Is John Lee Malvo, who was indicted yesterday on capital murder charges, guilty of terrorism? Under Virginia's terrorism statute, passed in response to the September 11 attacks, he probably is. The law defines terrorism as a crime committed with the "intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence the policy, conduct or activities of the government through intimidation or coercion." Although there's no evidence that the D.C.-area sniper shootings were aimed at accomplishing a political goal, they certainly intimidated the public. But it's hard to believe that terror as an end in itself was what Virginia legislators had in mind when they passed this law, which is the only route by which Malvo is likely to get the death penalty. As critics have noted, the broad definition of terrorism suggested by a literal reading of the statute would cover any criminal who enjoys generating fear among his potential victims. If John Lee Malvo is a terrorist, so was Ted Bundy.