Violence and terror: What’s the difference?

Updated
A viewer sent this photo of the race route before a bomb went off at the Boston Marathon to NBC News station affiliate WHDH. The FBI is examining this and...
A viewer sent this photo of the race route before a bomb went off at the Boston Marathon to NBC News station affiliate WHDH. The FBI is examining this and...

Wednesday is the third day in the ongoing investigation into uncovering who is behind the Boston Marathon bombings. We know that 62 people still remain in the hospital, 12 of those in critical condition. Right now, contrary to earlier reports, federal law enforcement authorities say they do not know the identity of the person or persons involved in the attack, which killed three people. On Wednesday night, host Chris Hayes asks the question: What happens when someone is apprehended? Will the identity of the bomber(s) impact the way we describe and govern the incident?

Incidents like the Boston Marathon bombings, that appear to  be driven by unfettered hatred, shake us to our collective core. They make us think twice about entering public spaces: going out for a meal, taking public transportation, taking a dog for a walk. There is no doubt that the intended consequence of an act like the bombings at the Boston Marathon is to scare. But how should we characterize and define that fear? And what does this fear drive us to do? Does it drive us to suspend rule of law?

What exactly is the distinction between an ordinary crime and what we call terrorism?

Violence and terror: What's the difference?

Updated