Terror is as terror does

Manhattan: Last month saw an unprecedented series of acts of domestic terrorism. And yet, as compared to international terrorists, none of the homegrown terrorists responsible — for murdering 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, for murdering two black Americans in Kentucky, and for sending bombs to 14 American leaders — will be charged as terrorists. The Patriot Act defines domestic terrorism as criminal acts intended “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population,” but does not provide for prosecution for under that standard. These terrorists will likely be charged with murder, hate crimes and related charges under federal or state law. Congress and federal prosecutors should follow the example of New York City, where white supremacist James Jackson stands indicted under a state statute for Murder as an Act of Terrorism for his murder of a black man in an effort to start a race war. All violence intended to terrorize a particular group, including that perpetrated by white supremacists, is an act of terrorism against us all. 

Lucy Lang, executive director, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, John Jay College of Criminal Justice