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Domestic Terrorism: Factors and Role of Criminal Justice

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Homegrown terrorists, also known as domestic terrorists, pose a unique threat to efforts to prevent terrorist acts, because such terrorists are already living in the country in which they wish to cause harm. Domestic terrorists are responsible for some of the most devastating attacks in U.S. history such as the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma in 1995. The incident resulted in the deaths of 168 people including 19 children (Federal Bureau of Investigation, n.d.). Such incidents are a central concern of local law enforcement. Even more challenging for law enforcement are "lone wolf" terrorists. Their actions are harder to detect because they often do not communicate their intentions before committing their crimes. U.S. criminal justice agencies are taking steps to better understand this type of threat and assume a multifaceted role in addressing terrorism..

Refer to this resource: Jenkins, B. M. (2006). The new age of terrorism. In D. G. Camien (Ed.), The McGraw Hill homeland security handbook (pp.117-130). Hoboken, NJ: McGraw Hill. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/reprints/2006/RAND_RP1215.pdf

The difference between foreign and domestic terrorist threats
Factors contributing to an increased threat of domestic terrorism
The role of the criminal justice system in addressing these terrorist threats

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The Solution uses several references as a guide to discuss domestic terrorism as it relates to foreign terrorism, as well as the factors involved in an increasing amount of domestic terrorism.

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First of all, the difference between foreign and domestic terrorist threats is often a blurred one. Jenkins (2006) argues that "We should be careful not to think of terrorism or terrorists as monolithic. Terrorism is a generalized construct derived from our concepts of morality, law, and the rules of war, whereas actual terrorists are shaped by culture, ideology, and politics—specific, inchoate factors and notions that motivate diverse actions" (p. 117). Studies also indicate how international terrorism is defined in part, by Title 18, which involves "violent acts that are dangerous to human life, in violation of criminal laws and that occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. There are additional factors relative to coercion and intimidation" (Qureshi, 2017). In contrast, experts confirm that domestic terrorism is defined basically as "the same acts, except that the acts occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Those acts may include planning, training, obtaining materiel and other activities directly or indirectly related to the terrorist act. The 9/11 hijackers were foreign nationals who acted inside the territorial United States. However, as they planned, trained and initiated their terror outside the United States, they could have been prosecuted as international terrorists" (Qureshi, 2017).

Experts also cite this blurry lined mentality in assessing the differences when assessing the recent example of white supremacist Dylann Roof, who "killed nine African-Americans at a Charleston, South Carolina church, authorities declined to refer to the attack as terrorism. Many objected to the government's apparent double standard in its treatment of ...

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