"Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

  • They are dangerous to human life and violate federal or state law
  • They appear intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, and/or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping
  • They occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States

This year the blood of police officers and sheriff’s deputies is running in the streets. And the reason is a movement dedicated to portraying law enforcement officers as enemies of the people, particularly black people.

Recently, the Houston Police Union sent a letter to the FBI, asking for an investigation into the spate of Internet videos that call for violence against police officers. The letter was sent just days after Harris County (Texas) Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth was assassinated by a black male suspect while he was filling his patrol car with gas and shortly after calls for killing police were aired on the radio and in videos.

While I support the Houston Police Union, I don’t believe its letter goes far enough. The War on Cops in America is claiming the lives of law enforcement officers as unprovoked vicious attacks against the police are instigated and celebrated by movements like Black Lives Matter, the Nation of Islam, and others.

Each of the murders and assaults on law enforcement officers during the last few months is being investigated and is being—or hopefully will be—prosecuted at the local level and as individual crimes, as they should be. But it’s time for the federal government to call the movements that spur these attacks and murders exactly what they truly are, domestic terrorists. It is time for the Department of Justice to devote its vast resources to protecting the men and women of law enforcement while vigorously pursuing and prosecuting the organized hate groups advocating the killing of those same officers. Our government owes this to those that serve and protect and who are quite literally laying their lives on the line for their communities.

Do I expect this will happen under the current presidential administration? No, I don’t. Do I really think that the same Department of Justice that has virtually ignored the violent deaths of law enforcement officers while actively investigating and censuring police agencies all over the country for perceived racism and politically incorrect policies will suddenly develop a conscience and do the job the taxpayers pay them for by fighting crime and injustice? No I don’t. But if we as Americans raise our collective voice loud enough, if we unite as one people who demand that our government acts responsibly, we can effect change. And change is desperately needed if we are to stem the flow of blood being spilled by American law enforcement officers.

Hate groups that perpetuate contempt and violence toward certain individuals have existed in this country since before the Civil War. And from the Reconstruction days to the 1960s, terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan used threats, violence, intimidation, and murder to further their goals of promoting white supremacy without serious interference from the federal government. These organizations are now shells of their former selves. And their decimation happened only because the federal government and the Department of Justice stood with its people and devoted the time and resources to ending the reign of these groups.

We now face a new destructive force of hatred, people dedicated to the intimidation and murder of law enforcement officers. The members of the groups that preach this hate masquerade as a “movement,” and they pretend to be concerned with social justice. But in reality, they have more in common with the killers and cowards who hid beneath the hoods of the KKK to lynch men, burn and bomb churches, and terrorize women and children than with the people who resisted that violence.

Just as we have in the past, when this nation faced dangers from abroad and from within, we must come together as one people without regard to race or religion or political belief and resist this hatred. Because if we do not, more blood will spill, more families will be left without fathers and mothers, and more uniform clad bodies will be buried as “Taps” plays and honor guards fire 21-gun salutes.

 

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Randy Sutton
Randy Sutton

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Randy Sutton is a 33-year law enforcement veteran, a trainer, and the national spokesman for The American Council on Public Safety. He served 10 years with the Princeton (N.J.) Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He is an author who has published multiple books on law enforcement.

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Randy Sutton is a 33-year law enforcement veteran, a trainer, and the national spokesman for The American Council on Public Safety. He served 10 years with the Princeton (N.J.) Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He is an author who has published multiple books on law enforcement.

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