Terrorism doesn't take a genius - Greg Gelpi

The debate came down to the simple question of whether or not "those" responsible for terrorism, those people this country is fighting in the war on terrorism, are ingenious.

I, of course, fail to see anything even closely resembling intelligence, genius or any other flattering word when it comes to describing the terrorists.

As often is the case, the personalities of the newsroom launched into a debate earlier this week, and my stubborn opinionated nature couldn't resist but getting the last word in on the debate.

I will admit, although not proudly, that terrorists have experienced success, in fact, quite a bit of success. Success, though, shouldn't be mistaken for genius. I know people who have been successful in business, but fall incredibly short of genius status.

Let me offer the same analogy that I tossed out to the newsroom?

Christopher Columbus was successful in "discovering" America, although I would hardly call him a genius for doing so. Lucky perhaps, but not genius.

In much the same way, terrorists were "successful" in killing thousands in the World Trade Center, Pentagon and fields of Pennsylvania and reaping the benefit of all that followed economically, politically and militarily.

Still, success doesn't equate to genius. A little luck, the proper circumstances and an icy conviction doesn't require any intelligence.

Actually, I would even drop the first two and simply say that a terrorist can be "successful" with just unwavering conviction.

Packing a car with explosives and ramming it into a crowd of Iraqis waiting to vote would require less than a third-grade education and disrupting the Iraqi presidential election would take about as much intelligence.

Anyone with such conviction and hate could accomplish such a task.

I have no military background or paramilitary training, but I recall everyone in my high school and even grade school classmates were well versed in the controversial "Anarchist's Cookbook," a "how to" guide into making some pretty bad stuff using household items.

Fast forward just a few years and throw in the mix the Internet and a little thing called Google and creating havoc and killing indiscriminately is that much easier.

The mark of true genius would be to advance an agenda without lifting a finger and certainly without the loss of life on either side.

Genius employs creativity to develop a new solution, one untried before and one not thought of previously.

Genius requires some form of forethought and vision, some intent.

Genius also devises and executes a plan that is a means to an end, rather than a simple escalation of existing conditions.

A caveman can bonk someone on the head with a club, but that's not exactly my definition of intelligence. It's purely serendipity all that follows. If bonking his neighbor on the head coincidentally prompted massive change throughout caveland, I still wouldn't call it intelligence or some form of genius.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.