Unitarian Church Shooting is Terrorism

The shooting at the Unitarian Church in Knoxville, TN on Sunday that left two adults dead and seven wounded was an unequivocal act of terrorism.

Though the international community at the UN General Assembly has been unable to come up with a common definition of terrorism as it applies to existing groups there are broad elements of a definition that are widely held.

An act of terrorism is violence by a civilian or civilians against unarmed civilians for a political motive. Al-Qaeda attacking US servicemen in the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, or in the USS Cole, or in Iraq or even in Fort Dix, New Jersey is not terrorism. It is a guerilla attack. Al-Qaeda attacking civilians in US embassies in Africa or at the World Trade Center is indeed terrorism.

So is suspect Jim D. Adkisson's attack on civilians in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Police found a letter in Adkisson's car expressing his " hatred of the liberal movement."

Even if this man hopefully acted alone it is chilling to all progressive people and groups, like the Unitarians. Are we free to express our views, indeed to allow our children to perform in a church play?

Adkisson must be tried on terrorism charges and the White House and Congressional leaders must speak out against this form of domestic terrorism too, not just the inflated threat from Islamic extremists that threaten American political and economic interests abroad and help drum up defense contracts at home.