In the wake of the recent mailed pipe bombs and Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting, CNA experts Bill Rosenau and Dawn Thomas discuss the historical context of domestic terrorism in America, and the rise of the “lone wolf” and violent right-wing extremism over recent decades. They define and distinguish domestic terrorism versus hate crimes and examine societal perception of the severity of each, as well as the prevention efforts and law enforcement response to both. Rosenau notes that while terrorism is perceived as the more critical threat, Americans are more likely to be a victim of a hate crime. They also point out that if current systems have been unable to predict and identify perpetrators in recent years, it suggests the traditional risk factors may be outdated while modern technology and prediction tools are underutilized. Thomas poses the question of why Americans are increasingly susceptible to malign influence, and Rosenau emphasizes the need for more academic study on domestic terrorism as it poses a greater threat to American civilians than foreign terrorism.
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