Federal authorities are treating the El Paso shooting as domestic terrorism, and the Justice Department is "seriously considering" bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges against the suspect.
CNN's Mallory Simon, who covers racism and hate in America, writes that these decisions are a significant step, but they're not enough to stop such attacks:
With officials in El Paso, Texas, making the decision to label the attack “domestic terrorism,” they have done something so few have done in recent attacks -- call mass murders of people targeted for their race, religion or simply for not being "pure" white as the terrorism it is.
Suspects in recent attacks are followers of a vile and hateful ideology that meets the FBI definition of terrorism, and many of their writings clearly depict their hatred. But some top current and former law enforcement officials say that they are not treated as terrorists, because they are American and they are white.
Today, it appears officials are making a decision to call these attacks the terrorism they are – and maybe that is a first step towards fixing this rising tide of hate. But it cannot alone stop or solve it.
Experts studying hate say authorities seem to be stuck on how to balance tackling hate on internet forums with First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.
This isn't the first time a suspect has written a "manifesto" on, or in reference to, 8chan. It's an issue that has seemed to stump Congress, too. In hearings earlier this year, intelligence officials were asked about what guidance they could offer on the online forum to guide legislation. They had no answer.
Today’s language around calling this a domestic terror attack is a start – acknowledging that this kind of hateful language and action cannot be tolerated and treated as normal anymore. But often, it's not enough to deter these attackers, as some in past attacks have killed themselves before they are captured for their actions.