Ted Rall is mistaken when he writes that “Terrorism — you can look it up — involves killing people. (BW, Ted Rall, “Eco-Terrorism: No Such Thing,” March 19, 2008).
Unlike Rall, I actually did look it up. The American Heritage Dictionary says terrorism is “the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property, with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.” Note the phrase “people or property.”
Burning a cross in someone’s front yard, without physically harming anyone, is clearly a terrorist act. So is burning down a big house in order to scare people into building smaller houses.