Tuesday, June 2, 2009

American Extremists

The apparent assassination (murder for political reasons) of Dr George Tillar this weekend is another example of how the polarization in the American political scene can lead to extremist violence. That violence can be expressed in assassinations or terrorist attacks, both have a long history in American politics. This is not a claim that the firmly held belief in the anti-abortion view point leads to assassination or terrorism any more than an activist environmental view point leads to attacks on scientists or fire bombing developments in environmentally sensitive areas. It is just the realization that there is an inherently American tendency to violence at the extremes of any political movement. Security professionals need to remember this when they are looking at risk factors that impact their design of a security plan. While the radical jihadist threat is well recognized, it may not be the only extremist threat that must be analyzed and planned for. Any facility that has attracted the ire of an organized activist organization needs to recognize that the lone wolf on the fringe of that organization may be a threat to the facility. Witch hunts and illegal surveillance of legitimate protest groups will seldom identify these potential attackers, but they will certainly solidify support for the legitimate protestor. The lone wolf’s willingness to use violence to correct a perceived moral wrong is normally an anathema to these groups and would never be condoned by the mainstream elements of the group. The recognition that the threat potentially exists is the strongest point in the facility’s favor. It allows the facility to focus its security efforts on a more easily identified threat. It provides an understandable reason for the inconveniences that normally accompany an effective security program. The weekend’s senseless murder should serve to refocus the efforts of security personnel across the nation. It should be a reminder that there are radical fringes associated with a wider range of movements than just Muslim Fundamentalists. And it should also serve as a reminder that counter surveillance efforts need to be directed at more than just people of apparent Middle Eastern origin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good point. I believe that the attack on the US Army recruiting station, and killing of a soldiers and wounding of another is similar.

However, the Islamic convert was under an actual investigation by the FBI.

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