GUEST COMMENTARY: Heed domestic terrorism in its various manifestations

GUEST COMMENTARY: Heed domestic terrorism in its various  manifestations
July 30
00:00 2015

In above photo: Attorney Gen. Loretta Lynch

U. S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivered a blunt message [recently] that is worth remembering as we assess the risks and hazards in the world around us.

“Hate crimes themselves are the original domestic terrorism” Lynch said in her first official visit to Durham, where she grew up and attended high school, since she became attorney general.

She harkened back to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and then harkened back even further.

“I remember literally after 9/11 talking to civic groups about the trauma the country faced with those recent terrorist attacks, and reminding them that many of our citizens had been subjected to similar ones in the past.”

Her remarks, in the wake of the massacre of nine African-Americans at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, also touched on tragedy closer to home – the slaying in Chapel Hill of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Raza Abu-Salha.

Lynch said she could offer no updates on the Department of Justice inquiry into whether that was a hate crime …

In recent months, we’ve been reminded often that, while not dismissing the threat of international terrorism, we would do well to heighten our focus on the domestic terrorism to which Lynch referred.

In February, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a study that concluded the majority of domestic terrorism comes from “lone wolves,” disturbed individuals acting alone like the Charleston suspect, Dylann Roof.

The center’s study “included violence from both the radical right and homegrown jihadists,” a press release from the center reported.

But the center particularly called on federal agencies to “reinvigorate their work studying and analyzing the radical right,” SPLC’s Mark Potok said.

The domestic terrorism numbers are widely acknowledged to be understated.

Some police agencies fail to report them to national databases.

And some victims may not report hate violence because of “a sense that nothing will be done,” Richard Cohen, president of the law center, wrote in The Washington Post.”

“This is particularly troubling,” he wrote, “because we’re in the midst of a strong –and often violent – backlash to the growing diversity and tolerance in our country.”

We’ve seen too many manifestations of that backlash and will sadly no doubt see more. That’s why the new attorney general’s admonition to heed domestic terrorism here [recently] was so very resonant.

From The (Durham) Herald-Sun

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