The Rising Profile of Domestic Terrorism; a Cause for Concern and Corresponding Policy Reforms
Upon inquiry, the traditional definition of extremist terrorism as per the knowledge of an average American citizen with basic literacy is likely to allude to something along the lines of; violent attacks by foreigners against American targets either domestically or internationally to inflict fear to strong-arm the government into enforcing reforms. Over a long time, this definition was accurate as the majority of active terror cells had foreign roots. However, this has since changed after the government in collaboration with safety law enforcement agencies successfully improved anti-terror campaigns reducing the proliferation of the vice. Nonetheless, this is not to say that the threat of terrorism has been completely thwarted because it keeps on adapting to prevailing and ever-changing environmental characteristics. Presently, mounting explosives on airplanes or their commandeering by hijackers pose a relatively low risk in comparison to other variants of terrorism like long-acting extremists conducting mass shootings.
Another emerging and rather surprising form of terrorism evokes from active or veteran members of the disciplined forces because they are professionally bound to protect human lives. This form of extremism undermines the very foundations upon which disciplined forces operate. Being a new form of terror, it has an elevated threat level because understanding its structure is still in the formative stage (Goldwasser, 2021). However, the need to know how domestic violent extremism works is paramount since it endangers civilian life in the same way the uncertainty posed by regular airplane hijacks did during the 1970s. Since 2015, veterans who make up approximately 6% of the total population were responsible for nearly a tenth of domestic terrorist attacks (Vespa, 2020). This statistic was further justified by the analysis of professional profiles of a substantial portion of the active partakers in the infamous January 6 2021 attack on the capitol building unearthing they had military backgrounds (“SPLC Action statement: Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on Domestic Violent Extremist Groups and the Recruitment of Veterans”, 2021). Cumulatively, the above-highlighted incidents evoke the need to promptly address the new face of terrorism as it unearths to avert and appropriately respond to similar safety scares in the future.
SPLC Action statement: Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on Domestic Violent Extremist Groups and the Recruitment of Veterans. Splcactionfund.org. (2021, October, 11). https://www.splcactionfund.org/sites/default/files/SPLC_Action_statement_Veterans_Affairs_Committee_hearing_on_Domestic_Violent_Extremist_Groups_and_the_Recruitment_of_Veterans_final.pdf.
Vespa, J. (2020, June, 02). Those Who Served: America’s Veterans from World War II to the War on Terror. Census.gov. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2020/demo/acs-43.html.
Goldwasser, R. (2021, October, 12). Extremism among Active-Duty Military and Veterans Remains a Clear and Present Danger. Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/10/12/extremism-among-active-duty-military-and-veterans-remains-clear-and-present-danger.