MSNBC asks “Why aren’t mass shootings called terrorism?”

From MSNBC’s morning Joe:

The scene has become increasingly familiar to many Americans: A gunman walks into a large public space and begins shooting, killing or wounding some bystanders and forcing others to cower under tables or run away in fear.

Why aren’t such incidents called acts of terrorism?

Later in the article several sources from both “sides” of the issue are quoted.  Against the idea:

“The definition of terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims,” Eric Reed, president and founder of Gun Rights Across America, told msnbc.

Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America offered a similar view. “It really doesn’t matter, when somebody shows up at a place, why they’re trying to kill people,” Pratt, the group’s director of communications, told msnbc.

And for it

“If Muslims committed half, or even one out of every four of these incidents, Americans would frame the acts as a national security issue and use the word ‘terrorism,’” said Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said Americans would act quickly and decisively if foreign citizens carried out mass shootings on U.S. soil.

The idea of labeling school attacks acts of terrorism may be tantalizing to some that support a teacher’s right to protect themselves and their students from attack.  After all, we’ll do anything to stop terrorists right?  However, I think there are two things that warrant some caution here:

  1. Labeling school attacks as terrorism will open the floodgates to even more domestic spying by the NSA and other government agencies (as if they could be any more wide open…)
  2. Look carefully at who they are calling the terrorists:

Last May, conservative radio host Glenn Beck acknowledged the Sandy Hook shootings in his keynote address at the NRA Stand and Fight Rally. But the government, he said, kills millions of people.

“Our liberty, our way of life, is being legislated out of existence. Our rights are being diminished by a ruling class of powerful elites. They’re growing out of control. We are in a precarious situation. We are,” Beck said during his speech.

Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said such rhetoric essentially endorsed acts of terrorism.

So, people that want to protect their rights from government encroachment are endorsing acts of terrorism?

We need to call school attacks what they are: mass murder.

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