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Opinion | Let’s call these heinous crimes what they are – acts of terrorism | Otis Sanford

ABC24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shared his point of view on recent mass shootings across the U.S.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — I am usually not one for semantics, but I have a problem with our seeming reluctance to call most deadly mass shootings in this country acts of terrorism. It just appears that law enforcement likes to reserve that term for foreign perpetrators of violence – or for people who have strictly political motives.

But terrorism goes much deeper than that. Who can deny that the grocery shoppers in Buffalo or the school children in Uvalde, Texas, were terrorized? And the term certainly applies to parade goers Monday in Highland Park, Illinois, where a sniper fatally shot 6 people and wounded many others.

The FBI’s definition of domestic terrorism is clear, and it applies to all of the shootings I just mentioned. It is a violent criminal act by an individual or group to further ideological goals stemming from influences such as those of a political, religious, racial, environmental or social nature - with emphasis on social.

So, let’s stop parsing words and start calling these heinous crimes what they are – acts of terrorism.

Beyond that, all of these crimes have one common denominator – high powered assault rifles. And we have to muster the courage to ban the sale of these weapons to civilians. This won’t happen until a mass killing directly impacts our lawmakers or their families.

I certainly hope that never happens. But unless we act, sadly, it’s only a matter of time.

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