Nothing Domestic About It

There were two more mass shootings over the past weekend.  Nine are dead in Dayton, Ohio; twenty-one are dead in El Paso, Texas.

The talking heads this morning were discussing and debating whether or not these incidents were acts of domestic terrorism.  I want to know how anyone can argue that these were not acts of terrorism; I also want to know why they should be labeled ‘Domestic Terrorism?’  Why should we differentiate these terrorists from any other?  Are their victims any less dead because the shooters are white?  Are they any less dead because many of them are not?

In the years following 9-11 there was a lot of discussion of homegrown terrorist – which was intended to describe terrorists who were born in North America, yet subscribed to the fanatical religious beliefs of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.  In the first couple of days following the El Paso shooting, evidence suggests that the terrorist was a white man intent on shooting Mexicans and Hispanics.  In other words, he wanted them dead because they were not like him, and did not fit his idea of what Americans should look like and talk like.  The shooter was no less of a homegrown terrorist than any fanatical Muslim who shoots up an Army post for his beliefs. 

Terrorists are terrorists, and by labeling them ‘domestic’ makes me think of my girlfriend’s cats.  The dictionary defines the word as “relating to the running of a home or to family relations.”  There is nobody in my home who would kill anyone because they were different.  Applying adjectives makes it sound like they are somehow different from someone who would strap a bomb to their body and detonate it in a night club or pizzeria.  The shooters this weekend are no different, no smarter, no better, and no more moral than the shahids who do just that.

Let’s not separate these criminals from the others.  Let’s hope that they are relegated to the same circle of Hell as the others.  If nothing else, let’s still call them what they are: TERRORISTS.


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