The idea of homegrown terrorists has flown beneath the radar of many Americans. Since Donald Trump came into office, he has shaken the foundations of what we accepted without question. Reality for Americans has changed. This “law and order” president has shown us he is anything but that. Instead, he has brought to light the lawless and that without order.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new Homeland Threat Assessment discussed “white supremacy as the greatest domestic threat the country currently faces,” according to History Today. This report came out just two days before the FBI interrupted a well-planned plot by “militia extremists to kidnap the governor of Michigan from her vacation home or stage an armed, hostage-taking raid on the state capitol.”
These homegrown terrorists had been surveilling her vacation home and going through practice runs. The plan was to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer, give her a trial, and hang her. Why? They did not like that she implemented the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for containing the coronavirus pandemic.
Their intent was to spark a civil war by their actions. The threat assessment addressed “anti-authority violent extremists:”
‘We also remain particularly concerned about the impacts from COVID-19 where anti-government and anti-authority violent extremists could be motivated to conduct attacks in response to perceived infringement of liberties and government overreach as all levels of government seek to limit the spread of the coronavirus that has caused a worldwide pandemic.’
The pandemic has taken its toll on American’s mental health. Social isolation that has saved our lives in the COVID-19 pandemic and the tens of millions of lost jobs have brought about unprecedented stress. These stressors all play a part in moving extremists to violence.
Donald Trump has encouraged these groups over and over. After the plot against Governor Whitmer, he attacked the governor rather than the homegrown terrorists.
One problem has been that these groups rely on “conspiracy theories and political commentary they view as controversial:”
‘Ideologies driven by such [domestic violent extremists] often are reinforced by a variety of online content, including conspiracy theories and political commentary they view as controversial. Current events that DVEs perceive as infringing on their worldviews often contribute to periods of increased ideologically motivated violence, including recently during the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide lawful protests.’
The Southern Law Poverty Center under its Intelligence Project:
‘[I]dentified 576 extreme antigovernment groups that were active in 2019, down from 612 in 2018. Of these groups, 181 were militias, down from 216 in 2018…Generally, such groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines. The list [map] was compiled from field reports, group publications, the internet, law enforcement sources, and news reports. It does not document activities that take place only online by individuals or groups, whether on social media, online forums, or websites.’
So many Americans have discovered a renewed patriotism that rises above political party to a place where any false divide mends itself. The main terrorist threats in this country come from single and small cells of Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs):
‘Some U.S.-based violent extremists have capitalized on increased social and political tensions in 2020, which will drive an elevated threat environment at least through early 2021. Violent extremists will continue to target individuals or institutions that represent symbols of their grievances, as well as grievances based on political affiliation or perceived policy positions.’
FBI Director Christopher Wray released a tape to the public in which he explained that American intelligence was well aware of these problems and would deal with them. His words were powerful and comforting.
The only way to move our nation away from the direction Trump wants, one of chaotic disorder and violence, is to vote. An overwhelming majority vote for the Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his running mate former California attorney general and sitting Senator Kamala Harris will do much to tamp down violence. The reason voting is so important is that a close vote will leave much more room for dissent.
Trump knows that he is losing, and he will do anything to keep the power he has tasted and now refuses to relinquish. He has urged homegrown terrorists to become “watchers” at gathering places for campaign-related events, voter registration, and polling. There are trained watchers at the polls to guarantee a fair election. POTUS was referring to intimidation tactics when he said “watchers.” That is one reason to vote early.
The report indicates that “among DVEs, racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists—specifically white supremacist extremists (WSEs)—will remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland.”
According to the report, “white supremacists:”
‘Since 2018, they have conducted more lethal attacks in the United States than any other DVE movement. Some WSEs have engaged in outreach and networking opportunities abroad with like-minded individuals to expand their violent extremist networks. Such outreach might lead to a greater risk of mobilization to violence, including traveling to conflict zones.’
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said:
‘[T]his threat assessment confirms two things: that white supremacist extremists are the top domestic threat to the homeland, and they are often inspired by President Trump’s rhetoric.’
The president has demanded fealty from those around him. He prefers to appoint people to “acting” positions, because he holds more sway over them. They have an audience of one, the president not America. Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf responded with a statement saying Thompson “misrepresented the facts.”
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.