- Are State governments ready to deal with domestic terrorism on Election Day?
- Will acts of terror keep people home instead of getting out the vote? Many Americans fear they will be targets or collateral damage while voting.
- If domestic terrorism leads to voter intimidation, will results still count?
- Are the Russians working with white nationalists?
The Lord works in mysterious ways. Who would think bigotry and racism by white nationalists would lead to domestic terrorism? Who would imagine POTUS identifying with nationalists?
By now everyone has heard of the Tree of Life synagogue killings and to a lesser degree the mail pipe bombs. The Kentucky shooting at Kroger’s and the daily incidents of white people hurling racial, vile insults and fatal attacks at Black people, Hispanics, immigrants, and Muslims do not get national coverage, despite, their intended psychological impact of inciting fear and terror in the minds of people of color and their communities.
These red flags dismissed by the media, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system as desperate acts by mentally deranged lone wolves white men instead of a more considerable deliberate effort by far-right extremists to provoke racial tension and ethnic violence. Misinformation, half-truths and outright lies the bread and butter of Trump’s rhetoric fuel the almost daily incidences of domestic terrorism by white nationalists or far-right extremists such as the KKK. Will these incidences scare voters?
The Tree of Life massacre was caused by failure to listen or to heed the red flags. The attack was preventable. Had the US government took the threats of far-right extremists or white nationalists seriously this would not have happened, neither would the Kentucky shooting or the Emanuel 9 massacre in 2015. These are the consequences when a culture of corruption downplays domestic terrorism perpetrated by white men. Trump opened the floodgates for white supremacist or nationalist groups to prey on ethnic groups especially those critical of Trump’s policies.
When Robert Bowers burst into the synagogue shouting hate for Jews, it wasn’t the first time he expressed those views. He echoed Trump’s rhetoric of “invaders” and “caravans” on social media. The Pittsburgh synagogue provided help to Central American immigrants who Trump referred to as invaders. Bowers also hated Jews and sent out enough red flags on social media to warrant an investigation. I cannot see a Black man spewing the hate Bowers did on social media not having a SWAT team at his front door and a headline, Terrorist Dead Threat Thwarted. Yet Bowers threats were ignored, why?
We spend more resources on defense than most countries spend on their entire budget. However, we have no systems that show violent white men who are domestic terror threats.
I understand the difficulty and the fine line between determining a real threat and infringing on the first amendment rights. However, the task while seemingly daunting is not. Trained professionals working with technology can do the job without putting guns into hands of more white men. After the Pittsburgh shooting, Trump blamed the synagogue for not having armed guards. Trump’s solution of armed guards would reward far-right extremists(white men) and NRA members, giving them more power and wealth.
We can design systems to screen terror threats without rolling back first amendment rights. A challenge to such systems is removing and eliminating structurally racist elements so unbiased, meaningful data inform proactive policies instead of reactionary profit motivated racially biased solutions.
Excerpts from a Vox article about how politicians concealed data on the rising threat of domestic terrorism in America. Domestic terrorism is on the rise. Why won’t cable news networks to say so?
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis published a report, meant for internal use only. The report argued that the future of terrorism threats against the United States would be in homegrown, domestic terrorism, spawned from the right fringes of the political spectrum. Indeed, the 2008 election of America’s first non-white president, combined with the economic collapse of 2007 and 2008, had created fertile ground for hateful, right-wing extremism.
Republicans reacted angrily, demanding that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano rescind the report. Eventually, it was withdrawn, and by 2010, the DHS no longer had any intelligence analysts working in the field of domestic terrorism, as Daryl Johnson, the report’s primary author, detailed for the Washington Post in 2017.
To read it today is to see officials sounding an alarm about a world where extremists illegally occupy federal land, or mail pipe bombs to Democratic party leaders, or commit mass shootings that target minority groups. It even seems to warn of the rise of a figure like Donald Trump, who might build speeches around a version of rhetorical extremism that’s been (just barely) gussied up for primetime, but who’s still perpetually courting that extremist base.
Domestic terrorism expanded since the banking crisis and Obama became the first black POTUS. Republicans shut down all “intelligence analysts working in the field of domestic terrorism.” The Republicans applied a strategy similar to the one the NRA used for decades to stifle research on gun violence. In this case, politicians provided cover for the rising threat of domestic terrorism. Subverting the knowledge of domestic terrorism allowed bigotry, hatred, and anger to fester among impressionable Americans like Dylann Roof, Gregory Bush, Robert Bowers, and so many others white nationalist terrorists who are also avid Trump supporters.
The purpose of this post was not to incite anger, fear or violence but to hope the government will be proactive. Mid-term elections are on November 6, 2018, nothing should stand in the way of getting out the vote.
I can’t stop thinking: What will happen in key States if domestic terrorists intimidate voters and deliberately tip the votes in favor of GOP candidates? Are Russians working with white nationalists? Will Americans be forced to endure both an illegitimate president and Congress? Maybe Murphy’s Law in reverse and all goes well.