Let's Label All Mass Killings as Terror Attacks

The carnage at San Bernardino is horrific and heart-wrenching, to say the least. Fourteen precious lives were lost in what may or may not have been an act of terror. Muslim names of the assailants left many to believe that it was a terror attack. While the mainstream media remains largely speculative, many on social platforms are openly calling it an Islamist attack. President Obama is also ambiguous about the motives of the attackers. Whatever may be the outcome of the investigations, one thing is certain: It was a tragic event. Allow me to say that it was a terror attack. Let's label it as one as well as hundreds of other mass shootings in the United States.

Many people have lost their lives in such attacks during this year. Reports of another rampage in Georgia, in which one person was killed, were overshadowed by the California carnage. The Washington Post reports it was the 355th such event this year. USA Today says over 900 people have lost their lives in mass killings between 2006 and 2013. The statistics paint a grim picture of the American society.

People in other parts of the world don't have as easy access to guns as most Americans. Even people on the no-fly lists can procure weapons, as confirmed by President Obama. Such easy availability makes it a simple job for anyone with sinister motives. That person could avenge the behavior of his or her coworkers by emptying multiple rounds on them. That person could also attack a school and kill innocent children. He could also target worshipers in a church. The opportunities are endless. Subsequent investigations label it as a lone wolf event caused by psychological instability. It's certainly not a terror attack.

Let's assume the Bernardino massacre was one. A classic act of violence triggered by faith, Islam in other words. It will trigger a media maelstrom and there will be endless politicking by both the Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls. Age-old notions about Islam, radicalism and terror will be rehashed and put to work. The NRA will be praying it turns out that way. This will help the gun advocates to vilify a religion for the carnage and escape the fallout. They will be very angry if terrorism doesn't surface up to be the ruling motive. Tragically enough, the faith-based motive could also lead to further gun violence (people targeting Muslims as happened after 9/11).

Let's be blunt about this. Faith-based motive of the carnage will help it label as an act of terror. It will most likely remain a standalone event in the U.S. history. It, however, will not be the last time that some deranged lunatic will unload his or her weapons into innocent bystanders. Men, women and children will continue to die at the hands of people who will not be motivated by faith. Perhaps it is the right time to label all such episodes as terror attacks. It will help the families of victims to seek closure. It may also help to address the perpetual state of terror in which many Americans live. Chances of them getting killed by a trigger-happy lunatic are much higher than dying in what is widely perceived as a religious terror attack.