Earlier this week prosecutors charged Curtis Wayne Allen (49), Patrick Eugene Stein (47) and Gavin Wayne Wright (49) with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in Garden City, Kansas.
The suspects planned to detonate truck bombs around a small apartment complex home to 120 Somali residents and a mosque.
Prosecutors have said that the so-called 'Crusaders' espouse sovereign citizen, anti-government and anti-Muslim extremist beliefs and that the men also talked about attacking some of the area churches which have helped settle refugees.
People swiftly called for the attack to be labelled terrorism, as mass-violence motivated by an extremist ideology:
Despite this, CBS Evening News preferred instead to refer to the men as 'militia'...
...which a lot of people picked up on:
As a reminder, the US government has traditionally used four criteria to detemine whether an act of terror has occurred:
- Political motivation
- Aimed at civilians
- Carried out by sub-national groups, rather than the state or army
The media widely reported the Garden City plot as terrorism.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said after the arrests:
According to the complaint, these three defendants conspired to conduct a bombing attack against an apartment complex occupied by men, women and children in the Garden City, Kansas community.
Protecting our nation from such attacks, whether they are rooted in domestic or international terrorism, is our highest priority.