Atrios had a good post yesterday, I thought, concerning the rioting in France, stating that its roots lay more with the riots in this country from the 60s more so than anything tied to terrorism (that is, the rioting stems from the denial of economic opportunity and social acceptance, though those actually are “seeds” from which terrorism can flourish of course). The Inquirer’s report yesterday stated that some of the rioters have organized well and are using blogs and cell phones to communicate with each other (tools currently used by terrorists to attack this country and elsewhere in the world), which certainly lets me know that someone has organized them.
Of course, this begs another question for me; if they have the means to acquire this technology, why are they using it to blow up buildings and set cars on fire instead of trying to find work and build their lives? However, I have never lived in that area of the world and I admit that there’s a lot about it that I don’t understand.
Also, my online reading about this once again proved how bizarre the radical right-wing element is in this country. Instapundit, which is supposed to be mainstream, said something along the lines of “the second front opened by the American Left is collapsing,” or some such paranoid delusional nonsense, and I won’t dignify the other right-wing sites with further comment. I then realized that I could populate my own site with all kinds of interesting content if I were not bound by the moral constraint of trying to tell the truth as best as I can as well as the scientific realities of the laws of time and space.
In search of legitimate information on the subject of immigrants living in this country (immigrants being defined for my purposes as individuals who have come to this country since about 2000 or so...ultimately, just about ALL OF US are immigrants from one point or another), I came across this link that provides government information, likely from the Bureau of the Census.
You can probably see where I’m going with this; I’m trying to determine if something like what is going on in France could happen in this country. It definitely could. Actually, it did in the 60s to a point with the race riots, but it wasn’t as organized as what we’re seeing now – it was more sheer rage and vandalism for its own sake and not some coordinated effort to attack the government. That was the stated purpose of groups such as The Weathermen, but fortunately, that was a small fringe element by comparison.
We should try to understand the true domestic threat in order to prevent it, of course, so I went to the FBI’s web site to read the latest stories and profile updates of suspects. There are a few stories about preventing nuclear terrorism as well as “cyber crime,” missing person stories, and scams related to Hurricane Katrina. All of the work to fight this is commendable. However, I couldn’t really find out anything on the fight against domestic terrorism, which may be by design, I’m not sure. I did, instead, find this link from the Southern Poverty Law Center which provides information regarding hate group activity in this country.
I think if anything such as the riots in France were to take place in this country, it would be from groups such as those that spawned Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. These people are coordinated across the country in strategic areas and can mobilize quickly with other groups (you can get an idea from the map accessible from the SPLC site). Our most recent immigrant arrivals have not dealt with the simmering, longstanding hostilities that those in Europe have dealt with, leading to the recent events in France. However, I think it would take a particular event or charismatic and cunning individual to bring the “homegrown” terrorists together, rally supporters, or recruit followers (I’m thinking the Branch Davidian or Ruby Ridge incidents, though on a larger scale).
All of this is possible, though, and that is why we must be vigilant and use our imaginations to try to prevent it, or elect or appoint people who echo these sentiments in their words and actions. Bashing immigrant populations to satisfy an intolerant reflex will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem and wrongly antagonize others who would otherwise support us.
(By the way, on a somewhat related note, I should point out that the shareholders of Knight Ridder, the parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer, want the media company to put itself up for sale because they don’t think it can compete effectively with other electronic media for advertising dollars. I think this would be a tragedy for a genuinely effective news organization that provides content that is as unfiltered by corporate censorship as it can be for this day and age.)