The Charleston shooting does not meet the legal definition of terrorism, says FBI Director, James Comey.
“Terrorism is act of violence done or threatened to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry, so it’s more of a political act,” he said at a press conference in Baltimore.
According FBI’s website, an act of domestic terrorism has the following criteria:
-Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
-Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
-Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
Mashable reports that Twitter users slammed Comey for his statements, claiming that the Charleston shooting represents a long history of American security organizations downplaying domestic terrorism.
Dylann Roof says “you’re taking over our country and have to go.” Not political enough for @FBI to see as terrorism apparently.
— The Fleekness Stakes (@Kuahmel) June 20, 2015
A state senator was assassinated in a church, @FBI, and that’s not the “political act” you require to fit your definition of terrorism?
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 20, 2015
The recent discovery of Dylann Roof’s (the alleged shooter) manifesto, seems to also confirm that he intended to commit an act of terrorism. The text, scraped from his website contains chilling statements.
“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
Comey’s statements will undoubtedly give very little solace to the families of the nine people who lost their lives in the Charleston shooting.
Many of these family members were present at Dylann Roof’s bond hearing. Some even offered words of forgiveness to the 21-year-old, CNN reports.
“I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you,” a daughter of Ethel Lance, one of the victims, said. “And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”
Felicia Sanders — mother of victim Tywanza Sanders and a survivor of the Charleston shooting — said that “every fiber in my body hurts, and I will never be the same.”
Dylann Roof stood expressionless as he listened to the families who could see him via closed-circuit camera. He could hear them but not see them.
The selfless words of forgiveness from the families got the attention of President Obama who tweeted.
In the midst of darkest tragedy, the decency and goodness of the American people shines through in these families. https://t.co/aYtAKrWwCY
— President Obama (@POTUS) June 19, 2015
Whether it’s deemed a terrorist act or not, the Charleston shooting demonstrates an America divided along lines that many thought had been erased a long time ago.
[Photo via Facebook]