The Thing About Extremists

There’s a lot of hullabaloo right now over the whole “right-winged extremist” thing. Conservatives are taking exception to the Department of Homeland Security dubbing right-winged extremists as the most dangerous domestic threat. Because being political seems to be more important these days that being logical, the Department’s position is being used as evidence that Conservatives who disagree with Obama’s policies are putting themselves at risk to be viewed as a threat to our country. On top of that, there is genuine anger over the Department’s audacity to classify right-winged extremists as more dangerous than Islamic terrorists.

This is what it comes down to for me. First, there is a distinct difference between what the government means by a right-winged extremist and the staunch Conservative who passionately disagrees with Obama’s policies. Making the case the administration sees them as one in the same is one heck of a stretch. Some Conservatives fired up by all this are suggesting those who dare to voice an unfavorable opinion of the President are somehow in danger of becoming a target of the government. It’s beyond asinine. If that were the case surely Rush Limbaugh would be in Guantanamo by now. I hate the bailouts and I know for a fact typing that here isn’t going to land me on a terrorist watch list. Some attempting to give this concern legs know better. They’ve been able to express their views in an acidic way with no fear of consequence. One acquaintance of mine all churned up over this issue is the type to call Obama Osama and loves to paint our president as a Hitler reincarnate. In his mind, and I use the word mind loosely, he is now some sort of rebel writer who is putting himself at risk with every word against the President he dares to type. Oh, where would our country be without the raw courage of men like him to fearlessly be dolts in front of the rest of us?

The second point to consider in all of this is we are talking about a DOMESTIC threat. That means ‘within our borders.’ Anyone following the news of late has seen ample reports of violence against our citizens and law enforcement agencies as a result of paranoia or anger over the current economic situation and policy initiatives. Just a few days ago three officers were shot and killed in Pennsylvania by a man upset over Obama’s supposed plans to limit his access to guns in the future. Acts of violence carried out by a cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs citizen against others is much more common in our country than events connected to any sort of Jihad. We have plenty of mall, school and workplace shootings to back that up. Of course, right-winged extremists aren’t to blame for all of the above, but they have had their share of headline making events and we’d be pretty thick not to realize the current climate is ripe for inspiring the Timothy McVeigh’s of this world to act in some way.

I wish Homeland Security had left ‘right-winged’ out of the mix and simply focused on extremists in general. Anyone willing to commit violence for their cause is in the same class of naughty to me. I can see the need to be specific, but it would have made it easier for our drama loving media and citizens to focus on the real concern. And the real concern to me is that our citizens are growing targets of violence by fellow countrymen with an ax to grind. Until Americans are brought back to reality and accept that their lives and the lives of their family members are statistically more likely to be taken by a fellow citizen who is off balance than a soldier of Jihad, we are vulnerable. Dare I dream for a time when we can be realistic about true threats without it turning into some political soap opera?

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