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 Twitterverse
bmaz @JasonLeopold Think DOJ might have been wanting to send me anyway.
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emptywheel @normative Except given how they treated this review, I assume they'll be stingy with that as well. @onekade @JameelJaffer
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emptywheel @normative The real big revelations WOULD come from the 215 and Exigent reports, which should have lots new declass. @onekade @JameelJaffer
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JimWhiteGNV RT @GregMitch: Wolf Blitzer still looking for more gunmen in Ottawa. Barbara Starr overhead in NORAD drone.
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emptywheel @normative Also outdated reference to what USED to be included in assessments. @onekade @JameelJaffer
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emptywheel @normative Short version is: Almost nothing, except that they're not using 1 NSL authority. @onekade @JameelJaffer
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JimWhiteGNV @jenanmoussa See Rouhani's courageous remarks about extremism, quoted from Erdbrink's coverage: https://t.co/48ur9zgcQE
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JimWhiteGNV RT @jenanmoussa: Women suffer most from extremists. Its just scary what women go through from #Syria to Iraq to Iran. Hell. #pt
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JimWhiteGNV RT @jenanmoussa: Scary. "8 to 9 women attacked by men who splashed them with acid in Isfahan" http://t.co/0I70DKLfM4 #IranAcidAttacks http:…
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JimWhiteGNV RT @Bill_Owen: Everyone says attack in Ottawa, "changes everything". Only if we give into fear. Fuck these guys. Nothing changed. We live, …
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JimWhiteGNV RT @alexisgoldstein: Highway LITTERED w bodies of ppl Admin threw under a bus (@VanJones68, Sibelius), but Obama keeps Brennan after @cia I…
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