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Sofla
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08-18-2019, 03:30 PM

Andrew McCarthy strongly objects to this suggestion in his current column for many practical and principled reasons, and worries of the slippery slope precedent (here).

I find it fairly persuasive, and his concerns are from the conservative perspective as a former law enforcement official (Asst. US Attorney). The entire thing is worth reading, but I'll excerpt his closing paragraphs now.

Quote:
Let’s put aside the civil-rights concerns for a moment. The principal effect of a formal, national designation process would be to federalize domestic anti-terrorism enforcement. That is a terrible idea.

We have approximately 35,000 police officers in New York City alone, but fewer than 14,000 FBI agents in the entire country.

From a law-enforcement perspective, the best protection we have against domestic terrorism is state, city, and municipal police. They are vastly more numerous than federal law-enforcement agents. (We have, for instance, approximately 35,000 police officers in New York City alone, but fewer than 14,000 FBI agents in the entire country.) The locals have more and often better intelligence sources at the street level, where domestic terrorism occurs, than their federal counterparts. Indeed, this is why the FBI invites robust local law-enforcement participation in its Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which are designed to combat both international and domestic terrorist operations on U.S. soil.

In the course of planning and carrying out their forcible intimidation, domestic terrorists commit many state crimes. These can be difficult for the feds to charge because they often lack a clear jurisdictional hook — e.g., some effect on interstate commerce. If domestic terrorism is going to be thwarted, local law-enforcement must be the point of the spear. This is not to say the feds do not have a role; in fact, they provide critical enforcement assistance, such as intelligence, interstate coordination, and prosecutions under RICO, civil-rights, and weapons-of-mass-destruction laws. If the feds nationalized domestic terrorism, however, it would deplete the sparse but essential resources necessary to combat international terrorism. State and local law enforcement would lack the jurisdiction to fill such a void.

Let’s close by getting back to the civil-rights concerns. I know this sounds crazy, but Donald Trump will not be president forever. In fact, he hasn’t been president that long . . . meaning, it was not so long ago that we were dealing with an Obama administration — and its media-Democrat pom-pom squads — that regarded limited-government conservatives, Second Amendment proponents, and many veterans returning from overseas military service as “right-wing extremists” who posed a threat of “domestic terrorism.” Someday, maybe sooner than we’d like to think, Democrats are going to be in power again. Do we really want to give them enhanced federal powers to harass ideological opponents under the guise of “designating” domestic terrorist threats?

Right this minute, in terms of confronting Antifa or any other domestic terrorist organization, we have a more robust array of state and federal law-enforcement powers than we have ever had. Moreover, coordination between federal and state law-enforcement and national-security officers is as good as it has ever been. All that is required to gut Antifa is the will to do it — the will to say, “Regardless of our disparate political views, we Americans draw the line at violent extortion that eviscerates our right to speak, assemble, and engage in constitutionally protected political activity.”

I’d humbly suggest we work on that, rather than wasting our energy on meaningless and potentially counterproductive theater like designating domestic terrorist organizations.


The point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.

― Garry Kasparov

... the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts.

― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
  
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