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Domestic Terrorism: The Enemy Within

NCJ Number
Current History Dated: April 2000 Pages: 169-173
Dennis B. Downey
Date Published
April 2000
5 pages
This article examines the increasing volatility and visibility of contemporary American terrorists.
The article claims that political violence, popular insurrection against the government, racism, and xenophobia have a long history in the United States. However, the convergence of antigovernment patriots and neo-Nazi white supremacists is "the most disturbing development in American politics." These contemporary American terrorists, sworn to the overthrow of the government and a campaign of racial elimination, brandish a rhetoric of victimization and distrust. Technologically sophisticated and sometimes well financed, they preach a style of cultural politics directed at alienated white youth. The article briefly describes the lives and terrorist careers of individuals such as Timothy McVeigh, Randy Weaver, and Matthew Hale, and the activities of organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, the White Aryan Resistance, and the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator. There is no evidence that extremist groups advocating insurrection and racial or ethnic cleansing are not sincere in their convictions. The article concludes that, if past is prologue in the history of American violence, more acts of isolated and organized terrorism can be expected. Note