Opinion | What makes Charlottesville special?

JORDAN REICH
Associate Editor

Nice, Berlin, London, Stockholm, Barcelona… Charlottesville.

Vehicles were used in each of these cities to attack innocent people, resulting in lost lives and injuries. While five of the six have been labeled as acts of terrorism by political leaders and mass media, one stands out.

It baffles me.

Charlottesville was not the first, nor will it likely be the last, occurrence of domestic terrorism in the United States. While the man who purposefully drove into the crowd in Charlottesville may not have had what some may regard as “traditional” ties to terrorism – as in, he was a white adolescent male and not associated with ISIS/Daesh – right-wing terrorism is STILL TERRORISM.

Why does the U.S. have trouble labeling attacks as domestic terrorism? Why did our fearless orange leader only denounce white supremacy after facing backlash from his first “violence on many sides” speech?

Trump stated in a press conference on Aug. 14, “racism is evil, [and] those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups…” One day later, he defended his original remarks from Aug. 12, again saying there “is blame on both sides,” refusing to call James Fields Jr.’s actions terroristic in nature.

Section 802 of the USA PATRIOT Act defines domestic terrorism as the following:

“(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population… and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”

By this definition, there is no question as to whether or not Heather Heyer’s death resulted from an act of terror.

Trump has only denounced terrorism if it has involved someone with more melanin in their skin than Melania. It’s time for the U.S. to look in the mirror and realize that we have homegrown problems. It’s time for our leaders to take responsibility and be proactive against acts of hate, and that includes categorizing factions of the alt-right as terrorist groups.

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