Want to see the new “terrorist”, according to a new Department of Homeland Security study? You’re going to have to find the nearest mirror because, according to them, it’s all of us.
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, funded by our own Department of Homeland Security for the nice tax payer price of $12 million, recently released one hell of a long opus called “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008.” While largely omitting Islamic terrorism, the study’s main objective was to focus on certain characteristics in Americans that could identify them as being a domestic threat or “homegrown” terrorist.
Some of the characteristics read out like a bad Jeff Foxworthy joke but here are some examples. You might be a “homegrown” terrorist if:
– you believe your “way of life” is under attack;
– you are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”;
– you consider yourself “anti-global” (presumably those who are wary of the loss of American sovereignty);
– you are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”;
– you are “reverent of individual liberty”;
– you “believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.”
And so on. The report also lists people opposed to abortion and “groups that seek to smite the purported enemies of God and other evildoers” as terrorists.
Federal authorities have also been involved in producing a flood of literature and programs which portray liberty lovers and small government advocates as terrorists. One of the most bizarre is under the FBI’s Communities Against Terrorism program. This program goes on to state that anyone that purchases food in bulk is labeled as having a potential indication of terrorist activity. As is using cash to pay for a cup of coffee, and showing an interest in web privacy when using the Internet in a public place.
The federal government has also characterized mundane behavior as extremist activity or a potential indicator of terrorist intent. As part of its “See Something, Say Something” campaign, the DHS educates the public that generic activities performed by millions of people every day, including using a video camera, talking to police officers, wearing hoodies, driving vans, writing on a piece of paper, and using a cell phone recording application,” are all potential signs of terrorist activity.
Former Congressman Bob Barr responded to the study by labeling it a “frightening” example of how government officials seem to have become increasingly distrustful of individual liberty.
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But the question that remains is why so much of the distrust? The First Amendment gives us that freedom of speech to voice our opinions and live the way we want. Those are the principals that this nation was founded on. But yes, one can understand the fear that this country has been going through the last couple of years. But to begin to see everyone as a threat is not only negligent but also dangerous. Our relationship should be like a relationship that we have with a significant other. We build it on trust and loyalty. Sure we are going to clash and have different opinions from time to time, but we need to grow from that. Don’t be that person that hacks into our Facebook account and follows us to work just because we said the checkout person was cute. Because if you do, then I can guarantee you, no one is going to walk away from that unscathed.