"It is important that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world."
The cruel act of terrorism that targeted innocent spectators and marathon runners in Boston on April 15th 2013 has called out the "Elephant in the room." It raises the question of how a democracy such as ours should confront the perpetrators of terrorism, whether foreign, or domestic?
First, I assert that terrorism is not a race or ethnic group, it is a tactic to instill fear in the hearts of free people everywhere. An attack on any of us should be treated as an attack on all of us. Our actions, and reactions will determine who changes our way of life.
If we are to confront acts of terrorism, we must first understand their polygon of power. From my professional experience -- the most credible source of choice is the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"Since 2000, the number of hate groups [in the United States] has increased by 67 percent. This surge has been fueled by anger and fear over the nation's ailing economy, an influx of non-white immigrants, and the diminishing white majority, as symbolized by the election of the nation's first African-American president.
These factors also are feeding a powerful resurgence of the antigovernment 'Patriot' movement, which in the 1990s led to a string of domestic terrorist plots, including the Oklahoma City bombing. The number of 'Patriot' groups, including armed militias, has grown 813 percent since [President] Obama was elected - from 149 in 2008, to 1,360 in 2012."
We must recognize that this exponential growth is also fueled by the lack of quality of the reporting from the national news media, the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the pundits they book as guest. Most distressing is the massive growth of "Hate Radio" and the unhelpful rhetoric espoused by a vocal minority of ideological driven political figures to propel their "wedge issues" into the public debate in order to "legitimize false propaganda about immigrants and other minorities and spread the kind of paranoid conspiracy theories on which militia groups thrive."
The perpetrators of terror all have a similar DNA that drives their polygon of power. It begins with the ACCEPTANCE of their ideology by a self-perceived disenfranchised group. They then seek out and spot those disenfranchised and hopeless for RECRUITMENT (assessment, selection, and training).
These recruits are then pushed into a LOOSELY DISTRIBUTED NETWORK of likeminded domestic terrorists/international jihadist (financed for global reach), pick a name, pick a country -- there is about 60 different active organizations.
Often times these groups are leaderless, making it extremely hard to detect, deter, or prevent a hostile act. "Those carrying out destructive acts operate as 'lone wolves' and small cells, with little or no connection to formal organizations. Ultimately, leaderless resistance has become the most common tactical approach of political terrorists in the West and elsewhere."
They conduct ASYMMETRICAL operations like September 11th or the April 15th bombing, which gives their movement its prestige. This prestige has great appeal to an angry, DISENFRANCHISED radical left or right wing fringe group.
This nets them more RESOURCES. This VALIDATION of the ideology then PERPETUATES itself like a self-licking ice cream cone.
Ok, so what's the answer?
- First and foremost, recognition of the threat group, and their goals!
- The U.S. must understand that the HATE & EXTREMIST NETWORK is the ENGINE powering the terrorist grid.
- The challenges ahead are GENERATIONAL
- This 21st Century threat is in a dangerous growth stage (like Bolshevism in 1905 and National Socialism in 1920).
- Perception of success is critical, it gains adherents, and undermines regional governments and the West's political-will to confront and fight it.
- Rules don't apply. Terrorists hide within the population, and they use people as their "precision guided weapons."
- They stress asymmetric effects, and they refuse to mass.
- They seek to unite regional groups by providing their ideology and resources of recruits, money, weapons, training, and transportation.
The President of the United States has promised that ALL SOURCES OF NATIONAL POWER will be harnessed, internationally or domestically. Not just law enforcement & military power, but political, intelligence, logistical, financial, etc.
As our state and federal government pursues the perpetrators of the April 15th bombings, there is something every citizen can do. It can be accomplished at the dinner table, in your school, and on all social media. Confront hate groups, hate speech and prejudice in all its forms. Do it daily, make it socially unacceptable.
All reasonable viewers and readers should abandon television, radio, and print media that glorifies, or perpetuates wedge issue rhetoric. The people do have a voice, if you use it.
If we stop watching and listening to them, the corporate interest will out weigh the ratings bait of wedge politics and their political interest.
Only then will meaningful change begin to take form.
 "Elephant in the room" is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed.
 Hate Radio: A broadcast radio program that promotes hatred, bigotry, fear and dehumanization.
Hate radio is usually found on the AM dial. http://www.urbandictionary.
 A wedge issue is a social issue, often of a divisive or controversial nature, which splits apart a population or political group.