While addressing the San Bernardino shooting, the Assistant Director of the FBI David Bowdich didn’t use the word “terrorism” because, apparently, none of the suspects had been identified.
Here’s an excerpt from his press conference:
“I know one of your questions will be, ‘Is this a terrorist incident?’ I will tell you right now, we do not know if this is a terrorist incident. We start from the beginning, working with our local partners. We take the presumption that it may be or it may not be.”
The attack claimed 14 lives and Bowdich’s hesitation to count it as terrorism prompted criticism, with many saying the decision should not depend on the shooter’s identity.
Officer says no indication it's "terrorism in the traditional sense people might be thinking of" which is a hell of a euphemism.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 2, 201
@nytimes How is it not a terrorist event? Is it only a terrorist event when it is someone who is middle eastern? david bowdich is an idiot— jalencee (@UNDFTD_J) December 2, 2015
Someone tell David Bowdich the various definitions of terrorism. A mass shooting is a domestic terrorist attack. Get it together FBI.— kaelee (@thekaeleesi) December 2, 2015
In the wake of frequent mass shootings in the U.S. this year — the San Bernardino shootings marks 352 shootings in 336 days — there has been a lot of debate over whether these attacks should be termed as domestic terrorism.
While acts of violence by white males are termed as “lone wolf attacks” by law enforcement authorities and various media outlets, as was seen with the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado past weekend, similar crimes are labeled terrorism as soon as the attacker is identified as a Muslims or a Middle Easterner.
In a study released in June of lethal terrorist incidents in the United State since 9/11, roughly over a period of 14 years, researchers found that 26 Americans have been killed by “deadly jihadist attacks” while almost double that number — 48 U.S. citizens — were killed by “deadly right-wing attacks.”
And this is exactly why more people are calling for all mass shootings to be labeled as domestic terrorism, regardless of their religious or ethnic identities.