Albert Fordwrote for Fortune Magazine about why it's dangerous to call the Charlottesville car attack anything but terrorism:
James Alex Fields Jr. stood in court yesterday on charges of second-degree murder. But if he’s found guilty, we don’t have to read between the lines to glimpse another conclusion: Fields, on Saturday, also committed an act of terrorism.
A 20-year-old white man who drove eight and a half hours from his home in Maumee, Ohio, to attend a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., Fields rammed his Dodge Challenger into a group of non-violent protesters who had gathered in the city to push back against the rally. He, as a result, killed Heather Heyer, a Charlottesville resident, and injured at least 19 others. Speaking to CNN, a high-school teacher of Fields said: “He really bought into this white supremacist thing. He was very big into Nazism. He really had a fondness for Adolf Hitler.”
What makes Fields’ car-ramming rampage a terrorist attack? If we take a glance at the definition of terrorism, the one used by the federal government, we’ll see the term defined as the “unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”—and we’ll see, in turn, that Fields’ murderous action was exactly that.