kills them.
Sudden Jihadi Syndrome: Often mistaken for terrorism, but most often is just crazy guy being crazy. Islam is often indistinguishable from being crazy. Being a Moslem and being crazy is not enough to make one a terrorist.
Why it matters: The correct terms tell you how to deal with the situation. Terrorism demands you go after the terrorist organization. You have to defeat their goals to defeat them or kill all their leadership. Killing their troops is not enough. For SJS, the crazy guy usually does not survive. There is nothing you can do to prevent him from doing this and nothing you need to do to keep him from doing it again. He is a psychopath. Killing him once fixes it.
Timothy McViegh: Psychopath.
Nidal Hassan: Psychopath.
One eyed cleric: Terrorist.
Underpants bomber: Psychopath.
William Kreutzer: Psychopath.
Charles Manson: Psychopath.
9-11 attack squads: Terrorists.
Of course, a single person can be in more than one category. For example, a terrorist can also have a psychotic break and go SJS. I suspect this happens in the Islamic countries all the time and we never hear about it. It is also well documented that terrorist groups actively recruit young men who are on the fringes of society and train them to become terrorists (radicalization). This plays on their easily observable needs to fit in within a society that already excludes them.