I think that last night’s shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater WAS an act of terrorism, just not terrorism of the jihadi variety. The shooter clearly planned it out in detail, which indicates that he wasn’t “insane” in the legal sense of the word. There’s no indication that he knew anyone in the theater, which suggests that it wasn’t an act of “vengeance” against any specific person or group of people. He wore a bulletproof vest but didn’t engage in a firefight with cops, which indicates that he wanted to avoid being stopped in the commission of the act (e.g. by a concealed-carrying moviegoer) but then be taken alive by cops. All of this converges on my conclusion that he wants to go out not with a blaze of suicidal “glory” but with a statement of some kind, the content of which we don’t know yet (and whatever it is, it’s stupid for one network to have implied that it may have anything to do with possible, unconfirmed, past attendance at “Tea Party” events specifically — there’s nothing violent about that organization’s rhetoric or aims). This guy’s more Anders Breivik (Norway) than Nidal Hassan (Ft. Hood), Cho Seung Hui (Virginia Tech), or Jared Loughner (Arizona), and to the extent that his mother apparently wasn’t entirely surprised, as I always say in these cases, there almost certainly were prior indications of impassioned volatility on his part even if he didn’t necessarily have past run-ins with law enforcement or the mental-health system.
CO theater shooting rampage WAS terrorism