AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- The mass shooting that took place in Buffalo on Saturday, is considered a hate crime. But, an expert at Augusta University said it also fits the definition of terrorism.
Dr. Lance Hunter is an Associate Professor of Political Science at AU. He spent years researching mass shootings and terrorism, and eventually published his findings.
He explained an event must fit three criteria to be considered an act of terror. It must be a violent event, be motivated by radical political, social, or religious ideologies and have a target “enemy” or “other”.
Dr. Hunter said many people are hesitant to label mass shootings as terrorism, because they don’t match up with preconceived ideas of what terrorism is. He explained that when many Americans think of terrorists, they think of Al Qaeda and ISIS, and they think of bombings and hijackings.
“Because if we look at the incident in buffalo, in my estimation, based on the evidence I’ve seen, it fits all the criteria to be considered a form of terrorism. So you can have an action that is a form of a hate crime, and it’s also terrorism. So, it can be both. And we believe that it is both here, based on the statements and writings done by the perpetrator,” said Dr. Hunter.
Dr. Hunter said domestic terrorism has been increasing significantly over the last several years. He explained that his research shows one group of Americans has become a leading concern when it comes to mass shootings and terror in the United States.
“If we look at 2015 to currently, regarding domestic terrorism, we see that roughly 80% of the acts of terrorism have come from right oriented individuals or groups. About 20% for left oriented. Out of that 80%, at least half of those are white supremacy groups.”
While many are hesitant to label the Buffalo shooting as terrorism, in a statement Saturday, President Joe Biden called the mass shooting an act of domestic terror.