Domestic Terrorism Thesis

Pages: 4 (1743 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

¶ … domestic terrorism. In what ways is it functionally different from international terrorism? Also, distinguish between domestic terrorism from above vs. domestic terrorism from below. Give examples.

Domestic terrorism is an act of terrorism that occurs on U.S. soil and is perpetrated by a U.S. citizen. Domestic terror can occur outside of the U.S., but the terrorism needs to be implemented by a person or group acting from within (Keefer, 2008). Domestic terrorism is functionally different from international terrorism because in the case of international terrorism, people from another country wishing to do harm to the U.S. attack its citizens to cause terror. Domestic terrorism is psychologically more terrifying because it involves a fellow countryman attacking his own people (Keefer, 2008). This sort of betrayal is much harder to accept and far harder to stop than any outside terror threat because the terrorist is already inside the U.S. And can do damage to any thing in the county since gaining access is not an issue. It is often very hard to identify domestic terrorists before they commit an act of terror because of the laws that prevent U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies from spying on their own citizens, and since terror attacks can crop up without warning.

Domestic terrorism from above occurs when a person who is part of the governmental system of the U.S. attacks others who are perceived as threats to the status quo (Keefer, 2008). This would include a sort of covert actions by a law enforcement agency or governmental authority. Terrorism from below is when a person commits an act of terror with the hope of overthrowing the government or creating a new social order (Keefer, 2008). An excellent example of domestic terrorism from above is the UNABOMBER, who was trying to draw attention to the fact that he was not happy with the social structure and values system of the government and population that was in place at the time of his attacks.

Summarize the approaches to political violence as exhibited by Mao, Guevara, Marighella, and Fanon. Which domestic terror groups from the past or present would you identify with these different approaches? Explain your position.

While all of these men felt that violence was a means to a successful end, they did differ on their feelings toward terrorism and how to use it as effectively as a weapon in their own exclusive struggles. Mao saw political violence as necessary in repressing the non-Communists during the Chinese revolution. He saw violence as a means to an end, and felt that the peasant needed to rise up against the capitalist elite to create a communist country and social system (Valentino, et al., 2004). Once the system became communist, Mao felt that state-sponsored violence or terrorism, in order to keep the status quo intact, was necessary. This is a great example initially of domestic terrorism from below that turns into from above later on. Che Guevara believed that violence was a direct means to an end in helping poor South American and Cuban peasants to secure a livable lifestyle and a fair legal system (Valentino, et al., 2004). He believed in guerilla warfare and that people should stand up using whatever means necessary to fight back against their oppressors. He saw it as a necessity and a means to an ultimately peaceful end. Marighella felt as Guevara did, that guerrilla warfare was the answer to the problems of the working poor and the farmers looking for a revolution. Marighella however felt that the nexus for the development of the freedom fighters was in the cities, and not in the countryside's and jungles (Valentino, et al., 2004). Fanon believed, like Guevara and Marighella that people needed to rise up and liberate themselves from colonialization, and that domestic terrorism was akin to freedom fighting (Valentino, et al., 2004). Fanon saw that violence was often a necessary byproduct of this liberating struggle, and that warfare helped to drive the point home that the working poor and those who had been colonized were serious about wanting freedom from oppression. None of these men felt as though violence was going to be an end result of their own terrorism. They were all looking to change the world through violence and terror, but wanted a peaceful ending to result. Mao was likely the only one of these men that felt perpetual violence may be necessary as well.

In your opinion, what were the earliest forms of terrorism in the United States? Who were the perpetrators? Who were the victims? Is your opinion the same as that contained in the Vohryzek- Bolden, et al. text? Give examples. Also, explain whether you believe these early terrorists were no better (or no worse) than modern terrorists.

In my own opinion, the earliest forms of terrorism in the United States were political assassination. A man named John Wilkes Booth killed President Lincoln in 1865. Booth was upset that the South was losing the Civil War and took it upon himself to avenge the entire region by killing the President. Other early domestic U.S. terrorists include the anarchist who shot and killed President McKinley as well as the man who killed President Cleveland. In each example, the terrorist was acting either alone or with a small group. They were all acting as terrorists from above. These early terrorists were no better or worse than modern day terrorists. They all used violence as a means of political gain. Modern-day terrorists seem to be less discriminating regarding whom they kill. This could just be a product of the American desensitization of singular killings where a terrorist needs to kill a large group of people for it to shock anyone any more. The terrorists of old were honest enough, though often crazy, to take a great deal of care in preventing collateral damage. As time went on, and the 20th century began to wax on, collateral damage became a widely used weapon of many domestic terrorists. It is taken for granted today that collateral damage will occur and that terrorists kill innocent people to strike fear into the hearts of a nation or population. The text describes the earliest forms of domestic terrorism in a similar light to my opinion on the subject. Domestic terrorism has gone on for hundreds of years overseas, but since the U.S. is a relatively new country, it hasn't been a part of the national psyche for very long. The text also talks about how more and more there are lone-wolf terrorists, when in the past there were often groups that were motivated politically to target certain people or groups for terrorist attacks.

In what ways are right wing terror groups bonded together by racism, religion, and anti- governmentalism? Also, what role does the right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment play with these groups? How has Odinism become a part of the equation for some?

Right wing terror groups play into the fears of others and the fear of change. Xenophobia is at the heart of much of the right wing terror and without this common bond, it is extremely hard to get another person to kill an equal. The right-wing terrorists tend to be relatively uneducated and often react to their own social or religious fears and inadequacies (Abadie, 2006). When the target is made to look inferior in the eyes of the terrorist, it's much easier to pull the trigger. Divisions like race and religion are also very easy targets and scapegoats, since they can often be identified without even knowing the target (Abadie, 2006). The right to bear arms functions as the battle cry for many militias or terrorist groups. The 2nd Amendment is held to the same esteem as the 10 Commandment's for some. They believe that their right to bear arms should be defended with arms, so anyone trying to take their guns is also trying to either kill them or somehow enslave them and change their beloved xenophobic, violent society. The tactics these groups use to recruit people and advertise their functions often hinge on fear and highlighting the negatives in different races or religions. Odinisim, for some, has become part of the equation in that they believe they are a pure race and will use any means necessary to defend their race from encroaching minority ethnicities. These people often use violence and fear to get their message across.

Describe in detail the groups Greenpeace and PETA. Are either of these terrorist organizations? What is the basis for your answer? Discuss the tactics have they used from time to time. Are any of these tactics unlawful but morally ethical?

Greenpeace and PETA are both environmental activist groups. Greenpeace is dedicated to preserving plant and animal life around the world from corporate or commercial interests (Abadie, 2006). The go to such extremes as trying to prevent whaling vessels from shooting harpoons and hanging from bridges to help raise awareness about water quality. They are trying to keep… [END OF PREVIEW]

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