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Terrorism v. Hate Crime

November 11, 2009

I recently had a revelation. But first, I must begin with a few definitions (from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictonary)…

Terrorism: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
2a) one that inspires fear
4) violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands
Hate crime: any of various crimes (as assault or defacement of property) when motivated by hostility to the victim as a member of a group (as one based on color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation)

With the tragedy of the recent Ft. Hood shooting, I questioned why some (mainstream outlets and key political figureheads) are reticent to label the incident as “terrorism” or “domestic terrorism.”  I am sure that applying such a label to this horrific incident would then open up a can that various abbreviated departments (FBI, CIA, NSA, HSD, DOD, etc) would rather not have to deal with.  However, similar recent incidents (September 11, 2001 excluded) have been identified as terrorism – Oklahoma City Bombing (1995) and the DC area/Beltway sniper attacks (2002) [Wikipedia – sorry, but don’t have the time presently to track down other “primary” sources at the moment].

The simple application of definitions to the Ft. Hood incident fits. It was the systematic use of a violent and destructive act.  I will not give Hassan the time of day by regurgitating and pontificating on his views and correspondences.  At the least this was a hate crime.  Though it would seem that a hate crime would be a subset or part of the makeup of a terrorist act.

This man chose to express his displeasure, hate, intolerance, and insubordination in a manner that was violent, criminal, and deadly.  He should be indentified, tried, and penalized as such: a terrorist who attacked a military installation.

One Comment
  1. Stecks permalink

    I get your point, and mostly I agree, BUT…

    Aren’t ALL violent crimes, including terrorism hate crimes? You don’t terrorize someone/a group you get along with.

    Furthermore, if you injure/kill someone solely on the basis of ethnicity, skin tone, religion, or their political/sexual/musical/favorite ice cream flavor preferences, is it any different than killing someone because they banged your wife, owed you $8 or left the seat up one too many times?

    Killing is killing. It doesn’t matter how many people you kill, or for what reason. Its just plain wrong.

    And I WOULD give ANY killer the time of day to pontificate and regurgitate his views, as ridiculous as they may be. There’s this thing called THE BILL OF RIGHTS… free speech and all that nonsense. Freedom of speech also affords the speaker the freedom to be a jackass.

    And we can laugh at him while he rots away in ADX Florence.

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