Is Sikh Shooting Domestic Terrorism or Was It a Hate Crime?
Seven people, including shooter, died Sunday morning at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., at the hands of a 40-year-old Army veteran and reported member of a white supremacist group. By definition, is this domestic terrorism or a hate crime?
The Oak Creek Patch reported that officials in Oak Creek, Wis., said Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran, was the sole person responsible for a shooting at the Sikh Temple on Sunday. When it was all over, seven people, including the gunman, were dead and three people remain in critical condition in the hospital. One of the injured is a police officer who was ambushed by the gunman while responding to the shooting.
The incident is being treated as domestic terrorism, officials said at the Sunday afternoon press conference, and the FBI is overseeing the criminal investigation. The shooter reportedly had tattoos that lead them to label the incident as domestic terrorism. Fort Bragg Patch reported that the soldier was a Colorado native who sang and played guitar in a band that may have had white-supremacist motives. Page was formerly attached to the Fort Bragg military base.
The Sikh community in Oak Creek reportedly had been the target of violence recently, including the looting of a Sikh-owned business, but there has not yet been any indication that the incident will be considered a hate crime. With Page dead, however, the definition of the crime is not relevant to the prosecution of the shooter.
The dictionary definition of a hate crime is: a crime, usually violent, motivated by prejudice or intolerance toward a member of a gender, racial, religious, or social group.
The definition of domestic violence is: the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.
Based on those definitions, should this be considered a hate crime, domestic terrorism, or does it qualify under both these definitions?