This paper answers the following five questions: 1. Explain the Major problems impeding law enforcement’s understanding of terrorism; 2. Compare and contrast criminal behaviour of left-wing and right-wing extremists; 3. Describe how the United States has been affected by home grown terrorist; 4. Why is there confusion in defining Homeland Security?; and, 5.Briefly summarize the current debate regarding immigration and homeland Security. Explain your views on the immigration debate.
Domestic Terrorism Questionnaire
1. Explain the major problems impeding law enforcement’s understanding of terrorism.
One serious problem impeding law enforcement’s understanding of terrorism lies in the structural conflict that exists between different levels of law enforcement systems. For example, while many individual law enforcement units are organized according to local power hierarchies to deal with localized threats and issues, much terrorist activity is national or international in scope.
Even when it comes to national law enforcement, divisiveness within the system leads to an outlook that is fragmented where terrorism is cohesive: for example, with the FBI handling national crime and the CIA handling international crime, it can be difficult for a cohesive picture to be formed of terrorist activity, which consists of both national and international elements intertwined.
Finally, the view of terrorists as ‘outsiders’ also seriously impedes the understanding of law enforcement: many terrorist organizations and individuals recruit not only abroad but also from amongst citizens of the United States.
2. Compare and contrast criminal behavior of left-wing and right-wing extremists.
Just as left-wing politics generally refers to more liberal beliefs, left-wing extremism tends to focus on replacing or rebuilding the social order, an early example of which might be, for example, the French Revolution. Left-wing extremist acts attempt to use violence to further progressive agendas. Emergent nationalist movements are more often left-wing than right-wing.
Right-wing terrorism is more likely to be associated, on the other hand, with religious beliefs and practices or extreme forms of social conservatism. Right-wing extremist action often attempts to prevent societal change or even reverse it: a good example being the platform of beliefs held by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, who advocate a return to racial segregation.
What both groups share in common, however, is a deep-seated distrust of and rebellion against current systems and authorities; their attempts to either prevent or instigate change in contempt of existing laws and authorities render their acts not only extreme but criminal.
3. Describe how the United States has been affected by home grown terrorist.
A significant effect of ‘home-grown terrorism’ within the United States has been to create feelings of division, mistrust and fear within both the government and law enforcement agencies, and society as a whole. Terrorism can be seen as divided roughly into two distinct groups: those groups who are from a broadly conservative background, such as the attacks of Christian religious activists against abortion facilities, and groups who, despite being American by blood and birth, nevertheless identify more strongly with outside cultures or religions, such as the Islamic terrorist behind the Orlando night-club shooting in 2016. While society is generally more inclined to respond to the first group more in terms of criminality, the response to the second group is often seen in more global terms. In other words, the ‘home-grown terrorist’ has affected the way in which America and American citizens identify themselves, others, and their role in a global society.
4. Why is there confusion in defining Homeland Security?
The significance of this psychological effect can be seen in concrete terms when looking at the responses of government and law enforcement: moves such as creating the Department of Homeland Security in 2001 or the decision to declare war on terrorism leading to military involvement in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, showed the way in which official responses were inclined to react to terrorism in a militaristic manner, attempting to exclude something that could not really be excluded and to defeat an external enemy which was never really external. By attempting to firmly locate the enemy as an outsider, the military response attempted to contain and manage the helplessness brought on by ‘home-grown terrorism’.
5. Briefly summarize the current debate regarding immigration and homeland Security. Explain your views on the immigration debate.
The current debate regarding immigration and homeland security centers around the idea that terrorism poses an existential threat to the American way of ife: particularly, it assumes that terrorists and Americans are two distinct and separate groups in opposition to one another. Thereby, it assumes that Americans can be protected by excluding terrorists from American soil. This, in turn, results in a belief that stricter immigration policies will help control and eradicate terrorism.
My personal view on this issue is that no amount of immigration policy will prevent the spread of terrorist acts and extremist beliefs, because these beliefs are not only coming from external but internal sources, and involve mind-sets and cultures more than geographical boundaries. Particularly in a digital age, this is not something that can be policed and controlled by border policies. I also feel that to exclude whole groups of people based on race, religion, or culture, is fundamentally opposed to the founding principles of American culture and society, and that to attempt this would be to destroy America as much as any external terrorism would.