6 April 2002
SHOULD AMERICANS FEAR URBAN TERRORISM
As long as there are American based militia groups, there will be the threat of Americans being attacked by other Americans. Even the majority of the membership in radical right-wing organizations finds the thought of terrorizing their fellow American citizens absurd. But when you have these types of organizations there is always a chance that a few personalities will turn to extreme measures to gain the attention of the media and the publics mind. Until every radical right-wing organization discloses their goals and methods of achieving those goals are disclosed, there will be a threat of future urban terrorist attacks.
Experts estimate that about 200,000 Americans are active in the hate groups of the Patriot Movement, and that an additional 1 million citizens are sympathizers. The SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) lists 602 groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, racist skinheads, black separatists, freemen, and militant abortion foes (Reich 89-90). These various organizations were developed and have flourished under the current constitutional rights to the freedom of speech. The messages that these organizations are trying to spread may not necessarily be widely accepted; but under the laws of free speech, the message is spread. The problem with totally eliminating these groups is that the American public is not willing to give up the rights that have been enjoyed under the Constitution.
As mentioned earlier, many within these groups are not out to harm anyone; they only want to have a voice in what they believe to be true, as is their right within the Constitution. The problem arises when extreme measures are taken in order to have that voice heard, such was the case of the Oklahoma City bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh.
Democracies are the most vulnerable to Urban Terrorism. The fact that law enforcement organizations are not able to conduct sweeps and searches, and shouldnt have the right to, leave a huge area for a terrorist to operate within American boundaries (Bender 19). When the organization or the individual takes advantage of the freedoms provided to them, then the infringement of other Americans freedoms is inevitable.
In my opinion, there is not anyway for the United States to totally secure itself from Urban Terrorism. The only way that the government could be able to try and control the radical right-wing organizations without infringing on their rights is to mandate public knowledge of what is going on within the organization. Not to say that everyone has to hear the message of the organization, but everyone should be privilege to what is going on within the organization. As long as these types of groups exist, there will still be a threat of another urban terrorist movement, but in order to bring a piece of mind and a comfort to the American mind; their exact goals and methods of achieving them should be disclosed. Americans should not have to fear Urban Terrorism, but until these organizations are controlled, there is still a threat of future evolutions.
Bender, David. CURRENT CONTROVERSIES: URBAN TERRORISM. San
Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1996.
Reich, Walter. ORIGINS OF TERRORISM. Washington D.C.:
Woodrow Wilson Center, 1998.
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