Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Know the Playing Field - What is "Domestic Terrorism?" and How Do "Hate Crimes" Differ?

18 U.S. Code § 2331.Definitions
5)the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A)involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B)appear to be intended—
(i)to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii)to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii)to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C)occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States;

Now, you may not like the law as it exists, but it is the law we have until it is changed.

Questions - do the acts of certain groups not engaged in peaceful protest, but using those protests as a "cover" for illegal acts of violence fall within the above definition?

Does it matter if those acts are committed by people on either political extreme - extreme right or extreme left?

Excellent discussion - Who are Antifa?:
Today, antifa activists focus on harassing right wing extremists both online and in real life. Antifa is not a unified group; it is loose collection of local/regional groups and individuals. Their presence at a protest is intended to intimidate and dissuade racists, but the use of violent measures by some antifa against their adversaries can create a vicious, self-defeating cycle of attacks, counter-attacks and blame. This is why most established civil rights organizations criticize antifa tactics as dangerous and counterproductive.

The current political climate increases the chances of violent confrontations at protests and rallies. Antifa have expanded their definition of fascist/fascism to include not just white supremacists and other extremists, but also many conservatives and supporters of President Trump. In Berkeley, for example, some antifa were captured on video harassing Trump supporters with no known extremist connections. Antifa have also falsely characterized some recent right wing rallies as “Nazi” events, even though they were not actually white supremacist in nature.
All forms of antifa violence are problematic. Additionally, violence plays into the “victimhood” narrative of white supremacists and other right-wing extremists and can even be used for recruiting purposes. Images of these “free speech” protesters being beaten by black-clad and bandana-masked antifa provide right wing extremists with a powerful propaganda tool.

That said, it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose. Antifa reject racism but use unacceptable tactics. White supremacists use even more extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate, to intimidate ethnic minorities, and undermine democratic norms. Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years; they have murdered hundreds of people in this country over the last ten years alone. To date, there have not been any known antifa-related murders.

And this:
On May 1, 2020, when boogaloo activists organized a protest against coronavirus public safety measures in Raleigh, North Carolina, many attendees carried firearms in defiance of state laws prohibiting guns at public demonstrations. It was a scene played out across the country in recent weeks, as boogalooers are energized by resistance to lockdown restrictions, which they view as tyrannical government overreach. Boogaloo adherents have shown up at numerous lockdown protests, waving boogaloo signs, wearing Hawaiian shirts, and carrying firearms, sometimes illegally.

These boogalooers are part of an embryonic, decentralized movement that organizes largely online but whose presence has increasingly been felt in the real world. While boogaloo supporters hail from a variety of movements, and include some white supremacists who advocate for race war, the lockdown protests have largely featured the anti-government version of the boogaloo favored by the militia, gun rights, and anarcho-capitalist movements. This iteration holds that the American people are willing to respond with violence – even if it means sparking a civil war – to perceived government efforts to curtail their freedom.
More about "right wing extremism" here:
To be clear, the terms “right-wing extremists” and “left-wing extremists” do not correspond to political parties in the United States, such as Republicans or Democrats. Opinion polls in the United States show that most Republicans and Democrats loathe terrorism. 3

Instead, right-wing terrorism commonly refers to the use or threat of violence by sub-national or non-state entities whose goals may include racial, ethnic, or religious supremacy; opposition to government authority; and the end of practices like abortion.4 As Bruce Hoffman writes, right-wing terrorists generally criticize the democratic state for “its liberal social welfare policies and tolerance of diverse opinion—alongside its permitting of dark-skinned immigrants in the national labor force and of Jews and other minorities in positions of power or influence.” 5 Left-wing terrorism, on the other hand, refers to the use or threat of violence by sub-national or non-state entities that oppose capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism; focus on environmental or animal rights issues; espouse pro-communist or pro-socialist beliefs; or support a decentralized sociopolitical system like anarchism.6
The Bruce Hoffman piece referred to is Mail Bombs, Hate Crimes, and the Meaning of Terrorism:
As public debate intensifies, it is important to understand what the terms “terrorism” and “hate crime” actually mean and why these definitions matter. For instance, both types of crime can carry harsher penalties than other similar violent acts. Both are also symptoms of deep social and political stress, as history has shown. Only once these crimes are appropriately labeled can Americans grapple with their origins.

Terrorism is ineluctably political. It represents an intent to intimidate, coerce, punish, or otherwise influence others by violence or the threat of violence because of their political views, affiliation, or position. Describing terrorism is often complicated by gaps between the strict legal definition and more general societal interpretations.
Hate crime has its own definition in U.S. law: It is an offense that “willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person,” because of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. What distinguishes hate crimes from other violent offenses are the enhanced penalties. Federal recommendations generally call for hate crime sentences to be some 40 percent longer.
Well, now you can discuss the events of the past few weeks with some clarity.


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