Terrorism Essay, Research Paper
28 October 2000
Domestic Terrorism On The Rise
Domestic terrorism has risen sharply over the past 10 years. According to a recent Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms report, bombings or attempted bombings increased from 2,098 in 1990 to 3,199 in 1994, a 52% increase. Property damage from bombs rose to $7.5 million, with 308 people injured and 31 killed. The Oklahoma City bombing, which is responsible for 169 deaths alone, was not included in this report.
What is the explanation for this rise? It is probably due to the rise of anti-government sentiment and the proliferation of militia and paramilitary groups that have extremist positions on race, religion, federal authority, gun control, or taxation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines domestic terrorism as the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group or groups of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. The timeline of modern domestic terrorism is as follows.
1950 Assassination attempt on President Truman. Puerto Rican nationalists kill one District of Columbia policeman during an attempted assassination of President Harry S. Truman.
1954 Shooting in the U.S. House of Representatives. Five members of congress are wounded by gunfire during an attack by Puerto Rican nationalists.
1972 Fraunces Tavern Bombing. Four people die in this bombing at a historic tavern in downtown New Your City. The Puerto Rican nationalist group FALN is blamed for the attack.
1975 LaGuardia Airport Bombing. Eleven are killed, 75 are injured, in this attack by Croation nationalists.
1976 Letelier Assassination. Orlando Letelier, the former Chilean ambassador to the United States, is killed by a car bomb in Washington, D.C.
1981 Kennedy Airport Bombing. One man is killed when a bomb planted by a group calling itself the Puerto Rican Armed Resistance goes off in a men s bathroom.
1983 U.S. Senate Bombing. A bomb goes off in the cloakroom next to the U.S. Senate in the Capitol Building. Two left-wing radicals plead guilty to the attack.
1993 – World Trade Center Bombing. Six people are killed, and over 1,000 are injured, in this attack by Islamic radicals.
1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. One hundred and sixty-nine die after a truck bomb is detonated across the street form the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Two men were indicted for the crime; both are affiliated with right-wing militia movements.
After the Oklahoma City Bombing, there was a string of successful or attempted domestic terrorism acts. All of these acts were directed toward government buildings or government employees. What follows is a sample of some of theses acts of terrorism:
March 1995, Central Minnesota. Two members of an anti-tax militia group were convicted of making an illegal batch of ricin, a toxic derivative of the castor bean, that they were going to against law-enforcement officers who had served legal papers on members of their group. They were the first offenders to be convicted under the Biological Weapons Terrorism Act of 1989. They also planned on blowing up federal buildings.
October 11, 1995, The Arizona Desert. Unknown terrorists derail a passenger train 60 miles southwest of Phoenix. One person was killed and 80 injured when the Amtrak train jumped the tracks and plunged over a bridge. Terrorists had removed a section of track and bridged the gap with wire to disable the electronic warning system. Notes found at the scene referred to the federal siege at Waco and to Ruby Ridge.
November 13, 1995, Muskogee, Oklahoma. Three self-proclaimed anti-government terrorists are charged with plotting a series of bombings against abortion clinics, homosexual gathering places, welfare offices, and offices of the Anti-Defamation League. The three members were part of the Oklahoma Constitutional Militia.
December 18, 1995, Reno, Nevada. Two unemployed and heavily indebted construction workers attempted to bomb the Reno, Nevada, offices of the Internal Revenue Service. The pair placed a bomb made of about 100 pounds of fertilizer and kerosene with a lit fuse in a lot next to the IRS building.
There were many other successful and attempted acts of terrorism up to and including this year. Fortunately, law enforcement officers spoiled many of these attempts. The pattern of growth however is troubling.
The growth of anti-government, white supremacy, and various other hate groups has been well documented. While many of these groups have been in existence for many years, the number of people associated with these groups has grown dramatically over recent years. It is widely believed that the growth in membership to these groups is a byproduct of much better organization. The single biggest tool in helping these groups has been the Internet. The Internet has become their primary outlet for recruiting new members and sharing their extreme views with the world.
The Internet has also been instrumental in teaching anyone who wants to learn how to perform terrorist acts. Anyone with an Internet service provider can learn in detail how to build any number of bombs. If you are looking for directions on how to make an automobile explode when started, visit the Anarchist s Cookbook website. This site alone will describe how to build any number of bombs with products that can be purchased at your local hardware store. This has enabled the occasional disgruntled U.S. citizen that has been audited by the Internal Revenue Service to respond by blowing up the auditor s automobile. It is very possible that this very same person would not have reacted violently if he did not have such easy access to this information.
The number of anti-government groups has risen sharply in recent years as well. These are usually militia groups that believe the U.S. government is out to oppress them. These groups usually will cite the siege at Ruby Ridge and the tragic results of the siege of the Branch Dividian compound in Waco, Texas. Although multiple investigations have determined that the FBI agents in Waco did not cause the fire that killed many David Koresh followers, these anti-government groups believe the government purposely stormed the compound with the intent of killing all the people inside. Many propaganda videos are produced each year, which in their eyes proves their point. Extremist groups use these videos and other inaccurate material to help recruit more members to their cause.
Now that the floodgates of domestic terrorism have been opened, it is doubtful that we will ever be able to eliminate it. What we can do is allow law enforcement to fight this battle against terrorism and not allow it to change the lifestyle that we have become accustomed to.