Home Emergency Management News The Department of Homeland Security Calls Harrisburg Shooting a Terrorist Attack

The Department of Homeland Security Calls Harrisburg Shooting a Terrorist Attack

Start a Emergency & Disaster Management degree at American Military University.

By Allison G.S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Recently, there was a shooting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, tragic incidents like this shooting happen relatively frequently in the United States, so it wasn't a particularly sensational story.

However, this shooting stands out from other similar incidents. The Department of Homeland Security recently declared this event to be a "terrorist attack" and highlighted numerous offenses the shooter had committed prior to the incident.

Adding a label of any kind to an event like this shooting brings with it a multitude of political agendas that drastically shift the public perception of this event. It is also a strategic way of handling homeland security incidents.

Shooter Went on Shooting Spree Prior to His Death

Police say the shooter, Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty, went on a shooting spree in the Harrisburg area before he was fatally shot by police. Investigators found that El-Mofty was Egyptian-born and had been involved in a money-laundering scheme, transferring money back to Middle East terrorist organization ISIS.

The Department of Homeland Security said that due to El-Mofty's actions prior to the incident, the shooting should be considered a terrorist attack. This new description puts the overall incident in a different public perspective and highlights the need for other resources beyond the local level of law enforcement.

Declaring an Incident to Be a Terrorist Attack Helps Public to Understand How Law Enforcement and Government Agencies Function

When incidents are designated as terrorist attacks or terrorist plots, the public has a new perception of the incident. For example, the public sees how law enforcement and other federal agencies work together to prevent (or understand) terrorist incidents. They may feel safer understanding that the members of a terrorist cell are either dead or behind bars.

In addition, the public gains more insight into how law enforcement at local, state and federal levels of government work hard to prevent future terrorist incidents from occurring.

The overall decision to designate a shooting as a terrorist attack is a political decision, but it has benefits in regard to improving public understanding. Ultimately, it is important for the public to have some insight into the hard work and determination it takes to prevent terrorist activity.

Thankfully, terrorist activity isn't that common in the United States. But it is important for Americans to understand when these incidents occur and to comprehend just what law enforcement does to prevent further incidents.

Start a Emergency & Disaster Management degree at American Military University.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four Master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is also trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard and a Lifeguard Instructor. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.