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  • Joshua M. Pearce. Detecting Covert Legal Killing to Stop A New Approach to Terrorist Intention. Suffolk Transnational Law Review 43, 2020, pp. 291-309. Heinon online, open access


Death by smoking

This study argues that the definition of terrorism should be expanded to include covert legal killings (CLK). CLK refers to the fourth terrorist intention (mass killing in the targeted group or nation by any means) where the law does not provide guidance as those with this intention currently use legal means. Statistics on individuals with this intention are limited because our legal system provides no way to identify or track them at the national or international level. To provide a rudimentary method to begin to detect such individuals, this paper develops new methods for quantifying the effectiveness of CLK using the concept of target national deaths per million dollars (DPM). In a case study of high death rate advertising the DPM was found to be only 3.4 because of the existing saturation of the United States market. This data coupled with previous studies indicate an opportunity to disrupt both legal and illegal terrorist intent. These new methods of evaluating the effectiveness of CLK can be useful for identifying and protecting target populations and the analysis presented in this study indicate that considerable future work is needed in evaluating the DPM of other CLK methods to provide guidance for an evolution in the law.

Keywords[edit | edit source]

counter terrorism, terrorism, killing, Terrorist Screening Database

See also[edit | edit source]