How seriously should we take Sen. Blumenthal’ s clarion call to focus our attention on “domestic terrorism”? Amidst calls to make the Jan 6th “insurrection” a National Holiday. And the Justice Department establishing a new Domestic Terror Department in addition to our F.B.I., with more than 30,000 employees that successfully met real challenges for a century. By most estimates the Jan. 6th demonstration in D.C., with perhaps 2,500 demonstrators entering the Capitol, involved less than half a dozen deaths. Far less than the many dozens of citizens and policemen killed in over a dozen major assaults on nearly a dozen large cities with billions of damage, widespread looting, etc.
Yet those unprecedented attacks weren’t blamed on “domestic terrorism.”
Elsewhere in America the Covid Pandemic has taken over 800,000 lives, drug overdoses take over 100,000 lives, nearly 40,000 deaths from auto accidents, rising violent crime in our major cities taking over 10,000 lives annually, almost 40,000 suicides annually, cancer and heart attacks each taking over 600,000 deaths annually.
Surely amidst sharply rising prices, shortages in many if not most items needed for daily living, e.g. food and fuel, sharply rising prices for housing amidst an extraordinary rise in inflation, schooling for millions of children and college students interrupted by Covid, it’s hard to focus attention on “domestic terrorism and threats to our democracy.” Especially when we remember the many thousands killed in the Oklahoma bombing and Twin Towers.
Judging from mainstream media the call to focus on “domestic terrorism” sounded by Sen. Blumenthal and many Democrats is not gaining traction across the nation. Nor in our Connecticut itself. No serious evidence has emerged that our nation is seriously threatened by “domestic terrorists.” And we surely have many other really serious concerns to focus our attention.
So why are leaders like Sen. Blumenthal sounding the clarion call about “domestic terrorism”? Perhaps a first-year floundering by President Biden. Calling attention to a possible 2024 challenge by former President Trump. The difficulty in gaining control of the Covid Pandemic after campaign promises. Rising inflation and economic dislocations from the Pandemic. China and Russia flexing their muscles.
Over 200 years Americans have proved very resilient. Surviving a most destructive Civil War taking over 700,000 lives. Rising to defend the free world in two horrendous World Wars. Meeting the challenge of an unprecedented modern pandemic. Surely the call to focus on “domestic terrorism” looks like an attempt to divert attention from a host of really serious issues. We still live in an extraordinary nation attracting millions of immigrants, where some 350 million of us can walk the streets without fearing “domestic terrorism.” No matter how hard some of elected officials try to divert attention from the really serious issues affecting all of us.
Peter I. Berman