America’s Homegrown Terrorists of the 21st Century: A Case for Profiling

Oct. 5, 2009

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma April 19, 1995

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma April 19, 1995

Advanced, sophisticated profiling could prevent the next Columbine or Virginia Tech

by James Ottavio Castagnera

While the “War on Terror” typically is taken to designate the actions, foreign and domestic, directed at Al Qaeda and its allies (e.g., the Taliban), and although the attacks of September 11, 2001, were and remain unprecedented, America’s homegrown terrorists pose a far more serious threat to public safety and the commonwealth.  These native sons and daughters fall into three principal categories:

--Disgruntled individuals with an ax to grind.  They are exemplified by the government scientist who the FBI now believes perpetrated the Anthrax attacks, which followed close on the heals of 9/11, in 2001;

--The obsessed, represented by the radical animal-rights activists.

--The mentally disturbed, characterized by those who have committed individual acts of murder and mayhem on college campuses, most notably the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007.

The threat posed by these homegrown terrorists to plague our democracy, challenging our ability to remain a free and open society, will remain long after radical Islam has been eradicated or otherwise pacified.  To better understand these three varieties of domestic terrorists, they may be viewed as comprising three breeds within a single species.  If that is a fair assumption, then preventative measures, found to be effective in one arena, may be applicable in all.  These may include advanced profiling procedures.

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