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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JimWhiteGNV RT @ArifCRafiq: Guys in the back look scared. https://t.co/s80kVDeuiA
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emptywheel @ryanjreilly Current income. How much did not prosecuting banks pay off for him?
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emptywheel @bsonenstein Had to explain how our treatment of blacks has long been an ideological black eye to adult American last week. She had no idea.
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emptywheel RT @MicahZenko: State Dept on Yemeni civilians killed by US-backed Saudi airstrikes: "That’s really for the Saudi Govt to speak to." http:/…
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emptywheel @ZaidJilani He's been in the same field for over a decade. @gzornick
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emptywheel RT @ZackPohl: Nike to pay college lots of money so players will wear their clothes while playing for free.
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emptywheel @gzornick And his old job was...?
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emptywheel @Johngcole No one has really even started, being busy with Cosby reporting. So the world is your sub.
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emptywheel @we_are_toast Not just abt non-voters: also abt gerry-mandering and ALEC $$. @ThePlumLineGS @GottaLaff
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emptywheel RT @empiricalerror: Cyber Wars Episode I: The Phantom Memo https://t.co/JHrmNIssnU Signed July 2nd, finally surfaces July 7th. #OPM #eQIP
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emptywheel Feels like lesson should instead be swing states outside of South adopting southern strategies to deny voter access. https://t.co/3w0VXPvYUr
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emptywheel @ShawnMusgrave But the CIA is happy to launder info to them anyway. (Still owe you that ref, huh?)
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