Why isn’t the Texas shooting called “Terrorism?”
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.
U.S. Code, Federal Bureau Investigation
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.
My thoughts, condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack. God and your country are with you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2017
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
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.
Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.
© 2017 WUSA-TV