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?


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


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.


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 Folks, as to Van Dyke, he is only being held no bail until.....the bail hearing Monday. There is no definitive order on bail yet.
JimWhiteGNV Okay folks, be sure to finalize your preparations for the day we celebrate genocide on US soil!
bmaz @CabouJ We have no bail on capital cases here either if proof evident+presumption great. But as to Van Dyke, there is a bail hearing Monday
JimWhiteGNV @Pedinska Who did they expect to be in a Taliban prison other than the very Afghans we are supposed to be protecting?
bmaz @katz_oversight @JustADCohen That is pretty sober critique. PERF actually does a lot of good work.
emptywheel @price_laborecon I have to do pumpkin for T-Giving. Spouse demands it. But I'm pretty expert pie baker @mariyastrauss @banditelli @KatiSipp
bmaz @_JGR I mean, in light of direct complaint+sole charge, I'd ask that question in any jurisdiction, but especially Cook County.
bmaz RT @benjaminwittes: Important informative piece for anyone interested in the relationship between refugees/visitors and terrorism. https://…
emptywheel @mariyastrauss Apple is definitely easier than pumpkin, even with a lid. @banditelli @KatiSipp @price_laborecon
bmaz @_JGR Right. There is a pattern here. If you really want a conviction, why wouldn't you plead the lesser includeds??
bmaz @JarekFA @JustADCohen No, a single count was charged.
bmaz @BradMossEsq @ggreenwald Anything to justify senseless slaughter I suppose. Oh, wait the Su-24 wasn't in Turkey space. Ooopsie!
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