This paper aims at exploring domestic terrorism. It gives the definition of the domestic terrorism. The paper also contains information about the causes of home-growing terrorism. The statistics and the recent terrorist attacks are also described, thus stressing the necessity to implement counterterrorist policy. The paper comprises information about the risks associated with the increase in the rates of domestic terrorism, warning that every country should address the problem immediately. Finally, it suggests several approaches to the problem and justifies their effectiveness.
The Definition and Causes of Domestic Terrorism
Domestic terrorism refers to as attacks committed by residents against their state. It can occur in the form of violent activity, far-right extremism, hate crime, or economic crime. The last form of terrorism is motivated by significant financial gains. Economic distribution is related to inequality between diverse cultural groups. Piazza (2011) specifies that there is a link between the discrimination of cultural minorities (as cited in Anderson et al. 2013). There exist several reasons for the minority discrimination which are cultural, political, and socio-economic.
Socioeconomic discrimination is strongly associated with domestic terrorism. If the country provides all the cultural groups with fewer opportunities, it is at an increased risk for domestic terrorist attack. Far-right extremism is another form of the domestic terrorism which can be caused by the increased level of unemployment or dissatisfaction with the results of the election (Anderson et al. 2013). Hate crime may also motivate a domestic terrorist act. The victims are usually selected according to a particular characteristic, including race, religion, ethnicity, or sexuality. An example of a terroristic attack motivated by hate crime is the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma in 1995 (Anderson et al., 2013). Evidently, many factors influence the prevalence of domestic terrorist attacks in different geographical locations.
Wealthier countries are more likely to be affected by domestic terrorism than poorer states. Countries that exhibit a higher level of discrimination are more likely to suffer from domestic terrorism. Increased population also refers to as a positive predictor of terrorist attacks. Finally, the presence of a particular religion community or an ethnic group may also result in an increase in the terrorism as the enclaves give people an opportunity to hide and plan attacks.
Nowadays, the society is exposed to the security risks associated with the increased number of alarming attacks. In 2005, in the shooting at an African-American church in South California, nine people died. Due to the terrorist attack, the lawmakers voted for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse. It refers to as an assault of far-right extremists initiated to make an impact on the government. The Charleston shooting is far from being the only recent attack of extremists. For instance, in April 2014, a widely known white supremacist killed three people outside the Jewish Community, Kansas. Glen Miller, the assailant, gave a Nazi salute to the jury after he was convicted and said that he dreamt of dying as a martyr. In June 2014 in Las Vegas, a young couple opened fire and shot a bystander and two police officers prior to killing themselves. The same month, a former employee of Transportation and Safety Administration made an unsuccessful attempt to storm a courthouse in Georgia and take the hostage with the arsenal of explosives, smoke grenades, and guns. Although the employee was killed, this incident raised concern about national security.
In October 2015, John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security initiated the foundation of the post of Domestic Terrorism Counsel. The position will coordinate the cases which arise from right-wing extremism (Gumbel, 2015). Regarding the description, far-right extremism is one of the most dangerous forms of terrorism. It can use any ground to develop extremist ideology. For instance, it can be based on the Christian Identity, the Phineas Priesthood, The Sovereign Citizen Movement, or Neo-Nazism (Gumbel, 2015). That is to say, extremism is derived from the extreme form of any ideology.
The Lone Wolf Attacks
The domestic terrorism can be performed either by terrorist organizations or separate individuals. In the recent years, the number of lone wolf attacks (carried out by one individual) has significantly increased. Alfaro-Gonzalez at al. (2015) specifies that the law enforcement system is currently incapable of detecting and combating the lone wolf attacks. They state that military and law enforcement personnel have become the increasingly targeted by the attackers. The LWTs use an overwhelmingly huge number of firearms to perform the attacks. To radicalize the people, the LWT use the Internet, civilian workplace, and extremist media. They tend to proclaim an individual ideology rather than claiming affinity to certain extremist groups. Such tendencies raise multiple concerns about how to combat the LW domestic terrorism. Also, it is almost impossible to create the suspect profile as these terrorists appear to have diverse socio-economic status, culture, religion, educational background, and other characteristics (Alfaro-Gonzalez et al., 2015). It is apparent that the domestic terrorism remains one of the most dangerous menaces that jeopardizes national security and is very difficult to combat.
How to Combat Domestic Terrorism
Regarding the causes and the consequences of domestic terrorism, each government has an obligation to develop counterterrorism policy and ensure the national security and safe environment for all the citizens. To address the problem of home growing terrorism, it is necessary to provide all the citizen, regardless of their socioeconomic, religious, or cultural background, with equal opportunities. People should feel safe and protected by their government (Anderson et al., 2013). The state representatives are responsible for reducing unemployment rates and minimizing the gap between the richest and the poorest citizens. It may significantly decrease the social discontent with the living conditions within the country. Such approach will create a background for the equal development of all residents.
Although socioeconomic equality may decrease the rates of the home-growing terrorism, law enforcement system is also expected to undergo significant changes. Okumu (2007) considers that the state should engage the public in the campaigns against terrorism. Public involvement is an effective mean to monitor the activity of people without a violation of the freedom of press and word. If individuals in the community are well-aware of the potential menace, they are more likely to report the suspect and inform the proper authorities. The state should minimize the use of force so to avoid the extreme forms of oppression. At the same time, it is crucially important for all countries to criminalize terrorism (Tomkins, 2010). It is impossible to consider terrorism as an existential threat to the society and state. Such approach will allow the government to make precisely calibrated and measured responses and avoid the mass repressions. The status of terrorists should be reduced to ordinary criminals. It will reinforce the positions of the law enforcement agencies and the police. The police should be integrated into the society so to be able to get sensitive data about the community that they serve. It will be effective for the police officers to join training programs which will enhance their alertness and enable them to detect quickly the terrorism-related activities (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, 2014).
In closing, it is necessary to say that the domestic terrorism is a serious menace that jeopardizes national security from the inside. It is much more difficult to detect and combat as in many cases, domestic terrorism is caused by socioeconomic, racial, cultural, and other inequalities. Developing the counterterrorist policies, the law enforcement agencies are concerned about the violation of people`s freedoms and rights. For this reason, it is essential to raise public awareness about the problem. Combatting domestic terrorism is also possible through the initiation of multiple programs for the police officers that will help them to integrate into the society.
- Alfaro-Gonzalez, L. et al. (2015). Report: Lone wolf terrorism. Georgetown University.
- Anderson, B. et al. (2013). Domestic terrorism: a review of the literature. Criminology and Criminal Justice Senior Capstone Project, 8.
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