The U.S. Has a Domestic Terrorism Problem
When news of the migration convoy from Central America to the United States began, President Donald Trump yelled: “Hundreds of young people, criminals and murderers, are coming. We must stop them.” Shortly thereafter, the Secret Service discovered a package containing a bomb which was sent to the address of former President Barack Obama. There were 13 more sent to other addresses. If any had exploded, they could have killed or injured others nearby. They were made and sent by Cesar Sayoc, a white American and an ardent promoter of Donald Trump’s policies. A few days later, in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Robert Bowers, a white man, entered and killed eleven people, mostly elderly. He claims to have done so because the Jews supported an immigrant convoy. On November 7th at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, a 28-year-old white former marine killed 12 people. So far this year there have been 307 shootings in the United States.
It is particularly intriguing that in all three cases noted above, none of the attackers will be charged with terrorism. The attackers will be punished properly, but the key issue remains: why are their attacks not characterized as terrorism? If any of the aforementioned were foreigners, they would be sentenced for terrorism. The reason for this is simple: America does not have a law on internal terrorism. Groups that advocate adopting laws of internal terrorism argue that it would allow easier tracking and control of possible attackers which would lead to a reduction in the number of attacks. These attacks, as well as some of the greatest massacres in American modern history fully correspond to the definition of terrorism: armed violence against innocent persons; achieving a political goal – to kill “the other.” The former Marine killed people at a bar in Thousand Oaks was, to a certain extent, excluded from this description due to mental problems, but his goal was to spread fear and his action led to the violation of fundamental human rights – right for life – and therefore that attack can be characterized as terrorism. The Investigative Fund has documented in its research that from 2016 to 2017, 201 attacks were launched in the United States that could be categorized as terrorist by all criteria: 119 of them were committed by right-wing radicals, 62 by Islamic fundamentalists, and 19 by left-wing radicals. Thus, 68 percent of terrorist attacks have been made by Americans radicalized by right or left ideology. It is also important to add that of 32 percent of the perpetrators that are radicalized by fake Muslim ideology, about 80 percent, were born in the United States, sometimes the second generation of immigrants.
The question therefore arises: why powerful American intelligence services overlook attackers who kill massively, usually with automatic weapons. The reasons for this should be sought on the dark side of American history. One has to be reminded on the infamous Klu Klux Klan (KKK) whose members thought they could punish people of color. From this core was developed a whole culture of white euphemists that was not legally restricted. More specifically, it was understood and approved by political and legislative bodies especially in the South. The KKK was founded in 1865 and made racism the foundation of its actions which later included hatred and violence. According to information provided by the Counter Extremism Project, in February of last year, 100 active groups of White Nationalists and 99 active neo-Nazi groups were recorded in the United States. Many members of these groups have been convicted of various crimes, but opponents of their identification with terrorist groups claim they have the right to act because of their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech.
The whole system was further shaken on September 11, 2001 when al-Qa’ida terrorists attacked New York and Washington and killed almost 3,000 people. The United States then launched a global war on terrorism and discussions of the possibility that Americans commit terrorist attacks in the country was halted.
Europe has had a significantly different formative sequence since the French Revolution and through anarchism until the revolutionary (read terrorist) movements that emerged in “European Years of Lead” (1970s). Victims and perpetrators were Europeans, usually the inhabitants of the country where the attack occurred. There was Palestinian terrorism at the time, but it was not interpreted as religious but nationalist, as a struggle for an independent state. The “European” terrorism was confirmed by groups like the Basque ETA or the Northern Ireland IRA. As Europe has been facing terrorism over the 20th century, only recently has it been aware that terrorism is a unique evil for which an assailant’s affiliation to a group gives only the label. The situation changed after March 11, 2003, when al-Qa’ida attacked Madrid, and two years later London, and Muslim terrorism appears to be the leading form of this evil on European soil. In the meantime Europe managed to stop revolutionaries such as the Red Brigades, ETA and IRA who have agreed to dissolve themselves (which is of great credit to the strengthening of the European Union).
America was convinced that their white extremists were justified by the legacy of the Wild West, and that terrorists were strangers: a Croat Zdravko Bušić helped enhance this view by placing a bomb that killed a policeman in New York.
Access to weapons, guaranteed by the second amendment, greatly facilitates work for radicals. And when we talk about radicals, the question must be asked. Where, when and how are they radicalized? A model for Islamic fundamentalists is defined: radicalization begins in the mosque or online, so it is relatively easy for the counterterrorist units to follow the suspects and stop them (though some are still below the radar and manage to pursue their evil plans.) White supremacists are radicalized in communities that are publicly known and whose work cannot be banned. The fact that most of them preach same intensity of hatred as the radical Islamic preachers is not a strong enough argument for the authorities to put them under more persistent and more extensive scrutiny.
Others, like the “heroes” at the beginning of our story, just need to look at the computer and find some Republican politicians’ words in the last campaign (one of them said the Israeli-Palestinian crisis would be resolved when the Israelis convert to Christianity). Or listen to President Trump: it is no coincidence that in 2017 a number of crimes committed by white supremacists doubled compared to the previous year. The conclusion is clear: the mass crimes perpetrated by white supremacists with right or left affiliation are not the product of an underground, hidden organization that is dreaming of annihilating the system. No, they are people educated or reeducated and in contact with radical groups or radical ideologies that are legitimate. Their attacks are therefore not a consequence of the security system’s failure: they are like all other forms of homicides. But they do not kill family members who have done something wrong but groups of people that the killer finds unacceptable due to race, religion, ideology, age, or sex.
The worst thing is that many of the terrorist mass murderers began their bloody campaign to “surpass the record,” killing more people than anyone before them. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old who killed 58 people in Las Vegas on 1 November 2017 and injured 851, fired 1100 bullets in 15 minutes. The attack was prepared slowly and systematically and no one was suspicious about his buying so many weapons and so much ammunition: translated into the Balkans language – our man, we will not make any problems to him. The police failed to detect his motive, but many experts in terrorism and mass murder claimed that his goal was to “become a recorder.” And beyond the corner there is certainly another radical that thinks he can kill even more people. Before they kill him.
This is where we come to a stunning conclusion – the similarities between white supremacists and Muslim radicals are that they plan to commit mass murders and are aware that they will not survive. Which confirms the previously stated thesis that only thing that distinguishes them is their ideology, mainly false. The likelihood that an American resident will be killed in the attack of a foreign terrorist is 1: 3.6 million (the same likelihood of suffocating with a T-shirt).