The president called the Orlando attack an act of terror and hate.
The president called the Orlando attack an act of terror and hate.
In the bewildering hours following the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, President Barack Obama called the attack an act of terror and an act of hate.  

    Both words, “terror” and “hate,” work when describing the attack, which left 50 dead (including the gunman) and 53 others wounded, according to the Orlando Police Department.
     NBC News reported that the suspect, Omar Mateen, 29, swore allegiance to a terrorist leader during a 911 phone call. The news organization also reported that Mateen's father said he was enraged after seeing two gay men kiss in Miami.
     Here is an overview of the legal distinction between hate crimes and terrorism:

Terrorism: As defined on the FBI's website, terrorism involves violent acts that violate the law and attempt to intimidate or coerce the population. Terrorism’s aim is to “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.”
    International terrorism specifically occurs outside the U.S. or transcends national boundaries. Domestic terrorism occurs primarily within the U.S.

Hate crimes: These are defined by the FBI as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

Terrorism, by the numbers: Most attacks and most deaths occur outside the United States. In 2014,78 percent of all deaths and 57 percent of all attacks occurred in just five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria,” according to the Global Terrorism Index, 2015, by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a nonprofit. That year, 32,685 people died worldwide in terrorist attacks.

Terrorism, the U.S. and allies: Terrorist attacks in the U.S. get intense press coverage,but they are a small percentage of the total. "In 2014 there were 37 deaths in the 38 countries categorized as the West. This constitutes 0.11 per cent of total deaths from terrorism in 2014. In the 15 years between 2000 and 2014 there were 3,659 deaths from terrorism in the West.” the report said.  (The report specifically defines "Western" countries as Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. Among attacks in the West, nearly three-fourths were conducted by lone wolf terrorists.) 
Hate crimes, by the numbers: The Orlando shooting is drawing attention. But many hate crimes probably don't get reported. In an opinion piece published in The Washington Post in 2015, J. Richard Cohen, a civil rights lawyer and president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote that the FBI’s hate crime report is based on voluntary reporting by law enforcement agencies, and the majority of hate crimes are not reported to the FBI.
    The statistics show Florida, with a population of roughly 20 million, had 65 reported hate crime incidents in 2014. The state of Washington, with a population of only 7 million, reported 308 incidents. Virginia, with 8.3 million, reported 118 incidents. (See the FBI data here.) Altogether, voluntary reporting shows a total of 5,479 incidents in the country that year.
    An analysis by the U.S. Department of Justice gives insight into how far off those numbers could be. “From 2007 to 2011,” the report said, “an estimated annual average of 259,700 nonfatal violent and property hate crime victimizations occurred against persons age 12 or older residing in U.S. households.”


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