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FBI Director: Charleston Shooting Not Terrorism

FBI Director: Charleston Shooting Not Terrorism

What is terrorism?

The question of whether or not the Charleston shooting was an act of terrorism is an intriguing one.  Typically, we think of terrorism as it relates to clear terrorist attacks perpetrated by known terrorist groups like al Qaeda:  9/11, the Boston bombing, and the Fort Hood terrorist attack.  Or we think of it as it relates to nationalist groups who have engaged in violent acts against civilians such as the IRA, PLO, or FALN.

When mass violent acts occur on our own soil by our own citizens—those unaffiliated with accepted terrorist groups, we don’t tend to label them terrorism.  I’m thinking here of school shootings, abortion bombings, movie theater shootings, and the like.  Only when homegrown terrorists engage in acts against the government do most of us agree that it’s terrorism (I’m thinking here of Timothy McVeigh and the Weather Underground).

So why are we now considering whether or not the Charleston shooter was a terrorist?  If we don’t think of the Sandy Hook shooter as a terrorist, why would we think of this shooter as a terrorist?  Does it become terrorism because of the race of the shooter and his victims?  That seems to be the argument.

From The New York Times:

Assaults like the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the attack on an anti-Islamic gathering in Garland, Tex., last month have been widely portrayed as acts of terrorism carried out by Islamic extremists. Critics say, however, that assaults against African-Americans and Muslim Americans are rarely if ever called terrorism.

Moreover, they argue, assailants who are white are far less likely to be described by the authorities as terrorists.

From The Washington Post:

U.S. media outlets practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans or Muslims. As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs (if not always explicitly using the terms), motivated purely by evil intent instead of external injustices. While white suspects are lone wolves — Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley has emphasized that this shooting was an act of just “one hateful person” — violence by black and Muslim people is systemic, demanding response and action from all who share their race or religion. Even black victims are vilified. Their lives are combed for any infraction or hint of justification for the murders or attacks that befall them: Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie, which was “as much responsible for [his] death as George Zimmerman,” Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera concluded. Michael Brown stole cigars, and Eric Garner sold loosie cigarettes — “epically bad decisions” that New York Post columnist Bob McManus, and many others, used to somehow justify their deaths. And when Dajerria Becton, a black teenager who committed no crime, was tackled and held down by a police officer at a pool party in McKinney, Tex., Fox News host Megyn Kelly described her as “no saint either.”

According to this line of reasoning, it’s only fair to treat this particular shooter as a terrorist because he’s white and his victims were black.  Anything less is racist.

Defining terrorism based on the race of the perpetrator and of the victims is problematic at best and threatens to make “hate crime” the equivalent of terrorism.

Then again, perhaps it’s not as dire as that, given that “terrorism” is a mis- and over-used word and has been applied to the TEA Party, Republicans in Congress, and supporters of Cliven Bundy.

The New York Times article linked above cites, and I’m not making this up, Webster’s New World College Dictionary’s definition of terrorism:  “the use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate and subjugate, especially such use as a political weapon or policy.”   Considering that this can be applied to a verbally abusive spouse, we (and the NYT) should probably seek more authoritative sources.

According to a 2009 DHS memo, potential “rightwing terrorists” include:

. . . not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

Considering that “groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority” are those who support the 10th Amendment, this seems a rather extreme and dangerous definition.  Lumping pro-life and anti-amnesty Americans in with terrorists is objectionable . . . to say the least.

The FBI defines terrorism as “The unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives,” and apparently based on this definition, the FBI director stated that the Charleston shooting was not terrorism.

Watch:

Comey states that under the law, terrorism is “more of a political act” and that based on what he knows so far of the Charleston shooter, the shooting was not an act of terrorism.

Maybe not, but according to the shooter’s “manifesto,” he acted with the intent of starting a race war.  Echoes of Charles Manson aside, does this intent—and not solely his or his victims’ race—make his actions an act of terrorism because it was in pursuit of a social objective?  I lean toward “no” because this was not an act of coercion; he wasn’t trying to force his ideology onto the government or people, he was trying to ignite a race war by one desperate, evil act.

But what say you?

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Comments

I would suggest that just because a loon chooses to label his vicious killings an act of terrorism does not of itself MAKE them an act of terrorism.

If he’d claimed to be killing at the order of God, we wouldn’t be calling the murders and “act of God,” would we?

Are there any other terrorist “groups” that consist of a single individual? Or is it only THIS wacko?

My sense is that the appeal to the label of “terrorism” is an effort to cast the pall of guilt over a broader population than just this killer–say, ALL white people. Thus ALL white people would bear a share of the guilt.

(As opposed to when a Muslim kills someone in the explicit name of Islam–he’s NEVER deemed to be acting on behalf of Muslims or Islam generally, in fact strenuous cries are made to the contrary.)

Thanks, but no thank. I have not one iota of responsibility for this psychos actions.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    At the risk of agreeing with Rags, it seems clear enough that Roof used violence to further his political goals (however twisted).

    You use the baseball team analogy below, but I think it actually can be used to prove the opposite point: Derek Jeter is no longer a member of any baseball team, and yet if you ask anyone on the street in NYC who he is, their first response will be “God incarnate”, and their second response will be “a baseball player”.

    DuraMater in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 22, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    “..the label of “terrorism” is an effort to cast the pall of guilt over a broader population than just this killer–say, ALL white people…” Absolutely spot on, Mr. Branca. And with a wide enough net, ensnare the gun owners and a few Confederate statues as well.

    Now here’s a thought exercise…..
    The Emanuel AME church was originally founded by and for both free blacks and slaves. (Yes, there were free blacks in 18th and 19th century South Carolina, many who owned slaves themselves). One of those free black founders was an ex-slave, a local carpenter, named Denmark Vesey. His name is cited on the church’s website and he is memorialized and lauded there. In 2014, a statue was erected in downtown Charleston in his honor, though not without significant dissent from many long time residents, people whose knowledge and devotion to historical accuracy took offense. Never the less, the monument stands, unmolested.

    Who was Denmark Vesey and what is his legacy as it relates to Charleston and this church? Archival records and pre-revisionist published works provide some answers.
    So bright and personable was the young black boy, he was separated from the human cargo carried below deck and afforded a privileged existence as a cabin boy of sorts. Having convinced an initial purchaser that he was unfit for field work by feigning epileptic seizures, he was returned to the ship’s Captain and thus traveled with him to many ports far beyond his West Indies home. He learned different languages and skills, became literate and developed a talent for persuasive oratory. Denmark Vesey would later use this talent with confidence to recruit scores upon scores of free blacks and slaves for a bold and bloody insurrection.

    By the time of Haiti’s notorious slave rebellion, in which blacks viciously executed all the whites in the region, the old Captain and his servant, Denmark, had long since retired from the sea and were residing in Charleston, South Carolina. Indeed, Vesey had won $1500 in the Bay Street lottery and purchased his own freedom for $600 years before Haiti declared , “For our declaration of independence, we should have the skin of a white man for parchment, his skull for an inkwell, his blood for ink, and a bayonet for a pen!” And though miles away in the United States of America, having the freedom to own his own carpentry business and dabble in various religions, those violent events and words emanating out of Haiti resonated with Denmark Vesey. It would become part of his repertoire to inspire and encourage even the most loyal house servant to join with him on a similar venture in 1822.

    He took to the pulpit and streets to preach his version of theology and religiously justified extermination of whites. He enlisted help from within the church and community. He persuaded many that Congress had declared all slaves free and that they continued in bondage “against the law of the land”. Thus using a campaign of fear, deceit and divisiveness, Denmark Vesey and his co-conspirators amassed an army of untold number, some claimed thousands, to carry out his planned race war. The strategy was to overtake armories and guardhouses. Vesey ordered that “every white man coming out of his door was to be killed”, because this was the way things had been accomplished in Haiti. Finally, he planned to set fire to the city, taking hostage sea captains to ferry them all to either Haiti or Africa. But their plans never came to fruition.

    The authorities were notified and an investigation ensued, followed by arrests, trials and sentencing. Some were released, some were deported and 35 were hanged, including Denmark Vesey. In the aftermath, many slave owners in the area who had once regarded their slaves as trusted helpers began to wonder if they were planning their murder. It is noteworthy that the demographics of the city at that time were approximately 3:1, black : white. The ability to carry out this heinous plan was not beyond the realm of possibility and the white citizens knew it. They responded by curtailing much of the free movement previously afforded to slaves.

    Meanwhile investigations into other members of the AME church where Vesey had preached and recruited followers continued. The church was subsequently burned to the ground. It was eventually rebuilt, but burned again after the Nat Turner incident less than a decade later. Turner and his group in Virginia had succeeded in butchering some 60 white men, women and children. When court testimony revealed that Turner had received his inspiration and hoped to follow in the footsteps of Denmark Vesey, the citizens of Charleston decided it safer to have these congregants meet in smaller numbers and overseen with more scrutiny.

    Now, class, which of these two homicidal psychopaths better fits the definition of a terrorist?
    Both Vesey and Roof, it seems, wanted to instigate a race war. Both devised strategies to brutally execute members of the others race. Neither had been personally traumatized by their intended victims. Their seething hostility over perceived injustices endured by others was their expressed basis for attack. However, Roof was a solitary killer and evidently a very tormented young man who may have been intellectually compromised by substance abuse. Vesey, on the other hand was far more grandiose in his scheme to annihilate the entire city. He wanted his own army and he wanted it under his command. He employed divisive rhetoric, he exploited religious beliefs and fear. Using the skills of a politician and a dictator, he assembled sufficient troops to carry out his genocidal plan.
    What say you?

This whole confluvium is funny.

Yeah, Roof was a terrorist. He had political goals, and he used classical asymmetrical means to try to attain them.

Ace Of Spades had no trouble labeling this a terrorist act, regardless of the lies told by the Collective regarding the conservative side of the press and blog0sphere.

I don’t see any issue here. Roof was a racist and a terrorist. (See the period?)

Sammy Finkelman | June 21, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Apparently, according to the FBI, to be a terrorists, you’ve got to claim affiliation with some terrorist group , real or imaginary.

The Unabomber, Theodore J. (“Ted”) Kaczynski, claimed to be the imaginary terrorist group FC. That made him a terrorist.

The group doesn’t have to say that their group is a terrorist group – the Department of Justice can deem it that on its own initiative – but it must be a group that has some kind of continuing existence for a while.

Dilapidated Storm Drain wrote that there was nobody else who wanted to do what he wanted to do.

Char Char Binks | June 21, 2015 at 6:03 pm

It wasn’t an act of political coercion, because Roof wasn’t trying to make blacks stop being black; he just wanted them to die. Still, Comey could be hounded out of office by SJW’s for his statement.

    Milhouse in reply to Char Char Binks. | June 21, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    He wanted blacks to have less power over whites. That’s a political goal.

      Char Char Binks in reply to Milhouse. | June 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      But he wasn’t coercing blacks. When a Mulim terrorist strikes, as in the case of Hasan or the Tsarnaev boys, they’re trying to change US policy. Roof simply seemed to be angry at black crime against whites.

        Valerie in reply to Char Char Binks. | June 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

        He wrote that he wanted to start a war. That sounds like a political goal, to me.

          If he wrote that he wanted to build the Starship Enterprise, would that sound like physics?

          How does one differentiate between a lone loon, and an actual terrorist? Or can any lone loon be a terrorist? Does the distinction not matter?

          I would suggest it does matter. True terrorist movements have a mass and effect that’s substantively unachievable by a lone individual.

          If there were just one lone jihadist wandering the world killing people, I doubt we’d spend much time discussing Islamic terrorism.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ragspierre in reply to Valerie. | June 21, 2015 at 7:36 pm

          “How does one differentiate between a lone loon, and an actual terrorist?”

          Motivation. Why are you splitting this hair.

          Ooofah.

          Hi Valerie, he wanted to start a “race war” ala Charles Manson, not a World War or a war between two countries (i.e. an actual war).

          @Rags, if motivation is the sole defining characteristic of a terrorist, then this woman (http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/06/19/woman-calls-for-race-war-at-scene-of-church-shooting/) is a terrorist, too? She’s calling for a race war.

          It just seems that we need to be prudent about whom and what (and why) we classify as terrorism.

          Ragspierre in reply to Valerie. | June 21, 2015 at 8:02 pm

          Fuzzy, you’ll note I post to a clip of the same poor, racist crazy above.

          In answer to your question, if she went into a nursing home filled by white people and killed several with the declaration she was doing it in pursuit of her instigation of a race war, is there really any serious question?

          She is a racist, but she isn’t a terrorist BECAUSE she has not employed the MEANS of terrorism…yet.

          How come this seems hard?

          Ragspierre in reply to Valerie. | June 21, 2015 at 8:13 pm

          From my comment above.

          “Yeah, Roof was a terrorist. He had political goals, and he used classical asymmetrical means to try to attain them.”

          Although “terrorist” can get complex (was Yessir That’s My Baby Arafat a terrorist when he SENT out people to commit terrorism [yes!]), the pudding here has just two ingredients…acts and motives.

          Seems to me.

          Aw, Rags, it seems hard because we both think we’re right and we both think it’s clear as day. That’s what makes it fun. 🙂

          Fluffy Foo Foo in reply to Valerie. | June 21, 2015 at 8:18 pm

          Andrew,

          He’s a violent white supremacist or a white supremacist terrorist. We have spent a lot of time talking about white supremacist violence and terrorism in the past. If I recall correctly, Justice Thomas describes burning a cross on someone’s lawn an act of terrorism.

          We thankfully talk about it a lot less these days, but there are white supremacists out there still and this one acted out. Frankly, he’s very comparable to Brevik in Norway.

This was definitely terrorism. The fact that he deliberately left some people alive so they could tell of his deeds shows that his attack was targeted not at the people who happened to be there but at the wider community. He wanted to sow terror among black people everywhere in the nation. And he wanted black people to retaliate against random white victims, which he hoped would in turn spur white people to copy him. His goal was political change, and that makes him a terrorist, just as much as someone setting off a bomb in a Jerusalem market, or ramming a car into a crowd waiting at a bus stop, or hijacking a plane.

Richard Aubrey | June 21, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Wait. Did somebody refer to the Ft. Hood shooting as “terrorism”? Here I’d been thinking it was workplace violence.

This is a little off topic, but why in the dickenings do we execute our criminals so peaceably? Did rope become to expensive? Is there too much good programing on the tv? Have we become to civilized?

I just don’t see an isolated individual being a “terrorist,” but merely a loon.

Where was the White Supremacist superstructure calling upon adherents to go kill black people? Where’s the equivalent of the “call to jihad,” which in contrast to the lone nut job IS the product of a substantive, coordinated, orchestrated political movement?

I just don’t see it.

If any nut job mass killer who scribbles the right words qualifies as a “terrorist,” then the term has no strategic or tactical meaning whatever.

The steps necessary to counter the next church killer have absolutely NO relation whatever to the steps necessary to counter the next 9/11 attack.

None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

I can call my car a jet plane all day long, that doesn’t make it a jet plane.

But we can agree to disagree. Season premier of “The Last Ship” is coming on soon. 🙂

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 21, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I gotta be a Boy Scout to help old ladies across the street?

    Naw. It’s the ACT coupled with the motivation that makes for an act of terrorism.

    “The steps necessary to counter the next church killer have absolutely NO relation whatever to the steps necessary to counter the next 9/11 attack.”

    I think that’s totally wrong. Let me expand (like I could be stopped! Heh!)

    The SAME means of stopping this POS are the means we try to use to stop what you think of as “terrorism”.

    IDENTIFY the threat. With Roof, it’s striking that so many of his contacts knew what he was planning, but “it wasn’t for me to judge” (PC culture run amok, BTW).

    QUALIFY the threat. If anyone had been right in the head, this guy would have been flagged to the LEOs, and they would have investigated.

    NEUTRALIZE the threat. Maybe with nothing more than being warned off, Roof would have been stopped. Or it might have taken more, but it was there to be done if the intelligence had been there.

    Now, how is that any different from the Boston bombers?

      “Now, how is that any different from the Boston bombers?”

      The Boston Bombers were participating in a well-organized, well-funded, worldwide jihad involving millions of people, launching thousands of jihadist attacks on innocents all over the globe, and with a particularized hatred of the political organizations of the west in general and the United States in particular.

      Church killer was operating entirely alone, an isolated nut job who hated black people.

      Globe-spanning terrorism by millions vs. isolated racist.

      THAT’s how they differ. 🙂

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDEfense

        Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm

        That leaves you an irreconcilable chicken-egg problem, Andrew.

        According to your doctrine, I can’t be a terrorist until some TERRORIST group I affiliate with reaches some size.

        But it can’t QUALIFY as a TERRORIST group because the first terrorists won’t fit your definition. 😉

          An egg is, in fact, NOT a chicken. Nor a chicken an egg.

          One man acting alone is NOT a baseball team, though he may become a MEMBER of a team if enough others join him.

          One fish acting alone is NOT a school, though it may become a MEMBER of a school if enough other fish join him.

          One nut job acting alone is NOT a terrorist, though he may become a MEMBER of a terrorist organization if enough others join him.

          I don’t know how to make it any simpler.

          Naturally, this church killer is a horrible monster, assuming he’s found guilty as I fully expect, and I’ll be happy to pay an exorbitant fee for a raffle ticket for a chance to be behind one of the rifles at his execution.

          But if terrorism is to mean anything useful, he simply doesn’t qualify.

          But we can agree to disagree. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm

          “One fish acting alone is NOT a school, though it may become a MEMBER of a school if enough other fish join him.”

          BUT he is a FISH, just as any person, motivated by terroristic intent, and ACTING out terroristic acts IS a terrorist.

          And you can’t have a terrorist group UNTIL you have some “lone loons” who are dedicated to being terrorists.

          Now you can watch your show…!!! 🙂

        Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 21, 2015 at 9:16 pm

        Baader-Meinhof…

        Terrorists or not?

        Milhouse in reply to Andrew Branca. | June 22, 2015 at 7:57 am

        But their attack was neither organized nor funded by any global movement. They did it all themselves; the only relevance of the global jihad is that they identified with it.

Then Every Black thug who has played the Knock-Out-Game with White victims is a terrorist who is trying to terrorize the White population to bring an advantage to the Black population. If Whites are singled out of victims because they are White, that is both a hate crime and terrorism. The KKK qualifies as a Hate, racist group, as they tried to terrorize Blacks and Whites who opposed oppressive segregation. (The KKK is sole responsibility of Protestant Democrats.)

Black-on-Black violent crime is hate crime, as All violent crimes have hate as part of their root. Let me edit that. Then all violent crime is hate crime.

    Milhouse in reply to Milwaukee. | June 22, 2015 at 8:02 am

    No. The “knock-out game”, if it even exists, is not intended to terrorize white people; the only intended victims are the actual people knocked out. It’s done for the sheer love of violence, not to achieve any political end. Roof, like McVeigh, had an agenda, and hoped to spark something that would continue.

Roof went through the roof, but he didn’t need a gun to massacre so many people: he could have merely driven a car through the crowd leaving the church, this like this guy did in CA, killing 10 people:
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/07/15/tragic-crash-elderly-driver-laws/

Or he could have packed a truck with manure and killed 168 people, like Timothy McVeigh did.

Or set the building on fire with lighter fluid, killing 32 people, like this guy did in New Orleans:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UpStairs_Lounge_arson_attack

Guns are actually a lousy way for a single lunatic to kill a mass number of people.

Most dangerous seems to be manure, so we really should have manure control. But if we did, there would be no democrat party, and 3/4 the GOP would be out of work.

Ummmm pic.twitter.com/ooPaj53t0D— Doug Mataconis (@dmataconis) June 19, 2015

The Left, as represented by Salon, is way ahead of you on that one.

Terror is intense fear or fright felt by one or more individuals in response to a particularly heinous or brutal act. One who brings about terror in another is a terrorist.

A B52 pilot on a bombing run is a terrorist; so is a Marine with a rifle. In the current discussion, our problem is the attempted misapplication of a label. There are good terrorists and there are bad terrorists as well as organized and disorganized terrorists.

Any civilization that has the courage of its convictions will use war (I can’t imagine anything that causes more terror than war) to ensure its survival.

Good and evil are the more commonly used labels, but then loons are evil even if they are incapable of intention or lack awareness of their actions.

This guy is a loon, that guy is just mean and those fellows are heroes but all can be terrorists. We generally label the actions of those who support us as good and those who harm us as evil. Introducing the word ‘terrorist’ into the mix isn’t helpful.

    Milhouse in reply to MSO. | June 22, 2015 at 8:06 am

    No. Terrorism is violence whose purpose is to terrorize others, and cause their government to change its ways, or them to change their government.

Empress Trudy | June 22, 2015 at 10:20 am

I guess he doesn’t want to work in the Obama administration any more.

Henry Hawkins | June 22, 2015 at 11:39 am

Well… if he’s a lone wolf killer, is it a hate killing? Or if he’s a terrorist, was it hate terrorism?

What does SC criminal law say?

A rose by any other name…

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 22, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    “… if he’s a lone wolf killer, is it a hate killing?”

    I’m sure if you polled lone wolves, they’d say yes.

      Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Ragspierre. | June 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      and here I’ve always thought all killing was hate killing…..

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | June 22, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      My point being that ‘hate crime’ is defined by law where it exists (is there a federal hate crime law?), while the term terrorism apparently is not well-defined. Terrorism is like porn – we may not be able to establish a succinct definition for it, but we know it when we see it.

      I do like stratifying homicide as with the well-defined and long tested 1st deg, 2nd deg, self-def, categories. I don’t like the way the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘hate crime’ are bandied about wherein any white on black crime will now be ‘terrorism’, but if a Muslim with jihadist beliefs in contact with Islamic terrorists shoots up a military base yelling “Allah ackbar!”, it’s workplace violence.

      Killing is a serious thing. I think it would ultimately prove a bad thing to keep dividing what constitutes homicide into ever increasing categories and levels. A killing – or three, or one hundred and three – occurs. Was it murder? Self-defense? If murder, pre-meditated or out of unthinking passion? Beyond those simple categories, I personally don’t give a shit if it was terrorism or a hate crime or both as regards prosecution and punishment. And wouldn’t terrorism be a hate crime by definiion – and vice versa?

      Law enforcement needs to determine if there is a wider conspiracy behind any killing, of course, whether it is gang-related or ISIS-related. Any final definition of terrorism will have zero affect on punishment because most (all?) states have either the death penalty and/or life w/o parole already. We don’t execute them twice bcause the killing was terrorism or a hate crime.

      Every offered definition of terrorism makes me think, ‘well, that’s sounds about right’ until I hear the next one. And the next one.

      Not rhetorical questions, nor any kind of slam.. I ask with sincerity:

      1) Regarding US-based killings, should ‘terrorism’ be defined by law with, presumably, somehow different applications of the law, or should it be regarded as a murder(s) like any other, with recognition of terroristic motives, certainly, the same as we might determine other motives like jealousy, insurance money, robbery, etc.?

      2) Is there such a thing as, or a definition for, less than lethal terrorism? Definitions that don’t run afoul of the 1A? Or must there be death or substantial physical harm done to qualify as ‘terror’

        Nail meet hammer. This is part of the problem, Henry. If the government decides this was an act of terrorism, domestic terrorism, then the Patriot Act and assorted related laws, executive orders, etc. come into play. This is not a good way to go when it comes to U. S. citizens who have not, for example, pledged their allegiance to some foreign or international terrorist group.

        Lone Americans–those unaffiliated with any known terrorist group–treated as terrorists by the U. S. government is (or should be) worrying to everyone here. This is unlikely in the Roof case, but do we really want our own citizens–however crazy and evil the first one/s is/are–the subject of Obama’s own version of the war on terror? It wasn’t that long ago that his administration (Holder) was arguing for the use of drones on American soil against suspected terrorists.

        I think we need to be very careful about whom we label a terrorist. And in this case, Roof’s acting alone does matter. There is no terror instilled in the hearts of anyone because we know that he acted alone; there are not thousands of potential like-minded individuals in hidden cells throughout the U. S.

        No one expects his cohorts to shoot more people in church or anywhere else. He has no cohorts. His act was intended to inspire others to do the same, but so are other domestic shootings and their copycats. His intent was not to instill terror or to use terror as a psychological weapon, it was to spark the same lunatic race war that Manson wanted back in the ’60s. Manson is not a terrorist. Neither is Roof.

VetHusbandFather | June 22, 2015 at 12:13 pm

This one is a tough one to crack in my opinion. Roof’s manifesto makes it clear that he has political aims, and that he believed in using violence and coercion to bring about this aims. But it seems unclear what the intent of this particular attack was. Was he trying to intimidate the black community? Was he trying to inspire others that he thought were like minded but afraid to take action? Or did take out his anger towards the black community on the nearest easy target. Aside from legal definitions and jurisdiction questions, I don’t think it really matters though. I think the more notable thing is that even though he wanted to be a terrorist/commit acts of terrorism, there wasn’t an organization or group of life minded individuals to support him. This is what differentiates this event from acts of Islamic terrorism, and demonstrates why the acts of Roof are far less dangerous to national security than Islamic extremism.

Mark me in the “not terrorism” camp.

It was a hate crime.
He hated these individuals because of the color of their skin.

If it was ‘terrorism” the goal would be to intimidate and control.

He says he wanted a war. I think that’s just an excuse. An excuse to sooth a sick mind… to find a twisted rational that would sooth his conscience.

Richard Aubrey | June 22, 2015 at 5:36 pm

This discussion is interesting for a number of reasons.
One is that, had Roof gone up to Columbia and tried to kill a bunch of soldiers, he could look forward to a career as a law professor.
Another is that the feds’ macro–“no indication of terror ties”–hauled out PFQ when a Muslim does something stupid, got loose when a non-Muslim did it. Strange.
And don”t think this stops with the SC capital dome>

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