But was it terrorism?

I was in a a cab on my way to dinner with my friends Connie, Chris and Dennis, and I heard a rather odd public service announcement from the DC police. It was about the Ft. Hood shootings, and it noted how everyone agrees now that it was an act of terrorism.

Really?

I caught a glimpse of FOX News the other day, and they’ve all but convicted the entire Muslim world of being behind the “obvious terrorist attack.” But just because FOX says something doesn’t make it true. In fact, it quite often puts it in doubt.

This story from ABC News gives some of the latest updates on the case, and I have to say, it sure sounds like grasping at straws. E.g., he was seen at strip clubs! Well, then we might as well convict most of red state America as well. And he frequented a shooting range! (Ditto). He also was seen regularly having dinner with a man who reportedly wore “traditional Muslim garb.”

Give me a break. The man may have very well been part of an extreme Muslim terrorist conspiracy, but these “facts” from ABC bear a distinct stench of racial stereotyping. The man was in the military, of course he went to shooting ranges and strip clubs. (And the fact that he went to strip clubs throws in doubt just how much of a Muslim fundamentalist he really was.) And he was Muslim, so it doesn’t really say much that he would have dinner with a guy in “Muslim garb.” These are facts without a point.

Then there’s the larger question: What exactly is “terrorism,” how do you define a “terrorist attack”? I know it’s PC on the right to consider any attack on US troops by a guy who’s a Muslim to be “terrorism.” But if we stretch the definition of terrorism too far, doesn’t it risk watering it down to the point of meaninglessness?

Again, this may have been a terror attack. But for FOX and the Metropolitan Police Department to immediately declare any attack on US troops an act of terror, without having all the facts, strikes me as a bit counterproductive to the whole effort to deter terrorist attacks. Isn’t it possible the guy was just some nut, angry at the military and wanting to strike back, who just happened to be Muslim? And even if he did go on his rampage because he was upset about “US troops killing Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan,” does that make this a terrorist attack, or simply a rampage by a guy who clearly didn’t have his head on straight?

Was the McDonald’s shooting in California in the early 80s also a terrorist attack? And all the Postal employees shooting up their places of work? Or do you have to be Muslim to qualify?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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