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Challenges of tracking, prosecuting Planned Parenthood shooting as 'domestic terrorism'

by AirTalk®

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In this handout provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department, suspect Robert L. Dear poses for a mugshot photo after he was was arrested following a deadly attack and standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Handout/Getty Images

Planned Parenthood and Republican presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee, have labeled Friday’s Colorado clinic shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

Others, like Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, have chosen to view suspected gunman Robert Lewis Dear’s five-hour shooting spree as a “mental crisis” instead. The spree resulted in three deaths and nine injuries.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the sole difference between terrorism and domestic terrorism is the location in which the act occurs -- domestically or beyond U.S. borders.

If found guilty of the murders, will Dear be charged with domestic terrorism? Should he be charged with domestic terrorism given that the shooting was clearly an act of violence?


Brian Levin, Director, Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino

Lawrence Rosenthal, professor of law at Chapman University School of Law; former federal prosecutor

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