Call it Terrorism


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

Mass murders continue to rise with new acts of terrorism a weekly occurrence.

Lindsey Baum, Staff writer

On Nov. 5, 2017 26 people were killed and another 20 were injured at a church in Texas.

On Oct. 1, 2017, 58 people were killed and over 500 others were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, at a concert on Las Vegas.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 26 people, including 20 young children, were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

On Oct. 31, 2017, 8 people were killed and 11 were injured after a pickup truck purposely drove down a bike lane in New York City.

On June 12, 2016, a shooter opened fire in an Orlando nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring 58 others.

On paper, all of these killings seem the same: depraved murders designed to attack the basis of freedom America rests upon. However, American media and politicians paint an important line between them: the first three are unfortunate attacks caused by mental illness, while the last two are terrorist attacks.

In the aftermath of the Texas shooting, carried out at the Sutherland Springs Church, President Donald Trump claimed the shooting “wasn’t a guns situation,” but rather a mental health issue.

However, in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, then Presidential Candidate Donald Trump tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

Terrorism is defined as the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror, or fear, to achieve a political, religious or ideological aim.

When the Texas shooter killed people at their place of worship, or the Sandy Hook shooter killed children while they were in school, or the Las Vegas shooter murdered dozens of people while they were only trying to enjoy a concert, it is hard to imagine they were doing anything else but using violence to create fear.

For some reason, though, these deplorable acts of terror are not referred to as terrorism. On the other hand, ramming people with a pickup truck and shooting people while they, too, were trying to enjoy music in a nightclub is considered terrorism.

Perhaps this important distinction is created based on the race of the shooters. Both the driver of the pickup truck in the New York attack were darker skinned, with names that sound different to those Americans are used to.

On the other hand, white shooters with names like Stephen, Adam, or Devin are considered mentally ill, not terrorists.

Why should there be a line drawn between these unforgivable murderers? Why should mental illness be used as a way to justify mass killings as anything other than terrorism?

Instead, terrorism should be called as it is: mass killings designed to inflict harm on Americans and cause fear.

So if it’s terrorism, call it terrorism.