Michigan school shooter charged with terrorism?

Edit: Rats; this doesn’t belong in Factual questions. I’ve reported it to be moved.

I believe the line of thinking is that the students in the school were terrified as part of the commission of this crime.

What prevents this law from being expanded to subsequent events that have an affect on the psyche of those not physically harmed?
It seems that we can apply the terrorism charge to people who drive through parades, or demonstrations that turn violent, or armed robberies…

It seems that its possible, that any act where people are legitimately frightened can result in a terrorism charge.

I’m hearing some chatter that not only did his father buy the gun just a few days ago, but that the boy made very credible threats and a lot of kids knew about them, and I’ve already seen interviews with kids who stayed home that day, and parents who heard about the threats themselves and kept their child(ren) home.

The parents’ social media pages are definitely being examined as well, to determine if they may in some way have been complicit. I did see them on CNN this afternoon during the Zoom hearing (they were in a vehicle) and they looked absolutely crushed - but now I’m wondering if it’s not so much what their son (allegedly - he hasn’t been convicted yet) did as that they may be charged themselves.

Not all the charges are necessarily going to stick. “Terrorism” may be the first one to be dropped. As to “why”, the prosecutor in this case seemed to be emotionally invested, and hell, that’s no surprise and not unreasonable. Another major aspect of the case that may be challenged is charging a 15-year-old as an adult, which a 15-year-old clearly is not. I really don’t know what an appropriate resolution is, but it should be obvious that what we’re dealing with here is an extremely disturbed child, and very obviously a dangerous one – no more, no less.

And yes, I agree this discussion belongs somewhere other than Factual Questions.

Let’s give GD a try.

Moved from FQ to GD.

My first thought was “victim of bullies”.

Bullying is very much a problem and our society is still crap at dealing with it. A certain number of teen suicides are connected to bullying, but if the kid decides to kill the perpetrators instead of himself you could wind up with a school shooter.

Time will tell. Maybe.

Thanks for the comments, but I’d like to focus more on the likelihood of terrorism charges being used for an expanding number of offenses; rather then the specific school shooting crime

I think the answer will depend in part on how successful they are in getting a conviction on the terrorism charge. I don’t think it’s appropriate simply because it doesn’t fit the definition, and since he’s already facing multiple first-degree murder charges and numerous others, there’s enough there to put him away for life. The only difference it might make is getting him sent to the federal supermax where the surviving Boston bomber and others of his ilk currently reside. I think the terrorism charge is a bit of grandstanding by an emotionally invested prosecutor, who has already vowed that she will pursue the case as if the deceased children had been her own.

If the terrorism charge sticks, I have no doubt other prosecutors in that state and others will try to add that charge. RICO was originally used for organized crime, but it was broad enough to apply to other demographics. Ditto those civil asset forfeiture laws which were originally for drug dealers or something.

Excellent observation. I believe the legal concept is “precedent”. If they can get a conviction for terrorism is this case, it will set a precedent that other prosecutors can use to strengthen their own cases.

I can’t easily find the statute under which the shooter was charged. But Michigan appears to define “Acts of Terrorism” to require that the act “is intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence or affect the conduct of government or a unit of government through intimidation or coercion.”

I’m not aware of any evidence of that here. Mass killings often would qualify as “acts of terror,” but school shootings seldom do. So my guess is that this count gets dropped or dismissed.

Obviously, an expansive view of “terrorism” is fairly common in political rhetoric, but I don’t think it has any basis in the law. If this were to prevail, then yes, I do think that you would see it expanded to other criminal events, and even events that would not otherwise be criminal.

I don’t what the evidence for terrorism could be. In my mind, a terrorist act is one that has a purpose of trying to convince a specified group of people to stop acting as they are. For example the purpose of 9/11 was presumably to stop the US from supporting Israel. Or something.

A marginal case was the Montreal polytechnique shooting whose purpose was to discourage women from going into engineering.

So, like the common definition, they need a cause—something they are trying to make people do. Without that component, I don’t see this charge being used much.

If it does apply here, they’ll have to show this cause. Maybe there is one being alleged that we don’t know about.

Perhaps the YouTube videos (since removed) the murderer is supposed to have made shed some light on his motivations.

Yeah - terrorism seems quite a stretch.

How bout a bank robbery as likely only occurs in movies - robber pulls gun, tells no one to move until teller gives him the $. Seem to be plenty of charges that could be Brough w/o going to “terror.”

IMO, the suggestion of such charges is but one manifestation of how wrong our nation has gone since 9/11, declaring war against such a nebulous foe as “terror”, and greatly expanding police powers/spending including the militarization of police.

There was a hostage situation in our town a couple of weeks ago. Some yahoo with a gun had a fight w/ his GF. Some law agency in these western burbs of Chicago had a freaking TANK they brought out to play with!

You can tell just by looking at him that he couldn’t be a terrorist.

Curious to know what terrorists look like.

Swarthy and bearded.

Seriously, I think the terrorism charge is just political theater and will probably be dismissed. If he’s convicted as an adult of the multiple first-degree and attempted murder charges, that should be more than enough to achieve any desired level of sentencing and keep him off the streets.

Speculative, but I believe your answer lies in here, OP. There is no very sound legal reason for this, but there is a political reason. It is maybe relevant that this prosecutor was a popular judge who stepped down to run against an incumbent prosecutor on a very 2020-Democrat-hot-button kind of platform, which is an odd career path if it isn’t headed somewhere else.

In other words, “these kids were scared, how is this not terrorism” isn’t a great legal theory that is likely to end in convictions, but maybe it is a decent soundbite for somebody who has political aspirations in Michigan.

A handy chart.

Given what we know about the political leanings of at least one of his parents, and general descriptions of his since disappeared videos, I don’t know how you could possibly make that claim. Specifically that there is “no very sound legal reason for this”. It’s entirely possible he expressed a taste for violence in furtherance of a particular ideology, to bring about political change. Doesn’t definitely mean there is a sound legal reason, but I don’t see how you can so confidently rule it out at this point in time.