VERIFY: Why isn't the Texas shooting called 'Terrorism?'

Twenty-six crosses stand in a field on the edge of town to honor the 26 victims killed at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 6, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 
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QUESTION:

Why isn’t the Texas shooting called “Terrorism?”

ANSWER:

It comes down to 'intent' or "why" the person did it, unless a new motive is uncovered, the Sutherland Springs case is not an act of terrorism.

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SOURCES:

U.S. Code, Federal Bureau Investigation

PROCESS:

Shortly after the attack in New York City President Trump and others tweeted - calling it "terrorism," but the President's tweets about Texas - don't mention it.

That lead to some confused and frustrated people tweeting - Why isn't this Texas case an act of Terror? To find out, our Verify researchers went to the FBI and the text of U.S. law. It comes down to 'intent' or "why" the person did it. A motive has to be connected to some sort of political, religious, or ideological extremism for it to be considered terrorism. That was clear in the New York attack on October 31 – after authorities found materials pledging allegiance to ISIS.

 

The determination is even more clear-cut when prosecutors decide whether to charge someone *with* a terrorism-related crime.

It comes down to 'intent' or "why" the person did it. A motive must be connected to some sort of political, religious, or ideological extremism for it to be considered terrorism. That was clear in the New York attack last week – after authorities found materials pledging allegiance to ISIS.

The U-S-Code lays out specific legal definitions for "domestic" terrorism *and* "international" terrorism. Again, if they don't meet the level of intent, they won't be classified as a terrorist act.

So, while you may be seeing posts on social media calling for the Sutherland Springs case to be called terrorism, legally –unless they uncover a new motive - it can't be.