Letters to the Editor: Don’t be shy about saying racist mass killers are terrorists

El Paso
A memorial at the Walmart in El Paso where 22 people were killed on Aug. 3.
(Larry W. Smith / EPA-EFE/REX )

To the editor: Columnist Virginia Heffernan’s attempt to clear the mass killers in California, Texas and Ohio of terrorism charges is a cry for help from the political status quo.

Leaving aside the incoherence of her argument, which rambles from the French Revolution to political correctness and various points in between, she defines terrorists as “those resisting a government or an occupying army.” This would absolve the Saudi Arabian terrorists of 9/11, who were engaged in neither of those two actions.

The United Nations defines terrorists as those who commit “criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public,” without regard to any specific political, religious or ideological motivation.


By the U.N.’s definition, these mass killers are clearly terrorists.

Leigh Clark, Granada Hills


To the editor: Heffernan’s column makes good points, including her statement that “it is imprecise to equate an ideology, white supremacy, which apparently motivated at least one of the attacks, with a tactic, terrorism.”

But in the El Paso shooting, the purpose appeared to be to terrorize that city’s majority Latino population to the point that they would no longer want to live in the United States. The alleged shooter drove nine hours to get to El Paso. The “invasion” rhetoric also had a hand in swaying the accused Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, who thought the Jewish parishioners were enabling this so-called invasion.

Similarly, the Ku Klux Klan should also be characterized as a terrorist organization, as it caused African American citizens to flee their communities and tried to scare them from voting.

Ben Nethercot, Topanga