The Democratically lead House of Representatives passed House Bill HR 1955 referred to as the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. The following was taken directly from that bill:
The Congress finds the following:
`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.
`(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.
`(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.
`(4) While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.
`(5) Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States.
`(6) Preventing the potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily accomplished solely through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and can benefit from the incorporation of State and local efforts.
`(7) Individuals prone to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence span all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs, and individuals should not be targeted based solely on race, ethnicity, or religion.
`(8) Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.
`(9) Certain governments, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.
This bill seems to reflect a mood promoted by government; that mood is one of fear, hysteria and alarm regarding the so-called terrorist threat. What I find particularly distressing is that this bill exaggerates the supposed threat and exacerbates whatever climate of fear exists within the general population. By presuming that so-called “homegrown” terrorists pose a security risk, this bill increases the likelihood that those who are merely applying their right to petition their government will be viewed as enemies of the nation. If fear is the adhesive that holds the nation together than the people will pay dearly in terms of their individual rights. When government presumes that its only responsibility is to keep the nation safe, all the problems and ills that burden the population will continue to fester.
If there is, indeed, a true escalation in domestic terrorism, it would be far wiser to understand what is at the root of the problem rather then simply trying to control and interdict the supposed trouble makers. This methodology may attenuate the symptoms but not alleviate the problem. This same short-sided approach has been used to quell the violence in the inner cities of our nation without directing attention to the social and economic inequities that are the source of the problem. All this approach has done is to enrich the prison industry in this country at the expense of the poor.
We can do better than this.
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