Why Won't Congress Take Domestic Terrorism Seriously?

Illustration for article titled Why Won't Congress Take Domestic Terrorism Seriously?
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Just hours before a deranged white man stormed two New Zealand mosques and killed some 49 people, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) sent his third letter to the FBI and the Justice Department asking for a committee briefing on the “evolving threat of domestic terrorism.

His first two requests had been ignored.

According to HuffPost, the congressman heading the Committee on Homeland Security wanted to know why both departments have failed to brief lawmakers on the growing threat that is domestic terrorism.


From HuffPost

More domestic terrorism suspects were arrested in the United States over the last two federal budget years than those inspired by foreign Islamic extremists, The Washington Post reported last week, citing figures from the FBI. Most domestic terrorism suspects are right-wing extremists. But domestic terrorism is not a crime under federal law, so suspects are charged with weapon violations and other crimes.

Oh, the alleged killer of the New Zealand mosque massacre manifesto called Donald Trump a symbol of white supremacy and flashed the white power sign during his first court appearance.

“The terrorism in New Zealand underscores that we must not ... ignore the domestic terrorism threat,” Thompson said in a statement, HuffPost reports. “We must all work together to counter domestic terrorism, including those who feed it and allow it to spread.”


For some reason, the U.S. government tends to focus the majority of their concern on Islamic-linked terrorism as opposed to domestic terrorism. If only there was some difference...some quantifiable, tangible difference that could explain why, say, the president of the United States has trouble calling domestic terrorism a problem. If only the president fought valiantly to build a wall around white men with bald heads, khakis and tiki torches, and trench coasts.

HuffPost notes that because federal laws don’t link domestic terrorism to terrorist activities, those captured are charged with lesser crimes. Many of the crimes go unnoticed.


From HuffPost:

An example is former Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, an avowed white nationalist arrested last month with a cache of weapons. Hasson allegedly planned to kill progressive politicians and journalists in what prosecutors have described as a domestic terrorism plot. But Hasson hasn’t been charged with terrorism, only with a series of weapon and drug crimes.

About 110 people were arrested in the 2017 budget year after being investigated for crimes inspired by foreign terrorist groups, such as ISIS; 30 of those faced terrorism charges, the Post reported. The following year, 100 were arrested and nine faced terrorism charges.

In the same time span, 150 domestic terrorism suspects were arrested the first year, and 120 the following year, according to FBI figures provided the Post. No terrorism charges were filed against any of them.

Violence by white supremacists and other right-wing extremist disciples has been rising since Barack Obama’s presidency and has surged since Donald Trump took office, according to the Post.


Trump not only acts as if white violence doesn’t exist, but he continues to create and perpetuate this mythical, wild caravan of drug-smuggling rapists with a penchant for white women.

On Friday, when asked about the Christchurch massacre, Trump noted: “I don’t really” see a rise in white nationalism. “I think it’s a small group of people.”


“If you have politicians saying things like our nation is under attack, that there are these marauding bands of immigrants coming into the country, that plays into this right-wing narrative,” Gary LaFree, a criminologist at the University of Maryland told the Post. “They begin to think it’s OK to use violence.”

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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