Claire McCaskill: Why Aren’t We Calling Sandy Hook Terror?

Janet Napolitano is testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, purportedly on the budget. Not surprisingly, she’s getting a ton of questions about the Boston Marathon attack and immigration.

But in a smart series of questions that will undoubtedly be controversial, Claire McCaskill challenged Napolitano to explain why we so quickly called Boston a terrorist attack, but wouldn’t call Sandy Hook a terrorist attack. Noting that we still don’t know the motive behind either attack, McCaskill asked (these are my immediate transcriptions),

Other than weapon, is there any difference between Sandy Hook and Boston?

[snip]

We are so quick to call Boston terror, why aren’t we calling man w/high capacity magazine a terrorist?

[snip]

As I look at it w/eyes of prosecutor, I find it troubling that one is treated to cause so much more fear than other.

[snip]

It’s possible both had same motive, just one chose military weapon, the other chose homemade explosive.

It’s a provocative, but necessary question. The crime of terrorism relies on having a political motive. In both these attacks, we don’t know motive. But two days after Boston, we’re treating it as terrorism, while the attack that killed 20 children in their school still isn’t called such.

My inclination would be to call neither terrorism. McCaskill is right that the term just serves to generate fear.

But I’m glad she asked the question.

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7 Responses to Claire McCaskill: Why Aren’t We Calling Sandy Hook Terror?

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emptywheel @mariojrusso Over and over we've seen that when Feds allow themselves to rely on few providers (MIC, banks, KBR) bad things happen
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emptywheel @mariojrusso When we tried to make JPMC & Citi play by rules stopped making loans @charles_gaba @xpostfactoid1 @armandodkos @princessmom122
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emptywheel @mariojrusso Good point but I fear once you have private SP they'll start cheating @charles_gaba @xpostfactoid1 @armandodkos @princessmom122
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emptywheel @mariojrusso & what incentive to use leverage to make better medical decisions? @charles_gaba @xpostfactoid1 @armandodkos @princessmom122
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emptywheel @mariojrusso Sure. But what incentive would they have to pass on? @charles_gaba @xpostfactoid1 @armandodkos @princessmom122
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emptywheel @mariojrusso Right now (bc of consolidation) we're headed to private SP. Dangerous @charles_gaba @xpostfactoid1 @armandodkos @princessmom122
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emptywheel @ncardozo I got to read my uncle's files on Apollo program after he died. All paper, no security, in the basement! @PogoWasRight @mattblaze
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emptywheel @mariojrusso I'm concerned abt that, especially given mandate @charles_gaba @xpostfactoid1 @armandodkos @princessmom122
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bmaz RT @chrislhayes: effects that exacerbated mass incarceration on local level, and racist understandings of the issue. That said, it strikes …
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bmaz RT @chrislhayes: That is to his great credit, because as damaging as the policies of the 90s were, the rhetoric was just as damaging. It cr…
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bmaz RT @chrislhayes: into the reactionary tropes around "super predators" and tough on crime. See his prescient '94 floor speech https://t.co/G
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