I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss the concept of terrorism. Yesterday, a man opened fire in a church because he disagreed with the liberal policies of the church, killing two and wounding seven. My wife points out that this was nothing short of terrorism. It didn't take me long to agree. I've not seen major news outlets classifying this as a terrorist attack, and it got me thinking - why not, and what would it take for this incident to be classified as such? What does that mean for our view of international terrorism, and the "war on terror" as commonly described in political discourse? Would we be looking at this incident any differently if it were a person of Arabic descent who committed it, or a person who practices Islam?
It's not at all clear to me how this incident differs from a bomb going off in Iraq, except perhaps maybe for the scale of destruction. What's the appropriate response to the TN shooting? Is it any different than the response to a bomb planted by what we would normally consider a terrorist? Do we bring in the U.S. Army to round up people who talk like Ann Coulter and put them in Guantanamo? I realize this might sound extreme, but that's my point - is the TN shooting terrorism? If it is, how should we respond, and does that affect how we combat terrorism in its more commonly described form? If not, why not? Keep in mind the shooter had a hateful, politically charged agenda - with no other apparent motive other than to kill those with a world viewpoint he disagreed. I'd be interested in your view. If you'd like to leave a comment on the blog, you can do so - where others can see it and respond to it. Or, you can send me an e-mail privately (ask for my e-mail) if you'd like that's okay too.
I don't have the answers to those questions, at least not in a format concise enough to put into a a blog post. However, dictionary.com defines terrorism as "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes."