Protestor or terrorist?
Depressed economy increases propensity for protests
American history shows that as the economy goes down and poverty increases without abatement, society reacts in protest. The more people suffer the more they protest, and the more badly they feel their protests become more vigorous and sometimes violent. Government reacts, of course, by tightening security and by attempting to manage and control the “mob.”
American history has also demonstrated that “police” can overreact and government can infringe upon people’s rights to protest. The same types of infractions against human rights that we see in the Middle East have also happened in America.
As the economy gets worse here, while government reduces support for people in need, one may expect an eventual collision and conflict.
In such an environment, organizations will emerge to lead the people against unfairness and oppression. Some organizations will advocate radical change in the American system. Some may advocate overthrow of government if things get very bad.
Not since the Great Depression has economic times loomed with so much potential for doom and demise as they do today. Even if the government leaders increase the debt limit and advance on spending cuts that stabilize the economy for the moment, the prospect of American’s needs not being fulfilled as promised while the wealthy continue to not pay their “fair share,” threatens to introduce class warfare.
The Department of Homeland Security is on alert to “homegrown terrorists.” Such can emerge in the form of individuals and small groups for their own ideological purposes bent on attacking people through violent means. We have seen the likes of Timothy McVeigh and the Nichols brothers, for instance, that are hard to explain other than their having extreme views against government and law enforcement. These types tend to be people against law enforcement where police are a symbol of government authority.
Groups of this nature are very different from those protesting their economic plight.
Law enforcement is in the position of having to sort out those with criminal intent from those of social protest. Law enforcement must protect the public from crime and terrorism while ensuring the freedom to protest peacefully.
“Napolitano: Domestic Terrorists Central to Threat
Published July 21, 2011
The killing of Usama Bin Laden in May by Navy SEALS may have damaged the al Qaeda organization in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the terror group’s franchise in Yemen, its American-born leader Anwar al-Awlaki and homegrown threats are the next wave of terrorism, according to a new government report.
“Terrorism didn't begin with him and hasn’t ended with him and we have all these other groups in addition to core al Qaeda,” Napolitano said of Bin Laden in an interview with Fox News.
Napolitano’s comments come on the heels of a new Department of Homeland Security progress report that examines whether the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations are being implemented. The 9/11 Commission was a bipartisan, independent study group created in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks to account for what happened and to find ways to prevent the next attack.
The new DHS progress report shows that homegrown terrorism is central to the emerging threat picture.
Recent Justice Department documents show a case of homegrown terrorism with links to an international group have popped up every two to three weeks since January 2009. Just last week, a 22-year-old Pennsylvania man was accused of using the Internet to encourage domestic attacks by jihadists.
“We cannot presume that a threat would come at us from abroad, so the whole notion of violent extremism happening within our shores is very different,” Napolitano said.
She also confirmed that plots have been disrupted without the public's knowledge, but wouldn’t say how many. “There have been many plots that have been interfered with over time, yes,” Napolitano said.
The new report claims information sharing has been expanded since 9/11 and a multilayered approach to airline security has been adopted. Intelligence is used more broadly to identify high-risk passengers and cargo before they enter the U.S. The agency contends those measures could lead to less-invasive screening in the future.
“Timothy James McVeigh (April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) was a United States Army veteran and security guard who became infamous for detonating a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the attack killed 168 people, injured 450, and was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks. McVeigh, a militia movement sympathizer, sought revenge against the federal government for its handling of the Waco Siege, which had ended in the deaths of 76 people exactly two years earlier. He also hoped to inspire a revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government. He was convicted of 11 federal offenses and sentenced to death. His execution took place on June 11, 2001 at the Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute. Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier were also convicted as conspirators in the plot.”