March 26, 2018
There were two sets of attacks in the United States in the month of March: the series of bombs in Texas; and, the vehicle attack in California. When are acts of violence terrorism?
The FBI definitions for terrorism:
- Domestic: Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily
US-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social,
racial, or environmental nature.
- International: Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with
designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored).
Consider these two domestic events this month:
- The Austin bombings over 19 days killed 2 people, wounded others, and spread fear, terror,
and anxiety across the city. The confessed perpetrator calls himself a "psychopath,"
which makes these likely "criminal" acts. If he acted on extremist ideologies, then it could be
reclassified as terrorism.
- A minivan containing 5 propane tanks and 3 gasoline tanks was driven into the gate at Travis
Air Force Base on 22 March. The driver, a US legal resident since 1993, had no known
military connections, no ties to terrorism, and left no insights into his motive. Attacking a
military base implies an ideological connection. The investigation is still in its early stages.
Terrorism requires an ideological motive, otherwise it isn't terrorism.
Photo by: Bill Baggart, 11 September 2011; no changes; no endorsement by photo owner
Link to license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode
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