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Why isn't the K.C. shooting suspect a 'terrorist?'

Headlines this week beg the question: how do we define terrorism? And why isn’t anyone calling the Kansas City shooting suspect a terrorist? (Via KSHB)

“The avowed anti-semite.” (Via CNN)

“Extremist, lone-wolf.” (Via MSNBC)

“Federal authorities now classifying this as a hate crime.” (Via Fox News)

Frazier Glenn Cross is a former KKK leader with political ambitions accused of killing three people outside Jewish centers. The shooting seems to fit the Justice Department’s definition of terrorism: 1) premeditated, 2) political, 3) aimed at civilians, 4) and not carried out by another nation. And yet, this has been classified as a hate crime.

>> Read more trending stories  

Looking at mainstream press, even including the search term “terrorist” along with the suspect’s name, you’d be hard-pressed to find the word used anywhere across the World Wide Web. (Via Google)

And it’s difficult to see why Cross is not a terrorist — in the eyes of we the media or the government — when you start making comparisons.

Like the Kansas City shooter, the Boston Marathon bombers were also American residents, also killed three people and also had political motives. They did not have any ties to extremist groups, be it the KKK or Al Qaeda, but they were labeled terrorists. (Via RT)

When a man named Joseph Stack flew a private plane into an IRS building, killing one person, in 2010, the term for him was “suicide pilot” or even “tax protester.” (Via Los Angeles TimesThe Wall Street Journal)

When Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009, the Army classified it as at workplace shooting, but a Senate report called it “the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11.” (Via ABC)

NYU’s Remi Brulin is writing a book on this issue — America’s use of the word “terrorism.” He spoke to us by phone about the Kansas City suspect.

BRULIN: “The murders that took place Sunday were politically and ideologically motivated. They were obviously extremely violent acts … It seems pretty obvious that if that person had been Muslim or an Arab American, many more people would be calling that an act of terrorism.” (Via CBS)

And the Southern Poverty Law Center agrees.

“This incident would be described as domestic terrorism if it had been Islamic extremism … This was a political act just like an Al Qaeda attack would be.” (Via CNN)

And, race and religion aside, there’s likely another kind of bias at play: the media’s penchant for sensationalism. (Via The Boston Globe)

The Boston bombing was, by far, the most heavily covered story of 2013 among the network newscasts. It was certainly a huge story, worthy of coverage. But it also had narrative elements that lent themselves to TV news: a manhunt, a police shootout and an explosion captured on camera. (Via PBS,ABCThe Tyndall Report)

The many mass shootings that claim a similar casualty count — like in Kansas Sunday — just don’t get the same attention and usually don’t stoke fear of terrorist connections.

But why does it matter that the actual word “terrorism” is used? Well, to weigh the importance of the word terrorism, consider all the things the U.S. government does to fight terror that it doesn’t do to fight hate crimes.

There is, of course, the War on Terror. Then there’s drone warfare against those accused of terror, detainment in Guantanamo without trial justified by concerns over terror. (Via The GuardianU.S. Department of Defense)

So for now there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer for why officials and the media only refer to some mass killers as terrorists — even though the question isn’t new.

It comes up after mass shootings, after targeted bombings, and today about the Kansas City suspect who, at least for now, is charged with murder and hate crimes. (Via SalonThe GuardianKCTV)

See more at newsy.com.

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  • Responding to concerns about personal security for lawmakers after last week’s gun attack at a Congressional baseball practice, U.S. House leaders are moving to provide extra money to members for protection back home, as well as new funding to bolster the work of police and security officials on Capitol Hill. Under a plan approved by a House spending subcommittee on Friday, the Congress would provide an extra $7.5 million next year to the Capitol Police for an “increased security posture” around the Capitol, along with $5 million to the House Sergeant at Arms to help with security for lawmakers back in their districts. “We are taking a new fresh look at security,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), the Chairman of subcommittee that deals with funding for the Legislative Branch. Our FY18 Legislative Branch funding bill increases efficiency & transparency in Congress, enhances security for Members & our constituents. pic.twitter.com/FI36tF2XeH — Rep. Kevin Yoder (@RepKevinYoder) June 22, 2017 “The tragic events of June 14 weigh heavily on these deliberations,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which could vote on the extra money as early as this next week. Also being put into motion is a separate plan to funnel an extra $25,000 to each member of the House – about $11 million in all – to help them increase security back in their districts. “The scariest part for us is there used to be this impression by the public that we all had security everywhere we went,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). “Now, everyone knows that isn’t the case,” Ryan added, as he lent his support to the extra funding for security as well. The money in this budget bill would not take effect until the new fiscal year – which starts October 1 – so, House leaders are ready to okay extra money immediately for members worried about security back in their districts. Roll Call newspaper reported that could be approved in coming days by the House Administration Committee. Yoder said Congressional leaders are also waiting to see if money raised in campaign contributions for House elections could be put to use for security as well. “Pending an FEC (Federal Election Commission) decision, we’re also looking at whether campaign funds could be used to continue to support security upgrades at personal residences,” Yoder added.
  • An unknown aged girl went to the hospital with burns to her legs, following an overnight house fire. KRMG’s told the fire started around 2:40 a.m., at a residence on West 50th Court North. The homeowner says he was able to get his daughter, grand daughter and sleeping brother out of the house. So far, firefighters haven't released a cause for the fire.  The homeowner believes fumes from a gas can in the garage may have cause the blaze.   
  • Multiple people had to be rescued early Saturday morning in Rogers County. OTEMS paramedics report a boat started to sink on Oologah Lake just after midnight. “Additional information was received that the boat had its nose in the air, four individuals were in the water, and only one was wearing a PDF (personal flotation device),” an official said. “A Rogers County Deputy spotted what might be the boat south of Winganon Bridge but was unable to determine the precise location. However it was located by the Northwest Water Rescue unit and at 0048 hours the rescue boat reported that it had located the victims and was loading the fourth individual into the boat.” KRMG’s told the victims were hanging onto the hull when they were found. So far, no injuries have been reported.  Officials also haven’t released any names.   We do know the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has taken over the investigation.  
  • Tulsa investigators are looking for a driver who fled the scene, after hitting a male pedestrian late Friday night. Police report the auto-pedestrian collision happened around 11:34 p.m., near East Admiral and North Yale. “The pedestrian victim has been declared deceased at this time,” police said.   Investigators don't have a description of the driver or the car.  Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.
  • We know this might start an argument, but according to Business Insider, Oklahoma's most famous band EVER is the Flaming Lips. Business Insider admits the song 'She Don't Use Jelly' is the Norman-based indie rockers only U.S. hit. But they say the band has had many hits in the U.K. and Europe and, even more impressive, three Grammys to their credit. Some on the list are hard to argue with, like Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band in New Jersey or Nirvana in Washington State. You can see the entire list of the most famous bands here.