Questions are being raised about the consistency of the government's standard for what qualifies as "terrorism," as recent high-profile shootings bear that label while tragedies like the Fort Hood massacre do not.

According to the Patriot Act, domestic terrorism is defined as an act of violence that is intended to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population, 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."

The shooting earlier this month at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin where six were killed by an alleged neo-Nazi military veteran was publicly described by the attorney general as an act of terrorism motivated by hate.

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