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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?

Dave Ballard August 07, 2012 at 07:12 PM
The answer to the title question is "Yes." I've never understood racially motivated hatred. It just makes no sense to me. It makes even less sense that someone would target a religious group that has generally been peaceful to a fault. I'm glad he's not in my Army, or on my planet, anymore. My heart and prayers are with his victims.
Patricia Sabin August 07, 2012 at 07:56 PM
This is the only subject (ever) in which I agreed with Neal Boortz. In my opinion, any crime that involves the vicious intent to harm, or the complete disregard for the life of another person, is a hate crime. If a man murders his wife, and they're of the same race, is it not a hate crime? If a group of boys enters a convenience store with the intent to rob and kill the cashier, is it only a hate crime if the victim is a of a different race, culture, sexual orientation? Rape is a hate crime. Murder is a hate crime. Armed robbery with the probability of a violent outcome is a hate crime. I even think that stealing copper from someone's air-conditioner is a hate crime if an elderly person or a young baby can die as a result. You can't legislate attitude - only behavior. Except as a matter or curiosity, does the WHY really matter?
Brenda Jones August 08, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Only in the last decade or so have we become SO disgustingly Politically Correct that we think Crime needs some further definition. ANY kind of crime resonates from evil intent in the heart of one person, directed at another person or group of persons. Consider the Charles Manson California murders of the late 1960s, the Ted Bundy Serial rape/murders of college co-eds in Florida, the Boston strangler, Jack the Ripper, or any number of others. How about all the violent killings ordered by various Mafia Mob Leaders throughout the 20th Century. Did we ever need to LABEL ANY of these as "Hate Crimes" or "Domestic Terrorism"? NO!! Crime in any form against another person is Crime, and Murder is a Crime. WHY do we seem to have this need to label it something else? Just simply call it what it is. Since there seems to be this incessant need for LABELS today, my mind is really questioning WHY this Wisconsin incident is being labeled as "Domestic Terrorism" by the FBI and other authorities, while the Fort Hood, Texas incident was labeled as "workplace violence" by President Obama and others, even though an avowed Muslim killed numerous U.S. Military personnel??

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