Eight people were killed and almost a dozen injured when a 29-year-old man in a rented pickup truck drove down a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center Tuesday in Manhattan, New York City.
The suspect was identified by two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov.
It's understandable that the New York truck attack — the deadliest terror attack in New York since 9/11 — was called terrorism. The suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, said he was inspired by ISIS, and other ISIS sympathizers have used vehicle-ramming attacks overseas to kill scores of people in recent years.
But armed terrorists around the world have also charged into public spaces, firing indiscriminately at innocent people, just like Devin Kelley did when he killed more than 26 people Sunday at the First Baptist Church in tiny Sutherland Springs, Texas. The massacre — the worst in Texas' history and the fifth-worst in modern American history — killed about 4% of the town's population.
At a news conference Monday, Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the San Antonio division of the FBI, said "at this time we don't have a terrorism investigation open."
So why isn't the Texas church shooting being called an act of terror?
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the world has never really settled on a standard definition of "terrorism." The US Code of Federal Regulations defines it as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."
But it is not a standalone criminal charge.
"There is not a domestic terrorism crime as such," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a Senate hearing in September. "We in the FBI refer to domestic terrorism as a category but it's more of a way in which we allocate which agents, which squad is going to work on it."
Hamite People Are Called Animals When They Kill, Japheth People Are Called Mentally Unstable When They Kill. (6 November 2017)
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