Posts Tagged ‘Jared Loughner’

SPLC — The Real Threat from “Domestic Terrorists”

August 9, 2019

In the aftermath of the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been garnering a lot of media attention. While there is nothing unusual about an “advocacy group” with hundreds of millions of dollars of cash on hand and a huge publicity staff attracting attention, this time the stakes are higher.

In the old days, whenever a mentally disturbed individual shot up the place, the SPLC would do everything it its power to attempt to tie the perpetrator to a known “hate group,” with varying success. Failing that, the company’s Intelligence Director, Mark Potok, would eventually concede that the shooter was probably a lone-wolf lunatic.

“And I would say as a general matter, it is extremely unusual these days for an organization to plan and carry out a criminal act where mainly for the reason that they are so likely to get caught.

So what we really see out there in terms of violence from the radical right is by and large what we would call lone wolves, people operating on their own or with just one or two partners. As opposed to, you know, being some kind of organizational plan.” (www.npr.org, October 30, 2008) [Emphasis added]

And:

“Still, [Potok] said the public should remain vigilant about the activities of hate groups, even though individuals are responsible for the majority of hate crimes in America. (www.courier-journal.com, July 21, 2009) [Emphasis added]

The problem with the “lone wolf” scenario is that there really wasn’t any good way to make money from it. While the SPLC rakes in hundreds of millions of donor-dollars a year by selling dire warnings of hundreds of “hate groups” it is allegedly “tracking,” lone wolves don’t usually appear on the radar until after they have struck.

When Jared Loughner shot 20 people in Tuscon, Arizona, in 2011,  including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the SPLC’s Intelligence Director, Mark Potok, tried to tie Loughner to the militia movement by analyzing a list of his favorite books. Among the right-wing screeds listed were “Peter Pan,” “The Odyssey,” ‘Aesop’s Fables,” “The Phantom Tollbooth,” “The Communist Manifesto,” “Mein Kampf,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Despite a valiant effort, once Loughner’s Uncle Fester-esque mug shot was published, even Mr. Potok had to write him off as a likely lunatic, acting alone.

Jared

Jared Loughner

That was then. Flash forward to 2019 and the “Lone Wolf” has suddenly morphed into the “Domestic Terrorist.” As we first warned in 2012, when the SPLC was first playing with the “Domestic Terrorist” tag, there are some very serious civil liberty issues that come into play now.

Whereas the FBI and local law enforcement can do little against so-called “hate groups” until they actually break a law or pose a reasonable threat to public safety (beyond “wrong thoughts”), alleged “terrorists” do not enjoy such Constitutional niceties. Law Enforcement agencies, from the DHS down to the local police, can detain alleged “terror” suspects with far less due process.

With a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality prevailing, every law-abiding citizen would be under the threat of detention, or at the very least of harassment, from law enforcement officials who are obligated to investigate every charge of alleged terrorism.

This is no longer simply a matter of the Southern Poverty Law Center scaring blue-haired Progressives out of donor-dollars. Everyone’s civil rights are now under threat.

We saw the devastating loss of Constitutionally protected civil rights after Congress rammed through the USA PATRIOT ACT in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The SPLC’s “Domestic Terrorist” slur threatens to be every bit as dangerous.

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