Nov 11, 2017
In this week's More than Meets the Eye digest, I am addressing once again the subject of "use of the word Terrorism" to describe a catastrophic man-made tragedy. I am sure I won't need to address it again, because I go into detail about how the FBI and local Police forces interpret mass killing events and conclude whether it is a terrorist event or not. Certainly everybody does not agree with the definition of the word Terrorism, but we all agree that they exist and that they are catastrophic.
I use as a backdrop the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church slayings in Texas and the Vehicular Side-walk attack in New York City to discuss the distinctives that cause the FBI to label an event as terrorist or not. The characteristics of those two events make it pretty clear how the interpretations are applied.
I then discuss why it is in the best interest of all of us that an event be carefully considered before labeling it a terrorist event. It is quite clear that when an event is labeled terrorism, all the rules change. Certainly the application of the USA Patriot Act has helped law enforcement officials enforce and protect against terrorist attacks since its inception in 2001, but we as a nation must exercise extreme caution applying that executive branch privilege to too many cases. When the USA Patriot Act is invoked, little things like the US Constitution go out the window. With the interpretation of what a terrorist is, is as loosely defined as it is, we would all do well to insist that it is only applied when absolutely necessary.
The notion that the government is hesitant to apply the word terrorist to white males is less than genuine. White males can be as terroristic as anybody else. But the criteria currently applied by the FBI must be met. The Mandalay Bay mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church mass shooting do not fit that criteria. Read this weeks More than Meets the Eye..."Words STILL Mean Things" to get a better understanding of how this works.
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