Is Your Neighbour a Terrorist?

When you heard about the horrific bombing in Manchester a few weeks ago, I’m sure your first response was the exact same as mine: that happened in a Manchester in America, yeah? Possibly the one by the sea? If so, at the very least, the bomb may have taken out a known sex offender.*

And then, when news broke about the events in London recently, we all thought: London, Ontario, right? Bad luck, Canada. I wonder if Casey Affleck is on holidays up there?

I didn’t really think that; I thought ‘Shiiiit’, as I was in London, England at the time. London, England, where the terrorist attack took place. And not far from Manchester, England, which is a landlocked city and was the site of the previous bombing.

But I survived the terrorist attack; my first. Partly because I was on a train, many miles removed from London Bridge, when the incident took place. But partly also because I’m good at spotting terrorists. I mostly survived because of the first of those, sure, but HeadStuff didn’t want an article about the UK train system, so here we are.

Terrorist acts resonate all the more when they occur close to home. For most Irish people, it’s fine when they happen in the middle east or Afghanistan, because we tell ourselves that the people there are used to losing loved ones to senseless acts of violence. It’s less fine when America is on the receiving end (unless the perpetrator is a white Christian fundamentalist, which delights the more liberal of us). And, when Britain is affected, it hits us hard. It makes us extra-nervous about what could happen in Ireland, especially when our newspapers begin howling about potential terrorists living in our midst. We suddenly start seeing danger lurking everywhere: around every corner, inside every suspiciously-unattended backpack. We start suspecting our colleagues; our neighbours; the man on the street who’s brandishing a severed head.

If you’re just such a paranoid person, and you harbour terroristy suspicions about your neighbour, you probably want to make sure that they definitely are a terrorist before calling them out on it. If you get it wrong, things might be a bit awkward for the next few block parties. The good news is that your prayers have been answered (if you’ve been praying to me asking for this article, that is), in the shape of the below checklist. Even if you don’t have any suspicious neighbours, read on anyway. You might just be too stupid to have picked up on the signs.

Swat Team
Always be sure before calling in the cavalry (image source)
Have the police arrested your neighbour on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack?

This is often a good pointer, especially if your neighbour has been convicted of, and jailed for, same.

Is your neighbour a bit of a loner?

They may be a terrorist. Thomas Mair, who murdered a UK MP in a terror attack last year, was described at his trial as being “a loner in the truest sense of the word.” Of course, your neighbour may also just be too shy or uninteresting to hold down any lasting friendships.

Is your neighbour a respected family man?

They may be a terrorist. Bruce E. Ivins, the scientist widely believed to have been behind the 2001 anthrax attacks in the US, was a highly-regarded family man and community volunteer. So, next time you go to a block party barbecue hosted by a jovial patriarch, bring your own food supply. And remember not to sprinkle anthrax on it.

Is your neighbour a religious or nationalist fanatic?

They may be a terrorist. Many of the IRA members who committed terrorist atrocities over the past fifty years were Catholics who were motivated by nationalism.

Is your neighbour Gerry Adams?

They are may or may not be a terrorist.

Is your neighbour an immigrant?

Immigrants are statistically far less likely to be terrorists than native-born people. Do take the immigration status of the neighbour into account, though. For example, in America, the chance of being murdered by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion, and the chance of being murdered by an illegal immigrant is 1 in 10.9 billion. However, the chance of being killed by someone who’s entered the country on a common tourist visa is quite high: 1 in 3.9 million. So, if your neighbour’s an AirBnB-ing tourist, stay on your toes. They mightn’t be a terrorist per se, but there’s a pretty good chance they’ll murder you nonetheless.

Was your neighbour fond of Nelson Mandela?

For the most part, Nelson Mandela was a good skin (who had a good skin, too [take that, racists!]). However, he did co-found the Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorist group in 1961. If your neighbour cites Mandela as a hero, let’s hope that they’re glossing over his bloodthirsty past, just like the rest of us! If your neighbour is indeed inspired by Nelson’s terrorist antics, however, there is some good news. The MK, as they became known, were among the least effective of all terrorist groups. They killed far more black people than white people, despite being founded with the express intention of doing the opposite (they were also pretty bad at abbreviations). Having said all that, if you’re enforcing apartheid you’re probably fair game to be terrorised. Ideally by a better terrorist group than the MK.

Does your neighbour speak with a thick regional accent, or is there something in your ear?

You may think your neighbour’s just admitted to you that he’s a terrorist, but are you sure that’s what he said? Did he, in fact, merely say that he’s a theorist, or a Terryist? Either way, though, it’s probably not a bad idea to warn the authorities. Academics are notoriously eccentric, and anyone who hates Terrys is also not to be trusted; I’ve yet to meet a Terry who didn’t have at least something to recommend them (apart from one; Terry Eagleton, who is—you guessed it—an academic).

Is your neighbour a Muslim?

They’re probably not a terrorist. The vast, vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Indeed, the terrorists who identify as Islamic aren’t really proper Muslims at all. In these politically-correct times it’s fashionable to allow people to identify as whoever and whatever they want, but the time has come to call a spade a spade, and to call Islamic terrorists ‘terrorists-who-falsely-identify-as-Islamic’. If you’ve proper Muslims as neighbours, all you have to worry about is accidentally stealing a glimpse at their wives’ hair, or serving them the wrong meat the next time you host a block party (remember—don’t sprinkle it with anthrax).

Does your neighbour love raisins?

Some terrorists-who-falsely-identify-as-Islamic believe that 72 virgins will await them upon reaching paradise. It has recently been suggested that the passage in the Koran from which this inference arose has been mistranslated, and they will be, in fact, greeted by 72 raisins. If your neighbour loves raisins, they’re likely to be suffering from constipation or sexual failings. That’s irrelevant in many respects, but still worth knowing. Anyway, if they’re a cheapskate, and fancy getting their underperforming hands on 72 free raisins, they may take the easy and cowardly option.

Is your neighbour a person?

If not, they’re highly unlikely to be a terrorist.

Terry Crews
Terryists don’t know what they’re talking about (image source)

If none of your neighbours meet these criteria, it’s unfortunately likely that you yourself are the terrorist, especially if you’ve misunderstood my advice re: anthrax. Double check though, just in case someone else has slipped through your detecting net. After all, there’s no better way to stand up to terrorism than by allowing our society to be torn apart at the seams by hatred, fear and unfounded suspicion.

Oh, and if you’re a Terryist, go and talk to Terry Crews from Brooklyn Nine Nine, then look me in the eye and tell me that you still hate Terrys. Then keep looking me in the eye and tell me that you’re not talking out of your hole (metaphorically; if you were literally doing that I wouldn’t be fooled by a denial).

And if you are indeed not talking out of your hole, then you truly have a heart of stone and are quite likely a terrorist.

Is your neighbour a Terryist, even after meeting Terry Crews?

See above.

* If any lawyers are reading this, hello! Also, the above comment does not refer to Casey Affleck

Main image via Locks & Security Magazine